TechAlum News

November 21, 2005 (Vol. 12, No. 25)

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:


You wouldn't recognize the place. After a couple of years and $30 million of renovation, Wadsworth Hall sparkles like a Lake Superior agate. We took the open house tour Sunday, and we weren't disappointed.

The entrance on the east side of the old cafeteria has a nice overhang for getting in and out of vehicles and leads to a beautiful open area with stairs down to the ground floor and plenty of windows for great natural lighting, even on this gray day. Many of the main floors are made up of large, stone tiles that give it the old mining school, rocky Keweenaw feel, updated for this century. There's also a new sprinkler system throughout.

They even managed to make the basement areas bright with glass walls and neon signs for the game room, offices, and Campus Café. The Café has been lightened immensely and has been turned into one huge room which houses DaVinci's Deli, "Engineered by our Sandwich Artists," and the Applied Heat Transfer Grill. Oh that engineering humor!

The main cafeteria has taken the fish tank from the Café, lost the middle riser, and has been transformed into a tremendously large room with great lighting, again. The real treat, however, is the kitchen area, where the old standing-in-line routine has been replaced by wide-open spaces where you can choose from stir-fry, deli, beverages, home cooking, salad bar, pizza, and breakfast area (with homemade waffles). It made me want to go back to 1974.

kitchenThe living areas have nice, new touches, too. The halls are carpeted; there are new lounges with kitchenettes, and improved shower and laundry rooms. And, although they still aren't huge, the student rooms have also received a facelift. They feature new stackable furniture, which affords the students more living space. And the carpeted areas make for a much quieter living experience.

I helped at the orientation move-in, hauling in more technical gear than I thought possible to own, only to go back to their cars and get more. Now, seeing their great new common areas (lounges abound on the ground and first floor, too), I wonder how many spend their nights wandering around Wads, their first home away from 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

NSF GRANT USES NEW TECHNOLOGY: Central America has a bull's-eye on its forehead when it comes to natural disasters. Associate Professor Gregg Bluth (GMES) counts them off. "Earthquakes, volcanoes, hurricanes . . . There's a lot of need there, and their personnel are stretched pretty thin." Enter a new, multi-faceted Michigan Tech program made possible through a five-year, $2.3 million grant from the National Science Foundation. The funding supports an array of projects, including the new Peace Corps Master's International program in Natural Hazards. Taken together, they will use remote sensing to make life better for people in Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Ecuador. The project combines research and education and is known officially as "Remote Sensing for Hazard Mitigation and Resource Protection in Pacific Latin America." One of the primary natural hazards the researchers will address is the dozen or so active volcanoes in the region. Scientists routinely use remote sensing to monitor volcanic activity in hopes of predicting eruptions. These methods can be very effective in countries where there may be few trained scientists to personally monitor a wide range of geologic hazards. However, these methods require a long-term commitment to become a part of an overall hazard mitigation strategy.

SMITH NAMED DIRECTOR OF DISTANCE LEARNING AND SUMMER SEMESTER: Martyn Smith has accepted a half-time position as the new director of distance learning and summer semester, Provost David Reed has announced. The position was created to provide greater leadership and efficiency in the administration of the distance learning and summer semester programs. Developing and promoting programs will remain within the purview of the departments and Schools.

STUDENTS PACK GIFTS FOR UP TROOPS: For the past month, Tech students have teamed to collect thousands of care package ingredients, from disposable cameras and DVDs to razors, batteries and home-baked cookies and a host of other gifts that will be sent to over 200 Army Reserve troops from the Upper Peninsula this week, in time for the holidays. From an idea first mentioned in a University Board of Control meeting last month, Operation Care Package has since taken flight, collecting more than double the number of items expected from collection points around community. "The cadets just took the ball and ran with it," said Maj. Paul Heslin, assistant professor of military science Army ROTC. Heslin said package recipients would be Michigan National Guard troops based out of 107th Engineers headquarters in Ishpeming, and units in Baraga, Ironwood, and Escanaba. Most of the troops won't return home until February next year. "The fact that these are local troops, really struck a chord," Air Force Lt. Col Terrence Sunnarborg, added. Along with other students volunteering through clubs, fraternities, sororities or individually, cadets spent Wednesday evening packing hundreds of boxes in the ROTC gymnasium. Inside the packages, each volunteer placed a personal handwritten message, sending thanks and best wishes for the holidays, and telling troops about the first snowfall of the year. "A yooper to yooper kind of thing," Heslin said. "It's the little things that count." Coordinating the project since mid-October have been students and reserve officers in training Anne Johnson and Tim Pach. Getting publicity and picking up donations from drop-off points in campus halls, grocery stores, and churches around the city was the easy part they found, after learning of company policy at the city's biggest retailer. "We weren't allowed to have donations dropped off inside," Pach said. "We stood outside," he explained. "We had two go for two-hour shifts, twice."


Tech Sports

#3 COLORADO COLLEGE EARNS SWEEP OF TECH WITH 3-0 WIN: Marty Sertich and Joey Crabb each tallied two points and goaltender Matt Zaba stopped 30 shots to give third-ranked Colorado College (11-2-1, 6-1-1 WCHA) a 3-0 victory and series-sweep of the Michigan Tech (2-11-1, 1-6-1 WCHA) hockey team Saturday night at World Arena. Freshman Rob Nolan made 29 saves between the pipes in the game for the Huskies. Joey Crabb scored the lone goal of the opening period for the Tigers with a power-play marker at the 18:30 mark. Marty Sertich made the score 2-0 with an even-strength tally at 19:07 of the second period. CC tacked on one more score in the final frame, as Scott McCulloch notched his third goal of the year at the 7:16 mark. For the game, Tech compiled 30 shots to Colorado College's 32. Michigan Tech went 0-for-6 on the power play, compared to a 1-for-7 mark by the Tigers. Michigan Tech will be back in action at the John MacInnes Student Ice Arena on Friday-Saturday Dec. 2-3, when it hosts North Dakota for a two-game tilt. Both contests are set to start at 7:07 p.m.

Michigan Tech HEARTBREAKER-LEWIS TOPS MEN, 58-56: Lewis only led for two seconds in its non-conference men's basketball game with Michigan Tech in the GLVC/GLIAC Challenge. Unfortunately for the Huskies, it was the final two seconds and the host Flyers walked away with a 58-56 victory. Tech led by nine points with 5:03 remaining but Lewis hit six of their final eight shots to come from behind. Brandon Dagan's eight-foot jumper with two seconds left provided the winning margin. Michigan Tech's defense put the clamps on LU in the first half, holding it to 19 points on six-of-28 shooting. The Huskies held a 25-19 margin at the half despite starters Tim Strom and Radayl Richardson playing a combined 16 minutes due to foul trouble.  It was a one-point game at the 8:18 mark of the second half, 43-42, before Tech scored eight straight with the help of back-to-back three-pointers by Robby Springborn and Richardson. Craig Genung hit four of his 14 points in the final five minutes to keep Michigan Tech on top, but Lewis wouldn't go away. Pat Monoghan drilled a fade-away three-pointer to tie the game at 56 with 34 seconds left. A five second violation on an in-bounds play turned the ball back over to the Flyers for the game-winner. Genung and Richardson tied for team highs in points with 14 each. Genung had 12 of his in the second half. Springborn also tallied double digits with 11 points. Richardson and Ed Ross tied for the team lead in rebounds with seven. Tech outshot (44 percent to 39) and outrebounded (32 to 31) Lewis, but 16 turnovers proved to be one to o many. Michigan Tech (0-2) will travel to Duluth, Minn., next Friday and Saturday (Nov. 25-26) to compete in Minnesota Duluth's American Family Insurance Classic. The Huskies will be facing host UMD in their first game there -- Friday at 9 p.m. (ET).

WOMEN'S HOOPS HANDED FIRST LOSS OF THE SEASON, 71-53: A shorthanded Michigan Tech women's basketball team hung tough for the first half, but wound up with their first loss of the season, a 71-53 defeat at the hands of Lewis University. Playing without the services of injured point guard Sarah Stream and with Amanda Sieja on the bench due to foul trouble, the Huskies led for nearly the entire first half before Lewis tied the game, 24-24, on a pair of free throws at the 1:07 mark. The teams traded baskets to start the second half before the Flyers caught fire from beyond the arc and went on a 17-4 run to expand their lead, 51-37. The Huskies tried to claw their way back with some hot outside shooting of their own by Jenna Bartels and Catherine Rottier, but the Flyers, aided by their 66.7 percent three-point shooting, were able to hold off the Michigan Tech charge. Rottier led the Huskies in scoring with 16 points on six-of-13 shooting. Bartels also reached double figures in scoring with 12 points, all of which came on three-pointers. Ashley Zehren, who got the starting nod in Stream's absence, finished with six points and seven assists. Michigan Tech will travel to Allendale, Mich., next Friday and Saturday (Nov. 25-26) to compete in Grand Valley State's Days Inn Classic. The Huskies will be facing Lewis in their first game there -- Friday at 5 p.m.


Saturday, November 19, 2005

HO: at #3 Colorado College 3, Michigan Tech 0

Basketball at GLVC/GLIAC Challenge (Romeoville, Ill.)

--MBB: at Lewis 58, Michigan Tech 56

--WBB: at Lewis 71, Michigan Tech 53

Friday, November 18, 2005

Basketball at GLVC/GLIAC Challenge (Romeoville, Ill.)

--WBB: Michigan Tech 66, Wisconsin-Parkside 63

--MBB: Wisconsin-Parkside 72, Michigan Tech 55

HO: at #3 Colorado College 5, Michigan Tech 0


Friday, November 25, 2005

Women's Basketball vs. Lewis, 5 p.m.

--at Days Inn Classic • Allendale, Mich.

Men's Basketball at Minnesota Duluth, 9 p.m.

--American Family Classic • Duluth, Minn.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Women's Basketball vs. Marygrove, 5 p.m.

--at Days Inn Classic • Allendale, Mich.

Men's Basketball vs. St. Cloud State, 4 p.m.

--at American Family Classic • Duluth, Minn.

All Times are Eastern


Around Town

RIPLEY LIFT EXTENSION PLANNED: All over the Keweenaw, snow enthusiasts cheered Tuesday and Wednesday with the arrival of the first major snowfall. With the winter season upon us, many have started preparing their skis and snowboards for the fresh snow. Downhill skiing and snowboarding continue to provide enjoyment to locals of and visitors to the Copper Country. Some may even remember those seemingly endless hikes along the top of Mont Ripley to get to Deer Tracks, the farthest ski run to the east. Well, all of that will soon be history. In December 2007, skiers and snowboarders of Mont Ripley will be able to enjoy the luxury of another chairlift, among other additions. Over the summer, Mont Ripley was inspected by local surveyor, Ron Haataja, who will submit a report to Superior Tramway in Spokane, Wash. Superior Tramway refurbishes chairlifts so smaller resorts like Mont Ripley do not have to buy brand new equipment that is much more expensive. Throughout the summer Haataja, in order to get the specifications for the new chairlift, has created topographical maps with details of trail intersections, water lines and steeper parts of the hills. Now, Mont Ripley General Manager Nick Sirdenis is waiting to hear the details and the final cost of this operation from Superior Tramway. Once the report has been received, Superior Tramway will determine how many towers are needed to get skiers and snowboarders up the hill safely, as well as the horsepower of the motor, the counterweight requirement for the lift and the maximum capacity. Then, once Mont Ripley signs the contract, production of the lift will begin. "We'd like to see delivery of the lift in early summer and have it fully operational by December 2007," Sirdenis said. Superior Tramway is one of only a handful of companies that specializes in refurbishing chairlifts.

SCOTT HOTEL BUILDING REOPENS:The former Scott Hotel building in downtown Hancock has experienced something of a rebirth with the recent opening of two businesses on the ground floor. Gizmos, Gadgets and Toys Galore and Miller's Jewelry and Gifts have been open more than a week, but a grand opening ceremony was conducted Tuesday, despite frigid, damp conditions. Lisa McKenzie, owner of Toys Galore, said her new store, which is about one block east of her previous location on Quincy Street, has more than twice as much floor space. But she put it all to use. "I managed to fill it with great stuff," McKenzie said. McKenzie said she opened her first toy store in 2001 because she saw a gap that needed to be filled. "It's something my husband and I thought was needed up here," she said. "It's hard to get good toys here." There are no other specialty toy stores in the Upper Peninsula, McKenzie said, and department stores don't have the variety she carries. McKenzie's shop is more than just a toy store. She recently purchased a horse tack business and she's selling saddles, blankets, harnesses, and other items at the back of the store. "I added that because I love horses," she said. "I have four." McKenzie said she doesn't think it's a strange mix to sell horse tack and toys in the same store. "Most of the people I know who have horses have kids, too," she said. "It's a good combination."


From the E-mailbag

For a moment there I thought my memory was slipping me.  But the e-mail from Frank Shoffner confirmed my recollection that Red Berenson played for the University of Michigan, not Denver. My memory is of Michigan playing Tech with Berenson's neck wrapped in a cast of sorts to protect the mega stitches (the rumor was 40 to 50) taken from an injury suffered in a previous game. It didn't seem to slow him down one bit but Tech managed to win at least one of those two weekend games. Berenson was quite a player but Tech had Tony Esposito and Lou Angotti and a great defense.

My other memory of that year is that the men's basketball team also had an outstanding season. On one occasion the basketball team played like at 7 P.M., then all the toots drove and walked to the ice arena to watch the hockey game that started at 9 or 9:30.  What an evening.  And furthermore one of the Forestry Club's intramural basketball players was so good that he was invited to play with the varsity team and saw action in almost every game that year. That had to be one of the greatest years ever for men's sports at Tech.

Tom Cieslinski, '63


I, too, remember Red Berenson playing for Michigan (I was at Tech from '58 to '61). He was the only one on the team with red headgear, and was a serious threat whenever on the ice. I'm glad to see that he is at U of M again.

Speaking of NCAA championships, I was there in Utica in 1962. Happier outcome than the 1960 finals in Boston, which I also attended.

Denis Hayner (L)



I read your article in the Tech Alumni letter about the 30th anniversary of the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald. I know precisely where I was that day; at Tech. I was a junior in EE and I remember that was a very spooky day. The sky was covered with very dark, rolling clouds. Although I do not remember us having any snow or other ill effects from the storm, I remember the sky vividly. As a clueless "toot" though, I do not remember hearing of the wreck during those days.

Many years later, I heard Gordon Lightfoot's song and became aware of what incident he was singing about. It suddenly dawned upon me that it was that spooky day in November in the U.P. and it sent chillys up my spine. The song has been among my favorites ever since.

Hard to believe it was already 30 years ago, because it seems still so vivid for me, although I have had a 27 year career with IBM start and end since then and am now in retirement and working part time as a computer tech. Thanks for the reminiscence.

Geoff Ingalls '77


Speaking of the Edmund Fitzgerald, I certainly remember where I was. On a flight out of Milwaukee to Houghton. Figure we were circling Calumet when the ship went down. Was probably the wildest flight I have ever taken. I remember the pilot asking the passengers to move to the front of the plane on the last leg of the flight. Probably for stability. Never did land in Calumet as we ended up going back to Milwaukee.  All the airports in between had closed due to the weather.

Jerry Kelly '76


Dennis, the thirtieth anniversary of the sinking of the Fitzgerald brings back memories of a recent visit to the shipwreck museum at Whitefish Point, MI. The museum has the ship's bell and shows a video of the bell being removed from the wreck site.  The video shows the ceremony where the relatives of the crew rang the bell for every crewmember that was lost. I would be lying if I didn't admit to tearing up during this part of the video. For anyone who has a chance to visit the museum, I would highly recommend they do so.  

Jeff Sikes

Class of '86



I'm sure you are going to receive a lot of e-mail concerning the day the Edmund Fitzgerald went down.  So, here is my contribution. I was on campus that day.  Thick ropes had been strung along the sidewalks to help the mass-challenged (i.e. anyone under about 150 lbs).  To this day, Gordon Lightfoot's song sends me back to the time I wore the Air Force parka, slipping and sliding in the wind tunnel, the area between the Memorial Union, ME-EM, and Chem-Met bldgs, wondering what the heck Heikki Lunta was doing!

George Teachman

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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 29 Presidential Reception - Berkeley, CA

November 30 Presidential Reception - Santa Clara, CA

December 9-10 Hockey - Madison, WI

December 10 Mid-Year Commencement

December 10 Basketball - Saginaw Valley

Job Opportunities This Week

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

Budget Analyst-Budget Office (reposted)

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