TechAlum News

May 2, 2005 (Vol. 11, No. 48)

An award-winning weekly electronic newsletter for alumni and friends of Michigan Technological University. Written and distributed by Dean Woodbeck '78, Senior Director of University Communications. For past issues, see our archives.

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

Tech In the News

     It was all Michigan Tech in the Daily Mining Gazette and TV-6 over the weekend, what with building dedications and board meetings and commencement. The Gazette also published its annual progress edition, which includes interviews with a wide range of area people who are doing interesting things or making interesting things happen.

     As seems to frequently be the case, this multi-section tabloid featured a number of folks associated with Michigan Tech. This is both a tribute to Tech faculty and staff for becoming actively involved in the community in so many ways, as well as an affirmation of Tech's large influence on the area.

     This led me to look back through our news clips for the last couple of months and I am amazed at the breadth of the coverage. Offensive lineman Joe Berger generated quite a bit of ink (including features in Detroit and Charlotte) after becoming an NFL draft pick. A number of Canadian newspapers carried stories about Tech senior Colin Murphy's transition to the Toronto Maple Leafs organization.

     But we also saw Seth Donohue, assistant professor of biomedical engineering, on CBS News' The Osgood File. Lee Dye, of, featured biologist Charlie Kerfoot in his DyeHard Science column. Geologist and renown volcanologist Bill Rose appeared in the March National Geographic.

     Meanwhile, the Discovery Channel Canada, after filing three stories from Michigan Tech last year, covered our hosting of the Clean Snowmobile Competition. The Oakland Press (in Pontiac) was one of many papers carrying a story on Russ Alger (Keweenaw Research Center) and his invention of a new road deicing technique.

     And those of you who subscribe to the Great Lakes IT Report, a newsletter published by Detroit's WWJ Radio, saw our technology transfer and research efforts featured on two days last week.


Husqi Tales

     Over on the home front, faithful readers know that the press coverage of my home improvement attempts will generally include the term "Woodbecking."

     So it was that I planned a kitchen faucet replacement for a time frame in which the hardware store would be open. My son expressed an interest in the fine art of homeowner plumbing, also putting his reputation and genetic code on the line.

     If I had a webcam in my kitchen, you would have seen two Woodbecks fighting for time under the sink, attacking various nuts and bolts with pliers and wrenches. We made some discoveries:

  • the shutoff valve on one of the sink water lines should be called a semi-shutoff valve.
  • when you wear glasses, lying on your back to unscrew a faucet nut is complicated when you have a semi-shutoff valve, creating both drips and high humidity.
  • the inevitable unexpected event will always happen after the hardware store closes.

     Eventually the old faucet came out and the new faucet went in, only to discover that one of the existing water feed lines was about six inches too short. This discovery came, of course, 10 minutes after the hardware store closed.

     Because of the existence of a semi-shutoff valve, we had turned off the water for the entire house. We now faced mounting pressure from other family members, not to mention the prospect of the lasagna dinner that would never come to fruition.

     A fast trip to the WalMart snagged me the very last flexible water feed line with the right size compression fittings on both ends. I ask you, what were the odds?

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

BUDGET SHOWS BLACK INK: Michigan Tech's Board of Control met Friday and heard that the university will show a small surplus in its general fund budget for 2005. On the enrollment front, deposits for next fall's freshman class are up 10 percent compared to the same time period last year. To date, Tech has 1,283 new students planning to enroll in the fall. Overall, Tech had 1,425 freshmen and transfer students enroll in fall 2004.

BOARD SUSPENDS PRESIDENTIAL SEARCH: The Board of Control also voted to suspend their search for a new president for one year. President Glenn Mroz was appointed a little over a year ago and, last December, was given a contract through June 2007. Board members praised Mroz for progress made in the last year.

COMMENCEMENT, DEDICATIONS HIGHLIGHT WEEKEND: Michigan Tech awarded more than 800 degrees on Saturday. Last Friday, the university dedicated the John and Ruanne Opie Library, Kanwal and Ann Rekhi Hall, and the Advanced Technology Development Complex. More:

TECH LEADS STATE: Michigan Tech President Glenn Mroz testified before the Michigan House Appropriations Subcommittee on Higher Education last week. He told them that Tech leads all universities in the state in invention disclosures per dollar of research funding. He also described Tech's innovative Enterprise program and detailed university efforts to involve area middle school and high school students in projects, as well. More:

BUSINESS STUDENTS PLACE IN PORTFOLIO PROGRAM: Two teams in Michigan Tech's Applied Portfolio Management Program ranked among the top finishers in the Redefining Investment Strategy Education (RISE) Symposium held March 30–April 1 at the University of Dayton. Team Gold placed second in the Undergraduate--Equity Blend category, with a 23.52 percent return during 2004. Team Black placed third in the Undergraduate--Equity Value category. More:

SPOTLIGHT NIGHTS INVOLVE ALUMNI: The Michigan Tech Spotlight Night is a new program to involve alumni in the university's student recruiting efforts. The events will include alumni, potential students and parents, and representatives from various campus offices. The events kick off May 3 in Chicago, then move to Grand Rapids (May 4), Minneapolis (May 9), and Detroit (May 11. For details, see: or email Kim Klender (ksklende(at)

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

Around Town

BARAGA MOTEL EXPANDS: The Best Western Baraga Lakeside Inn expects to complete its $1.4 million expansion project by mid-May. The motel is adding 36 guest rooms and a small fitness center.

NEW HOUGHTON RETAIL CENTER, MOTEL: Moyle, Inc., has started construction on a new Country Inn and Suites motel and a new strip mall in Houghton. Both buildings will be located along the M-26 corridor just east of the WalMart construction (WalMart is becoming a Super WalMart). The Country Inn will have 75 units and is scheduled to open on November 15.

M-26 TUNNEL OPENS: A new pedestrian tunnel which connects the Houghton waterfront with the west and central Houghton residential districts was opened to the public Tuesday afternoon. The tunnel is under M-26 and connects Houghton's waterfront park with residential areas on the other side of the increasingly busy highway.

From the E-mailbag

E-mail from Amy Murphy (tamurphy42(at)


In response to the article about cougars being spotted
in the U.P. I can add my sighting. During the early
90's I lived in Grand Marais and commuted to Munising
along the Seney Stretch. One day on my way home from
work I saw a BIG cat with a tail as long as its' body.
It was a beautiful sight. I had to pull over to the
side of the road because it took my breath away and I
wanted to watch it for as long as I could. When I
reported seeing it to the folks at the Pictured Rocks
National Lakeshore they assured me that I didn't
really see anything like that because cougars don't
live in the U.P. anymore.

However, I was convinced that I had seen one and
talked with some of my patients about it. One trapper
from Seney told me he too had seen signs of a big cat
along his trap line and it was stealing his catch. I
guess some things never change. The Feds are always
trying to tell us we don't know anything.

Keep up the good work.

E-mail from Jim Carpenter '70 (jdcarp(at)

Dean -

West (lower) Michigan had the Olson Knife Company in
Howard City that also used the Burma Shave type drive
bys - one that "stuck" with me over the years:

Fatty Fatty
Run for your life
Here comes Skinny
With an Olson Knife.

Wow - would the PC Police have a ball with that one
today. I enjoy the weekly news, thanks for your work.

E-mail from Bruce Oliver '63 (Ollieret(at)

Hi Dean,

Gotta get in on the BS road signs:

Here lies the body of Daniel Day,
He died defending his right-of-way,
He had the courage, he had the pluck,
The other guy, he had the truck.
Burma Shave.

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

I was very interested to hear about Joe Berger coming
to Charlotte to be a Panther. How exciting! I find new
things through your newsletter all the time. Today was
the first time I clicked on the Tech Topics link.
There is so much interesting stuff going on at Michigan Tech!!
Who knew Tech had a Dance Team? (My daughter is on the
NYU Dance Team.) Thanks, as always.

E-mail from Bill Savela (pnwyooper(at)

Dear Dean,

Reading your newsletter about the snow in Lower
Michigan last weekend reminded me to send our annual
summer cottage email to you for Michigan Tech alumni.

Interested parties can see details at

Lakefront Vacation Cottage at Twin Lakes near
Houghton, MI. fully furnished, 2 bdrm, full
kitchen, deck, porch, sauna, fireplace, all electric,
48' dock on the lake. Weekly rental. Availability is
between June 4 and October 8.

The Michigan Tech alumni who vacation at our place have been
terrific and we have some wonderful families that do
repeat vacations here.

Thank you once again for posting our cottage email to
fellow Michigan Tech alumni.

E-mail from Jim Blaser '66 (jimblaser(at)


You are always looking for real neat software. Check
out this software from NASA. It uses all of the data
available on the earth to make some nice 3D views of
the earth. This article ran in our local paper this
Sunday. Download the 180Meg file and install the free
software on your PC (see link below).

World Wind is available at but
do not download directly from NASA - the speeds are
very slow. Instead, click on Wayne State University's
mirror site. Once you install the full version 1.3, go
back and grab the latest patch bringing the program to
version 1.3.1.

BTW, I don't have the graphics accelerator card that
the article says I need, but it works well.

I think many alumni would be interested in this

TechAlum Subscriber Stats

We're at 7,133 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 Robert Johnson hamlinlogbob(at)
1956 James Grubb oldgeezeraz(at)
1970 Frederick Karwacki fskarwacki1(at)
1988 John Dubeck john.dubeck(at)
1994 Christopher Cox cpcox(at)
1995 Tara Daavettila (Clarke) tara_daav(at)
1996 Mindy Walters (Rollenhagen) mdrollen(at)
1996 Michael Miller millermtu(at)
1997 Brandon Swan bkswan(at)
1997 Kerry Arundel kerry_bird(at)
2001 Matthew Draper matthew_j_draper(at)
2003 Benjamin Andrews bandrews(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.

3 Chicago Michigan Tech Spotlight Night
4 Grand Rapids Michigan Tech Spotlight Night
9 Minneapolis Michigan Tech Spotlight Night
11 Detroit Michigan Tech Spotlight Night
18 Keweenaw Chapter Back to School Tour Opie Library
and Rekhi Hall. Wine and cheese reception
25 Green Bay Chapter 26th Annual Golf Outing

4 West Michigan Chapter Annual Golf Outing
7 LA Alumni Event
11 Detroit Chapter 2005 Golf Outing

15 Mid-Michigan (Saginaw, Midland, Bay City) Annual
Golf Outing

GREEK REUNION INFORMATION has been moved to the web. For the link, go here:

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 off-campus positions, visit the alumni section of the career center's web site (