Alumni Association Notes

Q&A with Chris S. Anderson '72

Recently retired as the President's special assistant for institutional diversity

Chris S. Anderson

Describe your work and its challenges.

My work was about improving preparation, access, and academic success for young people, especially underrepresented minorities and, in many cases, women. The challenge is that it takes a long time to address these issues and affect change, so the commitment must be comprehensive and long term.

What was the most important thing you learned on the job?

Building relationships and partnerships is critical. Funding was essential to support our programs, faculty involvement is essential, and an institution's commitment to create an inclusive environment is the keystone that makes everything work.

What surprised you most?

I was often made aware that many people are still resistant to diversity in subtle ways and do not understand its benefits. Also, almost everyone agrees that a good education is important, but when it comes to supporting precollege education, there is no uniform financial support or human response.

What are you most proud of?

I think it always comes down to people. When I hear from, or hear about, the students who have been helped by Michigan Tech's diversity programs, it makes the challenges worthwhile. Helping build our precollege outreach programs, working on the NSF ADVANCE project [a National Science Foundation program to increase the involvement of women in science and engineering in academia] and the Climate Study [to understand the concerns of women at Michigan Tech] were also significant highlights that involved the campus community and a variety of partners.

What do you wish you had done differently?

I wish I had published more to give the programs and partnerships additional national visibility.

What are your hobbies and diversions?

Reading, gardening (plants in general—I am a biologist), cooking, baking, walking, and swimming in Lake Superior or the Portage Canal.

Tell something that people would be surprised to know about you.

Hmmm. I love Calvin and Hobbes. I like to bowl. I was an eighth-grade science teacher for a number of years, and I really have missed working with that age group.

Anything else you'd like to share?

I've been extremely lucky to have worked with experts in education and industry, and have learned so much from them. I will always appreciate their willingness to collaborate. I hope that over the next few years Michigan Tech will look more and more like our country and that it will be a leader in the STEM world, especially, in graduating students who have been educated in a very diverse and inclusive learning environment.

Note: For the second year, Michigan Tech has been recognized nationally for its efforts to create a more diverse and inclusive campus. The University received the 2013 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, one of only fifty-five universities honored. To learn more, visit

It's your year!

Make plans to join alumni and friends on campus August 7–9 for Alumni Reunion 2014.

The featured classes will be the Golden Ms (those who graduated fifty-plus years ago) and the classes of '64, '74, '84, '89, '94, and '04. Also featured will be members of women's basketball Huskies and men's and women's tennis teams.

In addition to time-honored events such as the Pasty Picnic, Alumni Reunion Dinner, and Tech Talks, newer activities are fast becoming reunion traditions: pasty-making demonstrations, outdoor adventure programs, and family-oriented science activities.

Reconnect with your classmates and check out what's new at Michigan Tech. Visit for details.

The Fourth Annual Snowfall Contest is now open!

Accurately forecast the total amount of snow to fall in the Copper Country this winter and you could win!

Last season's snowfall total was a difficult one to predict. There was a trace of snow in mid-September but it wasn't until after the New Year that the majority of the season's accumulation fell. The Keweenaw received 67 inches in January, and our best snow day was February 19 with 12 inches falling in that 24-hour period, with high winds causing Tech to close for a day and a half due to the extreme weather. In the end, we received 225 inches of the white stuff with the last of it falling on May 12.

Alumni and friends, students, faculty, staff, and retirees are all invited to predict this year's snowfall. The contest closes February 15, and the guess that falls closest to the official Keweenaw Research Center total snowfall (without going over) wins. On June 1 the winner will be chosen from all the entries submitted. A consolation prize winner will also be chosen from all the entries submitted.

Visit and cast your vote for a chance to win a Michigan Tech Winter Survival Kit and a two-night stay in a guest room on campus.

Check out and read the memories posted by alumni and friends, and post your own stories about winter at Tech.

Join us for a tour of Malta

Alumni and friends are invited to join social sciences professor Mary Durfee on a seven-day tour of Malta being planned for early May 2014.

The Mediterranean island’s small size makes it possible for visitors to experience its whole history— natural, economic, political, and cultural. The tour is being planned in conjunction with the University of Malta and includes visits to museums, gardens, and ancient ruins.

To learn more, contact Alumni Relations at or call 906-487-2400.

From the Michigan Tech Alumni Association Facebook Page

Alumni answer the question "Did you participate in Safehouse during your time at Tech?

Yep, while I was in DHH. I lived in the all-girls house, and we always did a fun, non-scary theme. Alice in Wonderland one year, Disney the next. I was a tour guide and am terrified of scary stuff. I think I was more scared than the kids when I led them around the 3rd floor. I’ll never forget the hand that reached out and grabbed my leg one year. I screamed so loud that it was me who scared the kids. LOL!

Yes! We built a mineshaft my senior year. I scared the crap out of some kids too! My freshman year, Safehouse was how I really met most of my hall. Great experience.

Yes! Some of my favorite memories are from Safehouse when I was living in the Attic in DHH.

We started it. DHH, 1986. Weather was supposed to be cruddier than usual for Halloween, we had custodial/kitchen crew with little kids, and we had a new RC. Two routes, scary and not-so. It was a blast.

Alumni Association by the numbers

The Alumni Association was established in 1892 with ten members. Today, we celebrate traditions and create connections for more than 72,000 alumni and friends from around the world. The volunteer Board of Directors is dedicated to providing opportunities for you to be part of Michigan Tech. Today, those opportunities look something like this . . .

Graphic of alumni facts.

Graphic of alumni giving showing $196,869 total.

Michigan Technological University is a public research university, home to more than 7,000 students from 54 countries. Founded in 1885, the University offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, and social sciences. Our campus in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula overlooks the Keweenaw Waterway and is just a few miles from Lake Superior.