Dear LSSU Alums:The 2021-22 academic year is well underway, and it won’t be long before final exams and the holiday break arrives. Having students back on campus for the past five months has been so gratifying. They bring with them the kind of energy that only college students can bring to a campus.
Over the past few months, we have had many accomplishments at the university that I would like to share with you.
Perhaps the most significant is the completion (or near completion) of the Richard and Theresa Barch Center for Freshwater Research and Education building on the shores of the St. Mary’s River. This beautiful building will open formally in December and will be a state-of-the-art facility for a wide variety of freshwater-related research. It will also be a jewel for Lake Superior State University for many years and decades to come.
Another great accomplishment is the recent awarding of a Coast Guard Center of Expertise to Lake Superior State University. The center will be only the 6th National Center of Expertise operated by the Coast Guard in the nation. The focus of the center will be to reduce the risks and impacts of oil spills and freshwater systems, especially the Great Lakes region. The overall goal is to ensure that we are ready to deal with oil spills based on a strong scientific understanding of how oil impacts freshwater ecosystems, the technological advances that can detect and clean up oil, and improved readiness to respond to a spill. We are looking forward to hosting Coast Guard staff that will be in our new CFRE building.
The university also held an unveiling of the new Cambium Analytica Living-Learning House for Cannabis Studies-formerly called the Erie House. Through a $250k gift, the university has established a long-term partnership with Cambium Analytica, a Michigan cannabis testing laboratory. This donation will help fund the school’s Living-Learning house and various academic research programs for students pursing a degree in this cutting-edge field.
I am also pleased to report that we closed fiscal year 2021 with a balanced budget, one of the few times that this has happened at the university in the last quarter century. In addition, with careful financial planning and budgetary oversight, the Board approved a balanced budget for fiscal year 2022. Perhaps most importantly, we have eliminated a multi-million-dollar annual deficit that the university has been carrying for the last 27 years. This deficit has grown or shrunk from year to year, but it has never been fully eliminated until now. Tightening the belt is never easy for a university and we still have many difficult decisions to make, but I believe the stage is set for growth and success for decades to come.
There have been many other accomplishments to mention including the awarding of a major multi-million-dollar Title III grant in support of student academic achievement and renewed emphasis on Native American studies, numerous achievements in club sports, and the 75th university anniversary, as well as, the 50th anniversary of the Nursing program.
Lastly, I would be remiss not to mention the COVID-19 global pandemic. Our response to COVID remains steadfast. We are conducting regular testing in our Health Care Center, including antigen and PCR testing. We also have the vaccine available for anyone. Our campus case count and positivity rate remain among the lowest of any university in the state.
It is an exciting time at the university. As we near the end of the fall semester and snow makes its first appearance, we are positioning the university for even greater accomplishments and to address the challenges that face us. We are doing this with steadfast confidence and determination.
As always, we appreciate your support of Lake Superior State University! Thank you.
Superior Education. Superior Experience. Superior YOU!
Dr. Rodney S. Hanley