Redefining the Classroom

New name, new era - Introducing Lukenda School of Business

Posted: March 2nd, 2013

LUKENDA IN BUSINESS – Lake Superior State University alumnus Lou Lukenda joins students and administrators in unveiling a new name for LSSU's School of Business when it moves into its new home: The Lukenda School of Business. The honor recognizes the Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.-native's long connection with the university. Lukenda is a recipient of LSSU's Outstanding Alumnus Award and received the institution’s honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters as part of the 2007 commencement ceremonies. He also served on the LSSU Foundation’s board of directors for nearly 20 years. From left are LSSU President Tony McLain; business administration/international business senior Noel Granger (kneeling; from Fraser, Mich.); mechanical engineering junior Logan Cowley (Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.); political science senior Ramsey A'Ve (Detroit, Mich.); Lou Lukenda (seated); David Finley, dean of the College of Business and Engineering; business administration/management senior Amanda Peters (Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.); business administration/marketing junior Taryn MacInnis (Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.); finance and economics junior Sam Gilbert (kneeling; Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.); and Tom Coates, executive director of the LSSU Foundation. (LSSU/John Shibley)

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

SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. -- Lake Superior State University’s School of Business will bear a new name when it moves into its new home: The Lukenda School of Business.

The school will be housed in South Hall, a former army barracks from the days when the campus was the home of U.S. Army Fort Brady. It is being named after longtime university friend and distinguished alumnus Lou Lukenda DDS of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. Construction of the $12 million facility is set to begin in spring 2014.

“Today we enter into a new era of business education at Lake Superior State University,” said David Finley, dean of the LSSU College of Business and Engineering. “We are forever binding our business school to the name of someone who has been one of our most steadfast supporters.”

The honor recognizes Lukenda’s long connection with the university. A devoted alumnus, he served on the LSSU Foundation’s board of directors for nearly 20 years. He is a recipient of LSSU's Outstanding Alumnus Award and received the institution’s honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters as part of the 2007 commencement ceremonies.

Upon receiving the honorary degree, Lukenda told graduating students, “It’s all about tomorrow now, all about what you bring to tomorrow. Now is the time to accept personal responsibility for your actions. Now is the time to dream and make dreams, because dreams are building blocks to reality. Your life is before you; your future is in your hands.”

The new South Hall will be a place where student dreams can become reality. The facility, the first academic building construction project on campus in several years, will serve as a destination point for students, scholars, leaders and executives-in-training, and will allow the School of Business to collaborate on joint ventures and partnerships for important strategic initiatives. The facility will promote a sense of permanence and commitment to the future of the School of Business and the university.

Lukenda has been involved in the educational communities of the twin Saults for many years. Some of his greatest support has been as a financial benefactor, and the gifts he has given to LSSU have made a tremendous difference in the lives of its students, supporting scholarships, academic initiatives, infrastructure and more.

“This is a first for the university and the LSSU Foundation in naming one of our schools after a generous donor and alumnus,” said Tom Coates, executive director of the LSSU Foundation, who noted that the LSSU alumni and foundation offices are housed in a building dedicated to Lukenda and his wife, Mae. “From my time with Dr. Lukenda over the years I have admired the qualities he embodies. He is the ultimate family man with unquestionable integrity, business savvy and civic mindedness, while remaining very humble and approachable even with all the success he has achieved. He is an outstanding example for future generations of our students to emulate.”

Coates said the Lukenda name reflects the stature and aspiration of the school.

“It’s not just a matter of getting support, it’s being able to project to the world a businessman who sees the LSSU School of Business as a worthy place and one that’s a rising star,” he added.

“It is an honor to have someone of Dr. Lukenda’s prestige and caliber to show the confidence he has in us, and our students, by investing in the university in this significant way,” said Tony McLain, LSSU President. “His support of so many initiatives on our campus, including our current priority project to renovate South Hall, inspires us to strive for excellence. We’re very grateful for and humbled by this transformational gift.”

South Hall, one of several brick buildings remaining from the fort days, sits on the southeast end of campus. Privately-raised funds, plus a 3-to-1 match from the State of Michigan, will make up the $12 million needed to complete the pivotal renovation and revitalization project.

While original plans called for the demolition of South Hall and construction of a new building in its place, LSSU's Infrastructure Committee, part of the university's Shared Governance system, re-examined the plans and put together one that will see the old fort structure preserved and refurbished.

The construction will include two components: the first is the renovation of the existing 32,000 sq. ft. building with original portions dating back to the early 1900s. The renovation will include much needed infrastructure upgrades as well as classroom and office renovations. The second project component is an addition of approximately 12,000 sq. ft. to connect the original two wings and form an atrium that creates an interactive commons with an expanded café, new program rooms, and support space.

"Tomorrow’s business and community leaders will pass through the halls of LSSU and our unique ability to shape and inspire those leaders is a prized opportunity,” said Chuck Schmidt '75, chair of the South Hall Renovation Project. “We think it’s wonderful that Dr. Lukenda will have played such a big part in helping these students realize their dreams.”

Watch a "fly-through" animation of the building design and learn more about the project by visiting the South Hall website or contact the LSSU Foundation at 906-635-2665 or -LSSU-

CONTACT: Tom Pink, 906-635-2315,; John Shibley, 635-2314,; Tom Coates, 635-6670,