Dear LSSU Alums:
As I write today, we are about a month into the Spring 2021 semester. I must admit that I wasn’t sure if we would make it this far due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. It seems like whenever I read the news, I would learn more about the effects of the pandemic, the spread of the virus, and its deadly consequences. To get the semester underway, we conducted considerable planning, made testing common and widespread, and made university facilities available to county health officials for vaccination distribution. As a result, I am pleased to report that today the number of active cases of Covid-19 among faculty, staff, and students was reduced to zero. In fact, LSSU has had among the lowest number of cases of any university in the state or the nation. We also had among the lowest positive rates of any university in the state. We know that new cases may arise at any time, but I am proud of how the university responded and continues to respond to this unprecedented global emergency.
Nonetheless, not everything happening at the university has been fearful of the pandemic. On January 1st, the university released its annual banished word list. Particularly egregious entries made it on the list this year, including “Covid,” “social distancing,” “in-an-abundance-of-caution,” and “in these uncertain times.” I personally hope to never hear these words and phrases ever again. The list was picked up by news outlets across the nation and in many other countries, including throughout Europe, Asia, and even on the island of Borneo.
Perhaps one of the most significant achievements since my last letter was a major grant awarded to Dr. Ashley Moerke and the team at the Center for Freshwater Research and Education. The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration awarded almost $1 million to support research and help build capacity within CFRE. This award is expected to create about 20 jobs and generate $14.2 million in private investment. Being awarded this grant is a major accomplishment, and I want to congratulate Dr. Moerke and the entire CFRE team.
As I’ve said many times, we are in the middle of the most disruptive time in the history of higher education in the country. We have courageously confronted this difficult time with the grace, dignity and grit that is expected of Lakers everywhere. There are many challenges that we are confronting, but LSSU is moving in a great direction and we will come through the global pandemic stronger than ever before.
As always, we appreciate your support of Lake Superior State University! Thank you.
Superior Education. Superior Experience. Superior YOU!
Stay safe and best regards,
Dr. Rodney S. Hanley