Ray Plewa

Ray Plewa
  • BS Chemical Engineering 1987
Ray Plewa '87, BS, chemical engineering, of Westerville, Ohio, came to Michigan Tech because of its reputation and because it was affordable. The latter was key because he had to pay his own way through school. "I was poor," he said. "I watched every penny."

He paid for his first year by selling a 1966 Chevelle that he had lovingly restored. He paid for next three years with scholarships and working as an RA. Throughout, he kept track of his educational expenses-everything from tuition to laundry. Total tab for the four years: $13,000.

It was worth it, he says, because he earned more than a degree. "I learned leadership and responsibility."

His fondest memories of this period in his life are the camaraderie of friends and competing on the varsity swim team. (He set two school records.) He still has his sports blanket with four letters on it. "Swimming is no longer a varsity sport," he says, "so I'm kind of sad."

But, in the big picture, he says, Michigan Tech hasn't changed. It is what it always has been: "A fine engineering school in a beautiful country."

Reprinted from Alumni Reunion 2007: Stories