Lake Superior State University Alumna, Lawyer, and Administrator Cynthia K. Williams Appointed to LSSU Board of Trustees
Sault Ste. Marie, MI — Veteran administrator, lawyer, and Lake Superior State University alumna Cynthia K. Williams has been appointed to the LSSU Board of Trustees by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan.
Williams, who earned a B.A. in English from LSSU and a J.D. from Thomas M. Cooley Law, is the former executive director of the Michigan Education Special Services Association, a nonprofit that provides health benefits for state public education employees at the primary, secondary, and collegiate levels. She retired in 2016 after 16 years with the organization, which was founded in 1960 and is the largest provider network in Michigan.
“I am honored by Gov. Whitmer’s appointment to serve on the Lake Superior State University Board of Trustees,” said Williams, echoing her sentiments from a state press release. “As a native of the Upper Peninsula and a graduate of LSSU, I look forward to the opportunity to serve this fine institution, which had a meaningful and lasting impact on my professional life.”
Earlier in her career, she was legal counsel for the Michigan Education Association and an attorney with White, Beekman, Przybylowicz, Schneider & Baird, at which Williams developed expertise in labor and employment law, civil rights, and education law. Williams clerked for Mich. Supreme Court Justice Michael Cavanagh after graduating law school.
She also is a member of the Planning Commission of the City of East Lansing, where she lives, and was a member of the Michigan Children’s Trust Fund Board of Directors from 2009 to 2012 and its chair for two years.
“Cynthia Williams embodies our mission of crafting a life of meaningful employment, personal fulfillment, and generosity of self,” said LSSU President Rodney S. Hanley. “She rose through the ranks of the legal profession. She is well-versed in education issues. She has been a leader in several fields. And she has made a point of giving back, including being on LSSU Foundation’s Board of Directors from 2011 to 2019. My colleagues and I look forward to benefiting from her wide-ranging expertise.”
In a state press release, Gov. Whitmer said, “Cynthia Williams has established herself as a qualified public servant, who carries the expertise in education that is so critical in this position.” Williams, Gov. Whitmer continued, “will bring tremendous value” to her alma mater and “will do right by students, staff, and alumni.”
Williams added in that press release, “Although its [LSSU’s] programming draws students from across the state and beyond, its presence in the eastern Upper Peninsula is an important driver of the local economy and provides access to higher education opportunities in the region. It will be an honor to be a part of the university’s leadership team and help guide its future direction.”
Her term runs from July 10, 2020, to Jan. 27, 2028. Williams succeeds Rodney Nelson ’83.
About Lake Superior State University: Lake Superior State University is one of Michigan’s most affordable public universities with One-Rate at Lake State tuition for all. Surrounded by three Great Lakes, LSSU is an unsurpassed location for research, innovation, and real-world experiences. Signature programs include fisheries and wildlife management, engineering, nursing, criminal justice, business, robotics engineering, and fire science. In 2019, Lake State launched the first cannabis chemistry program in the nation. LSSU also was the first campus nationwide to offer an accredited four-year fire science program; it is one of three in the U.S. LSSU was the first campus nationwide to offer an accredited four-year robotics engineering technology program and is the only university nationwide to offer undergraduate education in industrial robotics. LSSU also offers several certificate programs, including a one-year culinary arts chef certificate at its 5,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art Les Cheneaux Culinary School in Hessel. Regional centers are in Escanaba, Iron Mountain, and Petoskey. LSSU opened its newest location in St. Helen in 2020. Additional LSSU hallmarks include the annual Banished Words List that receives worldwide media coverage and a student-run Atlantic salmon hatchery at its renowned Center for Freshwater Research and Education. LSSU’s NCAA Division I hockey team has won five national championships; men compete in five other sports and women in six at the Division II level. Lake State was founded in 1946 in Sault Ste. Marie, the oldest city in Michigan (1668), on the site of the former U.S. Army’s Fort Brady. Lake State has approximately 2,000 undergraduate students, with 88 percent coming from Michigan, and with every county represented. Ninety percent of full-time students receive financial aid.