Memorial Grove at Michigan Tech: Planting a Green, Living Memorial

By Jennifer Donovan | Published

Proposed Memorial Grove at Michigan Tech
Proposed Memorial Grove at Michigan Tech

 Dan Lorenzetti is not a man who likes to wait for results. When he heard that Michigan Technological University was planning to add approximately 150 trees to the well-traveled eastern approach to its campus along Highway 41 over the next 15 years, his response was: “I want to see that approach to campus beautified immediately.”

So he came up with a win-win plan to achieve that goal: Invite the public to sponsor a tree in a Memorial Grove, in honor or memory of someone they admire. That way, a public entrance to Michigan Tech gets its trees, and the community has an opportunity to become part of a living memorial to friends and family who made the Copper Country what it is today.

An individual, family or organization can sponsor a tree for $600, a tax-deductible charitable contribution. The name of person whom it honors or memorializes will be displayed on a plaque that maps the grove. 

The trees will be planted between the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts, the Walker Arts and Humanities Center and Highway 41.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for ordinary people in the community to become part of a living memorial and at the same time to support Michigan Tech,” said Lorenzetti, a community volunteer and active supporter of the University.  “Everyday people can’t contribute a million dollars to build a building, but they can help beautify the campus and their community by planting a memorial tree.”

Lorenzetti, owner of Superior Block in Houghton, grew up in Hancock near Quincy Hill. After a career as a high school principal in Wisconsin, he and his family returned to the Copper Country to take over his family’s business.

 "We thank Dan Lorenzetti for this creative proposal that will further beautify and green-up the Michigan Tech campus while also providing a creative memorial legacy opportunity for local citizens and alumni,” said University President Glenn D. Mroz. “We deeply appreciate Dan's ongoing commitment to Michigan Tech and the University community."

Lorenzetti is thrilled about the idea of a Memorial Grove at Michigan Tech. “I’ll be able to bring my grandchildren to see the tree we planted in memory of my grandfather,” he explained.

Shea McGrew, vice president for advancement at Michigan Tech, is equally enthusiastic. “Dan Lorenzetti approached us about this, and we agreed it is a wonderful idea,” McGrew said. “Those participating in the project can remember a loved one or friend in a tangible, lasting way. And, they invest in the beautification of the east end of campus and an enhanced first impression for visitors arriving in Houghton from that direction."

Memorial groves have been established at a few other universities around the country, including the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis.

People who want to sponsor a tree should contact Paula Nutini, director of annual giving at Michigan Tech, at 487-3609; , or Dan Lorenzetti at 482-2731;

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.