Redefining the Classroom

Great Lake State Weekend 2012

Ken Shouldice Alumni Achievement Award

Thomas W. Ewing '73

Tom Ewing has been involved with Lake State in one way or another since he enrolled as a student in 1968.

As a news reporter, he has covered nearly everything with which the university has been involved, from building projects to board meetings and Laker athletics. He speaks to LSSU students about his profession, assists in university promotional campaigns and has offered advice on news media classroom configuration for the Arts Center when it was first proposed more than 20 years ago.

He has also served as an adjunct journalism professor who taught radio and television news reporting, all the while furthering his broadcast career of 45 years and volunteering his time in the community that he loves.

It is for his campus and community involvement, career achievements and more, that he is being recognized with the Alumni Association's Kenneth J. Shouldice Achievement Award.

"I'm very honored to receive the award named for Ken Shouldice," Ewing said. "Ken was definitely a dynamic leader for the college when I attended LSSC. I grew up a block from campus, and I learned a lot when I attended."

Ewing started his broadcast career a year before he enrolled at Lake Superior State College and continued working while he took classes. As a reporter and air personality for WSOO from 1967-1974, he no doubt found plenty of material for news stories while spending time on campus.

He was a good student -- the recipient of a Board of Control Distinguished Scholarship for all four years – and he graduated in 1972 with a bachelor's degree in social science and a minor in speech. Ewing is an excellent public speaker and has been asked to be emcee at many events in Sault Ste. Marie over the years.

Ewing continued at WSOO after graduating from LSSU, and his experience earned him a job as station manager, program director and salesman for a new station, WSMM. He built the station for two ownership teams, helped it expand from its base of a house trailer in the country to its downtown studios, while doing a one-hour talk show, a regular on-air shift, sports play-by-play and color commentary, and production.

In 1981, Ewing returned to WSOO/WSUE as a sales representative and air personality but was soon promoted. He is currently the vice president and general manager of Sovereign Communications, which owns and operates 15 radio stations across the Upper Peninsula, including WSOO, where he started.

As busy as he has been professionally, Ewing has found plenty of time to volunteer for many causes in the community. He has been president and campaign chair three times for the United Way of the Eastern Upper Peninsula. He is past-president of the Sault Ste. Marie Rotary Club and the first recipient of its Stephen P. Youngs Award, has been chair for 14 years for the Graver Rotary Auction, which has raised $200,000 for Rotary projects, and he was recently chosen as one of the Rotary district's "Rotary Heroes."

He is a member of the Sault Area Chamber of Commerce board of directors, and past chair and 30-year member of its Ambassadors Club. He received the Chamber's Donna Bergfalk Award in 2009, the same year that he was named Citizen of the Year by the Sault's Elks Lodge, and Volunteer of the Year for the United Way Volunteer Center in the EUP and the Center for Youth Development.

He has also volunteered for the Sault Country Club and Sault Area Public Schools. In recent years, he has been a champion of the downtown Soo Theatre Project, taking photos and publicizing the theater's events since its beginning. He has been an honorary member of its board since 2006 and recipient of its Shining Star Award for volunteerism in 2011.

Through it all, LSSU has remained high on his list.

"LSSU has always been in my thoughts during my career," Ewing said. "I've developed many great friendships on campus and I consider it to be a vital part of my hometown."

Ewing credits his wife and station owners for supporting him in his endeavors.

"My wife Marsha has supported me for 35 years in everything I have tried to accomplish," he said. "And my thanks also go to the eight ownership groups who have employed me through the 45 years in radio, including Bill Gleich, my current employer at Sovereign Communications. All of the station's owners have allowed me the freedom to get involved in the community."