Lake Superior State University names Dr. David Travis as the 11th President

Contact: Fred A. Pierce III, Dean of Enrollment Management and Communications, , tel. 906-635-2674


Sault Ste. Marie, MI – Dr. David Travis, Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at the University of Wisconsin at River Falls has been selected as the 11th President of Lake Superior State University.  The Travis appointment was formalized at a special meeting of the Board of Trustees on Thursday, February 22 and he will begin his term effective June 3, 2024. 


Dr. Travis earned Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in Geography from the University of Georgia and a Ph.D. in Geography from Indiana University. He began his academic career at the University of Wisconsin at Whitewater in 1994 as Assistant Professor of Geography and he rose through the faculty and administrative ranks to Professor of Geography and Dean of the College of Arts and Letters.  The Whitewater faculty recognized Dr. Travis as a gifted administrator, educator, and accomplished researcher in the fields of climatology, remote sensing, and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) applications. 


Dr. Travis was selected as the Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at the University of Wisconsin- River Falls (UWRF) in 2018 and has assumed increasing responsibilities for UWRF’s academic portfolio and organizational activities.  A long-time administrator, he brings 18 years of combined management experience to LSSU. Travis is of Canadian lineage and has long history of dedicated service and commitment to student development, rural areas, international engagement, community partnerships, and working in border communities.


The Travis appointment is the result of a national search conducted by members of the Lake Superior State University Presidential Search Committee, which included students, faculty, staff, alumni, individuals from the Board of Trustees, Sault Ste. Marie community members, and with assistance from Storbeck Diversified Search.  “I want to thank all those involved in this very thorough and professional search” said Cynthia Williams, Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees and Chair of the Presidential Search Committee.  Our process resulted in an exceptional pool of candidates, and through careful and deliberate consideration, the appointment of Dr. Travis is a truly outstanding result. Throughout the search process, Dr. Travis distinguished himself as a thoughtful and collaborative leader with a demonstrated commitment to student success and the depth of experience in higher education that will serve LSSU well.”


Travis will assume the role from current Interim President Dr. Lynn Gillette, who stepped in to assist the university following the departure of Dr. Rodney S. Hanley last year. 


Tim Lukenda, Chair of the LSSU Board of Trustees said, “We are very pleased to have Dr. Travis join LSSU and lead our institution into the future. David is an experienced administrator who has moved progressively through multiple academic appointments at two different universities. In addition to his extensive experience in academic affairs, he has managed campus-wide initiatives involving academic and student affairs, facilities, as well as donor partnerships and other campus wide endeavors. He has also been active in advocating for funding with the Wisconsin state legislature.”


Dr. David Travis commented, “I am honored and thrilled to be selected as LSSU’s next president. Lake State is a university with dedicated and talented individuals that are transforming students’ lives every day. I am committed to doing what it takes to ensure this great university has the necessary resources to continue doing this work while strengthening its partnership with the city of Sault Ste. Marie and surrounding areas.”   


Dr. Travis plans to visit campus periodically prior to the start of his term for preparatory meetings with representatives of the broader LSSU community. An open reception will be held in April to welcome and introduce the 11th President of Lake Superior State University to campus and the community.  Details will be released in late March. 


Learn more about the professional experience of LSSU’s 11th President here: Travis, David CV.


Curious about the search process for LSSU’s 11th President? Click here: