TechAlum News

May 10, 2004 (Vol. 11, No. 1)

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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

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY: Today marks the end of ten years of the TechAlum newsletter or, should I say, the beginning of the 11th year. The first issue appeared in May 1994, when e-mail was in its infancy, where everything was still text-based and we were talking about things like Gopher servers. We had 30 subscribers and we now hover at around 7,000.

The newsletter and your discussions have helped to spark many Web and e-mail services that we now take for granted, including a web-based e-mail directory, a jobs database and the TechJobNet newsletter, and the recently introduced alumni bulletin board. Thank you for your support and participation.


U-Hauls, pick-up trucks overloaded Okie-style with dressers and mattresses, restaurants filled to capacity and a steady stream of southbound weekend traffic on US-41. Must be commencement time at Michigan Tech.

At what other time can you see two or three gowned students strut into Taco Bell Saturday afternoon with parents and little brothers in tow? Or pass a robed student walking down Sharon Avenue, smiling and waving at everyone who gives a congratulatory honk of the horn?

Yes, mah brothers and sisters, last Saturday we had hundreds join us as alumni of this fine institution. They come from the land of senior projects and senior walk, final exams and final goodbyes, engaging presentations and engagement rings.

In a few years, they'll move from fighting computer cookies to selling Girl Scout cookies and trade their book bags for diaper bags. And they don't even know it yet.

It seems like just yesterday I was sitting in the ice arena, surreptitiously holding my future wife's hand during all the speechifying. (Only neither of us knew of this future stuff, since she was moving to Jackson, Michigan, and I was off to Richmond, Virginia. Not to mention the little fact that she had a boyfriend not named Dean.)

Who knew we'd someday be approaching 24 years of marriage--and that we'd spend most of them in Hancock? When I'm at commencement, I always look out at the sea of mortarboards (some with messages, like "Hi Mom," "Thanks Dad" and "Send Money") and wonder what their futures hold and hope that we at the university have again done our jobs to prepare them, not only for the intellectual challenges, but for the challenge of living life to its fullest.

ALUMNI BULLETIN BOARD: Remember the alumni bulletin board for you to use for discussions related to this newsletter, Tech sports, or anything else. Current topics include a discussion on book bags and the webcast/televising of hockey games. Take a test drive at

At Da Tech

BUSINESS STUDENTS BEAT MARKET: Michigan Tech's Applied Portfolio Management Program (APMP) outperformed the market indexes by 10 percent--beating 95 percent of all public mutual funds last year. The APMP team's bond and equity portfolio returned 19.34 percent versus a 9.71 percent return on their benchmarks. See their year-end presentation.

Started in the Fall of 1998, the APMP annually selects students to manage a portfolio of real money over the next academic year. These students form an investment team, develop an investment philosophy and strategy, present their approach to a Board of Advisors, and finally implement the approved strategy in the financial markets.

WHAT'S NEXT? "BEAM ME UP?": Michigan Tech students have developed a new plug-and-play device that might someday do anything from track local weather to measure the gas mileage on your car. Dubbed the TRIcorder for short in honor of Star Trek's universal diagnostic tool, the Transportable Research Instrument System has three parts: a Palm Pilot hand-held computer to process and display data, a cube to gather that data, and special docking device that electronically links the two other parts and lets them work together. More:

PRELIMINARY BUDGET SHOWS DEFICIT: Michigan Tech will continue to cut spending and streamline operations to reduce a projected $7.9 million general fund deficit for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2004 (fiscal year 2005). In a meeting May 7, the university's Board of Control discussed a preliminary budget, which will be revised over the next few weeks. Interim President Glenn Mroz said his goal is to have a balanced general fund budget to present to the board's finance committee in mid-June. More:

TECH TO HOLD TUITION TO 2.3 PERCENT: Michigan Tech's Board of Control voted to hold tuition increases in check next year in an agreement with Governor Jennifer Granholm. The governor has promised to restore 3 percent of universities' budgets (for Tech, that is $1.5 million) if tuition increases are at or below the increase in the Detroit consumer price index. In addition, Granholm has promised not to cut appropriations during the upcoming fiscal year for public universities that observe the tuition cap. More:

BOARD APPROVES DEGREE PROGRAMS: The Board of Control gave initial approval to several new degree programs: a BS in Wildlife Ecology and Management and Master of Forestry and Master of Science degrees in Forest Ecology and Management, Applied Ecology, and Forest Molecular Genetics and Biotechnology. The Department of Humanities has developed a BA degree in Communication and Culture Studies with three concentrations: contemporary culture, communication in human interactions and global contexts, and communication media.

The new degree programs now go before the State Board of Academic Officers and must receive final approval from the Board of Control before being adopted. More on the board meeting.

HOCKEY CAMPAIGN RAISES MATCH: Michigan Tech's Hockey Enrichment Campaign, with a goal of raising $3 million by August 2005, has successfully raised the funds necessary to complete phase one of a matching challenge by an anonymous donor. The anonymous donor's agreement calls for the hockey program to have raised $400,000 by the end of April 2004. More than $420,000 was raised. The second phase provides matching funds for up to $300,000 raised between now and August 31. Provided that goal is met, the third and final phase of the challenge provides matching funds for up to $200,000 raised between September 1 and December 31. More:

BASH THE MEDIA? NOT QUITE: A "Bash at the Big House" Media Tour begins today at 10:30 am with a press conference in Houghton. The news conference will be broadcast live on
920 AM and an audio file will be available later in the day at The tour moves to Grand Rapids (Grand Valley) tomorrow (10:30 am) and Detroit (Hockeytown Café; 12:30 pm) on Wednesday.

Bash at the Big House will take place Saturday, November 6, 2004, with Michigan Tech hosting two-time defending national champion Grand Valley State in an NCAA Division II football game at Michigan Stadium. More info at

TECH TRACKSTER TAKES HAMMER CROWN: Justin Blake became a GLIAC Champion as he won the hammer throw with a toss of 173-11 at the GLIAC Championships at Hillsdale last week. Justin Gillespie took second in the high jump and matched the school record with a leap up 6-8. For the women, Jess Miron jumped her personal best of 35-11.25 to take fourth place in the triple jump. Kendra Wolk placed seventh in the 10,000 meters in a time of 41:43.65.

NEW TECHNOLOGY DEAN NAMED: Scott J. Amos, head of the Department of Industrial Management at Southwest Missouri State University, has been named Michigan Technological University's new dean of technology. His appointment is effective June 1. Amos will also serve as Michigan Tech's dean of distance learning. More:

TECH FUND YEAR-END REMINDER: 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

SHORT-TERM GAS SHORTAGE AT ROCK HARBOR: Isle Royale National Park officials say the fueling station at Rock Harbor will be closed until June 15, although stations at Windigo on the west side of the island remain open. Last year, the Park Service had to remove its barge from service after it failed a Coast Guard inspection.

By the way, seaplane service to Isle Royale is back-although the plane will depart from the Houghton County Airport instead of taking off and landing on Portage Lake. More:

COMMUNITIES LOOK TO FRESHEN UP: Seven Upper Peninsula communities will take part in a W.K. Kellogg Foundation project to enhance the appearance of key thoroughfares. Houghton will look at its M-26 corridor between WalMart and Sharon Avenue, Ontonagon will use the grant in conjunction with the Michigan Department of Transportation bridge and highway relocation project to create a more inviting feel to its downtown. Bruce Crossing will work in an area spanning one mile from the M-28/US-45 intersection, where they will try to maximize scenic views of the water and identify key land use areas.

"SWEATER LETTER" ON COURT TV: A "Forensic Files" episode featuring the 1992 murder of Judy Blake Moilanen in Ontonagon will premiere June 9 at 9 p.m. on Court TV.
The case has been dubbed "The Sweater Letter" case because of a forged letter by the convicted murderer, Judy's husband Bruce, as well as a book about the case with the same title by author David Distel.

From the E-mailbag

E-mail from Karen Henry '78 (Karen.S.Henry(at)


So, I just read your story. Here's my (Tech Toot) take
on it: Graphs of 'child speed' (slope upward) and
'parent speed' (slope downward), as a function of
parent age, only intersect at one point, which
represents about one second of will
probably never wait for him again. Enjoy it.

E-mail from Rob Reynolds '84 (rob(at)

Hey Dean,

Saw the story about the fire at the Gundlach building.
I'm guessing that old Herman Gundlach has long since
departed? I recall once running a copy of the Lode
down to him -- he hadn't received his copy for some
reason. He was so impressed that the editor would
bring one personally and so quickly that he had to
reward me. Despite my protests, I recall being given
some words of wisdom (long since forgotten, hate to
admit!) along with a box containing a dime and a pair
of small folding scissors (I still have both). One of
the things I always liked about Tech and Houghton was
the relative accessibility of extraordinary people
like Herman, Dale Stein, and others.

As always, I enjoy the weekly newsletter.

Dean sez: Herman Gundlach is alive and well in Houghton.

E-mail from JOWAY(at)

Dean, after enjoying your newsletters for years I
somehow formed an image of what you look like in my
mind. Upon seeing your picture in the Alumni magazine
I must tell you that you don't look anything like your
supposed to.

Dean sez: That's why my wife told me to leave the photo out when she saw the proofs. "Keep 'em guessing," she said. But did I listen?

E-mail from Brent Lyons '85 (blyons(at)


Thanks for the great newsletter. Regarding your last
letter - I think it would be great if there was a map
online of the campus trails around campus. Is there
such a map to look at? Keep up the great work on the

Dean sez: Tech's mountain bike trail map is at Other area trail maps are at

E-mail from Nancy Bach (n.oconbach(at)


I had a great opportunity to represent Tech at an
NACAC college fair in Rochester NY this past weekend
and wanted to let other alumni know how they could get
involved. Over 300 colleges participated, so the event
was a big draw. Sixty-plus busloads of high school
kids came through. Many students who had never heard
of Tech (or maybe even Michigan!) stopped in for
information. A lot of these kids were interested in
engineering and were surprised to hear what a great
school Michigan Tech is and what an excellent financial value it
offers, even to non-Michigan residents.

It was rewarding to help these kids get more
information on their career and education options and
fun to get together with another alumni to
reminisce about our years in Houghton. See the NACAC
website ( for schedules
of upcoming college fairs across the country and
contact Steph Olsson (sbolsson at or Tanya
Maki (tfmaki at to see if they need
volunteers to help spread the good word about Michigan Tech.

E-mail from Mark Lienau (mlienau(at)

Hi Dean:

Regarding your tales of mountain biking and rites of
passage, I think I found something that will make the
transition a little bit more tolerable. Of course, now
you will have to fight over who gets to steer.

Happy Trails!

TechAlum Subscriber Stats

We're at 6,999 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.

1946 Fred Layne fml2626(at)
1963 William Mundinger wmunding(at)
1967 Melvin Tabar meltabar(at)
1970 Robert LeMonds robert.a.lemonds(at)
1972 Kerry Irons irons54vortex(at)
1972 Edward Baillargeon ednancy2(at)
1974 J. Brian Hoyt jbh1952(at)
1975 Charles Boyll aerypost(at)
1979 Nancy Trierweiler (Schwaiger) ntree(at)
1988 Sheila Gombar-Fetner (Gombar) fet2842(at)
1989 Scott Diring sdiring(at)
1992 Diane Laughlin (Laituri) laughldi(at)
1995 Michael Pingel mpingel(at)
1996 Rebecca Nelson rmonroe(at)
1998 Teresa Trewhella (Lukkari) rewhellas(at)
1999 Matthew Potter matthew.j.potter(at)
2000 Thad Horton twhorton1(at)
2000 Timothy Grunlund tgrunlund(at)
2002 Drew Niemi dniemi(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.


26 -- Green Bay Chapter Golf Outing-Mid-Vallee.
Contact Suzanne Berkovitz (sberkovitz(at)
by May 21.


5 -- West Michigan Chapter Golf Outing, Saskatoon Golf
Club, Alto. Contact Robin Vincek (rvincek4(at)
By May 28.

12 -- Detroit Chapter Golf Outing, Fox Creek, Livonia
Contact Jerry Philo (jkphilo(at) by May 21.

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

5 -7 -- Alumni Reunion--Houghton

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.

  • Geotechnical Engineer
  • Structural Engineer
  • Quality Engineer
  • Sr. Quality Assurance 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