Past Presidents: The Russell Years, 1947-1953
With the help of the community of Sault Ste. Marie, the Sault Branch of Michigan Tech continued to grow as faculty, staff, students and curricula were added. Chester Russell, a former electrical engineering faculty member of Michigan Tech, became the director in the Soo in 1947.
During the Russell years, the curriculum was expanded to include more liberal arts offerings. Student life improved with the addition of intercollegiate football, baseball and track – the teams were called the Hornets. The Lakers would evolve when the branch school became Lake Superior State College.
The Russell era was one of battles of survival. The most significant was in 1948, when the threat of the U.S. Army to re-establish a military presence to again guard the locks found Russell and others marshaling forces to prevent the army from resuming control of old Fort Brady. Governor G. Mennen Williams, Sault Mayor Maurice Hunt and other leading citizens journeyed to Washington, D. C. to save the Sault Branch as an educational institution. Their trip and the efforts of many obviously proved successful, for the army abandoned its efforts.
Professor Russell resigned in 1953 to accept a position at Clarkson College.