Past Presidents: The Shaar Years, 1986-1992
Dr. H. Erik Shaar assumed the Presidency in 1986. He was the first leader of the institution not to be associated with Michigan Tech. Among the highlights of Dr. Shaar's six-year tenure was the granting of the university status in 1987 and the Laker Hockey rise to national prominence by winning the NCAA Division 1 Championship in 1988 and 1992. Lake State's student enrolment grew to 3156 in 1988, the first time it exceeded 3000, and would reach an all-time high of 3500 in 1991.
New academic courses were added in Native American Studies and a Native American Center was established.
Dr. Shaar recognized that in order to be a complete University, LSSU needed programs in the fine and performing arts and a facility to house these programs. He worked to persuade the state to fund the planning for such a facility. A change in the political environment saw those resources diverted to the much-need expansion of the Shouldice Library in 1993. The expansion of the Walker Cisler Student and Conference Center was a hallmark of his tenure—the much-needed construction added offices, a dining hall and meeting space to an overtaxed building.
Before Dr. Shaar left to become President of Minot State University (ND) in 1992, he successfully launched a strategic planning effort to chart Lake State's course for the remainder of the twentieth century.