Upper Peninsula Wiki

Lake Superior State University, (colloquially referred to as Lake StateLake 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 Canadianstudents 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.

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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 offers Michigan's only accredited undergraduate degree program in environmental health. 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's degrees, but also grants a master of arts in curriculum and instruction and many certificates. The university also offers joint programs withSault 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 acommunity college.[8]


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 Collegeuntil 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[]

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. CASET 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 addition and renovationto 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[]

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 multi-million 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]


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.[24]

Ice hockey[]

Main article: Lake Superior State Lakers men's ice hockey

The Lakers have appeared in 10 NCAA Division I ice hockey tournaments and won three national championships (1988, 1992 and 1994) at that level. LSSU also won two men's NAIA national championships in 1972 and 1974 while playing in that association. The Lakers have taken the CCHA regular season title four times (1974, 1988, 1991 and 1996) and have also won the CCHA conference tournament four times (1991, 1992, 1993 and 1995). Many of these teams' players have gone on to play professionally in the NHL and other professional leagues. LSSU also has a Division III club hockey team, which plays in the American Collegiate Hockey Association.The Taffy Abel Arena where the Lakers' play is named after Clearance "Taffy" Abel. It is named after him because when the University got the donation to renovate the arena from the Sault Tribe of Chippewa Indians, it was in the contract that they would get to name the arena. They chose Taffy Abel because he is from Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., a legendary hockey star, and a Native American.

Ice Hockey National Championships

1972 NAIA Tournament Results[25]
Round Opponent Score
Final Four Wisconsin-Superior 12-2
Championship Gustavus Adolphus 9-3
1974 NAIA Tournament Results[25]
Round Opponent Score
Round 1 Concordia College 7-1
Final Four St. Thomas 9-2
Championship Bemidji State 4-1
1988 NCAA Tournament Results[25]
Round Opponent Score
Round 1 (Game 1) Merrimack 3-4
Round 1 (Game 2) Merrimack 5-0
Frozen Four Maine 6-3
Championship St. Lawrence 4-3 (OT)
1992 NCAA Tournament Results[25]
Round Opponent Score
Quarterfinals Alaska Anchorage 7-3
Semifinals Minnesota 8-3
Frozen Four Michigan State 4-2
Championship Wisconsin 5-3
1994 NCAA Tournament Results[25]
Round Opponent Score
Quarterfinals Northeastern 6-5 (OT)
Semifinals Michigan 5-4 (OT)
Final Four Harvard 3-2 (OT)
Championship Boston University 9-1

LSSU has also been national runners-up four times on the national stage in ice hockey. LSSU finished second in the 1968, 1969 and 1970 NAIA national championships and lost 5-4 to Maine in the 1993 NCAA ice hockey national championship.[25]

Men's basketball[]

The LSSU men's basketball team captured the 1976, 1978, 1996 and 2014 GLIAC regular season titles. In 1996 they also won the GLIAC tournament championship along with a NCAA tournament berth. In 2009 and 2014, the men's team captured the GLIAC North Division Championship along with an NCAA tournament berth.

Women's basketball[]

LSSU's women's basketball team found success in the early part of the decade. They were the 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005 GLIAC North Division regular season champions. The LSSU women's basketball team also took home the GLIAC conference tournament championship in 2003 and 2004.[26]


Main article: Lake Superior State Lakers cross country

LSSU is home to a cross country and track & field program. This year, LSSU looks to come back strong with a great season.

Football history[]

LSSU briefly fielded a football team from 1948 to 1950 when the university was known as Soo Tech. This team went by the name of the "Hornets" and they were undefeated for two seasons. The hornets played big Michigan teams such as the University of Michigan and Michigan State University. Due to funding, however, the team was cut in 1950.[27]

LSSU Rugby Football Club[]

LSSU also briefly fielded a club men's rugby team, 'The Black Sheep', from 2006 to 2009. Despite enthusiasm among students, the team folded due to lack of support from the administration.

Notable alumni[]

  • Bates Battaglia 1994-1997 Former NHL player
  • Rick Comley Former head hockey coach Michigan State University, Northern Michigan University
  • Chris Dahlquist, Former NHL player
  • Jim Dowd 1987-1991, won the Stanley Cup in 1995 with the New Jersey Devils (NHL)
  • John Gallant,Colorado Mammoth(NLL)
  • John Grahame, 1994-1997, Former goaltender, won the Stanley Cup with theTampa Bay Lightning(NHL)*Darrin Madeley, Former NHL player
  • Darrin Madeley, Former NHL player
  • Terry McDermott, Three time Olympian (Speed Skating), Gold Medal (1964, 500m), Silver Medal (1968, 500m) - US Flag bearer 1968 Olympics
  • Eric Menk 1992-1996, professional basketball player in Denmark (Danish Elite Division) and the Philippines (PBL,PBA)
  • Nathan Perkovich, AHL Hockey player
  • Brian Rolston, 1991-1993 Boston Bruins(NHL)
  • Steven Oleksy, 2006-2009Washington Capitals(NHL)
  • Derek Smith, 2004-2007 Calgary Flames(NHL)
  • Doug Weight, 1989-1991 Assistant coach New York Islanders (NHL)