Lake Superior State provost David R. Finley announced early Sunday morning that school president Thomas Pleger, Ph.D, has passed away.
Pleger’s wife, Teresa, posted the following message on her Facebook page.
Tonight another bright light shines in the sky. I am numb. Tom was so special, smart, cute as a button, witty, but most of all, Tom was kind. The time had with him was precious, but way to short. My dear Dr. qt, I adore you. You were my everything, and you will always be in my heart.
He was 48.
Pleger, LSSU’s president since July 2014, was admitted to Petoskey’s Northern Michigan Hospital on May 4 and had a lengthy surgery on May 5.
He came to LSSU after serving as campus executive officer and dean at the University of Wisconsin-Baraboo/Sauk County since 2006. He also held positions at the University of Wisconsin campuses in Madison, LaCross, Marinette and Fox Valley, along with Lawrence University. He received a bachelor’s degree in political science, with honors, from UW-La Cross and is an alumnus of the Wisconsin Scotland program. He earned his master’s in anthropology and his Ph.D. in anthropology/archaeology from UW-Madison.
“The Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Dr. Tom Pleger, and we join the Lake Superior State University family in mourning this sudden and tragic loss,” said WCHA commissioner Bill Robertson in a statement. “Dr. Pleger was an avid fan of the Laker hockey program. More importantly, he was a true and passionate advocate for his student-athletes and the entire LSSU community. On behalf of the WCHA and all our member institutions, our thoughts, prayers and best wishes are with the entire Pleger family and the LSSU community.”
Pleger served on the WCHA men’s league Board of Directors for three years, beginning with the 2014-15 season.