Redefining the Classroom

Detroit Regional Chamber President Sandy Buruah to speak at Saturday commencement

Posted: April 28th, 2017

BACCALAUREATE GREETINGS – Lake Superior State University student Devin Daly waves to family and friends during last year's commencement exercises. This year's ceremony on April 29 includes an address by Detroit Regional Chamber President and CEO Sandy Baruah, the announcement of 2017's Distinguished Teaching Award, the presentation of an honorary doctorate to former LSSU Trustee Patrick Egan, and words from student speaker Michael Smutny. The ceremony begins at 11 a.m. (LSSU/John Shibley)

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

SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. – Detroit Regional Chamber President and CEO Sandy Baruah will speak at Lake Superior State University’s 2017 Commencement, which begins at 11 a.m. Saturday, April 29, at Taffy Abel Arena.

Nearly 500 undergraduates will receive diplomas during the two-hour ceremony. In addition, long-time newspaper publisher and former LSSU trustee Patrick K. Egan will receive an honorary doctorate. LSSU’s student speaker will be Michael Smutny, who was named the School of Engineering and Technology’s top senior and a three-time Bud Cooper Coaches Award winner. LSSU will also present the Distinguished Teaching Award.

Graduates, LSSU faculty, and members of the LSSU Board of Trustees will be led into the ceremony as they have been for more than 50 years with the bagpipes of the Duncan Family of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. The LSSU chorus will perform during the program, and LSSU’s newest alumni will leave the ice arena to the beat of an honor song performed by the native drumming group Aabizii of Brimley, Mich. LSSU will play host to several “Golden Grads,” some of its earliest graduates who are invited back to campus every year to participate in the commencement ceremony.

Detroit Regional Chamber President and CEO Sandy Baruah
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Baruah’s signature initiatives with the Detroit Regional Chamber include Forward Detroit, a comprehensive, forward-looking regional development approach; MICHauto, a statewide strategy to advance next generation automotive and mobility developments in Michigan; and the Mackinac Policy Conference, which is one of the nation’s largest and longest-running public policy conferences.

Prior to joining the Chamber in 2010, Baruah served as President George W. Bush’s last administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration. He was the chief executive responsible for the SBA’s 4,000 national employees and $18 billion small business loan portfolio. He was one of the senior officials shaping the federal government’s response to the 2008 credit crisis and assistance to the U.S. auto industry. He also served in the administration of President George H.W. Bush (1989-93) and on the staff of U.S. Senator Bob Packwood.

Former LSSU Trustee Patrick Egan
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Patrick Egan, a Wisconsin native, began his diverse career as a speechwriter and executive secretary to Lieutenant Governor Martin Schreiber before moving to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula in 1975. In 1978, at the age of 28, Egan became publisher of the Sault Evening News and eventually bought the Cheboygan Tribune. He was actively involved in the newsroom’s daily operations until selling the company in 1990.

Egan has served on several boards, including the LSSU Board of Trustees from 2008-16. He continues to sit on the Center for Freshwater Research and Education development committee, and is a member of the LSSU Foundation Board of Directors. He recently helped gather a small group of prize-winning journalists to cover the Arctic Region. Their work was published in the Washington Post, London Times Guardian and Italy’s Corriere Dela Serra.

Student Speaker Michael Smutny
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Mike Smutny devoted five years to positively impacting the LSSU campus and Sault Ste. Marie community while earning a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and playing for the Laker men’s basketball team.

The Saline, Mich., native is a three-time Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Academic Excellence Award winner, the University’s second three-time Bud Cooper Coaches Award recipient, and a four-time Mechanical Engineering Student of the Year. Smutny was also named the 2017 Outstanding School of Engineering and Technology graduate and LSSU Student Government’s 2017 Senior Male of the Year. The 6-8 center is one of only two student-athletes to win the Cooper Coaches Award three times since the award was first given in 1968. His active involvement in community and campus service led to two nominations for the National Association of Basketball Coaches All-State Good Works Team.

Point your browser to LSSU's Web front page for a link to a commencement ceremony broadcast that goes live shortly before 11 a.m.


CONTACTS: John Shibley, e-mail, 906-635-2314.