TechAlum News

September 12, 2005 (Vol. 12, No. 15)

A weekly electronic newsletter for alumni and friends of Michigan Technological University

Edited by Dennis Walikainen (MS ’92), Director, Web Development, University Marketing and Communications

For past issues, see our archives.

In this issue:

  • From the President
  • At Tech
  • Tech Sports
  • Around Town
  • From the E-mailbag
  • E-mail Updates/Welcome to new subscribers
  • Alumni Chapter Events
  • Job Opportunities
  • Electronic Services for Alumni

From the President

student gets a pie in the faceDawn on Friday found a dense cloud-bank over the Keweenaw Waterway, typical of the fall season. But it seemed as if the traditional long blast of the campus steam-whistle at 10:00 a.m. itself might have blown the clouds away by sheer will as it echoed through the valley removing all doubt that this would be K-DAY.

By 2 PM, Public Safety officers reported over 5,200 students entering McLain State Park and more on the way to enjoy the sun, 80+ degree temperatures, and informational booths set up by over a hundred clubs and organizations ranging from sororities to ROTC. The battle of the bands raged on a stage back-dropped in blue by Lake Superior, Homecoming Queen candidates made public appearances, and everywhere students were flinging themselves up on Velcro walls, fighting it out in super-sized foam battle suits, and digging in for volleyball in kiddie pools filled with warm, sticky mud. The Sig Rho’s held their annual hot dog eating contests as skiers and boarders brought their own snow to set up a slope complete with a rail. As Gail and I wove our way through the crowds, the most frequently heard comment was "this is awesome!” The beautiful day on the shores of Lake Superior combined with the creative, adventurous, and fun-natured spirit of our students reminded us how good we have it at Michigan Tech. It was heartwarming to see that sentiment wasn’t lost our students either, as one organization spent the entire day encouraging students to throw crème pies in their faces to raise money for those victims of Katrina.

students at K-DayThe 2005 numbers are in and the on-campus enrollment has grown by 263 students or 4 percent from 6,144 in fall of 2004, to 6,407 now. New students were responsible for the bulk of the increase, while retention played a factor as well. While it’s too early to declare a trend, this year builds on a 59-student increase last year. The most frequently asked question is "why?" We launched a myriad of new activities and initiatives over the past year (new academic programs, alumni recruiting outreach, on-line applications, on-line billing and payment, working with the local business community on recruiting, new marketing materials, etc.) which all could be contributing factors to this success. While we'll tease the answer out of the data over the coming weeks, the one thing we do know is that it’s not just about the new activities, it’s also about our people doing the right things right every day. And it’s about you being proud of your Michigan Tech heritage and spreading the word. Keep it up and thanks!

Michigan Tech Football Huskies 24-Mercyhurst 20—come from behind victory in the final minute of play—never say die! 3-0 on the season. GO HUSKIES!

Finally, please consider joining us for the Parade of Nations Festival next Saturday, September 17, and Homecoming festivities September 23-24.


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

At Tech

ON-CAMPUS ENROLLMENT CLIMBS: As mentioned in President Mroz’s letter, Michigan Tech's on-campus enrollment is up over 4 percent, according to official enrollment figures calculated this week. "This illustrates the progress the university is making in achieving the enrollment goals as established in our strategic plan," President Glenn Mroz said. "And it underlines the great work being done by our faculty and staff as we advance toward our goal of becoming a national university of choice." Preliminary tallies show 1,541 new undergraduates this fall, compared to 1,425 in fall 2004.In addition, on-campus graduate student enrollment is 873, an increase of nearly 10 percent over last year's total of 795. "This is an exciting time for Michigan Tech. We are seeing the efforts of many come to fruition," said Les Cook, vice president for student affairs, in discussing the enrollment increase.

JACK REAL DIES: Tech alumnus from the Class of 1937 and aviation pioneer Jack Real, who helped develop the Apache helicopter and authored a book on his friendship with reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes, has died. He was 90. His full obituary is here.

RICHARD GERTSCH DIES:Funeral services for Richard Gertsch, 60, a research associate professor in the Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences, were held in Colorado. He died of natural causes Aug. 30 while visiting Virginia, Minn., on research-related business. He came to the university in 1998, when he and his wife, Leslie, joined the faculty of the Department of Mining Engineering. Gertsch was born in 1945 in Oak Park, Ill., and graduated from the University of Colorado with a bachelor’s degree in history. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees inn mining and engineering at the Colorado School of Mines, where he also taught. Gertsch earned a PhD in Mining Engineering from the University of Missouri-Rolla before coming to Michigan Tech. He and Leslie were married in 1988.

COLLEGE FAIR THURSDAY: Tech is hosting the Houghton Area College Fair on Thursday. Representatives from more than 35 universities, colleges, and branches of the military will be on hand to talk with area high school students. From 800 to 1,000 students are expected to attend.

OPEN HOUSE SATURDAY: Tech is hosting its annual Open House this Saturday, and more than 600 prospective students, parents, and friends are expected to attend. Academic and administrative departments will have exhibits in the Memorial Union Building, campus tours will be available, and visitors can have brunch in the residence halls, among other activities.

PARADE OF NATIONS SATURDAY: Tech’s annual celebration of us all, the Parade of Nations, will be take place this weekend. Representatives of more than 80 nations will carry their flags through Hancock and Houghton, with a food festival wrapping things up at the Dee Stadium afterwards.

Tech Sports

Michigan Tech-NMU VOLLEYBALL TUESDAY; PROCEEDS TO BENEFIT HURRICANE VICTIMS: The Michigan Tech-Northern Michigan rivalry heads to the volleyball court this Tuesday (Sept. 13) at 7 p.m., when the Huskies and Wildcats battle at the SDC Gym. All ticket revenue from the match, along with other fan donations, will be donated to the Red Cross for the Hurricane Katrina relief effort. The match will be the home opener for the Huskies, as well as their Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference opener.

WHAT A COMEBACK! GRIDDERS 3-0: Michigan Tech rallied from a ten-point deficit in the fourth quarter to defeat host Mercyhurst, 24-20, last Saturday (Sept. 10) in GLIAC football action at Tullio Field. Tailback Lee Marana scored twice in the final period, including a career-long 80-yard rush with 12:59 left and the game winner with 24 seconds left. Quarterback Drew Schaft engineered a 65-yard drive with no timeouts in the final 1:25 to secure Michigan Tech's third straight win to open the 2005 season. The Huskies have no game this weekend.

CROSS COUNTRY SEASON UNDERWAY: The Michigan Tech men’s cross country squad defeated two other teams to win the Northern Michigan Invitational last Saturday (Sept. 10), while the women were third of four teams in the same event. Mike Aschinger was second overall in the men’s race with a time of 29:08. Freshman Laura Kangas took sixth against a strong ladies field with a time of 20:34.


Saturday, September 3, 2005

FB: at #19 Michigan Tech 24, Indianapolis 6

WTN: Mercyhurst 5, at Michigan Tech 4

VB: Michigan Tech 3 vs. Indianapolis 2 (Flyer Festival)

-- (23-30, 33-31, 21-30, 32-30, 16-14)

VB: vs. Winona State 3, Michigan Tech 1 (Flyer Festival)

-- (30-28, 30-26, 30-27)

Friday, September 2, 2005

VB: vs. MSU-Moorhead 3, Michigan Tech 1 (at Flyer Festival)

-- (30-28, 31-29, 28-30, 30-20)

WTN: at Michigan Tech 5, Ashland 4

Thursday, September 1, 2005

VB: at Lewis 3, Michigan Tech 2 (at Flyer Festival)

(30-22, 27-30, 30-20, 26-30, 15-11)


Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Volleyball vs Northern Michigan, 7 p.m.

--Live Radio, 93.5 FM

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Huskies Drive Time, 7:30 - 8:00 a.m. on WKMJ, 93.5 FM

Friday, September 16, 2005 (Husky Friday—wear school colors)

Volleyball at Mercyhurst, 7 p.m.

Women's Tennis at ITA Regional, All Day (Midland, Mich.)

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Volleyball at Gannon, 1 p.m.

Women's Tennis at ITA Regional, All Day (Midland, Mich.)

Cross Country at Midwest Collegiate Meet, TBA (Kenosha, Wis.)

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Women's Tennis at ITA Regional, All Day (Midland, Mich.)

All Times are Eastern

Around Town

BISHOP BARAGA PROPERTY TO BE AUCTIONED: Property surrounding the most visited tourist attraction in the Upper Peninsula will be auctioned Saturday. The Bishop Baraga Gift Shop and Red Rocks Lodge surrounding the historical Bishop Baraga shrine will be sold, but tourist access to the shrine site won't be affected, according to sellers of the 14.1 acres of surrounding land on the property which overlooks Keweenaw Bay between L'Anse and Baraga. Thousands of visitors are drawn to the landmark each year in search of views of Lake Superior and to pay homage to the shrine created 33 years ago in memory of the "Snowshoe Priest", the Bishop Baraga. So-called for his fondness for travel by snowshoe through harsh winters, the bishop became a local hero to many Keweenaw Bay residents as a teacher and provider during area settlement last century.

DOWNTOWN HOUGHTON GETS REPORT: Keep the miner, but ditch the planters and parking meters. Those are just some of the suggestions made by consultant Doyle Hyett as he unveiled his firm's strategy for the economic revitalization of Houghton's downtown district. Hyett, half of the Alexandria, Va.-based downtown consulting firm HyettPalma, presented the long-awaited plan before an eager crowd of 130, comprised of students, downtown business owners, city officials and other stakeholders Houghton's waterfront location and impressive historic architecture were "remarkable assets," Hyett said, and topped the list of some 20 strengths found by the consulting team. However, the city needs to do a better job of marketing them to tourists and residents alike, by removing distracting, shabby remains of the downtown's last major overhaul done in the early 1980s. Tourists also need better direction as they approach and navigate the city, he said. The plan's recommendations include a logo-driven, uniformed approach to signage city-wide and even farther, advising motorists 10 miles from Houghton that they are approaching a historic downtown area. Houghton City Manager Scott MacInnes said he wasn't surprised by HyettPalma's suggestion to obliterate the downtown parking meters, but was intrigued to hear that removal of the white painted parking guidelines would provide up to 20 percent more on-street parking.

CORRECTIONS OFFICER BOUND OVER FOR TRIAL:  The Baraga Maximum Correctional Facility corrections officer thought she was only helping someone who was being treated unfairly by society when she allegedly aided the escape of a prisoner in August, according to police. Jody Lynn Axley, 38, of Rockland is charged with helping 35-year-old Garfield Lawson III escape the facility on August 6. She was bound over to circuit court Tuesday after a preliminary examination in 97th District Court. Facility food service worker Kathy Sleep is also accused of helping Lawson escape. The 42-year-old Sleep is charged with pushing a food cart containing Lawson onto a food service truck then driving him to Wisconsin where the couple was arrested two days later.

From the E-mailbag

I received many nice comments from alums to this newbie. Some samples follow:



Good start to your TechAlum career by including the advice from the longest surviving husband at the wedding!  The personal touches make great reading.

Tough act to follow in being after Dean Woodbeck, but this is now your newsletter and yours to make even better.  Like all business climates, change makes people uncomfortable, but it must happen.  Enjoy your new job and keep giving us the great news from Tech.  Those of us in the deep south

need to hear about what is going on in the land of cooler weather.

Best wishes on your work with the Alumnus.

Duane Nash '77

Tyler, Texas



I hope you do not get too shaken by number of e-mails for our friend Dean.  He has been with many of us via e-mail for years and it is hard  to loose contact with someone you look forward to hearing from each  week.  I enjoyed this week's newsletter and look forward to hearing from you every week.

Take care and good luck,

Kurt Franz '90



In response to the Bill Myers (class of 85) e-mail, I bet I was about two hours behind his girlfriend/wife in WI during the great storm of 1985.  I too was driving from Chicago to Houghton, I got stuck in Green Bay.  As I recall it was Tampa Bay that the Packers played, in Green Bay no less.  I do not recall the score, but due to the weather, and the fact that Tampa never won back then, Green Bay had to have won.  I can still see all the snow and the all white Tampa Unis with the yellow and orange stripe and numbers and the gay (happy) looking pirate on the helmet.

Bill Basta 86'



I miss one Newsletter and my Mondays get turned upside down.  I had to check to make sure it wasn't 1 April!  I remember reading Dean while he was on the

Lode staff.  Then, when the weekly newsletter found me in the early '90's, there he was again!  I share the many emotions I'm sure have been expressed in Dean's departure. 

So, I know he went to Clarkson, I can't even begin to imagine a Toot working for Clarkson.  But, I don't know what he is going to be doing?

I'm sure by now you are wondering what you have gotten yourself into? However, as long as you are an Michigan Tech alumnus, we will continue to support you!

Good luck dealing with this crowd.

Thanks and looking forward to your future newsletters.

George Teachman BS '76, MS '80



Good morning!  Not sure if you remember, but my friend Jason Wilson and I started the (Ultimate) Frisbee club at Tech in '95.   Are you still the "faculty advisor"?  I actually ran into the Tech team at a tournament in Whitewater, WI a couple of years ago, so they are still going strong.  Maybe since you are the new alum newsletter writer, you can give them a little press once in a while.  I'm sure they would appreciate it.  Hope things are going well and good luck!

Paul Wasserzieher

Editor’s Note: I responded to Paul that I, indeed, did remember him and Jason, that the DiscoTech Ultimate team (formerly Lake Effect Ultimate) is doing very well (and now includes my freshman son), and that we are even getting a disc golf course on campus.

TechAlum Subscriber Stats

The servers are working again, and we are still at 7,171 subscribers. Changes to your TechAlum newsletter subscription should be made via commands to majordomo(at) Questions? Contact Dennis Walikainen (dkwalika(at)

Here are the recent new email addresses:

Edwin S Rousseau        1957  erous1(at)

Irwin J Feldman           1958       IRWINFELD(at)   

Michael T Williams       1977       fbwill(at)

Thomas F Ferrari           1978       tferrari(at)  

Russell W Cochran       1982       Russ.Cochran(at)

Gregg L Marrow            1985       gmarrow(at)

David W Schuessler       1988       mps_inc(at)

Laura K Farrelly          1993       lfarrelly(at)

Michael F Erickson       1996       984mulaws6(at)

Jeromie W Foote             1998       jeromie_amyfoote(at)

Matthew J Draper            2001       matthew_j_draper(at)

Edmond D Blaskowski       2004 edmond_blaskowski(at)

Derrick R Siebert       2004       drsieber(at)    

Matthew H Lahti             2004       mhlahti(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.

23-24 HOMECOMING: Football vs. Ashland

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 (