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Lake Superior State University (colloquially referred to as Lake State, Lake Superior State and LSSU) is a small public university in Sault Ste.marker Marie, Michiganmarker. 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.marker Marie, Ontariomarker, LSSU has many Canadianmarker 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, 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 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 with Sault Collegemarker and Algoma Universitymarker in Sault Ste.marker Marie, Ontariomarker. LSSU also has regional centers located in northern Michigan in the cities of Gaylordmarker, Escanabamarker, and Petoskeymarker. It is one of three Michigan public universities that functions as both a university and a community college.


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 Education Department.

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 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 campus includes several buildings on campus are included 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 Universitymarker. 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.

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 bachelor of science degree. 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.

Major Buildings

Administration Building

The Administration Building houses the offices of the President and Provost, as well as human resources and purchasing.


This is the main engineering building on campus, but also provides rooms for many basic general education classes, such as communication and English. CASET also houses the LSSU Robotics Lab and the Prototype Development Center.

Cisler Center

This building 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 also hosts the Peacock Cove Coffee House, the Student Government offices, the school's 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 dollar renovation and expansion was completed, providing modern laboratory, classroom, and faculty and student research space. Crawford Hall also houses the LSSU Environmental Analysis Lab.

Fine Arts Center

The arts center is a $15 million dollar facility which opened in 2005. The arts center houses a 674 seat auditorium, art studios, classrooms and faculty offices.

Fletcher Center

The Fletcher Center houses the offices of Business Operations, Financial Aid, the Registrar, and Scheduling.

Norris Center

This is the main building for recreation, criminal justice, and fire science majors. 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 Athletic Center (SAC).

Shouldice Library

This is the University's library. It is also a major office building for professors and has two major lecture halls. The basement primarily contains the offices that provide academic services. The library also contains the Cappuccino Corner, a popular deli and coffee shop.

South Hall, originally barracks for Fort Brady.
South Hall

This building was once the major building for business and economics. A building dating back to Fort Brady, the University determined that the upkeep costs were too great and the school moved to demolish it in favor of a new building. Local groups enacted swift action to save it, including placing it on the Historic Registry, making it illegal to demolish.

Notable Facilities

Aquatic Research Laboratory

The LSSU ARL is an off campus research and educational facility located in the east end of the Edison Sault hydroelectric plant. The ARL houses the University's fish hatchery, and conducts research on fisheries and aquatic ecology in the region.

Environmental Analysis Lab

The EAL is housed in the chemistry department at LSSU, and provides analytical services 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.

Prototype Development Center

The PDC 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 is a multi-million dollar facility dedicated to student instruction in robotics and automation technology.


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 going strong 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.

  • Hoholik Victory Bell: The bell, located outside the Norris Center and Taffy Abel Arenamarker, 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.

  • 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.

  • Snowman Burning: Each March, on or near the first day of Spring, students, alumni and townsfolk gather around a 10 to 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 in the community, and the tradition was resumed in 1993.

  • 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.

  • Unicorn Hunters: The group officially retired in 1987, but their legacy lives on. The group 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."


LSSU Lakers logo
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, this institution's 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 Central 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.

Ice hockey

The Lakers were once one of the nation's most feared men's collegiate ice hockey programs. They have appeared in the NCAA Division I ice hockey tournament 10 times and have 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.

Ice Hockey National Championships
1972 NAIA Tournament Results
Round Opponent Score
Final Four Wisconsin State 12-2
Championship Gustavus Adolphusmarker 9-3

1974 NAIA Tournament Results
Round Opponent Score
Round 1 Concordia Collegemarker 7-1
Final Four St. Thomasmarker 9-2
Championship Bemidji Statemarker 4-1

1988 NCAA Tournament Results
Round Opponent Score
Round 1 (Game 1) Merrimack 3-4
Round 1 (Game 2) Merrimack 5-0
Frozen Four Mainemarker 6-3
Championship St. Lawrencemarker 4-3 (OT)

1992 NCAA Tournament Results
Round Opponent Score
Quarterfinals Alaska Anchoragemarker 7-3
Semifinals Minnesotamarker 8-3
Frozen Four Michigan Statemarker 4-2
Championship Wisconsinmarker 5-3

1994 NCAA Tournament Results
Round Opponent Score
Quarterfinals Northeasternmarker 6-5 (OT)
Semifinals Michiganmarker 5-4 (OT)
Final Four Harvardmarker 3-2 (OT)
Championship Boston Universitymarker 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.

Men's basketball

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

Football History

LSSU briefly fielded a football team from 1948 to 1950 when the university was known as Soo Tech.

Notable alumni


Brian Rolston 1991-1993 New Jersey Devils (NHL)

Doug Weight 1989-1991 New York Islanders (NHL)

Paul Boyer (equipment manager) 1988-1993 Detroit Red Wings (NHL)

Rick Comley Head Hockey Coach Michigan State Universitymarker

Bates Battaglia 1994-1997 Toronto Maple Leafs/Toronto Marlies (NHL/AHL)

Eric Menk 1992-96, professional basketball player in Denmark (Danish Elite Division) and The Philippines (PBL, PBA)

John Grahame, 1994-97


Claude Denker Denker is senior vice president of Penske Corporation.


External links

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