Redefining the Classroom

Alumni awards recognize four of LSSU's best

Posted: October 31st, 2006

BEST AND BRIGHTEST – Lake Superior State University President Betty Youngblood, center, joins LSSU’s 2006 Alumni Award winners. Finlayson Award recipients Bill and Sharon Bollin, left, of Farmington Hills were honored for their dedication of time and resources to LSSU following the death of their daughter, Leah Marie, in August 2001. Mayo Clinic physician Richard Gray, to the right of Dr. Youngblood, received the Shouldice Award for service as an outstanding example to LSSU graduates. Ronald “Bud” Cooper, right, of Sault Ste. Marie accepted the Outstanding Alumnus Award for an association with Lake Superior State that spans almost seven decades. (Photo by John Shibley)

A print-resolution photo that runs with this story can be found by clicking here.

To view a slide show of this year's awards ceremony, click here.

SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. – Four champions of Lake Superior State University received honors during a special Great Lake State Weekend reception.

Ronald "Bud" Cooper of Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., received the Outstanding Alumnus Award. He joined the ranks of the Sault Branch of Michigan Tech following graduation from Sault High in 1947. He was an athlete, coach, teacher and administrator at LSSU – a director of Athletics from 1957-1986 -- and continues his involvement with the university in retirement as a volunteer.

Cooper is LSSU's no. 1 volunteer. He worked to strengthen LSSU as a charter member of the Alumni Association board of directors and helped found the Cager Club. He serves on several advisory committees and also started the 17-year-old golf tournament that bears his name and has raised more than $200,000 for women's athletics.

He is a class of 1981 inductee to the U.P. Sports Hall of Fame and was a member of the first class inducted into the LSSU Athletic Hall of Fame in 1995.

Mayo Clinic physician Richard Gray MD, a 1991 alumnus, accepted the Shouldice Award, which is bestowed upon those who have experienced personal and professional success and who serve as outstanding examples to LSSU graduates.

The Gaylord native Gray has taught with the Mayo Clinic Scottsdale since 1999. He has been assistant professor of surgery since 2002. His current research is in several aspects of breast cancer, including locoregional therapy for elderly breast cancer patients. His work has led to dozens of presentations across the country, along with a great number of publications, articles and book chapters. He is licensed to practice in Arizona, Florida and Minnesota.

Gray was a basketball standout at LSSU from 1987-91. He received the Board of Trustees Distinguished Scholarship every year, was a member of Alpha Chi Academic Honor Society and graduated cum laude. He also received the Marian and Raymond Chelberg Most Outstanding Student-Athlete Award for three consecutive years, 1989-91.

Gray is a Mayo Foundation Scholar and was Mayo Clinic's Educator of the Year in Surgical Specialties for 2001-2002. He received Mayo Medical School's Excellence in Teaching Recognition Award five times from 2001-2005 and was Mayo's Outstanding CME Educator of the Year in 2003-2004.

Finlayson Award recipients Bill and Sharon Bollin of Farmington Hills were honored for their service to LSSU following the death of their daughter, Leah Marie, in an automobile accident in August 2001.

Leah, who suffered from epilepsy, was preparing to start her junior year in the business program when she was killed. Her family established a scholarship in her honor to help other students who suffer from epilepsy and other seizure disorders. They asked for memorial donations in lieu of flowers at Leah's funeral, bringing in $10,000, and organized fundraisers in the following years to boost the LSSU Leah Marie Bollin Memorial Award to more than $120,000. Leah's sorority, Alpha Kappa Chi, continues to raise funds for the scholarship, also.

During graduation ceremonies in 2002, the Bollin family accepted a posthumous business degree for Leah. It is their hope that many more students like Leah will be earning LSSU degrees for many years to come.

The Finlayson Distinguished Citizen Award recognizes individuals who have enjoyed success in their professions and communities, and who are strong advocates of the university, its programs, faculty, staff and students.

To view a slide show of this year's awards ceremony, click here.