TechAlum News

August 16, 2004 (Vol. 11, No. 14)

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

     It is hard to believe, but orientation is next week and the students will be back in force in just two weeks. Then all of a sudden, it is Labor Day, then K-Day, then Homecoming and before you know it trees are bare and the skis are waxed. Where did the summer go?

     And when I start using the "S" word, I tend to draw the ire of those around me (at least the non-skiers).

     Everyone has their fingers crossed that the Wadsworth Hall renovation continues on schedule. All of the rooms in the middle portion of the hall, as well as the dining room and kitchen area, have been gutted this summer--and there are a bunch of students expecting to move in this weekend.

     Wads is in the middle of a $32 million renovation to completely rework the wiring and plumbing and networking. If you go here:

you will at least get some idea of what's going on. By the end of this week, all of the middle section will be done, with rooms on either end next on the list.

     You can also go here:

to find out more about the project.

     It is tough to renovate a 1,200-person residence hall and still have people living there. I'm just surprised no one has asked for my considerable biathlon experience (that would be the combined construction and ER events--you will not find them on NBC's Athens coverage this week).

ALUMNI BULLETIN BOARD: Remember the alumni bulletin board for you to use for discussions related to this newsletter, Tech sports, or anything else:

At Da Tech

MICHIGAN TECH FINISHES YEAR IN BLACK: Michigan Tech's current fund, which encompasses all university revenues and expenses, ended the 2003-04 fiscal year (FY04) $1.4 million in the black, according to Dan Greenlee, chief financial officer. The university achieved this relatively healthy bottom line despite cuts in state appropriation totaling $8 million over the last two years. However, Greenlee cautioned, "Starting in 2006, we won't have $2.5 million in excess revenue from the residence halls because we'll be paying off bonds." Payments on the $32.9-million bond issue funding improvements to Wadsworth, McNair and Douglass Houghton Halls begin October 2005.

REED ADDS DEAN DUTIES: Vice President for Research David Reed has received an additional appointment as dean of the graduate school, effective Aug. 6. The move does not permanently combine the two positions, which will continue to function independently, Reed said. Reed is assuming the responsibilities of the former dean, Bruce Rafert, who left Michigan Tech to take a similar position at Clemson University. More:

FOREST LAB GOES UNDERGROUND: If you're a plant, chances are at least half of you is buried in dirt. That's made it very difficult for scientists to study a sizeable chunk of the forest ecosystem, the realm of roots that lies hidden in the soil. But by this time next year, the USDA Forest Service Forestry Science Lab at Michigan Tech will have dug two long tunnels into the nearby woods, providing a mole's-eye view of this underground world. More:

PHYSICIST TURNS ATTENTION TO MINE FIELDS: The secret to ferreting out land mines in pastures and bombs in suitcases could very well lie in "a really bad" antenna. Physics professor Bryan Suits has built just such a device as part of an ongoing study funded by the Naval Research Lab. More:

ORIENTATION OPENS NEXT WEEK: About 1,300 new freshman faces will converge on campus next weekend for orientation. New on the agenda this year is the "Reading as Inquiry: Summer 2004" program, in which all entering freshmen will be required to read Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein" before they arrive at Michigan Tech. The perennial favorites will also make an appearance, including the 500-foot banana split, orientation team meetings, illusionist Craig Karges, talent show, volleyball tournament, the F'All Nighter and more.

REUNION ATTRACTS 500; AWARDS PRESENTED: The 2004 Michigan Tech Alumni Reunion (August 5-7) attracted more than 500 alums and friends, including reunion classes of 1954, 1964, 1974, 1979, 1984 and 1994. An all-class women's basketball reunion and game were held during the weekend activities.

At the Alumni Association awards dinner on Friday evening, the Association presented its annual awards, including:

Outstanding Young Alumni Award
Sean Asiala '95 (Chemical Engineering)
Brian VanVoorst '91 (Computer Science)

Outstanding Service Award
Ed Fisher (Professor Emeritus)
Jim Mitchell '65 (Chemistry)

Honorary Alumni Award
Curt Tompkins (President Emeritus)

Distinguished Alumni Award
James Mack '59 (Chemical Engineering)

Alumni Reunion 2005 will be held August 4-6. Honored classes will include Golden M's (those who graduating 50+ years ago), classes of 1955, 1965, 1975, 1980, 1985, 1995, plus alumni hockey will be celebrated.

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

Around Town

WISCONSIN GROUP BUYS RADIO STATIONS: Heartland Communications of Appleton, Wisconsin, has signed an agreement to purchase WOLV, WHKB and WCCY, all radio stations owned by Tu-Mar Broadcasting. Tu-Mar President and News Director, Dick Storm, says he hopes to have the sale completed by late fall. Storm, a Copper Country radio icon for 40 years, also announced that he will retire, once the sale is complete.

HANCOCK WRESTLES WITH DIRT BIKES: While having a multi-use trail in town is convenient, the noise of revving dirt bikes has some Hancock residents seeing red. The city continues to look for ways to reduce noise as trail neighbors complain about ATV noise.

ARSON TRIAL TO TAKE PLACE: The man accused of setting the fire that destroyed the Gundlach building on the Houghton waterfront has been judged competent to stand trial. He is also charged with a smaller fire at the Harbor Haus in Copper Harbor.

SOCCER ASSOCIATION LOOKING FOR LAND: The 800-player Copper Country Soccer Association is looking to develop a six-field soccer complex. But first the group is looking for a deal on 11-20 acres of relatively flat land. The association plans a fund-raising effort and hope to find a generous landowner, as well.

From the E-mailbag

E-mail from Jamie Heupel (


I noticed the subscriber stats was not converted to "at" versus @!  Must have been too much Glen!

Dean sez: I should have put something in the newsletter. The current plan is to leave the @ sign in the e-mail version, since that makes the addresses clickable in some e-mail programs. But I will change them to "at" on the web version of the newsletter, which is where the spam harvesters lurk. Any thoughts--let me know.

E-mail from B. Shust '85 (

"SWIMMER BAILS ON FIFTH CROSSING ATTEMPT: Endurance swimmer Jim Dreyer dropped out of his planned Lake Superior crossing last week, 28 miles into the 73-mile attempt, because of severe intestinal problems. Dreyer announced" he would never again begin a swim with a breakfast at the Wads cafeteria...

E-mail from Rob Plumley '84 (

Steady, Dean. You're treading on hallowed ground with the Rocky comments. I believe that was only Rocky III, and they hadn't really become tedious then. In fact, the original version of that song, played frequently over my clock radio - my sole source of entertainment during one lonesome solo summer at TECH - was my inspiration to go out running between problem sets.

So, I guess it's a wash: nuisance now, helpful then.

Thanks for the memory.  Today looks much better by comparison.

E-mail from David Pax (

All I have to say, Dean is....... Her name was Lola, she was a showgirl.....and you can join the love of Barry Manilow...for weeks, no doubt.

E-mail from Brian White (

Hey Dean,

You mentioned "the rock group, Survivor, made famous in one of the tediously unending Rocky movies."  Makes me think of the song Tech had commissioned  around 1992... maybe 1993. The Athletic Dept hired the lead singer from Survivor and he made a song, "Michigan Tech Wants You To Make The Game".  It was pretty bad.  I remember being in the pep band and razzing that song.  I don't think it lasted more than one season.  It would be funny if you could dig up a copy and rip it to the alumni web site!

E-mail from Mike Benson '89 (

Hi Dean,

I really hate to do this but I was wondering what the origin of the yellow troop ribbons was. I looked it up on the internet and it turns out that there are many roots that go back to different periods with songs referring to ribbons, etc.  The tradition really s tarted again when a spouse of one of the Iranian hostages put up yellow ribbons outside her home. When asked where she got the idea from she mentioned "From that song",  which, unfortunately, is "Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Old Oak Tree."  I say "unfortunately" because now every time I see a yellow ribbon symbol that da** song pops into my head (aeeeiii!! its in there now!!).

E-mail from Jerry Kott (

I too have read and thoroughly enjoyed the work's of Steve Hamilton. For those of you who enjoyed that little bit of heaven while you were in the UP or anyone who merely enjoys a good mystery, I'd recommend that you try any of the Hamilton novels... but it's best to take them in order starting with "A Cold Day in Paradise".  Most of the action takes place in the eastern UP, but there is the occasional venture down state or into Ontario.

Mr. Hamilton also mentions Tech in one of his previous 5 novels (the 6th is in hardcover right now and is also a great read), although he misplaced its location as being in Marquette rather than Houghton (in the hardcover edition).  After exchanging a few emails, he promised to correct the location for the paperback.  I haven't checked to see if he did, but I can verify that he'll respond to his emails through the web site mentioned in the August 9 newsletter.  

If anyone else knows of other authors who capture the spirit of UP living as well as Hamilton does, please forward their names to Dean for future publication in the newsletter.  Thanks.

E-mail from Linda (Sigel) Wehner '97 (

Love the newsletter, as always! Thanks for continuing to provide us with the weekly "shot" of the Keweenaw!  I was pleased to see Mr. Nickel's mention of the Steve      Hamilton novels in your last newsletter. I just finished reading my first Alex McKnight novel  ("North of Nowhere") a few weeks ago, after a fellow Techie introduced me to the series, and I thoroughly enjoyed it! In fact, it was one of those books that I couldn't put down, so my sleep suffered as I finished the book around 4 AM. An easy read and fun.

I must give my endorsement for Mr. Hamilton's writing and his ability to capture the personality and mentality of UP locals (at least in the novel I read). I've been meaning to head to the local library to pick up the rest in the series, but I'm trying to save it for a stretch of time where I won't need much sleep.

Keep up the good work, Dean!

E-mail form Stan Friesen '54 (

Kudos to the Alumni Office and Staff for the great job on last weeks Alumni Reunion.  The events were well staged and speeches were the proper length.  The weather was outstanding and I know I shall always remember my 50th.

TechAlum Subscriber Stats

We're at 6,985 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.

1970  George Wright 

1971  Andrew Kunos  

1977  Robert Waldron

1978  Thomas Chamberlain

1986  Steven Murphy 

1986  Mark Ream     

1988  Michael Kirk  

1989  David Perry   

1992  Karen Zais (Hood)

1995  Disa Zaiser (Sundstrom)

1996  Kyle Potvin   

1996  Justin Johnson

1998  Sedef Lacin   

1999  Julie Tucker (Bacher)

2000  Diana Johnson 

2001  Travis Davidsavor

2001  Jason Bausano 

2001  Justin Yow    

2002  Brendan Doud  

2002  Kyle Grahn    

2002  Jonathan Gohl 

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.


28 -- Atlanta Chapter picnic at Newtown Park. Contact Mark Mueller ( by August 20.


14 -- Keweenaw Chapter presents "Guatemala's active volcanoes," a presentation by Gregg Bluth, associate professor of geology. Contact Mike Drewyor (482-0535)


 9 -- Michigan Tech Homecoming vs. Wayne State


 6 -- Bash at the Big House, football vs. Grand Valley at Michigan stadium (

Job Opportunities This Week

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

  • No new postings this week.
OFF CAMPUS: For complete descriptions, jump to our jobs web site.

  • SQL database administrator
  • Program manager--Electrical
  • Manager, Transportation
  • Municipal Engineer
  • Surveyor

See you next week