TechAlum News

April 19, 2004 (Vol. 10, No. 45)

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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

Hey, we've passed 7,000 subscribers (7,006 this week) for the first time ever. Thanks!

Spring seems to have crept up on the Keweenaw. Just last Tuesday, I got in the last ski of the year up on the Tech trails. Hard cores are probably still skiing up at Mandan, but it seems time to trade the tools of winter for the toys of summer.

We have some warmth and a lot of rain, including all day yesterday and all last night. It washed the rest of the snow right out of my yard. Highs this week will stay in the 40s, so it isn't exactly dogwoods and azaleas like I saw last weekend in August, Georgia. But we have some crocuses peeking up over by the mailbox and some trees are thinking about budding. The rain also greened up the lawns, so maybe the ugly season is about over.

Once things dry out, the spring and summer seasons start in earnest. Good thing non-winter only lasts about three months around here, because it includes raking, sealing, painting, staining, mowing, pounding, cleaning, maintaining, pruning, trimming and building.

Time to get out that frequent visitor punch card for the ER.

Snow Watch '03-'04

As of April 19, 2004 
This week Last week Last year
Snowfall to date 230.5" 230.5" 228"
On the ground 0" 7" 0"
See our snowfall chart, dating back to 1890, and day--by-day snowfall for this season.

At Da Tech

PROPOSAL: LIMIT TUITION INCREASE: Michigan Tech's administration will recommend that the university cap next year's tuition increase at 2.3 percent. The Board of Control will consider the recommendation on May 7.

While the state has cut this year's appropriation to Michigan Tech by 5 percent, from $49.7 million to $47.2 million, Governor Jennifer Granholm has promised to restore 3 percent, or $1.5 million, if the university holds any increase in next year's tuition to the rate of inflation, now estimated at 2.3 percent. In addition, Granholm has promised not to cut appropriations during the upcoming fiscal year for public universities that observe the tuition cap.

If the university were not to take the pledge, it would have to hike tuition 11 percent to raise an equivalent amount of revenue.

Michigan Tech Interim President Glenn Mroz told an assembly of faculty and staff last week that the university has reached its strategic goal of becoming a national university of choice. He pointed to Tech's ranking in US News & World Report as a top 50 public university and receive a recent ranking of four Michigan Tech graduate engineering programs among the best in the country.

Interim President Glenn Mroz has reorganized the administrative operations of the university to create a more efficient operation. Mroz said VP for advancement and marketing, Fred Hensley, has resigned and his responsibilities will be transferred to Les Cook, vice provost and dean of students. Services for students will be consolidated under Cook's direction, as well.

Mroz appointed Ellen Horsch, formerly director of human resources, as vice president for administration, including facilities management, the Seaman Mineral Museum, information technology, the athletic department, auxiliary services, and human resources. More:

The end of the Michigan Tech Fund's fiscal year (June) is rapidly approaching. If you plan to make a gift to the Michigan Tech Fund, please consider doing so before that time. Credit card gifts can be phoned in or made through the web site (

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

Around Town

MOUNTAIN LODGE TO WINTERIZE: Work on winterizing the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge is slated to begin a year from now, according. The $2.5 million project also includes a conference center for the site. The conference center will be finished in the summer of 2006, with the lodge’s winter operations beginning the next winter.

Stanton Township voters may be asked to approve new millage to repair the failing Redridge Dam. Board members discussed possible ballot measures for the November general election including asking residents what long-term solution is preferred and whether the township should sell the property. A millage might also be needed to pay for any solution. Five potential long-term solutions are estimated to cost between $300,000 and $1 million, funds township officials say they do not have.

Michigan Department of Transportation workers closed the northbound M-26 approach to the Portage Lake Lift Bridge this morning, kicking off a major construction project on the south side of the bridge. Northbound M-26 traffic will be re-routed through Houghton. MDOT is adding a lane on southbound M-26 between the bridge and Sharon Avenue.

The Houghton County Board of Commissioners will seek bids for an $800,000 addition to the Houghton County Arena. The project will add locker rooms for Finlandia University’s hockey teams, relocate and enlarge the current locker rooms and expand the lobby area. Finlandia has pledged about $300,000 to the project.

The Houghton City Council Wednesday voted to sell the Helman Transportation Center on Shelden Avenue to the Western Upper Peninsula Planning and Development Region after the Chamber of Commerce moves to its new visitors center this summer. WUPPDR, which occupies the building’s downstairs offices, says it hopes to secure a tenant soon. Proceeds from the $135,000 sale, along with a $150,000 donation from former Houghton businessman William Hodge, will pay for the chamber’s new visitors center in the old Peninsula Travel building on College Avenue.

From the E-mailbag

E-mail from Jerry Ziarno '59 (GZiarno(at)

Dear Dean,

In this week's TechAlum News, Ken Kok '64 claims that
the first Winter Carnival Pictorial was published in
1964. I was president of Blue Key in 1958-59 and we
definitely published a pictorial of the Winter
Carnival that year and I don't think that was the
first one. I'm sure the 1964 issue was memorable one
and it may have been different, but it wasn't the
first one.

Dean sez: This year's Pictorial bills itself as the 41st annual, which would make
the first 1963. All you historians—was there a prior publication similar to the Pictorial,
but called something different?

E-mail from Christine (Flis) Golden '81


What fun I have reading the newsletter! Talk of the
Redridge dam brings to mind the trips I used to take
with the Michigan Tech Fourwheelers during the 1976-79 years.
Most of the roads we took were undeveloped at that
time. We crossed several two-track bridges that would
make MDOT shudder. We ran out to Freda and Redridge,
climbed the fire tower at Mount Bohemia in the fall,
floated a Fiat across beaver ponds, and cooked hot-
dogs on a fire at the beach in the spring, before
anyone else would think of getting out. We welcomed
Jim Sunday's trip into town on his motorcycle to get
Togo's subs for lunch when we were busy digging and
winching jeeps and trucks out of the snow, and best of
all, we drove the Mandan road around the tip. It was
a trip to be remembered, the highlight of which was
Keystone Bay (not Keystone Harbor). For some reason
that remains my favorite of all UP places. I know
that our Fourwheelers Leader of the time (Larry
Newland) has passed on, but are there any other
4Wheelers out there that have stories to share? Is
the club still active?

Dean sez: The club is still very active. I've seen them out cleaning up trails
and I see a lot of trucks around town with their window sticker.

E-mail from Bob Carnahan '53 (partec(at)

Dean, I just read your latest and was most impressed
by Larry Watson's notes. I too was a student during
the administration of President Dillman. As a
professional associate of President Ray Smith, a
graduate school classmate at Minnesota and longtime
friend of Dale Stein, and a member of Curt Tompkins
advisory board from day one of his administration, I
will go on record as an admirer of his dedication and
contributions to Michigan Tech.

In no way would I demean the works of Ray or Dale,
both of whom brought great changes to Michigan Tech, but Curt
has dragged and led the university into the future.
Unfortunately with the current administration in
Washington and the concomitant cuts in federal support
to the states of higher, secondary, and primary
education, even as it tries to exploit the buzz word
of "No Child Left Behind," Michigan Tech has suffered some
severe slings.

The operation of a modern University is not unlike the
operation of an independent business, the difference
is that the shareholders are the students, their
parents who fund education via tuition and taxes, the
state with underwriting responsibility to its
constituents, and the University faculty and staff who
rely on a student population for longevity. That
population in turn exists and thrives on the vitality
of the programs and enthusiasm for learning that is
offered to and invested in the students by the

The traditions of management in virtually all
institutions of higher learning are in the least non-
entrepreneurial, that is to say hard to vest with
ultimate fiduciary responsibility. It is very hard if
at all possible to alter status quo, Washington D.C.
is my case in point. I wish to thank both Curt and
Cathy for the personal sacrifices they have made to
bring Michigan Tech to its current position of
national prominence, for doing a great job with the
resources provided, and its posture for continued

E-mail from Joe Fishbein '75 (jmf(at)


My most memorable Michigan Tech concert was the 1974 Winter
Carnival concert. The band originally scheduled was
one of the older 1960s rock groups (Grass Roots, I
think), but they had to cancel at the last minute.
Instead, hasty arrangements were made to have an older
blues band perform ... led by the amazing and
legendary Muddy Waters! I was photo manager for the
Lode and yearbook at the time, and quickly assigned
myself to photograph that concert. It was one of the
most energetic and powerfully-moving concerts I've
ever attended.

I still kick myself, though, for leaving the concert
so quickly when it was over. Had I stayed around a
few minutes longer, I might have learned that Muddy
and his band were going to the basement of Wadsworth
Hall, where they supposedly jammed until the wee hours
of the morning. Seeing that would have been the
experience of a lifetime!

E-mail from Tom Kirby '54 (thomas.kirby(at)

Speaking of concerts--how about the Saturday night
Franke Yankovich came to South Range (winter of 1954)?
This was not a Tech function, but people actually
drove in from as far away as the Soo (East) and Duluth
(West)! Wow! A 600 mile Winter round trip just to hear
Franke Yankovich!

E-mail from Greg Stewart '89 (GTStewart(at)


I was thrilled to hear of the second place that the
Jazz Lab Band received. For non-music majors to beat
9 out of 10 groups that are music majors is a
fantastic accomplishment. Please send my
congratulations to Mike and band.

Also, good job to you, Dean, for not giving up on the
climbing wall. It would have been easy to stop after
the first attempt, but you got back up and tried

Each Monday, I look forward to getting the newsletter.
Thanks for keeping it coming, sometimes even more than
once a week ;-)

E-mail from Sherman DeForest '61 (SDeForest(at)


In regards to the letter from George DeRoche '60 in
the April 12 issue of TechAlum about the Louis
Armstrong and Kingston Trio concerts: I, too, attended
both concerts. They were my first experiences with
seeing major celebrities in real life. During the
Armstrong concert, I walked up to the stage to get a
picture of Satchmo playing. He saw me coming and
walked over to the corner near me, spread his arms out
and smiled just as I flashed. His generous act
produced a great picture. I realized at that moment
that he was not only a superb musician, but he was a
great human being as well.

The Kingston Trio experience has a poignant
denouement. Recently, more than forty years after
their Tech concert, a very gray Kingston Trio played
at the San Diego County Fair. They were not featured
headliners at the main stage, but daytime performers
at a smaller side stage. Dave Guard looked at the
audience of similarly aging fans and said the trio
would now sing one of their original songs that they
had sung when they started nearly a half century
earlier and they wouldn't change a single word. They
hit a couple of chords and then started "They're
rioting in Africa. There's strife in Iran." For those
of us who remember all the words to this classic, it
was chilling given the current state of the world. A
gasp and then a hush came over the crowd while they
sang, and when they were done, after a long silent
moment, we applauded because that's what you do at a
concert, but the serious praise had already come in
that moment of silence spontaneously given.

E-mail from Patrick Waara (waara(at)

Hi Dean,

I had fallen behind in my reading of TechAlum, so
forgive me if this has been mentioned before, but
there is a site for Yooper Alumni to help folks keep
connected. It's free. They have some nice pictures and
useful information. Knowing that there are a lot of
U.P. high school alumni on the techalum list, I
thought it might be interesting to post.

Hope all is well and keep up the great work.

E-mail from Gail Richter '61 (richter2(at)

I was at the Louis Armstrong and Kingston Trio
concert, too. In fact, I had a front row seat for the
Kingston Trio who played in the old Sherman Gym then.
I'm still a fan and still have their LPs. Satchmo was
there the year before & the year after the Trio. What
"impressed" me then was that he told the exact same
jokes in the second concert that I had heard in the
first concert 2 years before!

E-mail from Lou Piper (QualPro1(at)

Last week, someone wrote" Between jobs at Tech and in
Marquette I/we lighted or announced Peter Frampton,
Dolly Parton, BTO, the Shrine Circus and the
Lippizaner Stallions..."

I seem to remember those "Royal Lippizaners" were
stuck in Houghton on a northern crossing from was snowing horribly and the Ice Arena
became the safe haven. I was with APO and we all
pulled together for a show or two.

Michigan Tech would not be the normal stop off place
for such a show.

From: Roland Griffith '47 (grif(at)

Hi Dean!

Now that summer has arrived on the Olympic Peninsula,
I'm dragging out the patio set. Here's my report on
TREX: After three years my deck looks superb, a trifle
faded, but otherwise wonderful. After 7 years of
trying to maintain a cedar deck, scrubbing, sanding,
and refinishing every year or two, I can now sit down
in one of these chairs, suck up a cool one and
contemplate the wonders of science. Our deck is about
600sf, pentagonal (my wife, the designer), with the
5/4 boards set at 45deg to the house. I have a couple
words of advice: be sure all the TREX comes from a
single color lot, there are some subtle differences.
If you are cutting lots of angles, build a jig first.
And, do use the recommended support spacings, TREX
gets quite flexible when warm. Anyone want the prints?

Lots to do out here, even for an old-timer like me.
I've been thinking about designing a new-and-improved
riding-type mower. You sure don't get anything but
troubles with the $2000+ models that are so common out
here. I'm on my third and looking for something
better. It would be a great project for some ME team.

TechAlum Subscriber Stats

We're at 7,006 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.

1969 Jerry Kahn jdkahn(at)
1976 Michael Strong 5strongs(at)
1980 Thomas Andrews tmandrews(at)
1980 Chris Schmidt cts46811(at)
1982 Timothy Lorencz lorenczfam(at)
1988 Charles Sannes csannes(at)
1989 Keith Ramsay kramsay(at)
1990 Jeffrey Tafel jjtafel(at)
1990 Deena VanCamp (Darnell) stork(at)
2000 William Gressick gressick(at)
2001 Aron Dignum aron.dignum(at)
2001 Bradley Spindler bdspindl(at)
2002 Kyle Grahn kyle_grahn(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.

Wednesday, April 21, 7-9 pm, MUB Ballroom -- The Keweenaw Chapter is
hosting a Back to School night for in conjunction with Tech's Undergraduate
Expo 2004, which spotlights senior design projects, undergraduate student research
and Enterprise teams. There is no charge for this event and no registration is
necessary. Light refreshments provided by the Michigan Tech Alumni Association.


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

26 -- Green Bay Chapter Golf Outing Contact Suzanne
Berkovitz (sberkovitz(at)

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

  • No new postings

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

  • sales engineer
  • biochemical engineering manager
  • metallurgist
  • RN case 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