TechAlum News

November 7, 2005 (Vol. 12, No. 23)

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:

Mother Rosa; Sister Danielle

We incurred two huge losses recently. One made international headlines; one received much less attention but has also had a great impact.

Rosa Parks is one of those American icons whose courageous act is etched into the history books and beyond. When she refused to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, and was arrested, she started what would become the civil rights movement in this nation. Among many honors, she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Michigan Tech in 1989. I was fortunate enough to write the introduction for her for that commencement, and I still recall her speech from that graduation ceremony.

“Live by the Golden Rule,” she said. “Treat others as you would like to be treated.” Sometimes the simplest (and shortest) commencement addresses are the most memorable.

Danielle Ladwig graduated last spring, receiving her bachelor’s in civil engineering, and she was enrolled in grad school here. In a one-in-a-million tragedy, she died after receiving a yellow fever vaccination. She was part of the Engineers Without Borders team that was going to Bolivia over the Thanksgiving vacation to build a school’s sanitation system.

My daughter was a friend of Danielle’s through Blue Key. She was the all-American student, my daughter said, involved in everything, always smiling, bubbly, just a nice person to be around. Needless to say, my daughter and all the Tech community are in shock over Danielle’s death. Many have spoken eloquently about Danielle, and one that stood out was professor Tom Van Dam. “My heart goes out to her parents and to those who knew her. And it goes out to those who will never have the chance, as we have lost one fantastic human being. Our commitment is to make sure that we continue the work that she began.”

I know that they will, and I think that Danielle would have been proud of the work that they will do. It seems that she, too, lived by the Golden Rule.

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

STUDENT DIES FOLLOWING YELLOW FEVER VACCINE: Danielle Ladwig, 22, a graduate student at Michigan Tech, passed away Saturday, October 29, as a result of an adverse reaction to a yellow fever vaccination.Ladwig was pursuing a Master of Science degree in Civil Engineering and was preparing to travel to Bolivia with the Michigan Tech student chapter of Engineers Without Borders to build a school. Yellow fever is a mosquito-borne illness endemic to parts of Bolivia, and the Centers for Disease Control recommends that those traveling into rural areas receive the vaccine.“We are devastated,” said Tess Ahlborn, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering and chair of the department’s Graduate and Research Committee. “She was doing something to protect herself so she could help someone.”Ladwig was vaccinated at the Western Upper Peninsula District Health Department, which dispenses yellow fever vaccines locally. “No one ever anticipated that this would happen,” said Dr. Gail Shebuski, the health department director. Severe reactions to the yellow fever vaccine are extremely rare, perhaps one in every 1 million or 2 million cases, she said. “Everyone here is shocked and dismayed.”Ladwig was traveling to a rural area replete with infectious diseases, so she would have received a number of vaccines, Shebuski said. In addition, she was young and healthy, so there was no reason to suspect that she would be among those rare individuals in whom the vaccine behaves like the actual yellow fever illness. Only a handful of cases like this have been recorded in the last 10 years. “It’s really hard when there’s not a reason,” Shebuski added. “There’s no satisfactory explanation.”

SENATE CONSIDERS ANTHROPOLOGY DEGREE: The University Senate has begun deliberating a proposed BS in Anthropology. Because the social sciences department has a PhD program in Industrial Archaeology, no new faculty would be needed, Senator Hugh Gorman (Social Sciences) said. The program would be expected to draw three to five students a year and could attract more minorities and women. The senate is also considering proposals for a new coaching endorsement certificate and a minor in coaching fundamentals. Along with the anthropology degree, they are expected to be voted upon at the senate's next meeting, Wednesday, Nov. 9.

CONCERT CHOIR HEADING FOR CHINA: The Michigan Tech Concert Choir is in final planning stages for its 2006 concert Tour to China.  Dates are July 28 to August 10 and will include Beijing, Xiang and Shanghai.  Choir alumni who are interested in participating should contact Dr. Milton Olsson at miolsson(at) by November 15.

Tech Sports

MEN’S HOOPS IN ACTION THURSDAY: The Michigan Tech men’s basketball team travels to Milwaukee Thursday for a preseason match-up against NCAA Division I Marquette. Tip-off at the Bradley Center is slated for 8 p.m. Tech head coach Kevin Luke, who is the winningest coach in the Michigan Tech men’s basketball history, begins his 11th season with the Huskies with 19 players on the roster. One of those players is freshman Chris Novak, brother of former Michigan Tech women’s basketball standout Andrea Novak and current Marquette senior Steve Novak.

ODD WAY TO END FOOTBALL SEASON: Michigan Tech traveled to #1 Grand Valley State to wrap up its 2005 regular season last Saturday (Nov. 5) and came home with neither a win nor a loss. The contest, which was scheduled to start at 7 p.m., was delayed three times due to lightning and eventually called off at midnight. Little over one and one-half quarters had been played in the game, but the results and statistics were wiped out because the game was declared “no contest.” Michigan Tech ended with a 6-3 record -- its second-best winning percentage (.667) as a member of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.

CONNER'S SCORING STREAK CONTINUES AT DU: Senior Chris Conner tallied one goal and two assists this past weekend at #9 Denver. He extended his scoring streak to four games after his two-point performance Saturday night . . . Junior Lars Helminen garnered his first multi-point effort of the season with a pair of helpers Saturday and finished with three assists on the weekend . . . Michigan Tech hosts WCHA foe St. Cloud State Friday-Saturday, Nov. 11-12, at the John MacInnes Student Ice Arena. Both contests are set to begin at 7:07 p.m.


Sunday, November 6, 2005

VB: at Lake Superior State 3, Michigan Tech 2 (30-22, 26-30, 30-23, 26-30, 19-17)

Saturday, November 5, 2005

HO: at #9 Denver 4, Michigan Tech 3

FB: at #1 Grand Valley State, Michigan Tech (canceled due to lightning)

VB: Michigan Tech 3 at Saginaw Valley State 1 (30-18, 23-30, 30-28, 30-27)

WCC: 9th of 22; MCC: 15th of 20 at NCAA II Great Lakes Regional

Friday, November 4, 2005

VB: at Northwood 3, Michigan Tech 0 (30-16, 30-18, 30-15)

HO: at #9 Denver 5, Michigan Tech 2


Wednesday, November 9, 2005

Huskies Drive Time, 7:30 a.m.-- Live on Mix 93.5 FM

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Men's Basketball at Marquette, 8 p.m.--Live on Mix 93.5 FM

Friday, November 11, 2005

Blueline Club Luncheon, 12 noon--Peter J. Grant Hockey Educational Center

Hockey hosts St. Cloud State, 7:07 p.m.--Live on Mix 93.5 FM

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Hockey hosts St. Cloud State, 7:07 p.m.--Live on Mix 93.5 FM

All Times are Eastern

Around Town

MAN KILLED IN EMPIRE MINE ACCIDENT: A 28-year-old Ishpeming resident was killed at the Empire Mine Sunday morning when he was working in the mine’s concentrator and pellet plant. Chad Weston, an assistant plant operator, was found entrapped shortly before noon in machinery in the Richmond Township plant. Emergency medical technicians who work at the mine discovered Weston. Weston was transported to Marquette General Hospital where he was pronounced dead, according to police. He was the first worker killed at the Empire Mine in more than six years.

BLIZZARD SELLS PART OF OPERATION: Blizzard Corporation of Calumet expects to keep “substantially” all employees after selling its interest in their Blizzard line of snowplows earlier this month. The company, located on Airpark Road in Franklin Township, sold the line to Milwaukee-based Douglas Dynamics, LLC. Douglas is the parent company of Western and Fisher brand snowplows. Blizzard will keep certain non-snow and ice-removal products and manufacture and distribute them at the Calumet facility. These products include a line of crawler dozer blades (Rockit Power Blade) using their "expanding wing" technology as a cross license from Douglas Dynamics. Other anticipated products include a material handling device (Robox) used for spreading sand and de-icing salt, as well as other materials related to non-snow and ice control applications.

From the E-mailbag

The very best thing about a hockey game at the Dee in the sixties was how cozy it could be with the fenced in rink and thousands of rabid fans cheering on the Huskies.By the time the Blue Skirt Waltz rolled around we were really pumped up. And between periods those toots too young to warm up at the local bars would jam into the lobby area for hot chocolate and popcorn. After the win, and we had lots of those, it was a happy trudge back to the campus in the squeaky snow. Beating Berenson and his hated red team from Denver at WC was the tops in my book.............

MARTY O, '64


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November 18-19 Hockey - Colorado College, Colorado Springs

Job Opportunities This Week

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

Applications Programmer: LTAP/Civil and Environmental Engineering

Software Engineer: LTAP/Civil and Environmental Engineering

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