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LSSU Board chooses Thomas Pleger Ph.D. as eighth president

Posted: January 22nd, 2014

SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. – Lake Superior State University’s Board of Trustees has selected Thomas Pleger Ph.D. of Wisconsin to be the next president of the institution.

The university has reached an agreement with Dr. Pleger and is expected to formalize his appointment at its regular meeting on Jan. 24 in the LSSU Walker Cisler Center.

Pleger, who is campus executive officer and dean of the University of Wisconsin-Baraboo/Sauk County, was one of three finalists chosen by a search committee who reviewed candidates for the position over the past several months. The committee, which included members of the campus and Sault Ste. Marie community and was led by LSSU Board of Trustees Chair Patrick Egan, was assisted by executive recruitment firm EFL Associates.

Pleger replaces current LSSU President Tony McLain, who announced in 2012 that he would be retiring. He will be LSSU’s eighth president.


Dr. Thomas Pleger speaks to LSSU employees during a visit to campus in November. (Photo by John Shibley)

A print-resolution copy of this photo is available at this link.

“I am truly honored by the opportunity to serve as the next president of Lake Superior State University,” said Pleger. “LSSU is an institution with remarkable history and tradition, geographic location, and commitment to quality, both in and out of the classroom. It is a time of great challenge and opportunity in higher education, and I am looking forward to the work we will do together, to move this great institution forward with a continued commitment to excellence and innovation.”

“We are very pleased to be bringing Dr. Pleger on board,” said Egan. “We think he is a great fit for LSSU. He is a proven manager and administrator, and an excellent academician who knows the challenges we face. This is an exciting time in LSSU’s history.”

Pleger has been campus executive officer and dean at UW-Baraboo/Sauk County, a campus of the UW Colleges and the University of Wisconsin System, since 2006. He is responsible for all aspects of the liberal arts/professional studies campus operations, including academics, physical plant, student life, budget, governmental and community relations, foundation and fund-raising. He is also a tenured professor in the UW Colleges.

Prior to taking the top position at UW-Baraboo/Sauk County, he was associate campus dean at UW-Fox Valley, where he was responsible for academic affairs and academic planning.

Under his tenure at Baraboo/Sauk County, enrollment has increased and the campus has added several academic programs, including a partnership with the Wisconsin in Scotland study abroad program. It has also expanded its collaborations with other universities, local businesses, community groups and area school districts, and it has made significant improvements to the campus physical plant and grounds. The campus is designing a new science facility that will open in 2015 and is in the final stages of negotiating a private/public partnership for student housing that is set to open this year.

Pleger’s previous experience includes work as associate campus dean from 2001-2006 at UW-Fox Valley, where he also taught in the Dept. of Anthropology and Sociology. He has taught at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisc., UW-Madison, UW-Marinette and at UW-La Crosse, where he formerly served as an adjunct research archaeologist for the school’s Mississippi Valley Archaeology Center. Pleger is a former UW System Teaching Fellow and former speaker for the Wisconsin Humanities Council. He is also the current president-elect of the Council of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters.

Pleger holds master’s and doctoral degrees in anthropology/archaeology from UW-Madison, and a bachelor’s degree in political science from UW-La Crosse. He also studied abroad in the University of Wisconsin in Scotland program. His research is focused on the archaeology and copper culture of the western Great Lakes. Pleger received the Lapham Research Medal from the Wisconsin Archaeological Society in 2001 for his research. Pleger has a number of scholarly publications including a coauthored text on archaeology and numerous articles to his credit. He has been a regular guest on Wisconsin Public Radio concerning topics on archaeology and public higher education in Wisconsin.

In the community, he has been involved with Rotary, the Fox Valley Chamber of Commerce, the Baraboo Economic Development Commission and the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters.

Pleger’s wife, Teresa is a student services specialist at UW-BSC. She holds a bachelor’s degree in health education and a master’s degree in education/professional development from UW-LaCrosse.

Pleger grew up on the shores of Lake Michigan in Marinette, Wisc., and Teresa is from western Wisconsin. They enjoy many hobbies, including spending time outdoors.

“I would like to thank the LSSU campus, the search committee, and the board of trustees for their hospitality throughout this process,” said Pleger. “Teresa and I have been overwhelmed by the warmth and generosity of the entire LSSU community, and we are very excited to make our new home in Sault Ste. Marie.” -LSSU-

CONTACT: Tom Pink, 906-635-2315; tpink@lssu.edu; John Shibley, 635-2314, jshibley@lssu.edu; Patrick Egan, 437-5526, pegan@up.net


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