Lake Superior State University

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Lake Superior State University
Lake Superior State University Seal.svg
Motto Believe in Blue
Redefining the Classroom.
Type Public
Established 1946[1]
Endowment $14.1 million[2]
President Thomas Pleger
Academic staff
115 full-time[1]
Students 2637 (Fall 2010)[3]
Undergraduates 2435 (Fall 2013)[3]
Postgraduates 71 (Fall 2010)[3]
Location Sault Sainte Marie, Michigan, U.S.
46°29′35″N 84°21′47″W / 46.493°N 84.363°W / 46.493; -84.363Coordinates: 46°29′35″N 84°21′47″W / 46.493°N 84.363°W / 46.493; -84.363
Campus Small City
115 acre campus[1]
Colors           Blue & Gold[4]
Athletics NCAA Div IWCHA / Div IIGLIAC
Nickname Lakers
Mascot Seamore the Sea Duck,
Fog Horn the Sailor[5]

Lake Superior State University Logo

New Fort Brady
Original barracks of Fort Brady
Lake Superior State University is located in Michigan
Lake Superior State University
Lake Superior State University is located in the US
Lake Superior State University
Location within the state of Michigan
Location Lake Superior State University
Coordinates 46°29′36″N 84°21′34″W / 46.4934°N 84.3595°W / 46.4934; -84.3595
NRHP Reference # 72000605[6]
Significant dates
Added to NRHP January 13, 1972
Designated MSHS July 17, 1971[7]

Lake Superior State University, (colloquially referred to as Lake State, Lake Superior State and LSSU) is a small public university in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. It is Michigan's smallest public university, with an enrollment around 3,000 students. Due to its proximity to the border, notably the twin city of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, LSSU has many Canadian students and maintains a close relationship with its international neighbor. In a sign of its unique situation, LSSU has both the Canadian and United States flags on its campus, and both Canadian and American national anthems are sung at athletic events.

LSSU is known for its academic programs such as fisheries and wildlife management, engineering, chemistry and the environmental sciences, teacher education, nursing, geology, business management, fire science, and criminal justice. It is one of the two universities in Michigan that offers an environmental health accredited curriculum (EHAC), alongside Central Michigan University. In addition, students attend for LSSU's degrees in English and creative writing, forensic sciences, recreation management, and legal studies.

Lake Superior State University offers primarily bachelor's and associate degrees, but also grants a master of arts in curriculum and instruction and many certificates. The university also offers joint programs with Sault College and Algoma University in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. LSSU also has regional centers located in northern Michigan in the cities of Gaylord, Escanaba, and Petoskey. Recently a center opened in southeast Michigan in the city of Dearborn. It is one of three Michigan public universities that function as both a university and a community college.[8]


Brown Hall served as post headquarters of Fort Brady. It was the home of the Fine Arts Academy until the Fine Arts Center opened in 2005, and it now serves as the office building for the School of Education.
The Administration Building was originally the Quartermaster's building in Fort Brady.

The area that currently makes up the campus of Lake Superior State University served as Fort Brady from 1894 to 1944; it is listed as "New Fort Brady" on the National Register of Historic Places, as the earlier incarnation of the fort was downhill.

Lake Superior State University was established in 1946 to address the needs of returning World War II veterans and to provide educational opportunities to the people of the Eastern Upper Peninsula. The 115-acre (0.47 km2) campus includes several buildings which are listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Much of the university's upbringings can be credited to Michigan College of Mining & Technology, which is now known as Michigan Technological University. The mining and technology college opened the Sault Ste. Marie Residence Center of the Michigan College of Mining & Technology, which was commonly shortened to Soo Tech. The original class consisted of 272 students. The institution was later renamed Lake Superior State College of Michigan Technological University in 1966. The college received autonomy from Michigan Tech. in 1970 and was known as Lake Superior State College until 1987, when the institution was granted university status.[9]

Lake Superior State University was the first college in the United States to offer an accredited four-year fire science program, and continues to be one of only three universities to offer such a program.

The institution is also one of only three universities in the United States to offer the robotics specialization in the ABET/TAC accredited manufacturing engineering technology, electrical engineering, computer engineering, and mechanical engineering bachelor of science degrees. LSSU is home to one of the best robotics educational facilities in North America. The robotics laboratory is valued at over $3 million.

The university's college radio station is WLSO, and its student newspaper is The Compass.

In 2010, LSSU launched its Creative Writing program, which focuses on poetry, prose, and performance writing. This program augments the twin Saults' strong artistic communities. The program's "Visiting Writer Series" brings accomplished writers to the campus to read their work and hold master classes with students and aspiring area writers. An international literary journal called Border Crossing was founded by Creative Writing faculty members at LSSU to showcase poems, short stories and essays. The journal's title references the International Border between the United States and Canada, near where LSSU sits. The English Club also produces a student literary journal called Snowdrifts.

Major buildings[edit]

Administration Building
The Administration Building houses the offices of the President and Provost, as well as human resources and purchasing.
Arts Center
The arts center is a $15 million facility which opened in 2005. The arts center houses a 674-seat auditorium, art, music and dance studios, classrooms and faculty offices. The Arts Center Gallery has a permanent display from the L. F. Noyes Collection of Native American and Western Art.
Brady Hall
This building is currently being used as men's freshmen housing. The building is named after Colonel Hugh Brady. Col. Brady was the first commanding officer to serve at Fort Brady. Brady Hall was built as barracks for WACS or Women's Army Corps in 1938.
Brown Hall
Built in the 1820s, this building served as the captain's quarters of Fort Brady. Brown Hall wasn't called by its present name until 1982 when it was named for the retired janitor, Edward J. Brown.[10] In the 1940s, the school as well as this building became a guide for veterans of WWII. Remodeling of this hall took place in 1946.[11] In the 1960s, Brown Hall was converted into a counseling and career center that provided academic advising. It was originally led by Steve Youngs and was later taken on by John Truckey.[12] It is now the location of the School of Education. Much of the known information about this building can be recovered from the LSSU KJS Library Special Collections room.
The Center for Applied Science and Engineering Technology is home to the School of Engineering and Technology, as well as the School of Mathematics and Computer Science. CASET also houses the LSSU Robotics Lab and the Product Development Center.
Cisler Center
The Walker Cisler Student and Conference Center is the main food service and student life building on campus. Dining options include the Quarterdeck and Galley, which features the Grill 155 and a convenience store. It is also home to the Office of Campus Life and Housing, and hosts the Peacock Cove Coffee House, Student Government offices, Student Organization Center, the school newspaper (The Compass), and the University radio station (WLSO).
Crawford Hall
This building focuses on the many science degrees offered at the university, from nursing to biology and chemistry, to fisheries and wildlife. In 2000, a $23 million renovation and expansion was completed, providing modern laboratory, classroom, and faculty and student research space. Crawford Hall also houses the LSSU Environmental Analysis Lab, Ben Long Planetarium, Kemp Mineral Museum, and Café a la Carte.
Fletcher Center
Business Operations, Financial Aid, Registrar, and Scheduling can all be found in the former gymnasium for Fort Brady and later, the Soo Tech Hornets. It was named after LSSU benefactor, H. Thayer Fletcher
Norris Center
This is the main building for recreation, and the School of Criminal Justice, Fire Science and Emergency Medical Services and the School of Recreation and Exercise Science. It is also the main building for the Athletic Department and includes the main office for the Athletic Director. Inside the building lies the Cooper Gym, home of the Laker basketball and volleyball teams; Taffy Abel Arena, home of the Laker hockey team; and the Student Activity Center (SAC), which hosts tennis, track, a weights area and climbing wall. The university has announced a renovation effort to several athletic Norris Center facilities.
Shouldice Library
The Kenneth J. Shouldice Library facility houses offices for Social Sciences, Business, English and Communications, and two lecture halls. The main level includes the main circulation desk and audio visual, and the Testing Center. It also offers Cappuccino Corner deli and coffee shop, a student computer lab, interactive TV rooms and the Shouldice Gallery. The lower level is home to the Learning Center, Career Services, and academic supportive services. The second floor has a special collections room with five special collections including the Oschner Collection, and a group of Native American, Mayan, European, and African American artifacts and books.[13]
South Hall
Poised for growth, the Lukenda School of Business at LSSU will find a permanent home at the completion of a $12 million construction project to renovate South Hall. Privately raised funds, plus a 3-to-1 match from the project’s largest funding source – the State of Michigan – will total the $12 million needed to complete the renovation and revitalization project with SoHO: The South Hall Opportunity. The facility will serve as a destination point for students, scholars, leaders and executives-in-training, and provide a literal and figurative heart for the School of Business to collaborate on joint ventures and partnerships for important strategic initiatives. The renovated South Hall will promote a sense of permanence and commitment to the future of the School of Business and the university. Built in 1903, South Hall was originally built to house Fort Brady's infantry soldiers. The infantry barracks were originally composed of twin buildings. South Hall's twin stood approximately 80 feet to the west of South Hall, and was known as the Forestry Building. The two buildings were connected by a third building, which was a one-floor 80 ft by 40 ft wooden structure consisting of an outer shell with a hard wood floor. The building was referred to as the "drill floor". ROTC cadets practiced marching in the building during inclement weather; otherwise, drills took place outside on the parade grounds, which is where the Kenneth Shouldice Library now stands. The Forestry building was destroyed by fire in the early 1960s. The drill floor building was not damaged but was razed during the demolition of the Forestry Building. The floor itself was scavenged and sold. Prior to this time, South Hall was always referred to as the Library although the library only took up a portion of the building. The Campus Book Store used two floors before moving to the renovated Canusa Hall, which saw dining services move to the Cisler Center. There were other smaller structures used for classrooms but the three main buildings were the Library, the Forestry building and the Chemistry building. It would have been just north of the Center for Applied Sciences and Engineering Technology. The old Chemistry building was torn down in the 1970s. It had housed the Chemistry and Geology departments along with ROTC and the school nurse. Chemistry and the sciences relocated to Crawford Hall upon its completion.

Notable facilities[edit]

Aquatic Research Laboratory
The LSSU ARL[14] is an off campus research and educational facility located in the east end of the Cloverland Electric Coop hydroelectric plant. The ARL houses the University's fish hatchery, and conducts research on fisheries and aquatic ecology in the region. Since 1984 the Aquatic Research Laboratory has released 40,000 Atlantic salmon into the St.Mary's River.
Environmental Analysis Lab
The EAL is housed in the chemistry department at LSSU, and provides analytical services[15] to LSSU researchers, government agencies, businesses, and private citizens. The EAL routinely conducts standard environmental testing, as well as trace level analysis of environmental contaminants such as pesticides, persistent organic pollutants, metals, and cyanotoxins. Revenues from the EAL assist the Chemistry Department in purchasing and maintaining state of the art analytical instrumentation, and provide students with employment opportunities and experience working in a professional lab.
Product Development Center
The PDC[16] provides a mechanism by which small businesses and entrepreneurs can access the expertise of the LSSU engineering faculty and students to produce low cost, functional prototypes. The PDC provides a range of services including rapid prototyping, component design and testing, machining, process optimization, statistical analysis, and documentation services.
Robotics Lab
The LSSU Robotics Lab[17] is a multimillion-dollar facility dedicated to student instruction in robotics and automation technology. Robotic workcells use Fanuc, Stäubli and Motoman industrial robots.
Simulation Center
The LSSU School of Nursing recently opened a simulation center in the Sault SmartZone building. The “family” of high fidelity, computer-controlled, wireless mannequins allows students and healthcare workers to practice their skills on the equipment that responds to their care just as human patients would.


Lake Superior State University has a variety of traditions.

  • Banished Words List: Each new year brings another installment of the school's List of Words and Phrases Banished from the Queen's English for Mis-Use, Over-Use and General Uselessness. It has been published since New Year's Day 1976 and receives significant media coverage. Word-watchers pull nominations throughout the year from everyday speech, as well as from the news, fields of education, technology, advertising, politics, and more. A committee gathers the entries and chooses the best in December. The list is released on New Year's Day.[18]
  • Hoholik Victory Bell: The bell, located outside the Norris Center and Taffy Abel Arena, is rung after each home victory. Fans gather around the bell as members of the hockey team make their way outside in the cold temperatures to ring the bell. This tradition was started after the bell was hung in the early 1980s. The original bell was replaced in 1992 after extensive damage from the 1992 NCAA Championship celebration.[19]
  • Ship's Horn: An authentic ship's horn is located within the Taffy Abel Arena, where the Lakers play home hockey games. The horn is mounted high on the wall behind the goal a visiting team defends for two periods. The powerful horn, operated on compressed air, blasts after each Laker goal and at the end of each home game.[19]
  • Snowman Burning: Each March, on or near the first day of Spring, students, alumni and townsfolk gather around a 10 to 12-foot (3.7 m) snowman on campus and light it on fire. The snowman burning is derived from a German tradition in which the mayor of the town burns a snowman to declare an end to winter. The snowmen are usually made out of recycled paper and wire. In 1992, the event was canceled due to protests from the Environmental Awareness Club, a student group at Lake Superior State University. This decision upset many people. Calls came in from all over the country. Radio stations, newspapers, citizens, alumni, and local people were all angry. A student poll was taken by The Compass (Lake State's campus newspaper) in the fall semester after the cancelled year of the snowman burning. Of 500 students polled, 450 voted to burn a snowman. After receiving so many complaints the tradition was reinstated the following year in 1993.[20]
  • Snowmobile Race: The city of Sault Ste. Marie puts on the annual I-500 snowmobile race held at a one-mile (1.6 km) oval behind the Norris Center on the campus of Lake State. The event draws a big crowd and is held the first Saturday of February.[21]
  • The Unicorn Hunters established the banished words list and snowman burning. They also put on stone-skipping tournaments and started a literary magazine. As their name suggests, they also searched for unicorns. Once an ABC News crew found their way to the campus and filmed students "questing for unicorns."[22] "The Quest, of course, is the pursuit of the unicorn, and the unicorn is one's personal vision of perfection or happiness (McWhirter)."[23]


Left-Seamore the Sea Duck Right- Foghorn the sailor as of October 31, 2011

The school's official nickname is the Lakers, but in some instances the university's athletic teams are called the Soo Lakers in reference to the school's hometown. Prior to becoming known as the Lakers, sports teams were known as the Hornets. The most prominent sport at LSSU is men's ice hockey, which is the school's only NCAA Division I program. The men's ice hockey team is a member of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association. Other sports at LSSU play at a Division II level in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, of which LSSU is a charter member. At $1284 per student, in 2015 the student subsidy for athletics at LSSU was the highest among all Michigan's public universities (this compares to $14 at MSU and $6 at U-M).(24)

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Lake Superior State University :: About LSSU :: Fast Facts about LSSU
  2. ^ America's Best Colleges 2011: Lake Superior State University: At a glance
  3. ^ a b c Presidents Council State Universities of Michigan Enrollment Report Fall 2010
  4. ^ Lake Superior State University Graphics Standard and Editorial Style Guide
  5. ^ New Laker Mascots Make Their Debut: Lake Superior State University Press Release
  6. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2009-03-13. 
  7. ^ State of Michigan (2009). "New Fort Brady". Retrieved June 26, 2010. 
  8. ^ Links to Community Colleges
  9. ^ Lake Superior State University :: Admissions :: LSSU History
  10. ^ Unknown; Lake Superior State College (1974–1975). "Brown Hall". Lake Superior State College: Almanac: 11. 
  11. ^ Meehan, Mary Jo. "Personal Interview". 
  12. ^ unknown (February 14, 1969). "Lake Superior State College Counseling Center Internationally Known". The Evening News. 
  13. ^ "Special Collections". Kenneth J. Shouldice Library. Retrieved 11 April 2012. 
  14. ^ Lake Superior State University :: Aquatic Research Laboratory ::
  15. ^ Lake Superior State University :: Environmental Analysis Laboratory :: List of Services/Costs
  16. ^ Lake Superior State University :: Product Development Center :: PDC Home
  17. ^ Lake Superior State University :: School of Engineering & Technology :: Robotics & Automation at LSSU
  18. ^ Lake Superior State University :: Banished Words List :: Welcome
  19. ^ a b Traditions - Lake Superior State University Lakers
  20. ^ Lake Superior State University :: Snowman Burning
  21. ^ [1] Archived November 3, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
  22. ^ Lake Superior State University :: Banished Words List :: About
  23. ^ McWhirter, Nickie. "Unicorn Hunters saddle up to quest for the uselesss". Evening News. 

External links[edit]