Lake Superior State University


Lake Superior State University was established after WWII for veterans and residents in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to attend college (photo courtesy of Beth on flickr).

I’ve recently discussed a lot regarding the demand and growth of online higher education. And while according to AT&T, bigger is better, with more students in a classroom, learning can sometimes become difficult. University of Phoenix proudly announces itself to be the largest private university, but what is the classroom experience like for students enrolled in its programs? Do instructors know them? Do advisors understand the difficulties students may be facing outside of the classroom? Maybe. And maybe not.

Smaller institutions offer students a sense of community, belonging, and individuality. Lake Superior State University, with roughly 3000 students currently enrolled, is one of the smallest public university’s in the state of Michigan.

What makes LSSU Unique?

  1. LSSU is ridiculously close to Canada, and has many Canadian students enrolled. Because of its close relationship with the “Great White North,” students will see both the Canadian and American flags on campus, and hear both national anthems at athletic events.
  2. The University was established in 1946, after WWII, to address the needs of returning veterans and provide educational opportunities to people in the Eastern Upper Peninsula; it is located in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan.

What Programs are Offered at LSSU?

The University is made up of five different colleges: College of Arts, Letters, Social Sciences, and Emergency Services, College of Business and Engineering, College of Natural and Mathematical Sciences, College of Nursing, recreation Studies, and Exercise Science, and the School of Education. A complete list of academic programs- both graduate and undergraduate- can be found on the LSSU website. A few examples of what classes are available via distance learning include Domestic and International Terrorism, the Sociology of American Family, and International Comparative Management.

School Traditions

Banished Words List – each year nominations of words are pulled from various sources- speeches, news, education, etc.- and a committee selects ones that have been deemed overused.

Snowman Burning – Each March, around the first day of spring, student, alumni, and citizens of Sault Ste. Marie light a 10-12ft. snowman on fire. The tradition is derived from a German tradition in which the mayor of the town will burn a snowman to declare an end to winter.

Regional Centers

In addition to the main campus, LSSU has four regional centers throughout Michigan: Dearborn, Escanaba, Gaylord, and Petoskey.


College athletics are important and, sometimes, determine whether or not a student will attend a university. At LSSU, ice hockey is the biggest sport on campus, and at one time the men’s team was the top in the nation. Nowadays, the mean’s team competes as a NCAA Division I program and is a member of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association.

LSSU used to have both football and rugby teams, as well. From 1948-1950 the LSSU football teams went undefeated, even against larger schools such as the University of Michigan and Michigan State University. Because of funding, however, the team was cut in 1950. Similarly, from 2006-2009 “The Black Sheep” represented LSSU in rugby; due to lack of support from administration, the team was disbanded.

Ashley Benson is a distance education professional with five years of experience in the for-profit sector. She has worked coast-to-coast within the United States as an academic advisor, an adjunct teaching assistant and, most recently, a campus Registrar. Through formal education and industry experience, Ashley practices staying informed on the current events and changes within higher education and the students involved.

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