Lake Superior State University invites the community to help celebrate three distinguished alumni and outstanding friends of the institution during its annual Alumni Awards Banquet, part of Great Lake State Weekend, Nov. 2-4.
The banquet begins at 5 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 2, in the Walker Cisler Center. Tickets are available by calling 906-635-2831, or by going to www.lssu.edu/glsw for more about weekend events and to register online.
“Each year the Alumni Association is proud to honor select alumni who have excelled in their professions and engaged with their alma mater,” says Susan Fitzpatrick, director of LSSU Alumni Relations. “There are more than 34,000 graduates and former students of the Soo Branch of Michigan Tech, Lake Superior State College, and Lake Superior State University. It is our privilege to honor these three incredibly accomplished alumni.”
The 2018 recipient of the Paul Ripley Award for Young Alumni is Erin Strang, LSSU class of 2002. Strang is president and chief executive officer of the Central Michigan University Research Corporation (CMURC) in Mt. Pleasant, a position she has held since 2010. The company shares space with an accelerator program that focuses on advancing economic development in the Great Lakes Bay Region.
The Ripley Award honors graduates who have enjoyed exceptional personal and professional success early in their careers. Paul Ripley was Lake State’s first Alumni Director and was a member of the Pioneer Class of 1946.
Strang played volleyball for LSSU from 2000 to 2002 and earned her bachelor of science degree in business administration with a minor in marketing. Prior to attending LSSU, she completed an associate’s degree at Glen Oaks Community College in Centreville. Currently, she is taking courses at Oakland University towards a masters of public administration.
“I graduated from LSSU with a solid business foundation that I have been able to leverage to assist entrepreneurs in their business strategy and development,” says Strang. “I am honored to be receiving the Ripley Award, as I am fortunate to have found my passion due to the education of my alma mater.”
As president and CEO of CMURC, Strang has had a direct hand in the creation of more than 170 companies – 84% of which are still pursuing growth, creating more than 490 new jobs, and investing $53 million. Her mandate includes a tech-transfer process to commercialize CMU-researcher technology and leading SmartZone District development in Mt. Pleasant.
Prior to becoming CMURC CEO, Strang served as director of operations in 2010. In that role she managed day to day operations for business development and business insights; recruited and retained entrepreneurial start-up tenants and affiliate client companies to provide industry, market, and feasibility analysis; and developed product, manufacturing, and supply chains.
Outside of her day job, Strang is chair of the Mt. Pleasant Area Chamber of Commerce, vice chair of the Michigan Small Business and Development Center, and a member of the CMU Senior Leadership Team. Previously, she served on the Great Lakes Bay Regional Alliance Board, the Mid-Michigan College M-Tec Advisory Board, and the Middle Michigan Development Corporation.
“Prior to coming LSSU, I remember debating on if I were to pursue additional education at all,” says Strang. “Looking back, I could not have asked for a better experience or better education. LSSU was a big part of the journey that molded me into the individual I am today, and I am honored to be receiving this award.”
Erin and her husband Jason Hughes have a 4-year-old daughter, Alexis.