Dear LSSU Alums:
First of all, let me introduce myself. My name is Rod Hanley and I have the privilege of serving as LSSU’s tenth president. The opportunity to serve a dynamic institution with strong commitments to academic excellence, the student experience, and the Great Lakes region especially drew my interest in serving as the president of LSSU. Also, my spouse and I are especially excited to raise our family in Sault Ste. Marie.
I have worked at universities in North Dakota, Manitoba, Ontario, and Tennessee in a variety of roles, including Professor of Biology, Dean of Science, and Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. My spouse and I often joke with friends that Sault Ste. Marie will be one of the warmest places we have ever lived. I also have my academic degrees from Eastern Illinois University, University of Kansas, and the University of Cambridge.
In my relatively short time at LSSU, I have assembled a fantastic senior leadership team, including a new Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs and a new Vice President for Enrollment Management, Marketing, and IT. We have started many projects, including a new major maintenance effort on campus, a new recruiting and marketing strategy, and a new housing master plan. There are many other projects that will be announced in the coming weeks and months.
Our efforts are already beginning to yield significant results. Enrollment has increased this year to over 2,000 students, reversing a multi-year decline. Our incoming freshmen number is up 35.9% over last year, reversing a multi-year decline that started in 2014. The first-time student retention rate is also up this year to 72.8%, which is 5.9% above the national average. The cost of attending Lake State has remained mostly flat, and is currently 35.5% below the national average for a 4-year college education. Earnings after graduation for recent Lake State grads is 5.5% above the national average for college graduates. Even the percentage of Lake State students paying down their student loan debt is 21.3% above the national average. And, this is just the beginning.
The challenges confronting higher education are as great now as any time within the last century. Shifting financial models, changing student needs and interests, rapidly shifting expectations from industry and society, access for financially disadvantaged students, and challenges to academic excellence are all major issues confronting higher education. The role of higher education is changing and it is critical that institutions evolve to meet these demands in an entrepreneurial way while maintaining a strong commitment to academic excellence and the student experience. I have focused my entire career on leading units and organizations to meet these challenges. As the president of Lake Superior State University, I bring energy, passion, dedication, good humor, and proven senior experience to boldly confront these challenges.
It is an honor to serve LSSU, the people of Michigan, and the entire Great Lakes region. A university needs its alumni, and I look forward to meeting you and learning how LSSU impacted your life.
Thank you, and very best regards,
Rodney S. Hanley, Ph.D.
Professor of Biology
Lake Superior State University
650 West Easterday Avenue
Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan 49783 USA