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The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

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Harry Stine
Harry Stine
Opinion Editor

In 2021, after one year of college and a semester of studying as a Public Relations major, I realized I wanted to be a journalist and not much else. After eagerly applying to be a Copy Editor, without...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

LEAVE NO TRACE — Heather Vivian from Respect Marquette County educates on the impacts of outdoor recreation as part of the organizations mission of protecting natural resources.
Leave No Trace 101 workshop promotes protecting natural resources
Benjamin BuresDecember 1, 2023

NMU Remembers: Paul Lang

Paul Lang, provost and vice president for academic affairs, passed away unexpectedly the evening of Friday, Jan. 9, 2015 at the University of Michigan Hospital in Ann Arbor, Mich.

2006 faculty headshots

Lang had served NMU in various positions since 1997. He began his service as a professor and head of the criminal justice department. Following that position, he also held the role of associate dean and dean of the College of Professional Studies, interim head and director of the School of Technology and Applied Sciences and interim provost before he became the provost and vice president of academic affairs in 2012.

Though President Fritz Erickson worked with Lang during the past fall semester, the two  knew each other from when Erickson was the provost at Ferris State University. Erickson said Lang was instrumental in encouraging him to apply for the job as president and come to NMU.

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“He told me that the greatness of the university is that we have this passionate faculty who engage students and provide opportunities for students at an undergraduate level. That doesn’t always happen at all universities,” Erickson said. “He was also deeply concerned about the issues of student debt and making sure we could do everything possible to keep an education affordable.”

Lang’s support of the success of the NMU faculty and students was made clear by many who were close to him. Dale Kapla, assistant provost for undergraduate programming and faculty affairs, had known Lang for several years.

“His number one concern was for quality teaching, and he made decisions based on what was best for the university,” Kapla said.

Lang was known as a strong advocate for living and working in Marquette, and, according to colleagues, Lang and his wife Mona enjoyed being involved in the community.

Kapla said the quality he admired about Lang most was his critical thinking ability. He appreciated Lang’s methodical way of finding solutions to problems at the university.

“I will always remember how good of a critical thinker and mentor he was,” Kapla said. “The decisions he made and the influence he had on me will help my decisions in the future.”

Kerri Schuiling, the dean of the College of Health Sciences and Professional Studies, said Lang had become a mentor to her and always reminded her to gather all of the evidence before making important decisions.

“There were situations where I would want to get the issue resolved quicker and he would always say ‘Kerri, trust the process,’ and he is absolutely right and I’ve learned that now,” Schuiling said.

Schuiling said what she admired most about Lang was his dedication to the university and his devotion to his family.

“Family was the center of his core,” Schuiling said. “He was always respectful about his wife and they were always together; you could tell how happy they were.”

Lang and his wife had a daughter, MacKenzie, who now lives in Washington, D.C.

Lesley Larkin, associate professor of English, was appointed by Erickson Wednesday, to serve as acting provost until a new provost is chosen by the search committee. Larkin said she was humbled by the appointment and hopes to honor Lang’s legacy during her five months in the position.

“I was very surprised and honored to be asked, and it’s a big deal to come into this office even for a very short time,” Larkin said. “I hope I can ease the transition to the next provost and that in my own small way I can honor what Paul did here by doing the best I can in this office for this short period of time.”

Larkin said Lang was a great supporter of her academic career and of her work with the diversity committee.

“He was absolutely dedicated to NMU and his loss will be felt really strongly and widely,” Larkin said.

“He wasn’t in it for fame or legacy. He was about facilitating other peoples’ work and making this university what it is.”

The search process for a new provost will continue with the announcement of the candidates this week who will visit campus in the next few weeks to speak with many constituencies of the university.

Larkin said so far, the process has gone very smoothly.

“We have a fantastic search committee, with a lot of different people with different perspectives that happen to work really well together,” Larkin said. “I think we have really strong candidates that we are going to chose from and I feel positive about the process.”

Erickson said he was looking for someone to step into the interim provost role and take a faculty perspective on the position. Larkin was a good choice for the position because she would not be a candidate for the permanent position and because of her previous service to the university as a faculty member, he said.

“She had the intellect, the understanding and the balanced view toward academic affairs that will be really useful at this particular time,” Erickson said.

Erickson remembered Lang as someone who worked often without recognition. “He was never interested in the limelight, he just wanted to help people be successful and that’s what I’ll always remember about Paul.”

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