Dear LSSU Alums:
I am pleased to report that we made it to the end of the Spring 2021 semester and the 2020-21 academic year. The patience and can-do spirit during this difficult time by our faculty, staff, and students has truly been inspiring.
We wrapped up the academic year with two virtual commencement ceremonies to honor the graduates of 2020 and 2021. Our featured speaker was David Jahn, CEO of War Memorial Hospital, who spoke of overcoming adversity during these challenging times. We also heard from student speakers, Roman Bengert and Keegan Hoose, who spoke of their experiences at Lake State and challenged the graduates to rise to the leadership challenges today. The Distinguished Teaching Award for 2021 was also announced. This year’s honored awardee was Dr. Cathy White. I am very proud of all the employees who worked so diligently to put together these ceremonies. Of course, virtual ceremonies were not what we envisioned, however, with Covid restrictions still in place at that time; we determined that it was the appropriate thing to do.
Regarding Covid-19 on campus, we ended the Spring semester with no cases on campus. The total number of cases for the entire Spring semester was 107 cases, which was among the lowest number of any university in the state. We continue to offer easily accessible testing and have hosted numerous vaccine clinics on campus. We also had vaccinations available for students and family during our recent new student orientations.
Not everything happening at the University is Covid related. I am pleased to share some University accomplishments. On March 22 and 23, the Higher Learning Commission completed their on-site and virtual visits. The visiting team met with many people on campus and reported how impressed they were with campus operations. The final report will be submitted to the Higher Learning Commission’s Institutional Actions Council for final review and action. We anticipate an update to our status in mid-July. I want to acknowledge the entire campus community for all of the work that has gone into the preparations for this review.
Of course, I have to give a huge Congratulation to our hockey team for their victorious 2020-21 season. Laker Hockey won the WCHA Championship and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 25 years. Covid restrictions and massive testing requirements did not stop these Lakers from this historic achievement. My family and I look forward to joining the fans next season.
Lake State recently announced the retirement of Morrie Walworth, Vice President for Finance and Operations, effective August 1. Morrie has held numerous academic and administrative positions at LSSU over his 30-year career span. He has been Chief Financial Officer since January 2016, and held the position of Provost for five years before moving to CFO. While we thank Mr. Walworth for his dedication and service to LSSU, we also welcome veteran economist Dr. Nafez Alyan as our next Vice President for Finance and Operations/CFO effective July 15. Dr. Alyan brings with him more than 20 years of financial experience in leadership roles in academia and government. Additionally, LSSU Director of Athletics, Dr. David Paitson has announced that he will be departing his role at LSSU to pursue a teaching opportunity in Sport Management at the University of Indianapolis beginning in the Fall of 2021.
After a 52 year teaching career at LSSU, Dr. Madan Saluja announced his retirement effective July 1. He joined the faculty at LSSU in 1969 and is well known for his dedication and commitment to his students, LSSU and the community. I wish Dr. Saluja a well-deserved retirement and know his impact on campus will not be forgotten. A statue in his honor can be visited in R.W. Considine Hall.
While there is much to remember this past year, I am looking forward to celebrating 75 years of Lake Superior State University history, and welcoming new and returning students that make up our legacy. As always, we appreciate your support of Lake Superior State University! Thank you.
Superior Education. Superior Experience. Superior YOU!
Dr. Rodney S. Hanley