CFRE Artist Rendering of North Side

$500,000 CFRE “Fund to the Finish Line” Barch Challenge

CFRE Artist Rendering of North Side

Dick and Theresa Barch have further strengthened the Lake Superior State University Foundation’s fundraising campaign in support of the Center for Freshwater Research and Education (CFRE). These benefactors are bolstering the campaign by matching up to $500,000 in donations made by alumni and friends of the University by September 30, 2019.

“The establishment of this challenge grant by the Barches is the largest ever for the University,” remarked Tom Coates, Executive Director of the LSSU Foundation.  “This surpasses the $450,000 “Bring It Home” Challenge Grant that was the tipping point in a successful campaign to transform South Hall into the R.W. Considine Hall in 2014. We believe donors will be motivated to have their donations doubled.”

As a co-founder, Dick Barch was president and CEO of the oldest and largest independent municipal financial advisory firm in Michigan.  He received an honorary doctorate from LSSU in 2001. An avid hunter, fisherman and traveler, Dick discovered the LSSU Aquatic Research Lab, precursor to the Barch Center, during his pursuit of Atlantic Salmon.  The Barches have been granted the naming rights of “The Richard and Theresa Barch Center for Research and Education” for their generous support of the project.

Donations to the CFRE Project received by September 30, 2019 will be matched dollar-for-dollar up to a maximum of $500,000. With the success of this initiative, the LSSU Foundation will reach its campaign goal of assisting in securing the University’s required portion of the $14 million total project cost. The State of Michigan is providing $8.85 million through its capital outlay project program.

“This outstanding act of generosity by Dick and Theresa comes at a key time for this campaign,” said LSSU President Rodney Hanley. “In some campaigns, the final third of the fundraising goal is the most difficult to attain. This challenge provides an opportunity for LSSU alumni and friends of the University to essentially double their support of this important project for Lake State.”

The LSSU Foundation launched the campaign to fund the 20,000 square foot center on the Sault Ste. Marie waterfront to build Great Lakes literacy, scientific understanding, and stewardship. CFRE will provide endless scholastic opportunities for active research, while also serving as the only center in the region where K to 12 students, tourists, along with residents, can go to learn about the importance of freshwater. The facility will be located at the apex of three Great Lakes and next door to the CFRE Hatchery, which produces and releases over 30,000 Atlantic Salmon each year.

“There has been a groundswell of leadership giving so far in support of CFRE. Now to have donors make this type of commitment will provide the additional momentum needed to get us over the finish line and make this hallmark project a reality”, Coates stated.

To find out more about this project, including how you can help meet the challenge with a matched gift of support, contact Virginia Zinser, Director of Development – LSSU Foundation at (906) 635-2725 or . You may also visit to show your support today.