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LSSU to honor five alumni and friends during Great Lake State Weekend

Posted: November 5th, 2013

FINLAYSON RECOGNITION – Lake Superior State University Foundation Executive Director Tom Coates introduces the management team of Precision Edge Surgical Products before the company receives the LSSU Alumni Association's Donald and Catherine Finlayson Award during last year's alumni awards evening. David and Patricia Hubbard of Cheboygan will receive the honor during the this year's awards banquet on Saturday, Nov. 9. The Hubbards have supported numerous university initiatives over the years, including an endowed scholarship to assist a full-time student majoring in any course of study at LSSU. The Finlayson award recognizes friends, advocates and benefactors of the university who are not alumni of the institution. (LSSU/John Shibley)

A print-resolution photo that runs with the caption above can be found by clicking here.

SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. – Lake Superior State University’s Alumni Association will present four awards to five outstanding individuals at its annual Alumni Awards Banquet on Saturday, Nov. 9, one of the highlights of Great Lake State Weekend.

Everyone is welcome at a reception for the award recipients from 4-4:30 p.m. The banquet, where tickets are required, begins at 4:30 p.m. LSSU is welcoming alumni back to campus Nov. 8-10 for GLSW, which is the university’s homecoming.

Those being honored include: Tad Malpass ’82, Outstanding Alumnus Award; Rick Comley ’71, Shouldice Achievement Award; Christopher Fink ’99, Ripley Young Alumna Award; and David and Patricia Hubbard, Donald and Catherine Finlayson Award.

Tickets for the banquet are available through the LSSU Alumni Relations Office by calling 635-2831 or writing alumnirelations@lssu.edu. Deadline is Nov. 1. Read much more about all of the award recipients on the GLSW web page.


Tad Malpass ‘82
Outstanding Alumnus Award

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Tad Malpass, of East Jordan, will be receiving the LSSU Alumni Association’s highest honor, which is presented to alumni who are successful in their careers and communities, and who support LSSU with their time, talent and treasure. Malpass is being recognized for his work with LSSU’s Alumni Association and the LSSU Foundation, of which he was a board member, as well as his legacy with EJ Inc., formerly East Jordan Iron Works, and a company that his great-grandfather started in 1883. The company is the world leader in the design, manufacture and distribution of access solutions for water, sewer, drainage, telecommunications and utility networks worldwide.

Malpass has donated to numerous campus activities, including the Gem of the North campaign to expand Taffy Abel Ice Arena, the Arts Center, numerous athletic teams and the LSSU Foundation’s unrestricted Development Fund. He is a current donor, and his lifetime giving puts him in the top tier of all alumni donors. He has been recognized by the university in the past, most notably with the Paul Ripley Young Alumnus Award in 1998.

“Because I was from a small town and school, LSSU allowed me to feel connected due to its smaller size and culture of being concerned about individuals and not overall numbers of students,” he said. “It resulted in my feeling a part of the entire university, as opposed to just a smaller part of a larger one. I interacted with people and activities that maybe I otherwise wouldn’t have been involved in. I personally knew President Kenneth Shouldice, most of the professors, the coaches, players and staff members and some of their families. As a result, I tended to take more of an interest in everything going on at the campus.”

Malpass lettered in all four of his years on the tennis team and ended up coaching the team during his final year. Immediately upon receiving his BS MET degree in 1982, he went to work for EJ fulltime as a project engineer. Later, he assumed the role of handling environmental affairs and public relations, and eventually became vice president of industrial sales. When he retired, he was serving as executive vice president with overall responsibility for EJ’s human resources, public relations, government affairs and industrial sales departments. He continues to serve as a consultant to the company, and is a member of the company’s board of directors and its advisory board.

Malpass and his wife, Brenda, have two children – Kirsten and Keegan.


Rick Comley ‘71
Kenneth J. Shouldice Achievement Award

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Rick Comley’s career in athletics – in both coaching and administration -- has singled him out as this year’s recipient of the Kenneth J. Shouldice Achievement Award, which recognizes professional achievement and community service.

A former national championship hockey coach at LSSU, Northern Michigan University and Michigan State University, Comley is one of only six NCAA Division I hockey coaches to have won more than 700 games, and one of only three to have won national championships at three separate schools. The Stratford, Ont., native led NMU and MSU to NCAA championships in 1991 and 2007, respectively, and LSSU to the NAIA title in 1974. He compiled an overall 783-615-110 record from 1974-2011.

“I’m proud to have been a player, assistant coach and head coach at LSSU,” Comley said. “I made many lifetime friends there and met my wife Diane (Mackey) there when we were students.”

Comley is the recipient of the Spencer Penrose Memorial Award as college hockey's national coach of the year in 1980 and 1991. He was named CCHA Coach of the Year in 1980 and 1981, and was honored as WCHA Coach of the Year in 1989 and 1991. He is a member of the LSSU Athletics Hall of Fame, the NMU Sports Hall of Fame, and was recently inducted into the Upper Peninsula Sports Hall of Fame.

Comley began his coaching career at LSSU, where he was Coach Ron Mason's varsity assistant and recruiter during the 1972-1973 season. He was named LSSU’s head coach the following year when Mason was hired at Bowling Green, and he guided the Lakers to a 59-46-3 mark from 1973-1976, winning an NAIA National Championship and a CCHA regular-season title in 1974.

A four-year letter-winner for Mason from 1967-1971, Comley was a two-time NAIA All-American and team captain in his senior year. He was voted most valuable player and LSSU’s Outstanding Athlete in 1971.

Comley spent 26 years as NMU head coach from 1976-2002 and 13 years as athletics director. He is one of three individuals to have coached regular-season champions in the WCHA and CCHA, an honor he shares with another former Laker coach - Bill Selman.

Highlights of his MSU tenure include the 2007 national championship, the 2006 CCHA Playoff title, and Great Lakes Invitational titles in 2004, 2006 and 2009.

Comley earned a bachelor's degree in political science from LSSU and a master's degree in education from NMU in 1973. He and Diane have two grown children, Rick and Gillian.


Christopher Fink ‘99
Paul Ripley Award for Young Alumni

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Christopher Fink Ph.D. receives the Paul Ripley Award for Young Alumni, which recognizes Lakers who have enjoyed professional success early in their careers. He is assistant professor and chair of the Dept. of Health and Human Kinetics at Ohio Wesleyan University, where he has worked since 2007.

“I am deeply honored to be receiving this award for the key role that my time and interactions at LSSU played in leading me to where I am today,” Fink said. “Because of the personal nature of my academic work with the faculty at LSSU, I always hoped to teach and conduct research at an institution where the faculty/student relationship is collaborative and close…I often cite my time at LSSU with current and potential OWU students as we discuss the value of working and learning together.”

Fink’s research and scholarly interests involve physical activity and dietary behavior change, purpose and meaning in physical activity and diet, application of theoretical constructs and principles to the health behavior change process, food education and food studies, cooking as a health behavior, and the relationship between the Mediterranean culture and lifestyle (specifically Italian) and nutritional/movement behavior choices.

He is collaborating with colleagues in Italy in examining the interplay between traditional knowledge regarding food, food system design, and health promotion, and he and his students are working on a research project in conjunction with the Università degli Studi di Scienze Gastronomiche in Pollenzo, Italy, titled “Granai della Memoria.” The project examines traditional knowledge about food, especially that which has been passed down from previous generations.

From LSSU, Chris went to Indiana University-Bloomington to earn a master’s degree in kinesiology, and then to Ohio State University for a doctorate in exercise science.

“I gained my passion for faculty work by learning from all of my wonderful professors at LSSU, but especially from Professors Joe Susi and the late Lee Gardiner, who were instrumental in developing my academic base in and excitement about this field.”

Chris and his wife Julie have a daughter Amelia, 5, and son Luca, 2.


David and Patricia Hubbard
Donald and Catherine Finlayson Award

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David and Patricia Hubbard of Cheboygan have always recognized the importance of education and community. When they lived in Sault Ste. Marie, they supported a variety of community endeavors, including many projects at LSSU.

The Alumni Association is recognizing the couple for their LSSU support with the Donald and Catherine Finlayson Distinguished Citizen Award. The award, named after a former campus physician and his wife, recognizes friends, advocates and benefactors of the university who are not alumni of the institution.

The Hubbards moved to Sault Ste. Marie in 1971 when David joined Edison Sault Electric Co. as controller. He enjoyed a long career with Edison – now Cloverland Electrical Cooperative – retiring in 1998 as vice president of finance.

Both David and Patricia are graduates of Alma College, but enjoyed and actively participated in the cultural and athletic activities at LSSU, and believe strongly in the important role the university played in their lives and that of the community. They supported numerous university initiatives over the years, including Laker Club, the Cooper Scholarship, and fund drive for a new gym floor.

In 2005, they created an endowed scholarship to assist a full-time student majoring in any course of study at LSSU. They also contributed to the Arts Center, the Aquatic Research Lab, and the South Hall Renovation Project.

David formerly served on the LSSU Foundation’s board of directors and was recently named to the Alma College board of trustees.

“We were fortunate to have LSSU in our community,” the Hubbards said, “and we appreciated the opportunities that it offered to our family.”

While raising a family in Sault Ste. Marie, Patricia taught Sunday school and volunteered with her church, the Bayliss Library, and local Girl Scouts groups. Friends who have known the Hubbards for many years agree that they are very deserving of this award for their support of the community.

One noted, "You couldn't have chosen a more perfect couple...What I respect about both Pat and Dave is that they quietly supported so many things without any expectation of celebrity."

The Hubbards now live in Cheboygan, where they spend time boating and continuing their volunteerism. Patricia serves on the Cheboygan Area Public Library board as its publicity chair. They have two grown sons, Todd and Jeff.

To find out more about LSSU’s homecoming, Great Lake State Weekend, visit the GLSW web page. To reserve tickets for the awards banquet, call 635-2831 or write alumnirelations@lssu.edu. -LSSU-

CONTACT: Tom Pink, 906-635-2315, tpink@lssu.edu; John Shibley, 635-2314, jshibley@lssu.edu; Susan Fitzpatrick, 635-2831, sfitzpatrick@lssu.edu


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