TechAlum News

September 26, 2005 (Vol. 12, No. 17)

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:


hobo paradeThe young man picked up the football and aimed carefully to throw it through the hole in the plywood where a makeshift Huskies receiver had been painted. The Varsity Club was giving pom-poms to those at Saturday’s pre-game tailgate who could accomplish the feat. But this contestant struggled with a disability and tried and tried and tried.  In a short time, a small crowd of students gathered to cheer him on…and to resounding cheers from those around, he made it—and proudly walked to his seat in the bleachers with his prized pom-pom.

This weekend was homecoming and if you were anywhere close to Houghton; you were sure to know it. Emotions ran high and traditions played out with the queen competition, the Huskies Hobo Pep Band, the “carefully” prepared junk cars, and the parade that featured an alumni contingent. There were new activities as well with the parade ending at a community pep rally for the football and volleyball teams at the waterfront, and competitions that included a cardboard boat regatta. Many sunk, but none were lost. 

We arrived at Sherman field Saturday morning not only to find the tents for the Alumni Association tailgate event but some other changes as well. Always looking to be helpful, some spirited hobos had taken the initiative to “adjust” the bleachers for the Ashland Eagles fans so that they had an excellent view of —the woods; a deed that was remedied by the grounds crew with the assistance of a carry-lift prior to kickoff.

At game-time, the presentation of the colors, a moment of silence, and the national anthem were punctuated by an Air Force T-38 jet that that screamed over Sherman Field in a low pass. The game featured the best rushing defense in the GLIAC meeting the best rushing offense. The Football Huskies prevailed with some heart-stopping, come-from-behind razzle-dazzle in the fourth quarter that brought the crowd to their feet as the team controlled the remainder of the game.

After the game, Gail and I went out on the field to congratulate players, coaches and family members. The same young man with his hard won pom-pom came up to one of our biggest linemen and said, “I cheered for you, could you hear me?”  The lineman looked, smiled, shook his hand, and said, “I know man, I could hear you the whole game. Thanks!” 

Maybe he could pick that one single voice out among the thousands, and maybe not. Maybe the young man could hear the students cheering for him earlier, and maybe not. But it was one of those touching and ironic situations when you’re thankful that you had the privilege to be there to see people at their very best, both offering help and acknowledging it.

The moment of silence at the beginning of the game was for someone who had cheered for many people over the years and seemed always to be at her very best. Cheryl DePuydt, chair of physical education, passed away after a long battle with cancer. Cheryl was known both for having a positive attitude, and being a positive force on those around her. She was the first full-time female faculty member to teach physical education at Michigan Tech, and also the first to coach varsity sports. Although she started and coached both women's basketball and volleyball programs, her passion was skating. She volunteered her time to work with skaters both young and old in the community for many, many years. Early last week, her friends created a garden in the shape of a figure eight at the entrance to the MacInnes Student Ice Arena. A few hundred of them were on hand when Cheryl came to see it on Wednesday. She said goodbye to each of them in her usual cheerful way. She passed away on Friday at age 54.

Take some time to cheer for somebody today, and enjoy those moments when people are at their best. 

Glenn Mroz,

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

CHERYL DEPUYDT PASSES AWAY: As mentioned by President Mroz, the former chair of the Tech physical education department and coach of the women’s basketball and volleyball teams, Cheryl DePuydt, passed away Friday after her battle with cancer. An employee at Tech for three decades, she received the Michigan Tech Distinguished Teaching Award in 1982, and in 1991 she received a State of Michigan Teaching Award. Cheryl was a member of the Professional Skating Association and the US Figure Skating Association. In 1992 Cheryl was inducted into the Michigan Tech Sports Hall of Fame. In 1998 she was awarded the Clair M. Donovan Award for outstanding service to the community and university. Cheryl was especially well known as director of figure skating programs. Generations of Keweenaw skaters and hockey players owe their start to Cheryl, and she will always be remembered for her ever-present smile and positive attitude. She was a joy to be around. Tech Today has an article on Cheryl: <>

RETURN OF THE COLOROLOGIST: I found the colorologist in the Memorial Union late Friday afternoon. He was clearly depressed. “It’s impossible,” he said, “to produce an accurate percentage of leaf colorization.” Due to the very dry conditions, he said, some trees are at prime color or even past, but many are still green. “So, if some are already gone, if a few more are at prime, and most are still green, then, by my Tech calc skills from ’75, I have to guess we are at 32.7 percent turned, give or take.” He still seemed sadder than he should be, even working with these tough predicting days, and finally I asked him why. He said softly, “I miss Cheryl.” We all do.

FAMILY WEEKEND COMING UP: Academic department expos, tours of campus, a boat cruise/color tour, and a football game are all happening this weekend as hundreds of prospective students and their families invade Houghton Friday and Saturday.

SBE HOLDING MASTER’S INFO SESSIONS: The School of Business and Economics is holding information sessions for prospective students interested in its master’s program. The sessions will be held Wednesday, October 5 at 5:00 p.m. in Minerals and Materials Engineering Building, Room U113, and Monday, November 14 at 5:00 p.m. in the Dow Environmental Sciences and Engineering Building, Room 641. Email msba(at) for more info or visit <>

Tech Sports

KOENIG EARNS GLIAC PLAYER OF THE WEEK! Junior punter Billy Koenig is the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Special Teams Player of the Week after he averaged 40.7 yards per punt and placed three of his six punts inside Ashland’s 20-yard line in a 17-14 Michigan Tech victory last Saturday (Sept. 24). Koenig had a season-high boot of 59 yards late in the second quarter, which backed the Eagles up to their own 13-yard line. In the fourth quarter, he pinned AU on their own nine-yard line before Tech got the ball back for the go-ahead score. Koenig averages a GLIAC-high 41.8 yards per punt on the season. The league player of the week honor was the first of his career.

HOMECOMING SUCCESS! Michigan Tech’s annual Homecoming was a resounding success, as the 15th-ranked Huskies came from behind to defeat Ashland, 17-14, in front of 3,215 fans. The crowd was the second-largest in Sherman Field history, and it was entertained by an Air Force jet flyover before the game, a free tailgate party, a collection of classic cars on display and, of course, the results of the football game. Archita Sivakumar, a senior electrical engineering major, was crowned Homecoming Queen for 2005.

VOLLEYBALL SPLITS HOMECOMING WEEKEND: The Huskies volleyball team went 1-1 over the Homecoming weekend, dropping a 3-0 decision to Northwood Saturday and rebounding with a 3-1 triumph over Saginaw Valley State Sunday. Michigan Tech is now 7-6 overall and 3-2 in the GLIAC. Tech continues GLIAC competition with matches at Grand Valley State Thursday (Sept. 29) and Ferris State Friday (Sept. 30). Senior Taryn Franznick, notched her eighth double-double of the season Sunday with 16 kills and 20 digs.

CROSS COUNTRY TO HOST U.P. CHAMPIONSHIPS: Michigan Tech will serve as host for the U.P. Championships Friday (Sept. 30) on the Tech Trails. The meet will be the fourth of the season and the first at home for the Huskies.


Sunday, September 25, 2005

VB: at Michigan Tech 3, Saginaw Valley State 1 (31-29, 26-30, 30-23, 30-17)

Saturday, September 24, 2005

FB: at #15 Michigan Tech 17, Ashland 14 (Homecoming)

VB: Northwood 3, at Michigan Tech 0 (30-18, 30-23, 30-28)

WTN: at Wayne State 5, Michigan Tech 4

MCC: 20th of 48 teams at Roy Griak Invitational (St. Paul, Minn.)

WCC: 11h of 24 teams at Roy Griak Invitational (St. Paul, Minn.)


Wednesday, September 28, 2005

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

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Volleyball at Grand Valley State, 7 p.m.

Friday, September 30, 2005 (Husky Friday - wear school colors)

Cross Country hosts U.P. Championships, 3:30 p.m.

Volleyball at Ferris State, 7 p.m.

Saturday, October 1, 2005

Women's Tennis at Lake Superior State, 2 p.m.

#15 Football hosts Gannon, 1 p.m.

-- Live Radio, 93.5 FM

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

All Times are Eastern

Around Town

OLD HOSPITAL BECOMES NEW SMARTZONE BUILDING: After sitting empty and unused for years, the former Portage View Hospital has new life as a place of education and commerce. The new functions of the Finlandia University and Michigan Tech Enterprise SmartZone business incubator spaces were put on public display Friday during a dedication ceremony.State Rep. Rich Brown, D-Bessemer, who spoke before touring the facilities, said the building will provide an important function because too often there is no connection between the public and private sectors. "Higher education is the driving engine behind the economy in the state." Brown said.

FROM NEW ORLEANS TO HOUGHTON: Rodney Snow has gone through quite a lot in the last month.Not only did his family get out of their New Orleans home the day before Hurricane Katrina hit the city on August 29, the 23-year-old Snow has begun the pursuit of his master's degree in electrical engineering at Tech several months early.Although he hasn't been back home since the hurricane hit, Snow has since found out that at one time his home on the east side of New Orleans was under eight feet of water."That's actually where most of the water went," he said. Snow said a large group of family members left New Orleans to take refuge in the home of an aunt in Baton Rouge. The group included Snow, his mother and her fiance, his 13-year-old sister, his grandmother and her boyfriend and an uncle. Snow said he picked Michigan Tech for his graduate work because he had visited the campus in the summer of 2003 for a National Science Foundation program called Research Experience for Undergraduates. He was impressed by the experience. "Pretty much this was my only choice," he said. Paul Bergstrom, Snow's faculty advisor, said they met in 2003, and he's glad Snow decided to come to Houghton. "I was excited about the opportunity to get him back," Bergstrom said. "I wanted him to come here."

KENNECOTT TALKS TO GEO STUDENTS: Instead of a lecture on alluvial fans and aquifers, students in Tech's GE2000 introductory geology course heard a presentation on the nuts and bolts of mining. "It's good to see something you can actually make dollars with in rocks," said geology professor Ted Bornhorst to his class Monday night, by way of introducing guest lecturer Jon Cherry.Cherry, Kennecott Minerals Co. manager of Environmental and Governmental Affairs and project manager for Marquette County's Eagle Project nickel mine, proceeded with a 40-minute slideshow detailing the ore body involved and the company's plan for extraction. Kennecott is a wholly owned subsidiary of mining giant Rio Tinto Inc., which employs 36,000 people in 30 countries. Depending on whether revenue, resources or reserves are used to measure, said Cherry, which makes Rio Tinto either the largest or second-largest mining company in the world. "That's an advantage to both the company, obviously, but also those communities in which we do mining," he said. "It costs more to do it right, and lots of junior companies can't do it like we can and meet specifications." The company is in the third year of baseline environmental studies at the Yellow Dog Plains in Marquette County, which have proven the existence of a high-concentration nickel and copper deposit.

ASH BORER INVADES U.P.: Despite the best efforts of researchers and scientists to keep the emerald ash borer out of the Upper Peninsula, the glossy green beetle is winning the battle. Officials at Brimley State Park Sept. 12 confirmed the presence of the beetle at the park, located in Chippewa County along the Lake Superior shoreline. "We definitely need to be changing our mindset from eradication to learning to live with it," said Andrew Storer, Michigan Tech professor of forest insect ecology. "It's likely to get picked up at other sites in the U.P. in the coming years." Storer has been actively involved in tracking the beetle for the last two years, acting as Michigan Tech's lead investigator on survey teams jointly formed by Michigan Tech and U.S. Department of Agriculture representatives. The teams surveyed over 50 sites in the U.P. this year, he said, focusing on campgrounds where the movement of firewood has aided in the borer's spread.


From the E-mailbag

Hi Dennis,

Quick question (probably raised by others before...)

Last year, my family enjoyed a great football game between Michigan Tech and Grand Valley State University here in Ann Arbor...  Fun for all (even though we lost) and so great to see the Pep Band in rare form, including alums...

Any word on a future game???


Bob Rajewski '81

Editor’s Note: I forwarded Bob’s query to Pete Radecki, executive director of corporate services, and he received the following reply:

Hi, Bob,

Referencing the note, if you have children or other relatives that are 8th-12 graders, please feel free to come to the Youth Engineering & Science Expo. To do so, go to  You'll find out about the event as well as the on-line registration form for free tickets.

Regarding a future Bash or similar event, I know that there have been some discussions in the Athletics Dept and I believe that there has been some effort to see about doing something in 2006. That's all I know at present.

All the best!

Pete Radecki



Yes. Though my years in New York are now equal to those in the UP, the Keweenaw will always be home.

Thanks for the breath of fresh air on Mondays!

Becky Nold



An inspiring letter to us, and I like the opportunity that you have given to the share his thoughts too.  Keep up the good work!  By the way...has the colorologist been sighted?

J. Paulson '93

Editor’s Note: Your first colorologist report is above, in At Tech.



Tech is always "home" to me.  Thanks for the statement!

Deborah Kozol


I'd like to echo John Gonser's comments [regarding the performance of alumni in workplace being a great recruiting tool].  It was the preponderance of Michigan Tech alumni that my mother saw on a daily basis that got us to consider Tech, then it was, frankly, the students that I met when visiting that sealed the deal.

I work with 3 other Tech alum, one being a direct report of mine.  All 4 of us are doing well at Midwest ISO, and therefore advertising for the school.


Eric (BSEE 96, MSEE 97)


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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.

October 8 Football—Wayne State, Detroit

October 14-15 Hockey—Anchorage, Alaska

October 21 Hockey—NMU, Marquette

October 26 YES eXpo 2005—Ford Field, Detroit

October 29 Football—SVSU, Saginaw

Job Opportunities This Week

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

  • Administrator of Research Enhancement—VP for Research Office

  • Assistant Professor—Computer Science

  • Business Manager—Information Technology

  • System Administrator—Auxiliary Technologies

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