TechAlum News

March 29, 2004 (Vol. 10, No. 43)

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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

TOMPKINS PRESIDENCY ENDS: Curt Tompkins concluded more than 12 years as Michigan Tech's eighth president on Friday, March 26. Board of Control Chair David Brule also announced the appointment of Glenn Mroz, dean of forest resources and environmental science, as interim president.

The announcement came at a special session of the Board of Control, which was requested by Tompkins. In a letter to Brule on March 16, Tompkins requested the meeting to "begin the transition of leadership of Michigan Technological University."

The board granted Tompkins the title of President Emeritus and passed a resolution to honor his many accomplishments. The board will begin the process of a search for a new president, which could take a year.

The press release is at

Husqi Tales


We’ve seen a lot of them in the last 12 years. Now comes the toughest transition a university can face: searching for a new president.

Michigan Tech has changed substantially since Tompkins arrived in 1991. At the time, I worked in the alumni and advancement office, which included all the fund-raisers. The Michigan Tech Fund had a good year if giving totaled $3 million.

Now, Michigan Tech Fund trustees get nervous when giving dips below $15 million.

That’s one transition--we have changed how we define success.

The most visible transition is the face of the campus. The Dow Environmental Sciences and Engineering Building, two major additions to the forestry complex, the Harold Meese Center, the Peter Grant Hockey Educational Center--these are some of the eight major projects completed since 1991.

But the transition that may last longest is how Michigan Tech is viewed internally and externally. In the early 1990s, US News & World Report ranked us among regional universities--we were among the best in the Midwest.

Today, we have a loftier spot in the "national university" category and we’re typically included among the top 50 public universities in the country.

In Michigan, only the University of Michigan and Michigan State compete in that category.

As you have read, Tech has recently had budget problems that extend beyond cuts from the state of Michigan. We’ve had votes of no confidence, tuition increases and compensation roll-backs.

Perhaps this transition will heal these recent wounds. Transitions mean evolution. Thriving institutions use times for transition to improve and take positive steps forward.

May this be the case at Michigan Tech.

Snow Watch '03-'04

As of March 29, 2004 

This week Last week Last year
Snowfall to date 228.0" 228.0" 220"
On the ground 18" 28" 23"
See our snowfall chart, dating back to 1890, and day--by-day snowfall for this season.

At Da Tech

BUETTNER EARNS ALL-AMERICA HONORS: Junior Josh Buettner of the Michigan Tech men's basketball team has been named to the Daktronics Division II All-America First Team as one of the top five players in the country. Buettner, who was the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Player of the Year, led the league in both scoring (22.3 points per game) and blocks (1.2).

NEW ACADEMIC PROPOSALS: The University Senate has received proposals for three new concentrations for bachelor's degree programs, as well as for a BS program in Wildlife Ecology and Management. The new concentrations include construction management technology within the BS in Engineering Technology, photonics within the BS in Electrical Engineering, and education preparation within the BS in Mathematical Sciences.

FIRST TEAM EARNS PRAISE: Their robot was "elegant" and their spirit "vibrant." That's high praise from the judges and earned a team of high school and Michigan Tech students the prestigious Delphi Driving Tomorrow's Technology Award at the Detroit Regional FIRST Robotics competition. The regional took place March 18-20 at Wayne State University.

The FIRST Robotics Competition is an international competition that brings together experts and young people to solve an engineering design problem. The local team is one of a small minority that rely on college students, not professional engineers, to coach the high school participants. More:

TECH OFFERS TEACHER INSTITUTES: Michigan Tech will offer teachers the chance to explore Lake Superior or study forest resources and ecology this summer. Participants in the Ecology of the Great Lakes Institute will sail on the Lake Guardian, an advanced research vessel operated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The Forest Resources and Environmental Sciences Institute will draw on the resources of Michigan Tech's Ford Forestry Center. See:

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

Around Town

STANTON CONSIDERS DAM BIDS: The Stanton Township Board has received two bids from contractors for temporarily lowering the water level behind the deteriorating timber crib dam near Redridge. The two bids were from Tony Burcar Contracting of Hubbell for $49,500 and Kiser-Johnson and Co. of Norway for $144,250. The bids are based on preliminary plans prepared by professional engineer Thomas Prehoda of Ypsilanti, who has been retained by the township board to develop long-term solutions.

The two suspects accused of robbing a Calumet gas station clerk at gunpoint Feb. 13 pleaded guilty to armed robbery Wednesday in the 12th Circuit Court in Houghton. Raymone Thomas, 24, and Marlon Lashon Hardnick, 28, both of Calumet, are each charged with one count of armed robbery. The charge is a felony carrying a maximum sentence of life in prison. The pair will be sentenced April 28 by 12th Circuit Court Judge Garfield Hood.

Well-known Marquette-area journalist Bud Sargent is the new managing editor at the Daily Mining Gazette. Sargent has been a reporter at the Marquette Mining Journal for 15 years. He replaces Bruce Heisel, who is leaving the Gazette for a similar position in southeastern Wisconsin.

From the E-mailbag

E-mail from Mike Hiler '00 (michael.hiler(at)

Hi Dean,

With all the recent discussion of Yooper slang
(toots), I thought I would throw my two cents in. I
was recently on vacation in the Dominican Republic. I
was on a snorkeling excursion, and someone next to me
exclaimed, "Holy Whaa!" (sorry about the spelling).
Being that my wife is from Painsdale, and most of her
friends and family use that same expression, I had
heard that particular phase before. I immediately
"knew" that the gentlemen in question must be from the
UP. Turns out the were from Escanaba, and moved away
in the late 70's. Anyone know how that unusual
euphemism came about? Anyway, I love the newsletters,
even when I get two a week. Thanks

E-mail from Rob Reynolds (rob(at)

In the "you know you're getting old" department...

You know you're getting old when not only do you not
notice getting a duplicate TechAlum News, but you also
read both of them!

E-mail from Joe Masterson '70


I really enjoy the stories about Fr. McGee in the
newsletter. One that I have not I have not heard
anyone tell is that Fr. Bill was also a very good brew
meister. He made his own home brew, and I am sure got
several of us started on making our own after we
graduated. I can remember getting back to school early
one year and my father and I sitting talking to Fr.
Bill and him bring out some to share with us. To clean
the bottles he would take them down to Bosch brewery,
it was still in operation in the late '60s and they
would run them through the cleaner and sterilizer for
him. It would have been a lot easier than having to do
them by hand like most of us have to do.

E-mail from Dick Barclay (BARCLAYR(at)


I know I'm late on this, they are kind of private
memories and I hesitated to bring them out in the
open. Maybe some students (especially the families
from Daniel Heights) will remember his admonitions to
stop pinching their babies so their cries would stop
his sermons early. I also remember a Mother's Day
sermon that started with his holding up a centerfold
from Playboy magazine and saying (as I remember it)
"Nobody's mother looks like this!" Boy did that get us
focused on what he had to say later.

There was also a student/friend who stated his family
had a tradition of putting a can of beer in the
collection plate upon graduation from Tech.
Not to be outdone my brother who was home from the
army and I made it a point to sit in the pew behind
him complete with an IOU note. As the collection plate
passed us with the beer we poured it into two glasses
we had ready and put the IOU in the empty can and
placed it back in the plate as it passed behind us.
Best guiltily drunk beer I ever had! Neither of us
ever graduated from Tech though I am happy to say he
(my brother) just got back from Kuwait where his unit
was repairing helicopters.

He took me to Escanaba once, we stayed with one of his
aunts who met us at the door at about midnight and
hosted us to conversation in her kitchen with long
neck beers and a plate of chocolate chip cookies. She
joined us, obviously enjoying both, and if I remember
right the seventy two year old aunt sent us off to bed
about 2 A.M.

The man was a joy and I've no doubt there are far more
wonderful stories out there than my few silly ones but
the man had a deep impression on me.

E-mail form Jonathan Piel '93 (jkpiel(at)


Thank-you for the many updates, including the recent
developments with the Redridge Dam(s). Those dams were
always a favorite while Copper Country Cruisin', and
an easy destination after driving through Covered
Road. One evening, while standing atop the
wooden/earthen dam with the moonlight coming down, it
struck me that it was one of the most beautiful,
peaceful places I'd experienced.

The January after graduating, I took my girlfriend
back to Houghton for Winter Carnival, to show her the
sights that had so enthralled me, and to ask for her
hand in marriage atop the wooden Redridge Dam.
Unfortunately, the 3-4 feet deep snow from the road to
the dam proved too great a challenge for my girlfriend
to wade through, and we gave up. Back at the car--
cold, wet, and tired--I had to quickly think up a new
(accessible) plan. I ended up proposing later that
night overlooking the shimmering lights of Houghton
from Quincy outlook.

She still said yes.

E-mail from Gary Treleven '67 (gatreleven(at)


The Bob Seger stories in recent newsletters remind me
of a concert my wife and I attended in 1966 during
Winter Carnival. A group called "The Mitchell Trio"
made an appearance on campus in the old Sherman Gym.
The Mitchell Trio was one of many folk groups
performing in the '60s. While other similar groups
developed larger followings, we thoroughly enjoyed the
concert. We were particularly impressed by a young man
who had recently joined the group as a replacement for
the group's founder (Chad Mitchell). The young man
had a unique singing quality and he played a fine 12
string guitar. His name was John Denver.

E-mail from Brad Larsen '84 (brad(at)

As long as we are telling concert stories, here goes.
In 1981 I went (I drove) to Marquette for the REO
Speedwagon High Infidelity tour concert. We went in my
1977 Dodge Magnum. Red Rider was the warmup band. But,
none of that is the purpose of this email. I bought a
t-shirt that night and my oldest son (14) is still
wearing it!!

BTW. REO is playing at Rock-Fest in Cadott, WI with
Styx this summer. I know I'm sick, but I've seen REO
about 25 times!

I also saw Head East and Trooper in the early 80's.
That was my third Head East gig.

But, does anyone remember The Tubes in Marquette in
the early 80's. How about April Wine? Also Harry
Chapin's brother (Tom?) sometime in the early 80's.

Also of interest to any true techie:

Five years ago I moved to the Green Bay area. In West
De Pere there was a bar named Gino's. Being a true Michigan Tech
grad I had to check it out. Turns out that the owners
were one and the same with the owners of Gino's in
Hancock in the 70's and early 80's. Same pizza recipe
also! They sold the place about 3 years ago. That sale
didn't last long. But, about 9 months ago, a Michigan Tech grad
(Joe Harkness, circa 1979) and his wife Chris (circa
1980) bought it. They still serve the same great pizza
recipe. It is now called "The Keweenaw".

E-mail from Pete Schierloh (Forthbrdge(at)


I'm a 96' grad in Civil Engineering that is currently
working in the railroad industry near Madison,
Wisconsin. Like many that attended Tech I became an
avid Copper Country cruiser and became familiar with
the local history. As a railroad fan that interest in
history extended to a rusting steam locomotive parked
next to the old Quincy smelter in Ripley, that at one
time had been the Copper Range Railroad #29.

The #29 is the last steam locomotive that survives
from the Copper Range Railroad, a company that was
part of Keweenaw history for nearly 70 years. Now,
after years of neglect, Mid-Continent Railroad Museum
in North Freedom, Wisconsin wants to procure and
cosmetically restore the #29.

I have e-mailed several of my friends from Tech,
urging them to donate and pass the word, and I know
the railfans and history buffs amongst my former
classmates are helping out. One of my friends from
Tech, Mike French, suggested I write you and see if
the net could be cast wider, capturing the attention
of the railfans and history buffs amongst a broad
range of Tech alumni, not just the class of '95 and
'96. There are probably quite a few alumni that have
fond memories of the Copper Range Railroad, and even
the #29. It would be nice to let them know that
something is being done to save a small piece of those
memories, and they can help contribute if they

For more info, go to

E-mail from Leo Foco (ljfoco(at)


I enjoy the weekly newsletter. Keep up the good
work. I have many fond memories from my days at Tech.

Tech students were called "Toots" way back when I
started attending Tech in 1948 at the far eastern end
of the campus at the Soo. I was told at the time by an
upperclassman that it originated earlier when Tech was
called "Mich. Engineering Institute". Anyone attending
was referred to as a "tute". Over the years the
spelling changed to "Toots" but still meant Tech
students. Referral by the locals (young single men)
was not always intended to be complimentary. After
all, the "Toots" represented significant competition
for the attention of the local beauties

E-mail form Steve Saxton (sdsaxton(at)


I was talking to an early 2000's grad mentioning the
newsletter and a discussion came up of how lucky he
was to have a Micky D's in town when he went to Tech.
Being up there in 75-76, the road trips to Marquette
are well remembered. The one that stands out the most
is in 1976 after spending a Easter weekend with the
folks at Hougthon Lake, my wife (7 months pregnant)
and I, stopped in Marquette for our final McDonald's
(until after baby)--we thought. When we arrived at
married housing in the Heights we realized that my
wife had left her purse in Marquette. After calling
McDonald's and telling them of the situation, they
informed us that the only way that she could retrieve
her purse was to claim it in person. No special
dispensation for pregnancy!! So after already
traveling eight hours, it was back to Marquette, the
claiming of the purse and another burger and fries.

E-mail from Jason Bowens '98 (JasonB5151(at)

Hi Dean,

My name is Jason Bowens (class of '98). My brother,
Matthew Bowens, was one of the two Detroit police
officers brutally slain on Feb 16. We've started a
petition drive to try and change the legislation and
I'm trying to reach large numbers of people in a short
time. My father and I have been on the news in the
Detroit area several times but I was wondering if you
could help us reach the rest of the state.

If you could let alumni know of our loss and our
efforts and give them the contact info, then perhaps
they would check the website and offer assistance. One
article in the weekly newsletter might help our family
make something good come from my brother and
Jennifer's terrible murder. They died trying to
protect all of us and I think it's the least we can do
to honor their heroism.

email info(at)

TechAlum Subscriber Stats

We're at 6,968 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.

1954 John Dlouhy jdlouhy(at)
1976 Kenneth Dahl ya2daup(at)
1979 James Snoeyink jssnoeyink(at)
1984 Mark Kellogg mkellogg(at)
1985 Kenneth Waite kennet5377(at)
1986 David Riley Irishyoyo(at)
1991 Todd List tjlist(at)
1992 John Nielsen jenielsen(at)
1996 Christopher Leitheiser cjl7n(at)
2000 Meagan Roe meaganroe(at)
2001 Jeffrey Goodney jgoodney(at)
2001 Darinda Miller dmmiller214(at)
2002 Daniel Mattson dan_mattson(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.


5 -- Washington DC Presidential reception
19 -- Dallas Presidential Reception
20 -- Austin Presidential Reception
21 -- San Antonio Presidential Reception
22 -- Houston Presidential Reception
22 -- West Michigan Chapter Annual Spring Dinner, Kent
Country Club, Grand Rapids

12 -- Detroit Chapter Golf Outing, Fox Creek, Livonia

31 -- West Michigan Chapter -- Whitecaps Baseball Outing
and BBQ Picnic, Fifth Third Park

Job Opportunities This Week

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

  • Research Associate, School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science

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

  • Manufacturing Engineer
  • Power Electronics Engineer
  • Field Engineer/Geologist
  • Application Engineer
  • Forest Technology Faculty
  • Estimator/Project Manager

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