Past Presidents: The McLain Years, 2009-2014
- Tony McLain Ph.D.
Tony McLain Ph.D. was Lake Superior State University’s seventh president, serving from May 2009 through June 2014.
Dr. McLain presided over a number of advancements during his tenure, including the groundbreaking for a refurbished school of business in South Hall, the establishment of a state-of-the-art laboratory for nursing students and community medical professionals, strengthening of the shared governance process on campus, and an improved presence in the state capitol.
Both President McLain and his wife, Melissa, were popular with LSSU’s student body, and the couple always took time to talk with students about their studies and plans.
“This has been the most challenging, but most rewarding job I've had in public education,” President McLain said during the last graduation ceremony that he presided over in May 2014. “I've had the pleasure of getting degrees, taking classes, and of working with at least a dozen other universities other than Lake Superior State. One difference I've noticed here is the often-used phrase ‘Laker family.’ In all the other universities I've come to know, I don't think I ever heard them speak of their family, at least not like we do. To me, it's the Laker family that makes this place unique.
“My wife Melissa and I have said it over and over; that the great people we were able to spend time with was the best part of this job. The students, faculty, administration and staff really take pride in this institution.”
A lifelong hunter and fisherman, McLain shared those passions with legislators and members of the news media, inviting them to Sault Ste. Marie to hunt rabbits with his beagles and catch Atlantic salmon raised by students working and studying in LSSU’s Aquatic Research Laboratory.
Dr. McLain's 42-year career in education took him to a variety of positions, from working as an English teacher to superintendent positions with the Sault Area Public Schools and Superior Central Schools. He was a principal, curriculum director and guidance director for 16 years with the Thornapple Kellogg Schools.
His background includes 30 years of experience in contract negotiations, as well as membership and leadership positions on a variety of community and state school professional associations, including past president of the Michigan Association of School Administrators Region 1, campaign chair for the Eastern Upper Peninsula United Way in 2000-2001, and many more, especially Habitat for Humanity. He was honored with the Sault Schools' "What Parents Want Award" for six consecutive years, 1997-2002, and is the recipient of several other awards, including a Certificate of Heroism from the Boy Scouts of America.
He holds a doctorate in K-12 education administration from Michigan State University, as well as a master's degree in counseling and personnel administration, and a bachelor's degree in English, both from Western Michigan University.
A Michigan native, Dr. McLain is a 1965 graduate of Mason County High School in Scottville. The McLains have two grown daughters; Michelle, of Lansing, and Adelle, of Grand Rapids.