TechAlum News

September 19, 2005 (Vol. 12, No. 16)

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:

cass tech band at paradeHome

On Saturday, Tech held it’s annual Open House for prospective students and their families. More than 600 students and family members came to campus, and we were blessed with summer-like weather, a nice backdrop for academic and administrative departments to tell their stories. We had visitors from Michigan, Illinois, Minnesota, Indiana, Wisconsin, Vermont, and Missouri. Many of the parents who stopped at our ParentNet booth wanted to discuss residence hall life, parking on campus, getting around town, etc. In other words, how can one make Tech a home for their students (and, implied, how do we survive a suddenly emptier home in Midland or Appleton)?

mexican group at paradeLater, the Parade of Nations featured students, faculty, and staff from some eighty nations (including Mexico, left) celebrating their home countries in a parade and festival. The theme was “Music Unites the World,” and the Cass Technical High School band (above, left) from Detroit rocked Houghton and Hancock. The parade is one of our most unique and fun events of the year, and I wondered how many of the revelers would like to make the Keweenaw their permanent home. Quite a few, I imagine.

Also at the Parade, there was a fundraiser (below, left) for the victims of Katrina, who lost their homes and in many cases much, much more. We all counted our blessings, again.

Next, I headed to my home golf course, Portage Lake, which was quite busy on this hot, windy, on-and-off sunny September day. (It remains very dry up here.) Let’s not discuss my game, other than the nice eight-iron into the number two green, but it was a bittersweet moment: not too many days left like that to enjoy. Playing with us was an ME student (and scratch golfer), graduating in December, who will make his first home, he hopes, in Auburn Hills, north of Detroit.

Regardless of where he ends up, I wanted to tell him some words of wisdom. (Just what he would want, I thought, one more mini-lecture.) I remembered what my father would say when he discussed the Keweenaw with tourists, graduating students, and ex-patriots: “You’ll be back.” And, to the end of that statement, I would add the word “home.”



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

RESEARCH FOCUSES ON MACKINAC ISLAND’S NORWAY MAPLES: Mackinac Island could be on the verge of being overrun by an exotic European import. No, Ferraris aren't allowed on the car-free resort island. The culprit is the Norway maple, says a Tech scientist. And the island's famous horses may have played a crucial role in planting the encroaching seeds. Norway maples are pretty, fast-growing shade trees that you can find in plenty of garden catalogs—and in plenty of local gardens. But take them out of the backyard, and they become big, green invaders.  “In the eastern U.S., where they've become established, diversity is much lower than in forests made up of native trees,” says Chris Webster, an assistant professor of forest resources and environmental science. And if given a chance, Norway maples can take over. “It leafs out one week earlier than the sugar maple, and its leaves stay on one week longer. It out-competes native species, and it really hurts the spring flowering plants."

HOMECOMING HAPPENING: It’s hobo time again. In addition to the traditional Hobo Parade, which this year will run from College Avenue down the hill to the Houghton Waterfront Park, there are new events like a campus sleepover and outdoor movie near the Walker building. Also, there will be a powder-puff football game and music by Gary Tunstall. The undefeated and 18th-ranked football Huskies will host a very good Ashland team Saturday, and the Women’s volleyball team is hosting Northwood later that afternoon. The Homecoming recess begins at 3:00 p.m. Friday.

Michigan Tech, UAW SIGN CONTRACT: The 163 office professionals at Michigan Tech represented by the United Auto Workers will be getting a 3 percent wage increase after members of the union and school administration signed a new one-year contract. The new contact—which is retroactive to July 1—also includes adjustments from 5 cents to 10 cents per hour for employees with seniority of six years or greater. Health insurance and other benefits will remain the same.

GALLAGHER’S COMING: Wear your rain suit. Madman comedian Gallagher, with his sledge-o-matic, will be assaulting the Rozsa Center for a show this Saturday night. Back by popular demand, the comedian will do well to top his last visit, when the Rozsa and many of the attendees was covered top to bottom in plastic. It’ll be a smashing time.

Tech Sports

HOMECOMING WEEK IS HERE! Michigan Tech’s annual Homecoming week is here with a ramped up schedule of activity, including the Huskies’ annual Homecoming football game vs. Ashland on Saturday (Sept. 24). The annual Homecoming parade is set for Friday (Sept. 23) at 5:30 p.m., and will travel from the Michigan Tech campus through downtown to the Houghton Waterfront Park. Then at approximately 6:30 p.m. at the park, there will be a pep rally for the Huskies football and volleyball teams, followed by the live music, food and completion of the Hobo Challenges.

On Saturday (Sept. 24), the Michigan Tech hockey team will be serving at the annual Blueline Club Pancake Breakfast at St. Al’s Church beginning at 7 a.m. Then the flurry of activity begins at Sherman Field, with a free tailgate for all fans inside the stadium starting at 11 a.m. Concurrent with the tailgate party will be a classic car show on the track surrounding the field. The football game is scheduled to kickoff at 1 p.m., with the Homecoming Queen being crowned at halftime. At 4 p.m., the Tech volleyball team hosts Northwood in the SDC Gym. For a complete list of all the happenings, visit:

VOLLEYBALL SWEEPS ROAD TRIP IN ERIE: The volleyball Huskies are 6-5 overall and 2-1 in the GLIAC after notching 3-1 victories over Meryhurst and Gannon in Erie, Pa., this past weekend. The sweep of the Lakers and Golden Knights in Erie was the first such feat for Michigan Tech since the 1995 season. Tech hosts Northwood Saturday (Sept. 24) and Saginaw Valley State Sunday (Sept. 25) during Homecoming weekend.

TENNIS DUO ADVANCES TO SEMIFINAL OF ITA DOUBLES: Silvia Oliveros-Torres and Amy Palmgren advanced to the semifinals of the ITA Great Lakes Regional Doubles Draw in Midland, Mich., last weekend with three wins. The seventh-seeded pair defeated the #3 seeds Sue Rossano and Kristina Bogdanovic of Northwood, 8-5, in the quarterfinals before falling, 8-5, to the eventual champs Marissa Muchow and Leila Salik from Ferris State.


Saturday, September 17, 2005

VB: Michigan Tech 3 at Gannon 1

MCC: Michigan Tech 6th of 22 teams at Midwest Collegiate Meet (Kenosha, Wis.)

WCC: Michigan Tech 9th of 20 teams at Midwest Collegiate Meet

Friday, September 16, 2005

VB: Michigan Tech 3 at Mercyhurst 1


Wednesday, September 21, 2005

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

Friday, September 23, 2005 (Husky Friday - wear school colors)

Women's Tennis at Findlay, 3 p.m.

Cross Country at Ferris State Invitational, 4:30 p.m.

Homecoming Parade, 5:30 p.m. (Campus thru downtown to Houghton Waterfront Park)

Homecoming Pep Rally, 6:30 p.m. (Houghton Waterfront Park)

-- Includes Hobo Challenges, Live Music & Food

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Blueline Club Pancake Breakfast, 7 a.m. - Noon (St. Albert the Great Church)

Women's Tennis at Wayne State, 10 a.m.

Free Tailgate Party, 11 a.m. (Inside Sherman Field)

VIP/Library Restaurant & Brew Pub Tailgate Party, 11 a.m.

Classic Car Show, 11 a.m. (Inside Sherman Field)

#17 Football hosts Ashland, 1 p.m. (Live Radio, 93.5 FM)

Volleyball hosts Northwood, 4 p.m.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Volleyball hosts Saginaw Valley State, 2 p.m. (Live Radio, 93.5 FM)

All Times are Eastern

Around Town

CHANGES AT SMARTZONE: Tech’s SmartZone may be getting smart in a whole new way, according to Keweenaw Economic Development Alliance Executive Director Phil Musser. "It was a challenge getting going, and it will be a different challenge to keep it going," Musser advised the KEDA. With the departure of SmartZone Chief Executive Officer Alan West effective Oct. 7, the organization will need to switch gears. "Alan has done a phenomenal job of getting this program going, and commercializing it locally," Musser explained. "We're now trying to determine what skills and talents we need, and that may be a different kind of person altogether." The ideal candidate would likely be familiar with university culture, Musser said, as the group intends to put more emphasis on strengthening relationships with both local universities. An interim manager will likely be hired soon to manage current projects, and West has agreed to continue working with the group as a consultant. "Alan's created a lot of momentum and we need to keep that going," Musser said.

POLICE RAISE FUNDS FOR HURRICANE VICTIMS: Hurricane-ravaged communities in Mississippi will be benefiting from donations made in the Upper Peninsula. U.P. and northeastern Wisconsin law enforcement agencies are raising funds and collecting supplies for several Mississippi and Louisiana communities. "We don't get the chance to give to the community as much as other agencies, so this is something we're able to help with," said Nick Roberts, a patrolman with the Houghton City Police

MORE RECYCLING SOUGHT: Hancock is the only community in Baraga, Houghton, Keweenaw and Ontonagon counties participating in curbside recycling, and a state representative from downstate thinks that's not nearly enough. Geoff Hansen, R-Hart, has introduced a bill, which if passed, would add one cent to most retail purchases greater than $2. The money would go into a fund to be used for the creation and expansion of local recycling programs. Although Hancock collects recyclables once a month, City Manager Glenn Anderson said he'd be interested if money from the state was available for the expansion of the program, which is used at a fairly low level. "We get 20 percent of our residents who participate in that," Anderson said. "It's not growing and it's not declining." Photo cut line: Mark Janisse, operations manager for Peninsula Sanitation, walks near the receptacle for recyclable papers at the drop-off area of Waste Management in Houghton. The area is open Tuesdays and Thursdays to drop off recyclables.

From the E-mailbag

Thank you for the news update on Jack Real. I doubt many of you remember him, but he was my mothers cousin who when he visited the UP would stay with us. From my early years I remember the stories Cousin Jack would tell and then as I got older the stories about Howard Hughes and the airplanes were absolutely fascinating! He was very proud of both my brother, George Beeby, and me, Mary Beeby Eastman, for also graduating from Tech. I have a personally autographed copy of his book, "The Asylum of Howard Hughes" that I will treasure forever. Jack was a great man!

Thanks for the weekly's great to hear about Tech and the local community!

Mary Eastman
STC '90


Hi Dennis,

I also wanted to comment on the 1985 snowstorm.  I remember this very well, you see, it is the year I was married.  Over Thanksgiving break.  Didn't have time or the money to take a honeymoon and besides, I had to get back up to Tech for class on Monday.  So, we headed north, from Lower Michigan.  As I remember it, we crossed the Mac Bridge just in time to hear on the radio that the Mac Bridge was being closed.  Yeah, oh what fun it is to drive in a 2-door Dodge Colt with so much snow that you couldn't see the road.  Hey, I just figured keep between the trees, don't stop, and we will be just fine.  Well, the next announcement on the radio was that US-2 was now closed. Yeah, right.  How could that be...I was still driving on it.  Well, I gave it the old college try and went as far as I could go.  After what seemed like hours of having my wife open the window and snap the windshield wipers on the windshield to try to get the snow and ice off so I could see, we decided to call it quits and stop in Naubinway.  No vacancies in the hotel so we joined other travelers and stayed in the local church and slept behind the organ.  Our meals had to be brought in by snowmobiles by the congregation members.  I must say I never planned on a honeymoon quite like that one. This is one of those memories that get shared for generations.

I am looking forward to more great newsletters.

Roger Kenyon
BS '87, MS '89


I am an eager skimmer, but not an in-depth reader of the newsletter.  Some time ago the SNOW REPORT left the newsletter.  Can we get it back?

Brian VanVoorst (MN65)

Editor’s Note: I assured Brian that we have not abandoned the snowfall chart. It still exists, here:



Congratulations on this new post and best wishes for your continuing efforts to build on the newsletter tradition.

I'd like to comment on the paragraph in this week's newsletter wherein the Tech administration expressed wonder about what will draw students to the University. I claim that the performance of the alumni in the workplace is the best advertisement that can be presented to people. Coworkers with college age children will look with favor on the institutions that have been shown to produce good results.  In my case, my associates in the R&D efforts in which I've participated have asked about the undergraduate education I received at Tech because they had an appreciation for the results they observed. In all cases I was able to explain the completeness and depth of that education, and to present details of the pragmatic direction that Tech takes students of engineering and the sciences. At least it did for me and for several others with whom I've worked over the years.

I don't think you need to have cleverly devised programs to advertise the quality of Tech's education. Perhaps some advertising is necessary, but I think you will glean a better result if the alumni speak out about the institution in the workplace among their peers.

John Gonser
BS Engineering Physics '58

TechAlum Subscriber Stats

We are currently at 7,178 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:

Gary M. Lankfer   1968  lankfer(at)

Kathleen A. Pagel      1979       kpagel(at)   

Cathy J. Colman (Johnson)  1980      mccolman(at)

Shelley McNab Burg      1983       gusmcnab(at)

Dean D. LaFleur           1989       dlafleur(at)

Jason B. O’Neill           1998       oneillj(at)

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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

  • Director, Admissions

  • Director, Corporate Development

  • Executive Director, Marketing and Communications

  • Integrated Marketing Communications Specialist/Editor

  • Senior System Administrator/Programmer J. R. Van Pelt Library

  • Senior Research Engineer I Civil and Environmental Engineering

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