Redefining the Classroom

Great Lake State Weekend 2012

Outstanding Alumnus

Dan Laur '76

When Dan Laur's parents took a gamble and opened their own business in 1977, Dan, newly graduated from LSSU with bachelor's degrees in history and political science, became the first person on the payroll.

Today, 35 years later, the recipient of this year's Outstanding Alumnus Award is still on the payroll as president of Laur Silicone Inc., a company that specializes in custom formulating and mixing silicone rubber for use in a variety of manufacturing products. The company has built a reputation for providing a superior product and service from its Beaverton, Mich. base. Its facility provides lab samples, stringent quality-control testing, pilot runs for trial scale-ups and production quantities of any size.

While that may seem complicated to someone who is unfamiliar with silicone rubber or manufacturing processes, Laur insists that providing a good product for an affordable price is a simple business practice, something that he learned as part of his LSSU education. One might think that it would have taken a degree in business or engineering for a person to follow the career path that Laur took, but his degrees in history and political science have served him well.

"I received a good basic education at LSSU," he said. "In addition, many times I walked by the sign (formerly posted at the east entrance to campus) that said, 'Enter to Learn – Go Forth to Serve.' Beyond that, life is just not that complicated," he said.

"To that point, I learned a lot about machines during the summer that I borrowed the campus auto shop to drop a rebuilt engine into my car. From that, I gained a greater confidence working on machines and doing things that I had not done before, something that has proven useful when working on rubber equipment. This equipment is just bearings, gears and bolts, just like a car, only sometimes bigger. Again, it really is pretty simple."

Through the years, his experiences at LSSU have remained in his thoughts and have motivated him to donate to the LSSU Foundation to help other students find their career paths. His gifts are unrestricted, meaning that they may be used wherever the need on campus is greatest, whether it's for equipment to refurbish the former auto shop that has since become an expanded machine shop and robotics lab, or to help raise the necessary funds for the university's match in the South Hall project. Again, Laur says his motivation to donate boils down to a simple philosophy.

"I have always viewed LSSU as a good place for kids to get a good education without being overwhelmed by the world. Is not that enough? Besides, the people there have a better understanding of the needs than I do," he added.

Outside of work, Laur enjoys fishing and has been making trips north to the rapids of the St. Mary's River in recent years. He predicts that steelhead should be making their way into the rapids right about the time that he and other LSSU alumni are returning to campus for Great Lake State Weekend, Oct. 26-28.

Laur met his wife, Suzann, in Mexico while scuba diving, a hobby they enjoy sharing. They were married in Hawaii and are parents of two children, Kevin and Alexandra, both of whom are attending college in Santa Barbara, California.

Click here for more information on Laur's company.