LSSU Board of Trustees Extends Food Service Contract, Grants Tenure to Three Faculty, Accepts $10,000 Donation

SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. – Lake Superior State University’s Board of Trustees approved a 10-year extension to its food service contract with Sodexo Group, extending its agreement through 2024 in part for a $750,000 investment in the Quarterdeck dining hall located in the Walker Cisler Center.

In addition, during a report from the LSSU Foundation, the panel accepted a $10,000 donation from Central Savings Bank to be put toward the new LSSU School of Business, and the board also approved tenure for three members of the faculty.

The Sodexo contract, which covers all meal services and catering on campus, will cost LSSU $144,500 annually, adjusted by the Consumer Price Index and capped at a 3 percent raise per year. As part of the contract, Sodexo will invest $750,000 in LSSU food service facilities over the life of the contract, starting with a remodeling of the Quarterdeck dining hall this summer.

“We would begin immediately, with demolition of the Quarterdeck beginning on May 1 and the project being finished on Aug. 12,” said Sherry Brooks, LSSU Vice President of Finance, in proposing the contract extension.

Brooks said LSSU will be able to provide food service to summer camps on campus this year by using other food service facilities on campus and by setting up a tent to use in good weather.

In a report from the board’s Development Committee, LSSU Foundation Director Tom Coates and Foundation Board Chair Chuck Schmidt reported that the Foundation is preparing to begin a fundraising campaign for renovations to South Hall, a Fort Brady building which formerly housed the LSSU School of Business and would once again be home to the school once construction is complete.

“We had a lively discussion about the capital campaign for South Hall,” Schmidt said regarding a meeting of the Foundation board on Nov. 10. “The Foundation can’t do it alone; it’s going to take all of us, from the board to the students…We believe this project will have a far-reaching impact on the university and its future. It’s much more than a business school. It will have an impact on current students and our ability to help the university grow in the future.”

Original plans called for the razing of South Hall and construction of a new building, but discussions with other architectural firms have produced a plan that will use the existing historic building for a total cost of $12 million, $3 million of which must be raised by LSSU.

Following the presentation from Schmidt and Coates, Trustee W.W. “Frenchie” LaJoie, on behalf of Central Savings Bank, presented the Foundation with a check for $10,000, one of several over the past 6-7 years that the bank has donated toward the South Hall project.

During his report on Academic Affairs, LSSU Provost Morrie Walworth recommended — and the board approved — tenure for three members of the faculty: biology professor Britton D. Ranson Olson Ph.D., fire science professor James J. Schaefer Ph.D. and geology and physics professor Matthew K. Spencer Ph.D.

Ranson Olson started at LSSU in 2008, shortly after completing her doctoral degree in chemistry at Oakland University, where she was a microbiology lab instructor. She holds a master’s degree in biology from Michigan Technological University and a bachelor’s degree in biology from LSSU.

Walworth noted that Ranson Olson is also active in professional organizations, has published several manuscripts in peer-reviewed journals, works with the Aquatic Ecosystem Protection Research Division of Environment Canada to monitor perfluorinated chemicals in Great Lakes Fish populations and has offered expertise to the Chippewa County Health Dept. on local investigations of microbial contaminants.

Ranson Olson was nominated for the LSSU Distinguished Teaching Award in 2011.

Schaeffer started at LSSU in 2007 following completion of his doctoral degree in history from University of Toledo in 2006 and a career as a fire fighter for the City of Defiance, Ohio, from 1995-2007, which he started following his graduation from LSSU with a fire science degree in 1995. Schaeffer also holds a master’s degree in history from University of Toledo.

Walworth noted that Schaefer designed and was lead instructor for the first LSSU fire science summer camps, including one that brought special needs students to campus. He also said Prof. Schaefer leads by example and provides many opportunities for students to volunteer with the Sault Fire Department. He has presented at eight conferences since his arrival at LSSU, has had three articles published with two under review now.

Schaefer was nominated for the LSSU Distinguished Teaching Award and for the Advisor of the Year Award, both in 2010.

Spencer was in another LSSU alumnus, having earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental geology in 1994. He continued at Penn State University to earn a master’s degree in geosciences in 1999 and then worked as a research associate and math and science instructor in the Penn State system while working on his doctoral degree in geosciences in 2005. He was hired at LSSU in 2007.

“Dr. Spencer is an active researcher on global climate change,” said Walworth. “He has received funding for the past several years to do collaborative research with scientists from around the country in this regard. In addition, he has spent 11 field seasons since 1997 working at the National Ice Core Laboratory in Denver evaluating ice cores collected from the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. This past summer, a student accompanied him to Denver to work there and next summer he will be taking four students to the laboratory.”

Since he began at LSSU, Spencer has published four manuscripts in peer-reviewed journals and this year he gave the keynote address for the a joint meeting of the Michigan Bird Conservation Initiative, Michigan Chapter of the American Fisheries Society and Michigan Chapter of The Wildlife Society in Petoskey. He routinely hosts discussions and tours of the Kemp Mineral Museum as well as assisting elementary and high school students working on laboratory projects.

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