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Casino worker closes in on goal of visiting 500 colleges
Steve Lake, a 57-year-old casino worker from Las Vegas, Nev., visited Quinnipiac on Wednesday Sept. 19. Lake, who has already received fame for his hobby, came to Quinnipiac in pursuit of reaching his goal of visiting 500 colleges and universities.
“My goal is 500. Quinnipiac is number 408 and my second ‘Q’. I’ve hit every letter of the alphabet except ‘Z’,” Lake said.
Lake and his wife, Carol, arrived on campus shortly before noon and were taken on a tour by Lynn Bushnell, vice president for public affairs.
What started out as a hobby in 1984 has transformed into an obsession for Lake. Lake’s focus has shifted mainly to schools but he also has visited an extensive list of state capitals and professional baseball stadiums.
Lake’s hobby results from an unfulfilled college experience and a deep love of traveling.
“I went to Sir George Williams University in Montreal, since been renamed Concordia University,” Lake said. “And one of the things that motivated me to start visiting colleges was that the school I went to was a 12-story office building with not one blade of grass on the whole campus.”
Lake and his wife honeymooned in the Boston area in 1984 where they visited Harvard University, which would become the official beginning of Lake’s long quest.
“I set a goal originally of 200 schools and then I reached that and said, well how about 300. When I reached that in 2004 I said 500 sounds like a really good number. But then I had to make a vow to my wife that 500 would be it,” Lake said.
Aside from his unique hobby, Lake has two jobs that take up most of his time. He has been working as a pit boss in Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas since 1993. He also owns his own PR firm, Steve Lake Public Relations. Even though his casino job has allowed him to meet celebrities such as Wayne Gretzky, Lake’s interest in public relations continues to grow.
“My goal actually is to work with a college in PR as a consultant,” Lake said.
Lake, who did not leave his wife’s side throughout the entire tour, said that most of his trips are long and grueling, preventing his wife from attending all of them.
“This is the most strenuous trip my wife has been on so far. We are going to be visiting about 45 schools. We began on Monday and we are here for two weeks. Most of the schools will be visited this week. We usually visit anywhere from about six to nine schools a day,” Lake said.
What attracted Lake to Quinnipiac?
“I wanted to see the school of communications because I’ve read about it,” Lake said. “And after seeing it I was really impressed with the television studio. I enjoyed seeing the wall where Quinnipiac has honored so many people that I admire, such as Tom Brokaw and Dan Rather.”
Lake picked up souvenirs in the bookstore before the tour ended, which included a men’s ice hockey t-shirt for himself.
“I’m a huge fan of ice hockey,” Lake said.
As the tour concluded Lake and his wife marveled over the beauty of Quinnipiac’s campus.
“I enjoyed seeing the campus and the setting of the Sleeping Giant,” Lake said. “The actual drive into campus, the last 3 miles, was probably one of the nicest drives we’ve ever taken to get up to a campus. I can only imagine what it is like in the fall.”
Some other schools that Lake will be visiting on his current trip include Southern Connecticut State University, Albertus Magnus College, Yale University and Wesleyan University.