Lake Superior State University will hold the Annual Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, May 4, 2024.

This ceremony will recognize all fall 2023 graduates, winter 2023-24 graduates, spring 2024 candidates for graduation, and summer 2024 candidates for graduation.


• The ceremony will be held May 4, 2024, at 11:00 am in the Taffy Abel Arena (Norris Center doors open at 9:00 am).

• Guests are welcome and encouraged to attend in-person and no ticket is required to attend. The ceremony will be livestreamed and recorded. A link to the livestream will be available closer to the event date.

• Please find Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) below for further Commencement information.

Safety and Security

• To ensure everyone’s safety at Commencement, we will require that everyone go through a security checkpoint. Bags, purses, and other belongings of any size will be checked and you may be searched. If you elect not to consent to such searches, you will be denied entry to the event.

• In addition, certain items are not allowed to be brought into the premises, including but not limited to
alcohol; drugs; controlled substances; weapons; bags larger than 8.5 x 11 inches; coolers of any size;
inflatable items such as beach balls, balloons, etc.; laser pointers; noise makers; banners; tobacco
products; aerosol cans or spray cans; and projectiles or other potentially dangerous items.

Countdown to Commencement


Claude H. (Bud) Denker III, Honorary Doctorate, Commencement Speaker

Claude H. (Bud) Denker III graduated from Lake Superior State University in 1980 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration. He went on to Western Michigan University to get his Masters of Business Administration in Marketing. Bud is originally from the Eastern Upper Peninsula and he is a dedicated supporter of LSSU. He received the Kenneth J. Shouldice Achievement Award in 2008 and the Lukenda School of Business Outstanding Alumnus Award in 2018.

Bud is the President of Penske Corporation, a global transportation services company. Penske Corporation manages businesses with consolidated revenues of more than $41 billion, operating in over 3,200 locations and employing more than 74,000 people worldwide. Bud also serves as Executive Vice President of Human Resources for Penske Automotive Group, overseeing the organization’s associates across its 350 globally located automotive dealerships and heavy-duty truck locations.

In addition, Bud serves in other roles within Penske Corporation including Executive Vice President of Team Penske, with teams currently competing in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, the NASCAR Cup Series, the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and the World Endurance Championship. He was instrumental in bringing world-class Indy car racing back to Belle Isle in 2007 after a six year absence.

Bud also serves as Chairman of the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear, which generates over $100 million in total spending annually in the Metro Detroit region, while showcasing the city to a worldwide audience. He helped lead the effort to bring the event back to its original home on the streets of downtown Detroit, beginning in 2023.

Throughout Bud’s business career, he has been deeply involved in leading the efforts to support his community at the local, city, and state levels. He remains engaged in many Detroit-based organizations, including executive boards of The Parade Company, Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Detroit Partnership, and the CEO Group.

Bud resides in Birmingham, Michigan with his wife Melissa and has two grown sons, Christian and Cameron.

Emilee Nicole McDaniel, Graduating Student Speaker

Emilee McDaniel, a resident of Manistique, Michigan, graduates Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Biology: Pre-Veterinary Medicine concentration and a Biochemistry minor. She was recently accepted to Michigan State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

While attending LSSU, Emilee worked at her hometown veterinary clinic when school was not in session. She conducted her senior thesis with another local veterinary clinic, researching the effects of human vocalization on canine stress. In the summer of 2022, she was accepted into the Enrichment Summer Program at Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine where students were able to further their leadership skills, attend classes and anatomy lab, and job shadow at the MSU Veterinary Medical Center. These opportunities helped prepare her for her career in the field.

Beginning in January 2023, Emilee worked on campus under Dr. Li as part of the Undergraduate Research Mentorship program. She gave presentations and created visual aids to better inform students of the senior thesis process. This employment position allowed her to mentor underclassmen, speak to various clubs and classes, and work to help organize the annual Senior Symposium at LSSU.

Emilee was also a member of LSSU’s NCAA Div. 2 Volleyball team, through which she received GLIAC All-Conference Honorable Mention in 2023, as well as the GLIAC Academic Excellence Award. She acknowledges that athletics have shaped her into the person she is today, and this team impacted her in a way that will last a lifetime. With the hope of sharing her passion with youth athletes, Emilee has coached at multiple LSSU camps, volunteered at tournaments, and this spring was the coach for a junior high volleyball team in Manistique. At LSSU, she was a board member of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), where she worked to increase camaraderie between teams and improve campus life.

Equally important to Emilee is volunteering for many events through her involvement with SAAC and volleyball. She participated in the United Way’s food truck drive, read books to elementary students as part of reading buddies, and helped clean up the community gardens. Giving back to her community is something she will continue to do because she has seen firsthand the difference a small gesture of kindness can make.

As a recipient of the Senator Philip A. Hart Scholarship, Jim Smith and Tom Wiles Science Scholarship, and Faculty Association Scholarship, Emilee was enabled to focus on her studies while school was in session and pursue her passion for veterinary medicine.

Emilee is the daughter of Cindy and Troy McDaniel, and sister to current LSSU student-athlete Sarah McDaniel. She wishes to thank her family for their continued support of her goals, her professors, mentors, and coaches for their guidance, and her teammates and friends for their encouragement and much needed comedic relief.

Cap and Gown Information

Items to be ordered:

For more information, call the LSSU Bookstore at (906) 635-2645.

Commencement Practice

Commencement Practice will take place on Friday, May 3, 2024 at 11:00 am in the Student Activity Center (SAC).

  • Practice is approximately 1 hour.

Instructions For Procedure And Procession

  • Assembly
    • Candidates for graduation assemble in the Student Activity Center (SAC) at 10:30 am.
    • Cap, Gown and Attire – The wearing of the cap is an essential part of the academic ceremony. Men should remove caps during the national anthems. Women wear their caps throughout the ceremony. The tassel should be worn right front prior to the conferral of degrees. At the time of conferral of degrees, the tassel will be moved to the left front side.
  • Order of Procession
    • Graduates will lead the academic procession, entering the arena first followed by faculty and the stage party.
  • Recessional
    • At the conclusion of the ceremony, the Honor Drummers will begin playing at which point the recessional will start, taking place in the following order:
      1. Platform Party
      2. Faculty
      3. Graduates

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Will I be listed in the Commencement program?

  • To ensure your name is listed in the program, the Registrar’s Office should have received your Graduation Application prior to the start of spring semester. Please log on to My Degree Plan to verify your graduation application has been received. Make sure to watch your email for information from the Registrar’s Office regarding announcements.

How many guests may I bring?

  • There is no limit on the number of guests you can invite to commencement. Accessible seating (ADA) will be available on the second level between sections J and K.

Where do I purchase my cap and gown?

When is Commencement Practice?

  • Commencement Practice will take place  at 11:00 am on Friday, May 3, 2024 in the Student Activity Center (SAC).

What time should I arrive for Commencement?

  • Please arrive between 10:00-10:30 am on Saturday, May 4, 2024 and meet in the Student Activity Center (SAC). Commencement begins promptly at 11:00 am.

Is a professional photographer available?

  • An individual picture of you receiving your diploma and a “celebration” photo as you depart the stage will be taken by a professional photographer and may be purchased from them directly, if desired. Personal photography will also be allowed during the ceremony. Those wishing to take photos should wait until you are in line to approach the stage before coming forward to take your picture.

What Commencement accessories can be worn?

  • Cords – Students may wear as many cords as have been awarded – no limit.
  • Medallions – Medallions will only be worn by students earning Summa Cum Laude.
  • Stoles – Students may wear a single stole.

For more information, call the Registrar’s Office at (906) 635-2682 or email

Driving Directions

From United States:

Sault Ste. Marie is conveniently located at the northernmost end of I-75; travel on I-75 to exit 394 (the last before Canadian toll bridge), the Easterday Avenue exit. After exiting, turn right on Easterday Avenue and continue to the first stoplight; turning left at this light will take you through LSSU’s main entrance and to visitor parking. Turn left at the stop sign for Lot K (next to Cisler Center) and Lot E (behind Cisler Center).

From Canada:
Cross the International Bridge and immediately after the toll booths exit to your right. At the stop sign, turn left onto Eureka Street. When you reach the intersection, turn left onto the overpass and continue on this road (Easterday Avenue) until you reach the first stoplight; turning left at this light will take you through LSSU’s main entrance and to visitor parking.

Commencement Ceremony Location

Commencement is held in the Taffy Abel Arena.

For more information, call the Provost Office at (906) 635-2211 or email

Distinguished Teacher Reception

A reception for the Distinguished Teacher recipient will be held in Considine Hall immediately following Commencement.