Rendering of CFRE north side

Center for Freshwater Research and Education (CFRE)

We all know that Lake Superior State University has an enviable and unique set of strengths. Located in a pristine spot where multiple freshwater resources flow together, it has long been known as a premier educational choice for students who want hands-on experience in fisheries and wildlife management. It has a distinguished reputation for graduating students who are prepared and eager to fill career opportunities, especially in the STEM fields.

Now LSSU has an exciting and game-changing opportunity to leverage those strengths for growth. The Richard and Theresa Barch Center for Freshwater Research and Education will be a flagship project for student and faculty recruitment. It will also lead the way for high-quality research centered on the state’s most treasured and irreplaceable resource: fresh water.

LSSU is responding to market needs in innovative and practical ways.  LSSU has operated its fish hatchery at the east end of the Cloverland Electric Cooperative on the St. Mary’s River for more than 40 years. The property adjacent to the facility is actually a brownfield that the City of Sault Ste. Marie would love to see redeveloped. The Center for Freshwater Research will be an exciting addition to the community, and a significant strategic step for the University. It will be the model for other fields of study that emphasize real-world student education in high-demand fields.

rendering of CFRE south sideThe total budget for the Center for Freshwater Research is estimated at approximately $13.84 million. Fresh water is a priority for the State’s ongoing economic health, as well as for our quality of life. It is not surprising that this project struck a responsive chord in the highest levels of state government. In July of 2016, the State of Michigan approved a capital outlay appropriation of $8.85 million (75 percent of the project total). That appropriation is contingent upon private philanthropy making up the rest of the total. This means LSSU must have gift commitments for the remaining $4.99 million by September 30, 2019 in order to receive the State dollars.

As of January 2019, generous donors have committed approximately $3.2 million of the necessary supporting funds. This includes an extremely generous lead gift of $1 million by the Richard and Theresa Barch Foundation.

The planning processes are proceeding ahead of schedule. LSSU successfully completed the requisite Phase 400 and is working towards Phase 500 for state approval. Construction is scheduled to begin in Summer 2019, with the building opening in Summer 2020. Exciting developments in programming are happening every day, with recent approval of a Career Technical and Education program in natural resources, to be hosted at CFRE, which will engage high school students daily in hands-on learning in this discipline.

This project presents an unprecedented opportunity for the eastern Upper Peninsula to leverage public investments into advancing the local economy. It also builds a long-lasting foundation for future growth and research that can lead our state’s efforts to steward fresh water resources.

View the full brochure for the Center, or visit CFRE for more information.  To explore giving opportunities or make a commitment to the CFRE campaign, contact the LSSU Foundation at (906)-635-2665 or

Compass for Planned Giving

IRA Charitable Rollover

You may be looking for a way to make a big difference to help further our mission. If you are 701/2 or older you may also be interested in a way to lower the income and taxes from your IRA withdrawals. An IRA charitable rollover is a way you can help continue our work and benefit this year.

Benefits of an IRA Charitable rollover

  • Avoid taxes on transfers of up to $100,000 from your IRA to the Lake Superior State University Foundation
  • Satisfy your required minimum distribution (RMD) for the year
  • Reduce your taxable income, even if you do not itemize deductions
  • Make a gift that is not subject to the deduction limits on charitable gifts
  • Help further the work and mission of Lake Superior State University

How an IRA charitable rollover gift works

  1. Contact your IRA plan administrator to make a gift from your IRA to us.
  2. Your IRA funds will be directly transferred to Lake Superior State University to help continue our important work.
  3. Please note that IRA charitable rollover gifts do not qualify for a charitable deduction.
  4. Please contact us at or 906-635-2665, if you wish for your gift to be used for a specific purpose.
LSSU Foundation | 906-635-2665 | |