Redefining the Classroom

A remembrance of President Tom Pleger, with May 11 ceremony

Posted: May 12th, 2017

A story that announces the passing of LSSU President Tom Pleger can be found by clicking here.


Click here to see an archived video of the May 11 commemoration.




CARRYING HIS TORCH – Lake Superior State University First Lady Teresa Pleger shares a light moment during a remembrance for her husband, LSSU President Tom Pleger, who passed away May 7 after a brief illness. Regional representatives joined LSSU students and staff for the commemoration, held May 11 in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. Mrs. Pleger said that the best way to honor her husband's memory is to carry a passion for life-long education into LSSU's continuing growth and collaborations. Click here for a thumbnail gallery of the event with links to high-resolution photos. Here is a video that celebrates Dr. Pleger's accomplishments, compassion, and support for LSSU and higher education. This link downloads a 50 MB PowerPoint slideshow that ran prior to the observance. (LSSU/John Shibley)

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Artifacts of a lifelong archeologist and educator
(LSSU photo - download a print version)



CEREMONIAL HAND-OFF – Lake Superior State University President Tony McLain introduces incoming LSSU president Tom Pleger, left, who had the privilege of lighting this year's snowman to welcome spring. A 12-foot snowman effigy, dubbed this year's "Mr. Polar Vortex," went up in smoke during Lake State's annual snowman burning held on March 21, 2014. The snowman was to be torched the day before, when spring officially arrived in the Northern Hemisphere, but Mother Nature had other plans. University officials deemed it prudent to delay the burn due to high winds. A few hundred students, faculty, and staff attended the event, enjoying spring daffodils handed out of big buckets and munching on freshly grilled hotdogs. (LSSU/John Shibley)

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MULTIDISCIPLINARY MOVE – Lake Superior State University President Tom Pleger (dark jacket) helps LSSU student volunteers Michael Misiak (left) and Tyler Fontana (center) unload freshly landed Kyle Brandman (right) during freshmen move-in day on Aug. 20, 2014, in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. Misiak's criminal-justice team building skills and Fontana's mechanical engineering expertise blended seamlessly with Pleger's archeology training to get Brandman's fly rods and roller blades safely stowed into Brady Hall, seen in the distance. Brandman, from Ovid, Mich., will be majoring in mechanical engineering when classes begin Monday, Aug. 25. (LSSU/John Shibley)

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FOR SCHOOL AND CAUSE – Lake Superior State University's men's junior varsity basketball head coach Brandon Lokken and Laker mascot Seamore give LSSU president Tom Pleger and his wife, Teresa, 25 gallons of pure Lake Superior ice water to send an ALS bucket challenge on its way to the Internet. The Plegers were challenged by former colleagues at the University of Wisconsin-Baraboo, as well as LSSU Lakers too numerous to mention. Their challenge goes out to fellow Michigan college and university presidents, and follows a separate challenge issued on Aug. 22, 2014, by Seamore to athletic mascots all over North America. (LSSU/John Shibley)

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LITTLE LAKER APPETITES – Lake Superior State University first-year nursing student Elizabeth Satek indulges two happy First Dogs, Duke (front) and Earl, as their owner, LSSU President Tom Pleger, looks on if not begrudgingly. Dr. Pleger and his wife, Teresa, were hosting the Lake State freshmen class in their home for a barbecue on Sept. 29, 2014. Other members of the Class of 2018 look on approvingly. Satek is from Rockton, Ill., just south of the Wisconsin border. Run a web search on LSSU nursing to read more about that area of study at Lake Superior State. (LSSU/John Shibley)

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HIS FIRST ATLANTIC – Lake Superior State University President Tom Pleger lands his first Atlantic salmon, with a little help from fisheries and wildlife student Addie Dutton. LSSU Aquatic Research Laboratory staff were netting the fish from the St. Mary’s River on Oct. 31, 2014, for eggs and milt to start a generation of Atlantics that will be raised for release during the summer of 2016. Each year the Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., lab churns about 25,000 Atlantic salmon annually for a regional fishery that's known the world over. Dutton is a senior from South Boardman, Mich. Pleger is a native of Marinette, Wis., where he spent his childhood netting sardine-like smelt in a similar fashion. (LSSU/John Shibley)

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CALLING ALL BACKS – Lake Superior State University athletic training faculty and students show off custom-designed t-shirts they are selling to underwrite an upcoming trip to a Great Lakes Athletic Training Association professional meeting March 11-14, 2015, in Wheeling, Ill. March is also national Athletic Training Month, so watch for upcoming announcements. Joining them in this picture is LSSU President Tom Pleger (center), who bought a shirt to support the cause. Get yours for $12 from any AT student or by contacting AT professor Dr. Joe Susi (standing back row, right) at 906-635-2161. (LSSU/John Shibley)

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MASCOT PHOTOBOMB – Lake Superior State University Golden Graduates posed with President Tom Pleger for their annual group photo when LSSU's venerable mascot, Seamore the Seaduck, "photobombed" the picture. Eleven Golden Grads led the processional of 2015 graduates into Abel Arena Saturday for LSSU's commencement on May 2, 2015, in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. Golden Graduates are alumni who attended LSSU when it was the Sault Branch of the Michigan College of Mining and Technology prior to 1965. Left to right are Thomas Artley ('63), Ray Coullard ('61), Bob LaFrance, Raoul Revord ('64), Art Disbrow ('53), Alva Beamish ('58), Dennis Marshall ('65), President Pleger, Barry Newcomb ('62), Carrol Lock ('48), Colleen McNeal ('63), and John McLarty ('53). Run a Web search on "LSSU golden grads" for more about the alumni club's activities at Lake State. (LSSU/John Shibley)

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LIKE THESE BIKES - Lake Superior State University and Sault Ste. Marie's Downtown Development Authority are teaming up to offer bikes for free day-use by anyone 18 or older through what's being called the Soo Cruiser program. Look for Laker blue and yellow-colored bikes — named after Great Lakes freighters — in racks in front of Harmony Health Foods (217 Ashmun St.) and LSSU's Regional Outdoor Center (ROC), located kitty-corner from the Shouldice library and next door to the Considine Hall construction site. Bikes will also be available on racks around town and campus, and returnable to Harmony or the ROC. Pictured on June 2, 2015, left to right are LSSU president Tom Pleger, Sault city manager Oliver Turner, Sault police chief John Riley, Laker mascot Seamore the Sea Duck, Sault commissioner Kathleen Twardy, LSSU special assistant and city commissioner Jay Gage, and LSSU ROC manager Paul Tumey. The bikes are donated by the Sault Ste. Marie police department and will be maintained by the LSSU ROC. The program is also accepting donation of functioning bikes. For more information, contact Paul Tumey at ptumey@lssu.edu or Jay Gage at jgage@lssu.edu. (LSSU/John Shibley)

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CLASS OF 2015 -- Lake Superior State University President Tom Pleger dons academic regalia to sweep some of the 29,907 Atlantic salmon released into the St. Mary's river in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., on June 2, 2015. This 1,718-gallon tank - one of six involved in the release - held about 5,000 fingerlings that were collected as eggs in the fall of 2013. LSSU students, staff and alums joined city officials and regional media to witness the event at the university's riverfront Aquatic Research Laboratory. Along with a variety of Great Lakes research projects conducted with many partners, the LSSU lab has worked with the Michigan Dept. of Natural Resources every year since 1987 to raise Atlantic salmon, which are caught by anglers in nearly all of the Great Lakes. Assisting Pleger from left to right is Jayne Meinhard (blue plaid), Cliff Pattinson (black shirt), and Kaleb Baughman. Meinhard is a 2015 fisheries and wildlife management graduate that now works at the Michigan Department of Natural Resources field station in Sault Ste. Marie. Pattinson (from Marshall, Mich.) and Baughman (South Boardman, Mich.) are fisheries and wildlife management majors working for the lab this summer. Run a Web search on "LSSU ARL" to read more about the lab and LSSU's plans for a new Center for Freshwater Research and Education. (LSSU/John Shibley)

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SIGNED, SEALED, DELIVERED – Lake Superior State University President Tom Pleger marks the halfway point in his personally signing 451 diplomas of LSSU's Class of 2015 in his office on June 26, 2015 . This year's grads get a spiffed-up certificate with metallic embossing and anchor watermark. Graduates should see their diplomas in the mailboxes starting early next week. Run a web search on "discover LSSU" to customize an education at Lake State. (LSSU/John Shibley)

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COPPER LEGACY – Lake Superior State University President Tom Pleger examines ancient artifacts from the western Great Lakes as he prepares for a conference to be held this weekend in Houghton, Mich. The inaugural Copper and Culture Conference, Aug. 7-8, 2015, at the Houghton High School Auditorium, is being billed as a gathering of regional archaeologists, Native Americans, artifact collectors, and geologists. Pleger's Saturday afternoon public talk explores how copper was used by - and eventually shaped the societies of - people who lived around the Great Lakes 2,500-7,000 years ago. Dr. Pleger is a Great Lakes archaeologist by training and specializes in the prehistoric use of copper and its impact on Native American societies. He has taught numerous archaeology courses, conducted research in the field and in the lab, and published extensively on the prehistory of the Great Lakes. Pleger received the Lapham Research Medal from the Wisconsin Archaeological Society in 2001 for his research. He became LSSU's eighth president in July 2014. Run a Web search on "copper and culture conference" to read more about the event. Search on "discover LSSU" to build a customized education at Lake State. (LSSU/John Shibley)

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HONORED STUDENT SCHOLARS – Lake Superior State University students pose after their formal induction into the international honor society, Alpha Chi, on Oct. 16, 2015, in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. Students must be in the top 10% of their junior and senior classes for even an invitation to join the society. LSSU opened its chapter of Alpha Chi in 1973. Students of all academic disciplines are eligible for membership. During the ceremony, students recite the honor society's motto, "Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free." Pictured left to right are Taylor Meredith (political science from Alpena, Mich.), Taylor Steinhelper (exercise science; Waterford, Mich.), Bailey LeBeau (political science; Alpena, Mich.), Gina Graff (accounting; Crystal Falls, Mich.), Amanda Nemeth (criminal justice; Monroe, Mich.), Prof. Jason Swedene, LSSU President Thomas Pleger, Matthew Jurvelin (vice president, enrollment services and student affairs), Logan Methner (political science; Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.), Tyler Wall (biology; Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.), Amie Baragwanath (biology; Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.), and Susan Drockton (psychology; Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.). Not pictured are Chelsea Boychuk (chemistry; Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.), Kail Brosco (accounting; Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.), Jennfier Fredericks (electrical engineering; South Lyon, Mich.), Jaelen Rodgers (nursing; Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.), Grace Williams (literature; Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.), Korina Aghmar (nursing; Petoskey, Mich.), Joslyn Forbes (psychology; Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.), Christina Magyar (biochemistry; Newberry, Mich.), Mega Manninen (exercise science; Ishpeming, Mich.), and Cassidee Retzloff (psychology, Midland, Mich.). Run a Web search on "discover LSSU" to customize a degree at Lake State. (LSSU/John Shibley)

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LAKE STATE WELCOME – Lake Superior State University President Tom Pleger welcomes students and their families to the sixth annual Laker Gold Scholarship Competition held on Jan. 23, 2016, in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. A record 51 graduating high school seniors from throughout the midwest showed up to vie for three full-tuition scholarships. More than 250 students have competed for the scholarship since its inception in 2011, with more than half of them deciding to attend LSSU the following fall. (LSSU/John Shibley)

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TOP SENIOR ATHLETES – Devin Daly of Lake Superior State men’s basketball program and Sarah Awe of the women’s tennis team pose with their trophies after being named Lake Superior State’s senior athletes of the year during the LSSU Department of Athletics annual banquet April 12, 2016, at the Cisler Center. Standing with Awe is retired professor and coach Deb McPherson, namesake of the Debra McPherson Female Athlete of the Year Award, and LSSU President Tom Pleger with Daly and the Cliff Everett Male Athlete of the Year Award. (LSSU/John Shibley)

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NAMESAKE LEGACY – David Roland Finley, Lake Superior State University interim provost and dean of the Lukenda School of Business, joins LSSU President Tom Pleger (right) in presenting Dr. Lou Lukenda a sweatshirt embossed with his namesake school of business. Officials briefed Lukenda family and friends on the progress of South Hall's transformation into R.W. Considine Hall on May 11, 2016, in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. When the $13.5 million project wraps up this fall, it will house the Lukenda School of Business. The Sault, Ont., native took classes in 1940s South Hall as a pre-dental major and varsity basketball player for the Soo Tech Hornets. Dr. Lukenda retired as chairman and CEO of Tendercare Michigan, a Michigan-based health care company that employed 3,500 people. Run a Web search on "LSSU Lukenda" to read more about the Lukenda legacy at Lake Superior State. (LSSU/John Shibley)

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HANDS-ON APPROACH TO FISH STOCKING - Much like Lake Superior State University students take a hands-on approach to their education, LSSU staff and guests were able to get their hands wet while stocking Atlantic salmon on June 3, 2016, outside the LSSU Aquatic Research Laboratory in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan’s Alford Park. Lab manager Roger Greil (l) helps Richard Barch and LSSU President Tom Pleger (r) as they prepare to deposit a ceremonial portion of Atlantic salmon yearlings into the St. Mary’s River while dedicating the entire batch of 37,000 salmon as the “Richard Barch Class” during a 30th anniversary ceremony outside the Cloverland Electric Cooperative power plant. Barch, of Ann Arbor, accompanied here by his wife, Theresa, was honored with the naming of this year’s “class” of salmon for his many years of support and dedication to LSSU and especially the aquatic lab. He and Theresa are longtime supporters of many aspects of the university, including its Arts Center. Barch, an avid hunter, fisherman and traveler, discovered the LSSU aquatic lab during his pursuit of Atlantic salmon. He said he has hunted and fished in more than 60 countries on seven continents, and in his travels has found the fishing for Atlantic salmon in the St. Mary's River to be the best he has seen anywhere. Barch served in the U.S. Army and the British 17/21 Lancers before beginning his career in finance with Kenower, MacArthur and Co. Investment Bankers in 1964 and eventually founding his own business, Stauder, Barch and Associates, in 1968, which grew to be the largest municipal consulting firm in Michigan. LSSU presented him with an honorary doctorate during the 2001 commencement ceremony. In addition to the Barch family, LSSU welcomed longtime Michigan Dept. of Natural Resources partners at the ceremony on Friday. Read more about the LSSU Aquatic Research Laboratory at lssu.edu/arl. (LSSU/John Shibley)

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SILVER SEAL OF APPROVAL – Lake Superior State University President Tom Pleger personally signs 350 diplomas of LSSU's Class of 2016 in his home dining room on June 30, 2016. The Plegers' pet African Gray parrot, Silver, personally witnessed this year’s signatures. Given the bird's potential for a 90-year lifespan, Silver could be verifying the Class of 2086's credentials. Graduates should see their diplomas in the mailbox this week. Lake State is encouraging grads to submit selfies with their official credentials, tagging #LSSU. (LSSU/John Shibley)

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COAST GUARD-FRIENDLY UNIVERSITY - Capt. Marko R. Broz, senior commander of U.S. Coast Guard Sector Sault Ste. Marie and Lake Superior State University President Tom Pleger renew an agreement on Aug. 1, 2016, that encourages active-duty personnel and their spouses to pursue a degree at LSSU. Looking on from behind is interim LSSU Provost David Roland Finley, left, and Brian Streichert, Sector Sault educational support officer. The compact sets the rate for LSSU tuition the same as the Coast Guard Tuition Assistance Program for Sector Sault Coast Guardsmen. More than 100 students have taken advantage of the program since its inception in 2009, and numbers are increasing on the dependent side as spouses are given an introduction to local opportunities. Base officials credit the program as a morale-booster as well. The agreement lets LSSU gain a pool of motivated and disciplined students that positions the university to accommodate a new generation of veteran-students who are headed back to school through a recently expanded G.I. Bill. The partnership is also a natural fit for two organizations that have long had a cornerstone presence in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. The program is also open to Michigan National Guard personnel with a valid identification card for access to the base. About $200,000 in benefits have gone to Sector Sault students since the tuition-assistance program's launch in 2009. Coast Guardsmen and their spouses who are interested in taking advantage of the program should contact ESO Brian Streichert at 906-635-3355 or e-mail Brian.D.E.Streichert@uscg.mil. For more on educational opportunities at Lake State, contact the admissions office at 906-635-2231; e-mail, admissions@lssu.edu. (LSSU/John Shibley)

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2016's BEST AND BRIGHTEST – Lake Superior State University honorees pose with LSSU President Tom Pleger (right) and the awards they received after a special banquet Oct. 14, 2016, in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. From left is U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Mark McLeod '84, who accepted the LSSU Kenneth J. Shouldice Achievement Award; Chuck and Mary Weber, recipients of the Donald and Catherine Finlayson Distinguished Citizen Award; Rebecca (Steffler) Ridky ‘08, recipient of the Paul Ripley Award for Young Alumni; and Todd G. Fritch '93, this year's recipient of the Alumni Association's Outstanding Alumnus Award. (LSSU/John Shibley)

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TAKING FUTURE STOCK - Lake Superior State University President Tom Pleger, standing right, moderates a question-and-answer session with Michigan Governor Rick Snyder during a Building the 21st Century Economy Commission listening session held Feb. 17, 2017, in Marquette, Mich. Snyder appointed Pleger to the 23-member commission last summer with an assignment to set goals and establish metrics to measure Michigan’s economic success, identify the potential for industry growth, develop strategies to support existing industry, and make recommendations that will distinguish the state as a center for innovation. Commissioners have been traveling around the state to have discussions with local leaders regarding their vision for Michigan’s future economy, as well as the region-specific opportunities and challenges they are facing. Pleger also moderated a panel discussion with commissioners at the Marquette event that gathered input from Upper Peninsula business leaders. The commission submits a final report to the governor in June. Seated between Pleger and Snyder is LSSU student R. J. Homan, from Mancelona, Mich., who graduates this spring with majors in political science and finance and economics. (Courtesy Governor's Office)

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SONS OF ITALY SCHOLARSHIP – Corwin Milligan, left, president of the G. Verdi Lodge Order Sons of Italy, sign scholarship criteria on March 3, 2017, that offers assistance to Canadian Lake Superior State University students coming into their junior year in criminal justice. Looking on from right is LSSU President Tom Pleger, along with David Myton, associate provost and chair for the School of Criminal Justice, and Joyce Milligan, president of the Princess Marie Jose Lodge. Both lodges, located in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., are part of a fraternal order of Canadians of Italian affiliation working to achieve service and charity to those in need through involvement in the political, social, and economic life of the community. The Sons of Italy also strives to promote Italian heritage through work in preserving the Italian language, culture, and traditions in Canada. The G. Verdi and Princess Marie Jose Lodges have also established scholarships at Sault College and Algoma Conservatory in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. . (LSSU/John Shibley)

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VISION BECOMES REALITY - Lake Superior State University President Thomas Pleger formally cuts the ribbon to LSSU's R.W. Considine Hall, capping dedication ceremonies held April 21, 2017, in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. The three-year, $13.5 million project renovated South Hall - which dates back to the University's Army Fort Brady days more than 100 years ago - into a new home for LSSU's Lukenda School of Business. The state-of-the-art facility will be a resource for the Algoma Ontario/Eastern Upper Peninsula regions for the next 100 years. Looking on right of center - wearing glasses and a gray sweater - is retired LSSU president Tony McLain. LSSU Board of Trustees chair James Curran stands left of Dr. Pleger. Wielding oversized scissors are Dr. David Roland Finley and Prof. Mindy McCready, dean and chair, respectively, of the Lukenda School of Business. The Sault (Mich.) Chamber of Commerce Redcoats provided ribbon and scissors. (LSSU/John Shibley)

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-LSSU-

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