TechAlum News

October 24, 2005 (Vol. 12, No. 21)

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:

Math study group

Fisher Hall

Last Friday at 4:00 p.m. Fisher Hall was pretty quiet. Profs were wrapping up their lessons in a couple of the smaller classrooms. Lecture
halls 135 and 139 were empty. Two groups of students were working through problems in the Mathematics Learning Center (left). Everyone seemed anxious to get outside and enjoy the sunny 60-degree weather.

As I walked through the halls and up and down the stairs, I thought about the generations of Tech students who have attended classes, lectures, and special events in Fisher. I really get nostalgic when I am in my Spanish class, room 125, and I picture Tech students from the past four decades sitting at the desks, cramming formulas, theories, and diagrams into their brains, while working with slide rules, TI calculators, or iPods (and maybe there’s an occasional student nodding off through a lecture.) Display cases outside the room feature work by physics and math professors and their students from over the years.

Fisher Hall exteriorNow, with the gorgeous Rekhi Hall attached to its west end, it’s tempting to dismiss Fisher’s 1965 visage. Some of the rooms still have that bright paint job that must have been hot back then. The exterior features the slate-and-chrome look of its time, and it is nicely sheltered by trees to the north and is bare on the south (left) with some nice brickwork on the appendage that fronts U.S. Highway 41.

Over time, I’ve come to appreciate older buildings like Fisher, and I think 9/11 helped me in that regard. I used to dislike the World Trade Center towers for what I thought was overly simplistic skyscraper architecture. It was only after 9/11 that I looked at them differently, thanks in part to an old architecture book I had laying around. The towers had some nice details on the bottom floors, including a fork of structural steel that then moved skyward. The corners were also softening with an angle, instead of being square.

I’ve also learned, of course, that it’s not so much what the building looks like that is paramount. It’s what happens inside a building that is truly important. The World Trade Center was the prime example, and I think Fisher has also borne that out over the years. She wears it well.

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

GEOLOGY AND MINING CHAIR FEATURED ON NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC SITE: Wayne Pennington, chair of the Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences, is featured on the National Geographic website: <>
The story focuses on why South Asia was hit so hard by the recent earthquake.

ROWING TEAM TAKES OFF: They are fairly new to campus, but they are making their presence felt regionally. The Michigan Tech men’s and women’s rowing teams won four out of their six races at the Tail of the Fox regatta at St. Norbert’s College in De Pere, Wis., recently. Even though the team’s equipment is quite aged, they still managed to beat Division I schools with state-of-the-art training facilities. “We are
the Mighty Ducks of the rowing community,” says volunteer head coach Terry Smythe. “It's not what you have, it's what you put into each pull of the oar.” The race is a grueling 2.5 miles on the Fox River. Starts
were all staggered so the team didn’t always know what place it had taken, and in one case they took first without even knowing it. The men took first in the novice four-man, and rowing sensation Tim Wong, a
senior in materials science and engineering, took first in the singles race, winning by more than a minute. The men’s team then took second in both of their other events, the novice four and novice eight, losing by
less than 10 seconds, or less then half a boat length. The women won both of their events, the novice four and the novice eight person. The team’s next competition, Head of the Grand, will be held in Lansing on
Oct. 23.

COLOROLOGIST: “Done,” the colorologist said. “This weekend was it: ninety-six point seven percent turned.” So, where does he go now?“Secret location,” he said. “In the immortal words of Ernie Harwell, the
colors and I will be ‘Loooooong gone.’” See you next year.

Tech Sports

TECH-NORTHERN RIVALRY WEEK: Michigan Tech and Northern Michigan squareoff in three head-to-head events this week. Tuesday (Oct. 18), the Huskies travel to Marquette for a 7 p.m. volleyball match. Then on the weekend, the schools battle on the ice in their only meetings of the season. Friday’s (Oct. 21) hockey game will be hosted by Northern Michigan at the Berry Events Center at 7:35 p.m. Saturday (Oct. 22). Tech will entertain at the John MacInnes Student Ice Arena at 7:37 p.m.

CONNER EARNS ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM HONORS: Senior Chris Conner was named to the 2005 Nye Frontier Classic All-Tournament Team after he netted three goals and one assist in the event. The winger tallied a goal and an assist Friday (Oct. 14) vs. Vermont before notching two goals Saturday (Oct. 15) vs. Rensselaer. Conner is Tech’s leading scorer on the season with four goals and two assists, good for six total points.

BASKETBALL PRACTICE UNDERWAY: Both the Michigan Tech men’s and women’s basketball teams opened up official practice for the 2005-06 season last Saturday (Oct. 15). The men are led by 12th-year head coach Kevin Luke, and are coming off an 18-10 record in 2004-05. The women are guided by
John Barnes, who is in his third season after leading the Huskies to their 11th appearance in the NCAA Tournament and a 21-8 record a year ago.

FOOTBALL HOME FINALE SATURDAY: The Michigan Tech football team will host its final home game of 2005 on Saturday (Oct. 22). GLIAC opponent Ferris State comes to Houghton for a 1 p.m. kickoff at Sherman Field. The 5-2 Huskies have three regular season contests remaining on their schedule.


Saturday, October 15, 2005
WCC: Michigan Tech 6th of 18 teams at Wisconsin-Parkside Invitational
MCC: Michigan Tech 10th of 15 teams at Wisconsin-Parkside Invitational
FB: at #11 Northwood 24, #19 Michigan Tech 21
VB: at Findlay 3, Michigan Tech 0 (30-27, 31-29, 30-17)
HO: RPI 4, Michigan Tech 3 (at Nye Classic, Anchorage, Alaska)

Friday, October 14, 2005
VB: Michigan Tech 3, at Ashland 2 (30-20, 30-27, 17-30, 25-30, 15-11)
HO: Vermont 4, Michigan Tech 3, OT (at Nye Classic, Anchorage, Alaska)


Tuesday, October 18, 2005
Volleyball at Northern Michigan, 7 p.m.
--Live Radio, 93.5 FM

Wednesday, October 19, 2005
Huskies Drive Time, 7:30 - 8:00 a.m. on WKMJ, 93.5 FM

Friday, October 21, 2005 (Husky Friday - wear school colors)
Women’s Tennis at GLIAC Tournament (Midland, Mich.), All Day
Volleyball hosts Lake Superior State, 7 p.m.
Hockey at Northern Michigan, 7:35 p.m.
--Live Radio, 93.5 FM

Saturday, October 22, 2005
Pancake Breakfast Hosted by Volleyball Team, 8 a.m. - noon
--St. Albert the Great Church
Cross Country at GLIAC Championships, 10 a.m.
--Hosted by Northern Michigan at Ishpeming, Mich.
Women’s Tennis at GLIAC Tournament (Midland, Mich.), All Day
#19 Football hosts Ferris State, 1 p.m.
--Live Radio, 93.5 FM
Hockey hosts Northern Michigan, 7:37 p.m.
--Live Radio, 93.5 FM

All Times are Eastern

Around Town

HOUGHTON CITY COUNCIL REJECTS SIGN VARIANCE: The Houghton City Council split its votes down the middle regarding a sign variance requested by Best Western Franklin Square Inn owner Gary Lubinski. Lubinski intended to replace the current backlit sign on his Shelden Avenue hotel with a full-color Jumbotron-type electronic message sign. The variance, he said, had the support of the Houghton Keweenaw Chamber of Commerce and would greatly aid his business. Precedent had been set by the council, Lubinski cited, which allowed the erection of 16 other electronic message signs in the city, including four on the Tech campus which, he admitted, were outside the scope of the municipality's jurisdiction. The request was the first the council had received since learning that a city ordinance passed in the late 1980s specifically banned the signs. Mayor Tom Merz took issue with Lubinski's comparison of his intended full-color Jumbotron-type sign with the Wells Fargo time and temperature sign, and the electronic price sign on the Murphy Oil station in front of Wal-Mart. "I'm not sure the comparison is fair with the time and temperature signs," Merz said. "I see those as more of a community service." A static gas station sign is also not the same as a sign that continually changes, he added. In any case, Merz continued, each of those signs was in violation of the law, some that were permitted under the former city manager Ray Kestner and others by current city manager Scott MacInnes. "We signed the permits for (Kentucky Fried Chicken) and McDonald's thinking they were legal," he said. "They were not legal, and we should not have done that. It was an error."

BANKRUPTCY MAY NOT AFFECT LOCAL AIRPORT: Although Mesaba Aviation Inc. has filed for bankruptcy, the move should not impact travelers at the Houghton County Memorial Airport, according to Airport Manager Dennis Hext. "It should not affect us at all," Hext said. “We'll still have three flights a day, and I don't foresee them cutting those flights because they're always full." All of the airport's flights are operated by Mesaba, a regional carrier that services small cities in the Midwest and funnels them into hubs for its parent company, Northwest Airlines. According to a regulatory filing by Northwest Oct. 7, Mesaba was
considering filing for bankruptcy protection because of sharp reductions in its schedule. Mesaba gets its schedule, passengers, planes and revenue from Northwest, which filed for Chapter 11 protection Sept. 14.
"Based on the fact that Northwest is taking away Saabs and regional jets that Mesaba thought they were getting, it's no secret that (Mesaba) is restructuring right now," Hext said. However, it's not likely that
Mesaba will cut the already bare-bones flights at Houghton County Memorial, he said. "That's not to say that it couldn't happen, but I feel that even with a Chapter 11 bankruptcy things shouldn't change in
the short-term," said Hext, who gleaned insider knowledge of bankruptcy from 14 years with financially troubled United Airlines.

WAL-MART SUPERCENTER OPENS: The 90,000 square-foot expansion is done, and it has added a full line of groceries, a bakery, and a delicatessen to the Houghton’s Wal-Mart. Almost 190,000 square feet of superstore will now also boast a snack bar, photo lab, hair salon, gas station, and eight self-check-out lanes. The community will gain more than just square footage of food and service from expansion, however, according to manager Mike Palek. "It will bring a wider range," he said. "It will draw more people to the area and help local business." Competition with local grocery stores is also inevitable, he said. "I think it will make everybody in this business a little sharper at what they do," he added.

From the E-mailbag

Another email about Cheryl DePuydt:

Cheryl will always have a special place in my heart and that of my husband's. My husband and I met in her ice skating class. If she hadn't been teaching that class we may never have met. She was such an
inspiring and patient teacher. She will be greatly missed and always remembered.

Angela (Macuga) Heiden
Class of 1998


"Beat Northern," has a special emphasis in my household, as my wife is a Northern alum who played basketball there. No matter what the records of our teams may be, we always get excited over the Tech-Northern battles in every sport. Bragging rights means even more now that our oldest daughter is a student at Grand Valley State. Where did I go wrong? Beat Northern! Beat Grand Valley! Go Huskies!

Ken Thorp, '81


While I did enjoy the opening of the "new" ice area 'way back, I still remember the time when it was 20 below zero outside and inside at Dee. I suppose we all have some favorite games, maybe you should ask for some stories. I know I have a few; like the time the Minnesota players scrambled into the crowd for a fight or the time the Michigan State goalie acted as though he would throw his stick into the crowd and gave
everybody the bird!

Terry Tobel '73


Is there an RSS feed for Tech hockey news that can be subscribed/syndicated?

Joseph Willcoxson

Editor’s note: While it is not becoming that automated (yet), the Athletics site is undergoing a major overhaul. Stay tuned and keep clicking.

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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 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

  • Assistant Professor, Accounting--SBE

  • Assistant Professor, Finance--SBE

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