Lake Superior State University celebrated 341 new graduates along with their families and friends at the 61st annual commencement held on May 6, 2023. Lake State students earned 315 bachelor’s degrees, 153 associate degrees, and 12 certificates during fall 2022, winter 2022-23, spring 2023, and summer 2023 (based on satisfactory completion of all academic requirements).
LSSU also awarded its first cohort of cannabis chemistry bachelor’s degrees, with six students completing all four years at LSSU. In 2019, Lake State launched the first cannabis chemistry program in the nation; since then, 40 students have earned bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees, or certificates in this field.
Faculty and administrators cheered, clapped, and high-fived graduates in the corridors of Taffy Abel Arena as they marched to their seats. The several thousand well-wishers similarly applauded and whooped throughout the ceremony.
Keynote speaker Whitney Gravelle, president of the Executive Council of the Bay Mills Indian Community, observed that graduates “will leave LSSU with a strong foundation,” advised them to “keep learning and never accept the status quo,” and urged that they “pursue your passions and fulfill your purpose.” To inspire the Lakers, she drew on cornerstone touchstones of her Indigenous ancestors: love, respect, bravery, honesty, truth, wisdom, and humility.
Graduating student speaker Hannah Grace Brood, who earned bachelor’s degrees in mechanical engineering and robotics engineering, listed “support of people around me,” “my belief in God,” and a “stubborn commitment to excellence” as three factors of her success. She also thanked Lake State for having “equipped us for life outside of college.”
Professor of Psychology Dr. Kristina Olson-Pupek received LSSU’s 2022-23 Distinguished Teaching Award for instruction methods “as diverse as they are effective,” wrote a nominator. She “works tirelessly,” praised another, and students leave her office hours with “questions answered and a sense of confidence,” cited a third.
Interim President Dr. Lynn G. Gillette congratulated graduates for an “important accomplishment and milestone,” commended their inner circle for “love and support,” and saluted faculty for their “knowledge, wisdom, and tenacity.”