Lake Superior State University
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Kjolhede is the well-respected superintendent of the Ionia County Intermediate School District, which provides services and support for nine public schools, two charter schools and six non-public schools. The district spans 576 square miles and has more than 12,000 students. He is also president of the Michigan Association of School Administrators, Region IV.

His work in education has taken him from teaching and serving as a guidance counselor in several districts throughout Michigan to administrative positions for more than 20 years.

"I am truly humbled by being selected for this award," Kjolhede said. "Choosing to attend LSSC almost 40 years ago was the best decision I had made up to that point in my life. Through the LSSC guidance and influence of Paul Ripley, Bud Cooper, coaches Tom Ludwig and Ed Douma and many others, I was able grow and navigate my way to graduation.

"They and LSSC believed in me, giving me the knowledge, skills and confidence to get where I am today," Kjolhede continued. "I gladly support LSSU as repayment for their investment in me and for what they gave to me. The LSSU family has been instrumental in my life and invaluable for the lifelong connections we have made through the institution."

Kjolhede earned a bachelor's degree in sociology and minor in psychology from LSSU, as well as secondary certification in social studies before moving on to earn a master's degree in secondary guidance and counseling from Central Michigan University.

Kjolhede is married to the former Patti Ripley '77. The couple has two children, Kelly and Jamie.

Outstanding Alumnus Robert J. Kjolhede 76


  • Public Relations Worker—assists an institution or corporation in presenting itself before the public, often working with the media.
  • Human Services Worker—assists individuals and families to help them access needed resources, improve functioning and enhance quality of life.
  • Human Resources Manager— administers and helps develop policies for hiring, training, promotion and personnel management of employees in private firms or public agencies.
  • Politician—develops or administers laws and policies through an elected or appointed position .
  • Elementary/Secondary Teacher— teaches elementary, middle or high school students; becomes educational administrator.
  • College Professor—teaches undergraduate and graduate courses, conducts research, and provides consulting services to the community and industry. An advanced degree, a master’s or Ph.D. is required for this work.
  • Survey Researcher—conducts sociological studies for government agencies, businesses or political groups. An advanced degree, usually the Ph.D., is required.
  • Urban Planner—works with city government to develop policies and design programs. Academic work beyond the bachelor’s degree is required for this work.




Majoring in Sociology

Carrie McBride

"I love the small-tight-knit community on campus. You always see someone you know while walking to class. Your professors know you on a first name basis." [ more ]

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