Something for (Most) Everyone at Michigan Tech Alumni Reunion 2009

By Marcia Goodrich | Published

President Glenn Mroz, right, and friends at the 2008 Pasty Picnic
President Glenn Mroz, right, and friends at the 2008 Pasty Picnic

Tech Talks, gospel music, chili, basketball, canoeing, biking, hiking, waterfalls . . . Alumni Reunion 2009, set for Thursday-Saturday, Aug. 6-8, is offering up a potpourri of fun activities for just about everyone.

Many events are free; others require tickets that should be purchased in advance. For more information or to order tickets, call Alumni Relations at 906-487-2400 or visit . Updated information on reunion events will also be available at the Alumni Association’s reunion registration desk in the Memorial Union Commons.

Reunion kicks off at 8:30 a.m. Thursday with the Welcome Breakfast in the Memorial Union Ballroom followed by a walking tour. Tickets are $12.

Professor Rolf Peterson will give a free Tech Talk at 9:30 a.m. in Fisher 139, “The Wolves and Moose of Isle Royale,” on the celebrated predator-prey study.

Peterson is followed at 10:30 a.m. by Kim Nowack, who will present “Yesterday, Today and Beyond: The Story of the Mackinac Bridge.” Nowack, a 1985 graduate of Michigan Tech, is the bridge’s chief engineer. The Big Mac is the longest suspension bridge in the Western Hemisphere and handles 4.7 million vehicle crossings annually. Everyone is invited.

The traditional Pasty Picnic begins at 4 p.m. Thursday on the campus green between the EERC and Chemical Sci. If it rains, the pasties (meat and veggie) and pickled eggs will be served in the Memorial Union. Tickets are $13, $7 for children 6-12, and free for children under 6.

You can work off some calories during a self-guided historical walking tour and maybe check out the old photos on display at Dee Stadium in downtown Houghton. For more information, visit the reunion registration desk.

Thursday winds up with a social beginning at 6 p.m. at the Keweenaw Brewing Company in downtown Houghton, sponsored by the Keweenaw Alumni Chapter and Friends. Everyone is invited to stop by after the picnic.

The All-Class Alumni Breakfast starts at 8:30 a.m. in the Memorial Union Ballroom. President Glenn Mroz will give a short update on the University. Tickets are $12.

At 10 a.m., the Class of 1959 Golden M Pinning Ceremony will be held in the Memorial Union Ballroom. Mroz and Alumni Association President Mark Mitchell will host. The other special reunion classes will be gathering in the Memorial Union Commons at 10 a.m.

The University Campus Picnic begins at 11 a.m. on the campus green. The cost is $7, payable at the picnic. The Sixth Annual Chili Challenge is scheduled during the picnic, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Everyone is invited to sample chili and vote (one dollar=one vote) for the best chili. Proceeds benefit scholarship funds.

Starting at 1:30 p.m., departments throughout campus are holding open houses. The public is invited to learn more about facilities ranging from the Rozsa Center to Rekhi Hall to the Tech Trails. A full list of participating departments will be available at the reunion registration desk, in the Memorial Union.

The Alumni Reunion Dinner begins at 5:30 p.m. with a social and cash bar in the Memorial Union Ballroom and dinner at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $30, $12 for children. The awards presentation follows. Honorees and their awards include Betty Chavis, Honorary Alumni Award; John F. Calder ’67, ’76, Outstanding Service Award; and Michelle L. Boven ’99, Outstanding Young Alumni Award. Frank E. Pavlis ’38 will be honored with the Distinguished Alumni Award in absentia, since he will not be attending the reunion.

Saturday is billed as “a great day to explore the Copper Country,” by canoe, van or bike, courtesy of the Outdoor Adventure Program and the Alumni Association.

You can canoe the Sturgeon River near Chassell from 8 a.m. to about noon. This nice, easy paddle includes lunch along with great scenery. Cost is $25 per person.

Or, check out the Tech Trails from 9 a.m. to noon. Tickets are $5, and include a helmet and trail pass for the day. If you want to rent a bike, total cost for the excursion is $15. A limited number of bikes are available, so if you need one, be sure to register early.

From 2 to 7 p.m., take the Keweenaw Waterfall Tour bus ride up the peninsula to visit Hungarian Falls, Jacob Falls, Eagle River Falls and more. The $30 cost includes transportation, a barbecue dinner and guide service to the hidden gems of the Keweenaw.

Outdoor Adventure Packages are also available. Combine the canoe and waterfall tours for $45, a savings of $10. Or, bike the trails and view the falls for $40.

The ECHOES from Heaven Gospel Choir Reunion Concert begins at 6 p.m. in the Horner Lobby of the Rozsa Center. Everyone is invited to enjoy the free performance, which brings together choir members from throughout ECHOES’ 1990-2003 tenure at Tech. The choir will be under the direction of Kevin J. Walker ’02, who served as the choir’s assistant director under the late Inetta Harris.

Reunion 2009 wraps up with the Women’s Basketball Alumnae Game, set for 6:30 p.m. in the Wood Gym at the Student Development Complex. Don’t miss this opportunity to see some of Tech’s great players back on the court.

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.