University Sidebars

CFRE Building

LSSU Welcomes Start of 2023-24 School Year

Monday, August 28, 2023 was the first day of classes for Lake Superior State University students, following move-in days that began the week prior.

For graduating students, the day brought emotions and thoughts about the future. "It's nerve wracking, there's a lot of emotions here," said senior student Emma David. "It's exciting to be done with this chapter, but also nervous to kind of leave the familiarity of it and move on to bigger and better things." David, from Wisconsin, plans to graduate with a degree in psychology.

Another senior, Luke Lyons, is a nursing major. "I'm nervous about the upcoming year because the classes are harder than ever," said Lyons. "But it's nice to be almost done and it's been really rewarding to get to this point after a lot of hard work."

Like many students, Lyons does not originally come from the Sault area. After spending so much time on campus, Lyons said the city has started to become like home. He plans on staying in the area after graduation.

Students aren't the only group of people preparing for a new year. As students return to the classroom, so do their teachers. "This is one of the most exciting times of the year," said history professor Jim Shaffer. "It's fun to meet new students, new freshmen coming in. But since I teach history, I also meet a lot of upperclassmen I've never met before, so pretty much every semester is a new experience for me and I'm excited." Read More.

CFRE Building

Lake Superior State University Establishes College of the Great Lakes Ecology and Education

Lake Superior State University’s College of Science and the Environment received a second consecutive six-figure National Science Foundation (NSF)-Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) grant.

Principal Investigator (PI) and Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Lake State Dr. Mark Zierden and Co-PIs Drs. Stephen Kolomyjec, associate professor of biology at Lake State; Ronald Zalesny, supervisory research plant geneticist at the North Research Station of the U.S. Forest Service; and Heng-Hsuan Chu, assistant professor of plant biology at Northern Michigan University, were awarded a $384,660 NSF-MRI grant for fiscal year 2024 to purchase a micro X-ray fluorescence spectrometer to support multidisciplinary research and education in the upper Midwest. This will be the only such equipment in Michigan and Northern Ontario, Canada.

LSSU will lead a consortium from NMU, Central Michigan University, the U.S. Forest Service, Algoma University, Baton Rouge Community College, Mackinac State Historic Parks, and regional industry partners on research that spans metal translocation in plants to trace-element localization in freshwater sponges to forensic analysis of tattoos in decaying flesh. Collectively, proposed research projects will involve 25 undergraduate students per year. The micro X-ray fluorescence spectrometer also will be utilized in nine courses, benefiting more than 100 students annually. Read More. 

Dr. Dave Diles

Lake Superior State University Athletic Director Dr. David Diles Announces Upcoming Retirement

Dr. David Diles, director of intercollegiate athletics at Lake Superior State University, will retire on Oct. 31, 2023. The veteran collegiate athletics executive assumed the role on Aug. 2, 2021. Lake State has formed a search committee and begun a national search for his replacement. Associate Athletic Director Abbie Laajala, who has held several positions in LSSU sports since 2016, will step in as interim deputy athletic director effective Sept. 1, the date when Dr. Diles switches to remote work for his final months on the job, to support on-site operations during the transition.

“It’s been an honor to serve Lake Superior State University, and I’m very grateful for a tremendously rewarding career; however, it is the right time for me to retire from college athletics,” said Dr. Diles. “This profession requires a great investment of time and energy and has physical demands that, after nearly three decades in this role, are better passed along to new leadership. It’s been an incredibly rewarding experience, and my family and I are ready for the next chapter.” Read More.


Lake Superior State University’s Board of Trustees Names Search Committee, Conducts National Search for Next Lake State Permanent President

Lake Superior State University’s Board of Trustees will conduct a national search for Lake State’s next permanent president and has named a presidential search committee accordingly.

“The goal is to have the 11th permanent president in place as soon as is practical while emphasizing the importance of a thorough search process,” said LSSU Board Chair Timothy L. Lukenda. “We also intend for the search process to engage all LSSU stakeholders as well as the general public.”

The Board will contract with a presidential search consultant through a competitive solicitation process overseen by Lukenda. He has appointed Board 1st Vice Chair Cynthia K. Williams to head the presidential search committee. It will collaborate with the search firm to create a presidential leadership profile and job description, review applicants to determine qualified candidates, conduct preliminary interviews, and then recommend a short list of finalists to the Board, which ultimately hires the campus leader. Read More.


Lake Superior State University Creates First Post-Baccalaureate Rural Nurse Residency Certificate Program in the World to Address Urgent Need for Rural Healthcare

To address the urgent demand for nurses in rural America, Lake Superior State University has created a Post-Baccalaureate Rural Nurse Residency Certificate Program, the first of its kind in the world.

The 24-credit, one-year, three-semester program is open to all graduates, whether licensed or not, from any accredited BSN program in their first year of practice; taught mostly via asynchronous online learning of simulation and virtual reality; and folded within a 36-hour weekly paid residency at a rural healthcare agency or hospital.

“Six hundred, or 30 percent, of all rural hospitals in the U.S. are at risk of closing, according to the American Nurses Association, among other alarming shortfalls in rural nursing. Our new Post-Baccalaureate Rural Nurse Residency Certificate Program is designed to help do something about this,” said LSSU Interim President Dr. Lynn G. Gillette. “Lake State is located in a rural part of the country, the Great Lakes region, and we have a responsibility to assist our neighbors. This innovative, transformative offering is the latest example of our partnership with the surrounding community on current and emerging exigencies, per priorities in the LSSU strategic plan.”

The Post-Baccalaureate Rural Nurse Residency Certificate Program follows numerous other firsts for the institution. In 2019, Lake State launched the first cannabis chemistry program in the nation. LSSU also was the first campus nationwide to offer an accredited four-year fire science program. Lake State further was the first campus nationwide to offer an accredited four-year robotics engineering technology program and is the only university nationwide to offer undergraduate education in industrial robotics. Read More.


Lake Superior State University Celebrates 341 Graduates at 2023 Commencement

Lake Superior State University celebrated 341 new graduates along with their families and friends at the 61st annual commencement held on May 6, 2023. Lake State students earned 315 bachelor’s degrees, 153 associate degrees, and 12 certificates during fall 2022, winter 2022-23, spring 2023, and summer 2023 (based on satisfactory completion of all academic requirements).

LSSU also awarded its first cohort of cannabis chemistry bachelor’s degrees, with six students completing all four years at LSSU. In 2019, Lake State launched the first cannabis chemistry program in the nation; since then, 40 students have earned bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees, or certificates in this field.

Faculty and administrators cheered, clapped, and high-fived graduates in the corridors of Taffy Abel Arena as they marched to their seats. The several thousand well-wishers similarly applauded and whooped throughout the ceremony.

Keynote speaker Whitney Gravelle, president of the Executive Council of the Bay Mills Indian Community, observed that graduates “will leave LSSU with a strong foundation,” advised them to “keep learning and never accept the status quo,” and urged that they “pursue your passions and fulfill your purpose.” To inspire the Lakers, she drew on cornerstone touchstones of her Indigenous ancestors: love, respect, bravery, honesty, truth, wisdom, and humility.  Read More.

Board Headshot

Regional Educators and Administrators Learn Methods of “Building Bridges: Creating Pathways for Superior Success” at 2023 Upper Peninsula Teaching and Learning Conference Held at LSSU

Educators and administrators at regional K–12 schools and higher education institutions learned ways of “Building Bridges: Creating Pathways for Superior Success” at the 2023 Upper Peninsula Teaching and Learning Conference (UPTLC) held on May 15 and 16 at Lake Superior State University.

UPTLC included 28 breakout sessions on that theme, including improving access to success, creating engaging classrooms, and enhancing educational strategies. Dr. Christy Price, an award-winning professor and administrator at Dalton State College and a nationally recognized authority on innovative teaching, gave the plenary talk, “The Ultimate Course Is Not an Illusion: Creating Courses of Excellence,” and ran a pre-conference workshop, “Why Don’t My Students Think I’m Groovy? The New R’s For Engaging Modern Learners.”

“Lake State is excited to host educators from all over the region to learn from each other in invigorating and cutting-edge ways,” said LSSU Interim President Dr. Lynn G. Gillette. “I am particularly interested in hosting Dr. Christy Price as the plenary and pre-conference speaker, as she works with attendees to create courses of excellence. Conference attendees gained knowledge and strategies to increase student learning and even better prepare our students for successful careers.”

“UPTLC offers inventive, transformative techniques to engage teachers and learners and, in the process, refine primary, secondary, and collegiate academics for participants from Northern WI, all of the U.P., and all of MI, along with Northern Ontario,” said Marc Boucher, director of library and academic services at LSSU. “The goal is to broaden, deepen, and share expertise to benefit our regional students in higher education and K-12 settings.” Read More.