The Shouldice Years, 1965-82

“A major milestone occurred when the North Central Association granted accreditation in 1968 as an operationally separate campus to function at the baccalaureate level.”

The Shouldice Years, 1965-82 Portrait

Dr. Kenneth J. Shouldice played a dominant role in the development of Lake Superior State University. He persuaded Michigan Tech to grant Sault Branch faculty more control of the curriculum. Key faculty such as Dr. Gale Gleason in biology, Jerry Amernick in business and Dr. Lou Ward in English were hired to develop the programs. A new library was built, later named in his honor.

Programs in technical areas were supplemented with those in the liberal arts and sciences as the Sault Branch moved to complete autonomy from Michigan Tech. Dr. Shouldice moved to change the name to Lake Superior State College of Michigan Technological University in 1966 as a symbol of the evolving autonomy and four-year degree granting status.

With Dr. Shouldice’s drive and energy, the old fort buildings, long dormant, were renovated to serve the growing student body: the post headquarters became the counseling center, the old jail became the music building, and the enlisted men’s barracks became staff offices and students lounge/study areas. Osborn hall (female dorm), Canusa Hall (food service) and Marquette Hall (married student housing) were all added.

After the College acquired land from the city, the maintenance building, parking lots, Crawford Hall of Science addition and a trailer park joined the campus scene.

Just as the academic program faculty and facilities were expanding, so too was student life. Dr. Shouldice supported athletic director Bud Cooper’s request to add a varsity hockey team in 1966. Future Hall of Famer Ron Mason was named coach and thus began a tradition of excellence that continues today. A student senate was started and so were several student organizations.

A major milestone occurred when the North Central Association granted accreditation in 1968 as an operationally separate campus to function at the baccalaureate level.

In June 1968, the institution awarded its first baccalaureate degree. With the support of Governor William Milliken, the legislature and Michigan Tech, on January 1, 1970, Lake Superior State College was established as a separate degree granting institution of higher education in Michigan. Dr. Kenneth Shouldice became the college’s first president in February, 1970.

A college is more than students, books, courses, faculty and staff. It is also tradition. Under leadership of Public Relations director Wilmer “Bill” Rabe, Lake State mainstays like ‘word banishment’ and the ‘snowman burning’ became part of the fabric of the institution.

From 1970 until President Shouldice’s retirement in 1982, many improvements were made to the Lake State physical plant. The Student Village housing complex, Walker Cisler College Center (student union), the planetarium, the James Norris Center, complete with ice arena, Moloney and Neveu Halls were added. Baccalaureate degree programs in the sciences and engineering technology required additional space, so Shouldice again went to work and the state funded the Center for Applied Science and Engineering Technology which opened in 1980. Teacher education, nursing, fisheries and wildlife and other academic programs were added. The first graduate program, a Masters in Business Administration was added in 1981.

In 1974 student enrollment grew to 2000; the college had doubled in size from 1965 to 1974. Student life improved with the addition of women’s basketball, volleyball, softball and tennis. Student services were consolidated in the Fletcher Center, which had served as a campus gymnasium. Support for the students was made possible due to the generosity of H. Thayer Fletcher and Senator Phil Hart, who established scholarship programs at the college.

Dr. Shouldice left the presidency in 1982.