TechAlum News

October 31, 2005 (Vol. 12, No. 22)

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 groupMuck Run

Where’s the muck?

Every year, around Halloween, the Tech cross-country team hosts a 5-kilometer race through the Tech Trails, and every year it’s supposed to be muddy, slippery, rainy, and cold. It was last year, when I ran my first one. My son talked me into it; he was in shape from his high school cross-country season (his last). And last year, I slid, slopped, and laughed my way around the winding, hilly, course through the woods near the SDC.

The laughter came from the conditions (sideways rain at times) and many of the competitors’ costumes. A bride and groom (both male), the Hulk, and others made their way around the course. And I even saw a couple of belly flops into the deepest puddle on the course, rolling in the mud. And, somehow, my son and I both finished third in our age brackets. Our prizes? Two jars of mud that still adorn our living room.

make a difference dayThis year was chilly, but no rain, wind, or slop to contend with. However, the great costumes were back: Spiderman; a group of runners as trees; a doctor, complete with wingtips and lab coat, carrying a crowbar, who finished dead last; many hunters; one deer; a hockey player; ballerinas (male and female); and a female pushing a “snow-plow” made of cardboard with “Snow Fear” on it.

After pre-race tunes like “We Are the Champions” and “Can’t Touch This,” we were off, and the usual bunched-up madness ensued. “Oops, sorry!” “Coming through!” “Cut every corner you can.” I’d forgotten how tough the trail was, and I felt tired early; too fast a start maybe. I also had too many pieces of Trenary Toast with my coffee, I think. And that big bowl of cereal didn’t help. Okay, enough excuses.

Last year, at the 2K mark, I thought it said 2 miles. Big mistake. This year, it was dry and easier to read the markings. Later, the 3K mark seemed to come quite soon, then I swore the rest was uphill. One youngster passed me, would stop to walk for a while, wait till I was close, then take off again. I never caught him. I did stay close to one of the local high school runners I recognized until the final hills, when he pulled away slowly like a car on I-75.  Near the end, you can hear the crowd cheering the finishers, and, as you crest another hill, it looks close. But, it turns right and goes downhill, and you know you have longer to go, and it will be uphill, again. And you’re out of gas.

Just before the finish, the “deer” passed me, and as I looked up I noticed he was caked in mud. Great, I thought, at least someone had found a puddle to flop in. Later, at the water and banana table, I told him “Nice kick at the end.” and noticed it was more like a wipeout stain covering half of him. “Where’d it happen?” I asked. “On th’ very firs’ bloody downill,” he answered in a great British accent. Which means, since I didn’t see it happen, he was behind me, and he still managed to fall, get up, with his foam antlers on (one drooped a bit), and catch me at the end. “Nice job.” I said. He smiled.

My reward came when my son thanked me for talking him into it this year. “Great, we’ll do it next year,” I said, to the Tech freshman who gave me a head start then flew by me and disappeared into the pack.

Maybe I’ll train more for ’06.


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

DIWALI CELEBRATION: Six ethnic chefs from the Priya restaurants in Detroit will prepare dishes for Diwali, the Indian festival of lights, at Michigan Tech on Friday, November 4. The event, sponsored by the Michigan Tech Indian Students Association (ISA), will be held in the Wadsworth cafeteria to accommodate the expected 1,200 diners. However, only 350 tickets will be available to the community. The rest of the guests will be residence hall students.

MICHIGAN YES! EXPO MAKES DETROIT NEWS: The Michigan YES! Expo, sponsored by Michigan Tech, was featured in the October 27th Detroit News online: <> More than 19,000 students checked our science and technology education and careers at Ford Field in downtown Detroit.

(AT FLORIDA) MEEM ALUMNI GATHER IN FLORIDA: MEEM alums and their guest are invited to a reception on Monday, November 7, from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the Buena Vista Palace, Walt Disney World Resort, Windsor Room. 1900 Buena Vista Drive, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830. RSVPs are requested to Kathy at or 906-487-2911.

Tech Sports

MICHIGAN TECH AND MINNESOTA DULUTH SKATE TO 2-2 OVERTIME TIE: Tyler Shelast and Nick Anderson each tallied power-play goals and netminder Rob Nolan made a career-high 34 saves to help the Michigan Tech (1-6-1, 0-1-1 WCHA) hockey team record its first Western Collegiate Hockey Association point of the season with a 2-2 tie against Minnesota Duluth (1-4-1, 1-0-1 WCHA) Saturday night at the John MacInnes Student Ice Arena. Tech lost 6-3 Friday night.

HUSKIES PLAY TOUGH BUT COME UP SHORT AT #7 SAGINAW VALLEY: Michigan Tech stood toe-to-toe with seventh-ranked Saginaw Valley State in a Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference showdown at Wickes Memorial Stadium. The Huskies played a superior game in many facets of the contest, but it was the hosts coming away with the 17-10 victory. Tech outgained SVSU, 326-203, in total offense and held nearly a 10-minute advantage in time of possession. However, many of the key plays were made by the Cardinals (8-1, 8-1 GLIAC), who found a way to win. The Huskies, who needed a win to keep its NCAA Tournament hopes alive, are now 6-3 (6-3 GLIAC) on the season.

#24 FERRIS STATE DEFEATS MICHIGAN TECH 3-0 ON SENIOR/PARENT'S DAY: The Michigan Tech volleyball team (9-16, 5-10 GLIAC) dropped its final home contest of the season 3-0 to 24th-ranked Ferris State (21-7, 11-5 GLIAC) Saturday at the SDC Gymnasium. The Bulldogs won by scores of 30-25, 30-28, 30-17. Senior Rosalyn Robinson provided a team-high nine kills and hit .333, while fellow senior Taryn Franznick registered eight kills. Freshman Jen Jung finished with one block solo, three block assists and hit .333 for the match.


Saturday, October 29, 2005

HO: Michigan Tech 2, Minnesota Duluth 2 OT

VB: #24 Ferris State 3, at Michigan Tech 0 (30-25, 30-28, 30-17)

FB: at #7 Saginaw Valley State 17, Michigan Tech 10

Friday, October 28, 2005

VB: #17 Grand Valley State 3, Michigan Tech 1 (22-30, 30-23, 30-21, 32-30)

HO: Minnesota Duluth 6, Michigan Tech 3

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

VB: at #5 Minnesota Duluth 3, Michigan Tech 0


Friday, November 4, 2005 (Huskies Friday: Wear your Tech colors)

Volleyball at Northwood, 7 p.m.

Hockey at Denver, 9:37 p.m.--Live Radio, 93.5 FM

Saturday, November 5, 2005

Cross Country at NCAA II Great Lakes Regional, TBA

Volleyball at Saginaw Valley State, 4 p.m.

Football at #2 Grand Valley State, 7 p.m.--Live Radio, 93.5 FM

Hockey at Denver, 9:07 p.m.--Live Radio, 93.5 FM

Sunday, November 6, 2005

Volleyball at Lake Superior State, 1 p.m.

All Times are Eastern

Around Town

CONSERVATION DISTRICT FUNDED FOR WATERSHED STUDY: In what condition are Eagle River and its tributaries? The Houghton-Keweenaw Conservation District hopes to find out with a two-year watershed plan beginning next year. The plan, primarily funded through a $100,584 grant from the state Department of Environmental Quality, will look at the state of the watershed, which covers 13,594 acres in Keweenaw County. That area includes historic mines such as the Phoenix, Central, Cliff and St. Clair. High copper concentrations from those operations led the National Park Service to designate the Eagle River as an impaired site.  There are also significant amounts of stamp sand within the area, which in some cases are eroding into the river. Water quality within the watershed is key for several reasons. The watershed provides drinking water for many of the residents, who are also likely to have septic systems in shallow bedrock areas at high risk for runoff.

COUNCIL DELAYS ACTION ON SIGN VARIANCE REQUEST: Members of the Houghton City Council and Best Western Franklin Square Inn owner Gary Lubinski agreed Wednesday to delay action on a variance allowing Lubinski to display an electronic Jumbotron-type sign on the side of the hotel. The variance request had been rejected by the council at its October 12 meeting when it failed to garner a majority of the votes. The six members of the council had split their votes 3-3, with council member Robert Megowan absent. With a full council present Wednesday, Lubinski had requested the item again be placed on the meeting agenda. During public comment, the hotel owner cited numerous reasons why his variance request should be reconsidered, specifically objecting to council member Eric Peterson’s reliance on the recent HyettPalma Blueprint for Houghton's Downtown plan during the October 12 vote. “If I had known that the HyettPalma plan would play such a large role in the vote, I would have read it more carefully,” said Lubinski, a member of both the city’s planning commission and its Downtown Merchants Association. “I was under the impression we were to use this more of a guide and not a strict blueprint.” Lubinski read a number of passages from the study to bolster his request, including recommendations that city officials endeavor to support lodging and meeting facilities and develop a way-finding system through the use of signage. He also reiterated his previous contentions that his hotel is not in a historic district and that other electronic signs were allowed in the city by the council in the recent past.

REZONING REQUEST FAILS: Lakeshore Drive has been, is and will remain a business zone. A resolution to re-zone the shoreline avenue from B-3 business to R-1 single family residential failed at the Houghton City Council meeting Wednesday, after impassioned speeches by stakeholders on both sides. The resolution was brought to the council following a petition drive by some Lakeshore Drive residents who objected to property owner Robert Sundstrom’s plan to build a rental duplex among single-family homes. Arguments having been taken for the last month on the issue, the parties were allowed one last opportunity to voice their opinions before the council's vote.

From the E-mailbag

Dee Stadium hockey stories?  You want Dee Stadium hockey stories?  Boy, are you ever gonna get loaded down!

How ‘bout those wonderful times prior to that black day when the Fire Marshall decided that 3,000 rabid toots packed in to the 1,500 seats were too many for safety? The place would literally rock on its foundations!

How ‘bout the time when the Minnesota-Duluth star forward (whose name I will not Huffer to say) had enough of bruiser defenseman Norm Wimmer picking on him all night and busted his stick over Norm's head? If Gary Bauman had been in goal, the Duluth star would have gone home in two pieces; he was lucky that Phil McVitty was very mild-mannered (but Phil still almost took his head off with his goalie axe).

How ‘bout “Frenchy” Lacrosse, the most hated ref ever to skate at Dee?  One night, after a particularly bad call, a dead cat flew out of the stands to land at Frenchy’s feet.  Due to the density of the packed-in crowd, “security” (such as it was) couldn't make it to the offending fan (actually,

everybody was too busy watching the flying cat to see who tossed it).

How ‘bout that Tech Band playing Blue Skirt Waltz, the “Copper Country Anthem” and all 3,000 of us swaying back and forth, arm in arm just before the start of the 3rd period.  How 'bout the fans chanting "We Want TEN" the night that our boys scored their 7th unanswered goal against the Wolverines?

Dee Stadium was a place that filled those long LONG winter nights with excitement.

Pete Dohms, ‘67


Good morning Dennis:

Food for thought.

In the Sunday Chicago Tribune of October 23, 2005 on page 2 of Section Two, “Perspective,” there is an article regarding engineering entitled “How can we keep America on top?” by Michael Tackett. The article is based upon the efforts of a Tennessee Senator, Lamar Alexander, to increase the number of U.S. graduating engineers. Under the photo caption for that article is a statement that reads in part “...(in 2004).. the U.S. graduated 70,000 engineers.”

My question is, is the U.S. figure of 70,000 engineering graduates for all U.S. universities true or has the Chicago Tribune played with the numbers? When 70,000 annual graduates are spread out over all the engineering universities in the U.S. the per-university number of graduates gets real small. If so, then at some point in the future Michigan Tech would begin to experience a negative ROI from the College(s) of Engineering regardless of what efforts were taken.


John Titlow

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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.

November 3-5 Board of Trustees Meeting - TBA

November 5 Football - GVSU, Grand Rapids

November 18-19 Hockey - Colorado College, Colorado Springs

Job Opportunities This Week

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

James and Lorna Mack Endowed Chair in Chemical Engineering--Chemical Engineering

Assistant Professor/Chair--Physical Education

Chair--Fine Arts

Technology Licensing Associate--Corporate Services/Intellectual Property-Technology Commercialization (Position duration dependent upon external funding)

User Support Specialist--East Engineering Computing Network/Civil and Environmental Engineering

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