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NDSU students say 'We love Joe' at Chapman rally

North Dakota State University student Ashley Young, left, Gale and Joseph Chapman, and student body Vice President Andy Schlicksup clap along with the Gold Star Marching Band during an appreciation rally Wednesday at NDSU.

Hundreds of students gave North Dakota State University President Joseph Chapman a standing ovation Wednesday while chanting "We love Joe" and presenting him with a scrapbook.

More than 200 attended a rally in the Memorial Union Ballroom to show appreciation for Chapman, who has announced he will resign Jan. 2 after 11 years at NDSU.

Kevin Teigen, who was student body president at NDSU in 2005-06 when the "Don't go Joe" rally was held, was one of four past and current students to speak.

Teigen commended Chapman for his courage and confidence and his ability to empower the people around him.

"You've challenged us all to achieve the things that we truly want to achieve," Teigen said.

Although several referenced the "Don't go Joe" rally that convinced Chapman to withdraw from the University of Wyoming president search, Tuesday's event stayed with the theme of showing appreciation for Chapman rather than trying to get him to stay.

Students wore buttons that said "We love Joe" in green and yellow letters, and they wrote messages of appreciation on bright-colored scrapbook pages.

The Bison Arts Singers performed "You Raise Me Up," and the Gold Star Marching Band closed the rally.

Arun Yadav, an international student from India who came to NDSU in 2007, thanked Chapman for "making this place a second home for thousands of international students."

During Chapman's tenure, enrollment of international students more than tripled.

Chapman said he knew 11 years ago when he was a candidate for NDSU president that the student body was remarkable.

"To be a part of the transformation of a university is an incredible thing," Chapman said. "But to have thousands of friends for the rest of our life is even more important."

Vanessa Eckhoff, a senior zoology major from Stewartville, Minn., said she came to NDSU only knowing two people, and Chapman's greeting at orientation made her feel welcome. Now she's sad to see him go.

"NDSU is President Chapman," Eckhoff said.

Fargo Mayor Dennis Walaker, who sat in the front row, said Chapman is a visionary leader.

"He needs to leave with a good feeling about what he has accomplished for our community," Walaker said.