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Dear Bobcat parent and family members,

Without a doubt, the best thing that has happened for me since starting my position at MSU in 2011 is that I am a dad. Roark turned 5 this fall, and Avonlee is almost 3. Roark is now in kindergarten, and last week there was a moment with her that brought me to tears.

Arriving home after work one evening, Roark greeted me in the doorway, clearly eager to share something. As I walked toward her after hanging my coat, Roark stood straight, raised her right hand over her heart, and began reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. I was simply floored as she continued flawlessly through to the end "with liberty and justice for all." She beamed with pride as I was overcome with emotion.  

I imagine you have similar memories of your kids that warm your heart to this day.

Roark's interest in the U.S. flag has led to conversations with her about what it means to be an American citizen from the state of Montana. 

I do my best to explain to her how democracy works, where we choose our political leaders through the ballot box. Last week, Roark watched her mom and me as we filled out our absentee ballots, emphasizing why voting is a privilege and vital to our democracy.  

All pretty heady stuff for a 5-year-old to be pondering. Your MSU student, on the other hand, by now understands the value and significance of voting in local, state and national elections.

If you haven't already, please remind your student to vote tomorrow. The university and the state of Montana take this civic responsibility seriously; there are no classes tomorrow, and campus offices are closed to ensure our students, faculty and staff have ample time to make it to the polls and vote.  

As U.S. citizens, we honor the right to vote and consider it our civic responsibility to do so. It is a great day to be an American -- and a Bobcat! 

Warm regards,

Matthew R. Caires
Dean of Students