Lake Superior State University
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2014 Alumni Association Award Recipients

Outstanding Alumnus
Joseph A. Breed '85

Joe Breed
  • President of Barnich, Kavanaugh & Cooper(BKC) Insurance Agency in Cheboygan (branch office in Indian River)
  • Extensive community involvement including LSSU Foundation Board of Directors, Kiwanis Club of Cheboygan, Indian River Economic Development Alliance, Cheboygan and Indian River Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, Cheboygan Area Public Library Capital Campaign, Cheboygan County Leadership Forum, Cheboygan Area JayCee’s, Cheboygan Memorial Hospital Planned Gifts Committee
  • Holds professional designation of Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU)
  • Serves on Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Michigan Advisory Council
  • Received awards for Ambassador of the Year – Michigan Association of Insurance Agents and Member of the Year – Indian River Chamber of Commerce
  • Has been involved in raising funds for LSSU’s South Hall Campaign
  • Lifetime member of LSSU Alumni Association and generous donor to LSSU


Paul Ripley Young Alumnus
Aaron Mize '02




  • Refuge Manager, Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge which has almost 60,000 acres and receives almost 250,000 visitors annually.
  • Supervises staff of park rangers, refuge ops specialist, administrative officer, maintenance staff, biological staff, resident volunteers and a federal wildlife officer
  • Supervises and executes base budget of over $1.5 million
  • Recently returned from prolonged assignment with US Fish & Wildlife Service AGO Planning Office in Washington DC.
  • Has been recognized for awards in his profession numerous times from 2000 to 2013


Ken Shouldice Achievement Award
Mary Jane Alexander '81

MJ Alexander
  • Author of  two books: Salt of the Red Earth: A Century of Wit and Wisdom from Oklahoma’s Elders, and Portrait of a Generation – Children of Oklahoma: Sons and Daughters of the Red Earth
  • Poet, playwright and lyricist.
  • Photographer who documents people and places of the American West.
  • Her portraits have been exhibited in US and abroad, from Toronto to Tonkawa.
  • Her work has been honored by the Center for Fine Art Photography and featured in 10 solo shows, including at the Main Gallery of the International Photography Hall of Fame.
  • Some of her portraits were featured on the cover Ms. Magazine and Writer’s Digest
  • Won a documentary prize at the 2009 UNESCO-sponsored World Humanity Photography Awards in Guangzhou, China; the only American honored.
  • Veteran of The Associated Press in New York City and former head of the journalism department of St. Michael’s College in Vermont.
  • With her husband, composer Edward Knight, she has created two full-length musicals; one was commercially recorded by the Kiev Philharmonic and the Chamber Choir Kyiv.
  • Alexander and Knight’s song cycle, Tales Not Told, is based on her poems exploring the viewpoints of six American ancestors of the composer. The work has been performed in New York, Oklahoma and California


Donald and Catherine Finlayson Award
David Knowles

David Knowles


  • Retired LSSU Geology professor.
  • Instrumental in organizing fund raising efforts for Kemp Mineral Resources Museum
  • Actively involved in setting up the museum
  • Always willingly hosts open houses in the Kemp museum
  • Strong advocate for the Kemp Mineral Resources Museum
  • Tireless volunteer for that cause


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