TechAlum News

January 5, 2004 (Vol. 10, No. 31)

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An award-winning weekly electronic newsletter for alumni and friends of Michigan Technological University. Written and distributed by Dean Woodbeck '78, Director of News and Information Services.

In this issue:

  • Husky Tales
  • At da Tech
  • Around Town
  • From the E-mailbag
  • E-mail Updates/Welcome to new subscribers
  • Alumni Chapter Events
  • Job Opportunities
  • Electronic Services for Alumni

Husqi Tales

Well, I love her. But I hate to paint. Now what, when painting is clearly needed?

When we built our house in 1992, we painted everything one color: walls, ceilings and inadvertently (since I was doing the work) floors. Since that time, all three bedrooms plus two bathrooms have been repainted in different colors. Even the basement got a new coat a couple of years back. But the part of the house we mostly live in--the kitchen, dining room, living room and stairway/hallway--remain Sherwin Williams White Organdy.

This is a situation my wife and, more recently daughter, have lobbied to change. After my last go-around with the bedrooms, I swore off painting. I don't like the time it takes to set up. I don’t like the clean-up and when it comes to fine motor skills, I got good looks instead.

"Let your fingers to the walking, honey, because mine are going nowhere near another paint can. I've slopped with my last brush and dumped my last roller pan. If my mama had wanted me to paint, she'd a-named me Monet."

For the last few months, my refrain has been, "You pick a color, honey, and I'll pick a painter."

It was with great surprise, then, that late last week I found these words tumbling out of my mouth, "Well, if you have a color you like, I'll paint the living room." Simultaneously, my wife and I went, "HUH?" My brain said, "Mouth, you are supposed to warn me before you do that."

So my mouth, and the rest of me, spent the weekend transforming the living room to a deep red brick kind of color (Sherwin Williams "Foxy." Whoa.). Other than a few red spots on the ceiling, everything went well. No wayward paint on non-painted surfaces (well, OK, just a spot on the carpet). No dumped cans in the basement.

I only had to repaint half the room to get rid of the lap marks. What is even more amazing is that, until this weekend, I thought a lap mark was something a dog left on your corduroys.

Unfortunately, I violated the male creed: keep expectations low. There are undoubtedly at least two more winter weekend painting fiestas now.

Snow Watch '03-'04

As of January 5, 2004 

This week Last week Last year
Snowfall to date 73.5" 51" 73"
On the ground 11" 10" 8"

See our snowfall chart, dating back to 1890, and day--by-day snowfall for this season.

At Da Tech

CARNIVAL STATUE WORK NEXT WEEK: The students return January 12 and month-long statue building can begin that day. Keep track of all the progress on our StatueCams, which will go up later this week. Broomball action starts, as well, and we'll have both courts covered this year. You'll find links to these cams, along with RipleyCam and the other campus webcams, at

FOR MORE INFORMATION from Tech, see the weekly newsletter
Tech Topics:

Around Town

CITY ADDS TO PARK: A Houghton dentist and his wife donated 80 acres of land to the city of Houghton to preserve the area for public use. Robert and Ruth Nara gave 80 acres on the south side of US-41 near the Pilgrim River, across the highway from 20 acres the couple donated to the city in 1993.

Sports Results

Last Week’s Results

Men's Ice Hockey (3-11-4 Overall, 1-7-2 WCHA)
Did Not Compete

Women's Basketball (6-3 Overall, 2-0 GLIAC)
Did Not Compete

#11 Men's Basketball (8-1 Overall, 2-0 GLIAC)
1/3 -- #3 South Dakota State 64, at #11 Michigan Tech 60

Nordic Skiing, Women's & Men's
1/3 -- Michigan Tech at U.S. National Championships, Classic
Race. No Team Scores Kept

From the E-mailbag

E-mail from Justine (Lokanis) Pratt '90 (justine_pratt at

Hi Dean!

I have a question that maybe some of Michigan Tech alumni can
answer for me. My husband, Cory ('91) and I just
started up our own business. We are writing PDA
software for the Palm OS and selling it over the
internet ( Right now we
are using COBRA for our medical insurance. After the
COBRA runs out, we need to get our own insurance. I've
looked into it and we need to find a way to use
"group" because we need to use the HIPAA law (for
preexisting conditions, etc). We have found that we
might be able to do this on our own, but I have
heard that sometimes there are organizations for the
self-employed that pool their resources and allow
members to join a group health insurance plan.

I would expect that many alumni have also ventured out
on their own. I was hoping they could share what they
have done about medical insurance.

E-mail from Dave Bezesky (dave at

I can't tell you how saddened I am to hear of the
passing of Dean Meese. I have fond memories of the
moral support I received from him back in the early
80s when family problems were having a negative impact
on my academic performance. I remember after he had
bypass surgery and retired how he used to show up for
coffee at the student union in the wee hours of the
morning. I'd always get up at 5:00 am and be in there
studying, and he'd always have a cheery smile and good
morning to offer up. I'll keep him and his family in
my prayers.

E-mail from John M Helge '76 (jhelge at

I was saddened to read of Dean Meese's passing in
today's weekly newsletter. I am sure my email will be
joined by many others in conveying our remembrance and
respect for this man who had so much influence on the
lives of so many Michigan Tech grads.

I got the opportunity to spend more time than I
initially desired with Dean Meese during my junior
year at Michigan Tech while serving as the President of my
fraternity, Kappa Delta Psi. The KD's of that era were
known more for our social activities than our academic
aptitude. There were too many 8AM Monday phone calls
at the KD house that would summon me to set up an
appointment to see Dean Meese as soon as possible that
day. Our visits would start with Dean Meese sitting
behind his desk, silently looking at me in a bemused
manner for an abnormally long period of time.
Inevitably, the guilt would kick in and I would start
talking first with a rapid fire list of excuses,
justifications, and reasons for one of our latest
indiscretions. Many times Dean Meese would smile, sit
back, and say, "I didn't even know about THAT one!
How would you and the boys like to work this one

In 1976 I was fortunate to be elected President of
Blue Key and really got to work with Dean Meese as we
planned and executed Michigan Tech Winter Carnival. He was a
master at understanding the politics of how to get
things done on campus and in the community. That was
the year we started the Winter Carnival booster club
raising funds from the local businesses that we hoped
would benefit from the influx of tourists to this
winter event. He told us that we would have to get out
into the community to sell the concept of the booster
club, and he was right. He also understood that the
University could not continue to subsidize the growing
budget for Winter Carnival and that Blue Key would
ultimately need some help.

Finally, he called me to his office in early April of
1976 to tell me that Blue Key would have to admit
qualified women or risk losing affiliation with the
University. He told me that he expected me as
President to provide this leadership. Fortunately, we
had a great group of enlightened Blue Key members who
agreed it was past time to include the women of Michigan Tech in
Blue Key. Today I am sure Dean Meese is as gratified
as I am to see so many women active in Blue Key and
everywhere on campus!

It was very fitting that Michigan Tech chose to honor
Dean Harold Meese by naming the alumni and career
center building after him while he was still alive to
see it and appreciate the sentiment held by so many
Michigan Tech alumni!

E-mail from Jeff Still (jeff.still at

Hi Dean. Like everyone else, I always enjoy your
newsletter every week. I pass a copy on to my wife at
home ('70), & my sons ('97 & one mid-college transfer
to Northern), & some other alumni friends. I was one
of those guys that Harold Meese gave a second chance
to get my act together & graduated class of '69. He
was indeed a class act & respected man on campus.
Would you be able to get an address where some of
us could send our condolences? It would be

Dean sez: You can send your messages to Harold's son,
Dale (DMEESE at

E-mail from John Baker '71 (john.r.baker at


It was with great sadness that I read of the death of
Dean Meese. He was a person who was always concerned
with the wellbeing of both the University and the
students. During my Junior year the week before
Winter term finals, I had emergency appendicitis
surgery, which also was the day our oldest son was
born (when it rains it pours) and Dean Meese
personally stopped by the hospital to see how I was
doing, but not until after he had already made the
arrangements for me to take all of my exams after I
had fully recovered.

But he had other qualities as well, like the fact that
he was always a visible part of the University, always
attending sporting events and other activities no
matter what they might be, which brings me to another

Now granted, Michigan Tech was never the biggest nor was it the
most well known school around, particularly back in
the late 60's and early 70's during the Vietnam
era when America's campuses were the scene of so much
protest and unrest. In reality, much of that had
passed us by, that is until the Kent State incident in
May, 1970, when virtually ever campus in the nation
was hit with some form of protest and Michigan Tech was no
different. There was a general strike as
well as rallies where both students and faculty
members offered their views and opinions on both Kent
State and the war in general. However, the one
thing that was different was that our Dean of Students
never locked himself away in the admin building (and
Tech had an Admin Building that always looked like it
had been designed with that very contingency in mind).
No, Dean Meese was out on the street mingling with the
students and he stayed on top of what was happening
and things stayed very calm, in part I believe due to
his public behavior.

Again, it saddens me that Dean Meese is gone, but I
know that both the school and those of us who spent
our time there during his tenure, benefited from
him being there.

E-mail from Mark Walter (waltermo at


My father and Harold Meese were good friends. I did
not get away with much at Da Tech, as "Dean" kept a
pretty close eye on me. Please publish an e-mail
address for the Meese Family so that I may send them
my sympathy for their, and Tech's, loss.

E-mail from George Wright '70
(GeorgeWright at

I was sorry to hear about the death of Dean Meese
recently. When I was attending Tech from 1966 to 1971
he was the staff member everyone knew about.
Fortunately" I never had any dealings with him
(meaning I never got caught) but he had a reputation
as a tough, but very fair man.

He was renowned for doing his best to keep toots out
of the local jail after they were convicted for M.I.P.
(minor-in-possession - I'm sure that offense never
occurs these days). Thanks to his influence with the
local judge, some students who got jail sentences got
to spend their jail time on weekends only - their
grade points went up drastically for those terms.

The most memorable story about the Dean was that when
you messed up bad, he would give you a choice. Either
write your own letter to your parents telling them
what had happened, or he would write to them himself.
It was best to write your own letter - Dean Meese had
a way with the English language.

Although a lot of students had unpleasant experiences
with him, the consensus was that the unpleasantness
was caused by the student's actions, not by Dean
Meese. He would do everything he could to keep
students in school (an important thing during the
Vietnam war) or to give them a chance to transfer to
another school rather than being expelled.

E-mail from Dana Evans (devansjd at

Dear Dean,

It was with great sadness that I read of the death of
Dean Harold Meese. I was privileged to work with him
on several student government committees in the early
80's, and will always remember him for his kindness
and sense of humor.

After a poor academic performance during my freshman
year at Tech, I finally figured out how to have a
social life and good grades, too. When I eventually
made the "Dean's List" it meant so much to have him
send a letter to my family (even though I'm sure it
was a form letter!) telling them of my achievement.
While he must have worked with thousands of students,
he always remembered to ask how my studies were going,
and to ask if I needed any help. I think he realized I
needed a little extra push to stay on task! He was
definitely one of the people who made a difference for
me during my years at Tech, and I know he made that
difference for other students, as well. I will keep
his family in my prayers.

E-mail from Kevin McDevitt '92 (kmcdevitt at

I applaud your attempts to foil spammers by the use of
the word "at" instead of the symbol " at " in the e-mail
update section of the news letter. Too often,
organizations and companies publish their members e-
mail addresses on the internet without recognizing
that spammers often use automatic programs to scan the
internet looking for obvious e-mail addresses. I have
fallen prey to this tactic from one of two sources:
my previous updates or emails published in the Tech
Alum newsletter or our local ASCE (American Society
of Civil Engineering) branch's website. Other than
these, I have always been very careful about who gets
my work e-mail address. I had since stopped posting
to the TechAlum and have not given the ASCE my updated
e-mail addresses for these reasons.

Now to take it one step farther, can you apply this
same tactic to the e-mail addresses in the E-MAILBAG
section of the newsletter?

Dean sez: That starts with this issue of TechAlum. Also, I
have removed archived editions from the Web site, until all
the "at" signs can be removed.

E-mail from Donna (Zalensas/Walen) Jones '88
(dljones3423 at

Hi Dean,

I just rejoined the list after a long hiatus. Glad to
see that you're still doing the newsletter! I've taken
a few peeks at the campus cams lately. I can't wait to
watch the statues being built next month.

We're experiencing almost spring-like conditions here
in Chicago. Temps in the 40s in late December! So far,
almost all of the snow has missed us. We got little
more than a dusting just in time for Christmas last
week, and that's long gone. I miss having to wear
boots and gloves in the wintertime, the "smell" of
snow on the breeze, and the muffled outdoor sounds
that come with a heavy snowfall. [sigh]

I've been strolling down Memory Lane a lot lately—
probably because my 20-year high school reunion is
next year)--and I really miss Houghton. I think I'm
going to work on my husband to make a trip up there
this summer. I think he and the kids would really
enjoy it.

One thing that I miss the most about the area (well,
okay a few things) are the Ambassador's Roast
Beef/French Dip sandwiches and their fishbowls
(particularly Quaaludes and Scorpions). If someone
could forward me the list of ingredients in these two
drinks off of the Ambassador menu (assuming that they
still list them), I would very much appreciate it. And
wasn't there a purple fishbowl drink? Or was it
blue? I always ordered one of the other two first, so
the details of their other drinks are a little fuzzy.

And if anyone can tell me what makes the Ambassador's
roast beef sandwiches so much better than everyone
else's, I would be forever grateful. Is it the
fishbowls that make the food taste so good? :-) I've
ordered roast beef sandwiches at restaurants from
Chicago to Atlanta over the last 15 years, and I have
yet to find one that I like as well. Do you think they
would share their recipe?

Best wishes for a happy new year to all!

E-mail from George Teachman '76
(george.teachman at


Speaking of 'little ones' (I apologize already} and

One weekend day, deep in a wonderful Tech winter, I
Was X-country skiing on the trails behind the ice
arena. At this time of the winter, we had about
five feet of snow on the ground. As I was silently
gliding down the great APO groomed trails (many
belated thanks to those folks!!) I heard a male
voice laughing and some muffled sounds I couldn't

As I came up on the guy laughing, bent over and
leaning very heavily on his poles. I saw the bottoms
of some skis waving around about a foot or so above
the snow just off the trail. By this time, I figured
out it was girl.

I looked into his face and decided I was looking at a
guy who was dead and didn't know it yet. Not wanting
to be a witness, I picked up the pace and made the
rest of the course in a personal best time! Turns
out, the guy's girl friend was visiting for the
weekend and had never been cross country skiing
before. The boy lived and hopefully learned a lesson.

Thanks for the opportunity to relive some great times.

E-mail from Ray Tabar '70 (RTabar at

I have a nice shiny John Deere snowblower and a Yooper
Scooper. When my wife decides to get at the driveway,
she chooses the Scooper. Maybe I should sell the

E-mail from David Nahikian '81 (dnahikian at

While reading the emails in a recent TechAlum News, I
was reminded of the dorm rooms and the ongoing
remodeling of Wadsworth Hall. I then thought about
the loft that I designed and built, and wondered if
the concept was still in use. What I found when
searching the Michigan Tech web site was much controversy
regarding loft designs, new requirements, and
inconsistent decisions from the Fire Marshall this
past Fall. I also read in one Lode article that in
future years, no lofts will be permitted. That would
really be the end of an era. I also noticed that
the newly prohibited "pod" or deck-type lofts were
very popular, with the mattresses beneath them. I was
not aware of any lofts of this type during my years at
Tech ('77-'81).

I designed and constructed an innovative loft in the
Fall of '78 for my Wadsworth Hall room. Instead of
being a traditional free-standing loft with four
support legs, my loft only had two legs on the floor
against one wall. Both beds were located on that
wall, with the top bed near the ceiling and the bottom
bed just below the top one. Support beams went across
the ceiling and rested against the opposite wall which
prevented the loft from falling down. Picture a very
tall bunk bed with only two legs on just one side.
There was enough room under the bottom bed for the
dresser, a stereo cabinet, or other items. The rest
of the room was wide open with no risk of bumping your
head. The R.A. reluctantly approved the loft design
after reviewing detailed sketches.

I moved off campus at the end of that school year and
sold this loft. I knew of two additional lofts built
in this style the following year. I'm interested in
hearing if this style of loft continued to be used
over the years and if any TechAlum readers knew of

E-mail from Tom Cieslinski '63 (tomciesl at

Congratulations to President Curt Tompkins for having
The mettle to reduce faculty compensation by 5 days a
year to help meet Michigan Tech's budget reduction.
In reduced budget times everyone should contribute in
helping balance the books, not, as usually the case,
just the students and/or maintenance personnel. Here
in Maine the state employees have endured three
compensation reduction periods in the last 15 years,
the worse being 10 shutdown days and 5 furlough
(employee choice) days in a year. The worse year in
addition saw our work week reduced by 1/2 hour as
well. These shutdown, furlough and reduced hours
saved a considerable amount of money for the state and
saved jobs. The overall plan was negotiated by the
union as having the least impact on service by state
government to the citizens of Maine.

I don't know all the details, but it sure sounds like
President Tompkins made a wise decision.

TechAlum Subscriber Stats

We're at 6,957 direct subscribers.

Here are the new e-mail addresses from the past week. Please note, we are
using the word "at" instead of the at sign to guard against spambots.

1960 Charles Arthur karthur at
1960 Larry Hooton larry at
1963 William Colcord wcolcord at
1964 Ed Forrester e-forrester at
1965 Dan Ala dala at
1968 Marilyn Rabideau (Sullivan) rabid114 at

1971 Joseph Vaccari joemv at
1972 Carol (Johnson) Hefferan (Hefferacarolh2 at
1972 David Byrd onefoozer at
1973 Cathleen Tarman (Sepic) cathyat at
1976 Thomas Tourville tom at
1976 Thomas Maringer maringer at
1979 Roy Moesser roymoesser at
1979 Paul Hepner paul at

1980 Alan Sipinen ajs1958 at
1980 Curtis Swick curt1 at
1980 Donald Fiori djfiori at
1981 Scott Kuyawa skuyawa at
1982 David Kubisch dkubisch at
1983 Patrick High high7205 at
1984 Marcia Sullivan (Beach) sullofmont at
1988 Philip Hill tisbeeboy at
1989 Kimberly Bylund (Warner) bylunds at

1991 Scott Brow browsk at
1992 Peter Raleigh pcraleigh at
1993 Jing-Jong Shih john.shih at
1996 Lyle Decker decker at
1996 Leigh Garrison (Murphy) lagarris2002 at
1996 Alex Attlesey aattlesey at
1997 Chris Gariepy cg73 at
1997 James Myers doeboiz at
1999 William Morris whmorris238 at

2000 Kip Ambrosius kipa at
2000 Max Wyman mdwyman at
2002 Daniel Rucinski drucinski at
2003 Bryon Freeman bpfreema at

You can update your information at:

Alumni Association Programs

CHAPTER EVENTS: For more information on alumni chapter events,
e-mail mtu_alumni at or see the alumni chapter site on the web.

Job Opportunities This Week

ON CAMPUS: Complete job descriptions for these positions are available by e-mailing jobs at

  • No new positions

OFF CAMPUS: For complete descriptions, jump to our jobs web site.

  • Quality Engineer (ME)
  • Senior Project Engineer
  • Senior Manufacturing Engineer

See you next week

TechAlum is a weekly electronic newsletter published by the Michigan Tech Alumni Association. For more information, contact Dean Woodbeck at techalum at