Hello Fellow Lakers:
I have had the good fortune to have a long relationship with our distinguished institution. My father, Tom Steinhoff, graduated from Lake Superior State College in 1974 with a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology. His senior thesis explored the sociological plight of commercial fishermen in the Northern Great Lakes Region. Fast forward almost 50 years and our university’s focus is still grounded in our natural resources, but we have also grown various other programs that LSSU is now known for: Criminal Justice, Fire Science, and Nursing are just a few areas where LSSU has excelled and even taken a leadership role in our state. Our foundations are strong and we can build on them to create a more successful student and a more successful Lake State. I see examples of this daily in my work here in Upper Michigan.
As one of Michigan’s 83 elected prosecuting attorneys, I have the privilege of interacting with a wide variety of individuals on a day-to-day basis. I am often required to subpoena law enforcement officers, including Michigan State Police officers and officers from the Department of Natural Resources to testify in criminal and civil proceedings. As these individuals testify, they are required to divulge their background and what qualifies them to be an officer of the law. On numerous occasions, I have been party to the following colloquy in open court:
“What qualifies you to be an officer?” -Me
“I have a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and an associates degree in Law Enforcement and Homeland Security. I completed the police academy, and I am MCOLES certified. I was a public safety auxiliary officer and I interned at a city police department and a sheriff’s office.” -Officer Testifying
“Wow! Where did you do all of this?” -Me (already knowing the answer to the question)
“Lake Superior State University.” -Officer Testifying (with a smile because he or she knows that I also attended Lake State)
The ability to present an individual with such qualifications to the jury makes my case that much stronger. In law enforcement in the UP, Lakers lead the way. I attribute this to the hands-on training and experiences Laker students are able to engage in at our small institution. This also mirrors my own experience at Lake State. As a freshman, I was able to join the Student Government. By my junior year, I was elected Student Body President, and re-elected to a second term my senior year. Through this leadership role, I had opportunities to interact with individuals at a level that would not have been possible at another institution. During my time at Lake State, I regularly communicated with state and federal legislators, tribal leaders, and even the Governor. These interactions are all commonplace in my current role and I directly attribute that to the hands-on engagement at Lake State.
Hearkening back to my father’s thesis, I am often accused of having been a big fish in a small pond. I never viewed it that way. Being a Laker makes you a fish with greater opportunity to succeed because at Lake Superior State, all students are big fish. Every student has the option of becoming a leader in their chosen field because they are able to attain the necessary, well-rounded experience to succeed. That is why I never hesitate to throw a Laker grad on the stand to testify; I know that they are going to bring what is necessary to succeed because they have seen it before with Lake State’s experiential learning programs.
So, what’s the point Bob? The point is that all Lakers have been given the opportunity to succeed. With that promise, we must give back to the institution that gave us our foundation. Please consider joining the Alumni Association, or simply making it up to the Soo for a hockey game once in a while. It’s not about the benefit that these organizations give; it’s about the benefit that we all received and currently receive as Laker grads. At Lake State, it has always been a team effort. Graduation doesn’t change that; those current students need the support of alumni and the greater Laker community to make the best of their journey at Lake State.
Rob Steinhoff ’12
LSSU Alumni Association Board President