Donald Daavettila

Donald Daavettila
  • BS Engineering Physics 1956
  • MS Engineering Physics 1958
Don Daavettila earned both a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in engineering physics from Michigan Tech in 1956 and 1958 respectively. He was named professor emeritus of physics in 2000.

Daavettila began his career as a scientist at Argonne National Laboratory for more than five years. He then became a nuclear test engineer at the Enrico Fermi Nuclear Plant in Monroe, Michigan, before joining Michigan Tech's nuclear engineering program in 1964. He became an assistant professor in the physics department in 1969. He received the State of Michigan Excellence in Teaching Award in 1991 and Michigan Tech's Distinguished Teaching Award in 1994.

He has been involved in many athletic programs, including more than thirty years as the timing official and manager of off-ice officials for home hockey games and membership on the Athletic Council. He received an honorary varsity letter in 2002, was inducted into the Michigan Tech Sports Hall of Fame in 2003, and received an honorary varsity blanket in 2005.

Daavettila was the graduate advisor for many master's theses related to nuclear engineering and organized a nuclear symposium during Tech's centennial celebration in 1985. He retired in 2000, but continued to teach in physics for several years. He serves as the university's radiation safety officer, a role in which he is the liaison with such governmental groups as the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. He is also the radiation defense officer for Houghton County, and has served as the faculty advisor of the student chapter of the American Nuclear Society. Daavettila has been faculty advisor for four fraternities and sororities and Omicron Delta Kappa, the national student leadership honor society.

Daavettila was a volunteer for Tech's centennial fundraising effort in the mid 1980s. He and his wife, Charlotte, continue to support Michigan Tech.

On August 5, 2005, the Alumni Association honored him with the Outstanding Service Award.


Excerpted from Michigan Tech Magazine, December 2005

Updated February 2009