History of the Lukenda Alumni House
Lake Superior State University has named the building which houses its Alumni Relations department and LSSU Foundation offices after longtime friends of the University, Dr. Louis and Mae Lukenda of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.
The dedication took place on May 4, 2001, outside the building, which is located on the northeast corner of campus. Many friends and family members attended, along with LSSU students, alumni and staff.
“We are truly honored to dedicate this building to Lou and Mae,” said LSSU President Robert Arbuckle. “He is one of the best friends of the University, and we know that LSSU has always held a special place in his heart.”
A retired dentist and CEO of Tendercare Health Centers of Michigan, Lou Lukenda is a member of the class of 1949 who was honored with LSSU’s Outstanding Alumnus Award in 1983. He has served on the LSSU Foundation board of directors since its establishment and has been instrumental in securing the future of LSSU through his advocacy.
Mae Lukenda has been active in the twin Saults in many community organizations and projects. She serves on the Sault Ste. Marie Area Community Foundation’s board of directors and is the mother of seven children.
The couple has financially supported LSSU at the highest of levels, including the donation of the first gift to LSSU valued at more than $1 million. The gift, a $1.2 million office building in Phoenix, Arizona, continues to generate significant revenue for LSSU.
During the dedication, Lou spoke fondly of his days as a student at LSSU, remembering how he came across the St. Mary’s River in the pedestrian ferry that once served the two communities.
“My central interests in life over the years…have been in education and health, and if any recognition was to come my way, I am gratified that it related to these core interests,” he said.
“I accept this honor on behalf of all of the proud alumni of Lake State,” he added. “I ask that you make ‘our home’ a place of warmth, friendship and camaraderie, and a place whose doors shall always be open to those who have walked the halls of this great institution.”
State Senator Walter North, who is chair of the LSSU Foundation, spoke during the ceremony, as did Sherry Brooks, president of the LSSU Alumni Association.
Following the ceremony, those in attendance were invited to tour the building, which served as officers’ quarters during the days when the campus was U.S. Army Fort Brady. These days, the first floor of the building houses offices, a kitchen, a conference room and sitting rooms. The second floor mainly houses offices for LSSU Alumni Relations and the LSSU Foundation.