February 27, 2006 (Vol. 12, No. 38)

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:

Olympic Memories

My first memories were of the 1968 games when we were still living in Detroit. I recall beginning to cheer for Finland in addition to the US team, since my ancestry seemed exotic to me when I was young. And we all cheered against the Soviets, a common, Cold War, foe. My dad loved speed skating, and I enjoyed the bobsleds and ski jumping. It was in the latter that Finns would routinely do well over the years. And, we all went crazy over Peggy Fleming.

In the 1976 winter games, the Keweenaw and Tech were well represented. Mary Seaton of Hancock competed well in downhill skiing, and I watched her with a Hancock classmate in our dorm room on a little black-and-white TV, cheering our lungs out. Huskies goalie Jim Warden played for the hockey team (I believe he had many saves verses the Czech team) and was joined by teammates Paul and Steve Jensen. In fact, the Huskies have been well represented over the years: 1964 Paul Coppo (US), Henry Akervall and Gary Begg (Canada); 1968 Bruce Riutta (US); 1980 Tim Watters (Canada); 1988 Watters and Tony Stiles (Canada); and 1992 and 1994 Jim Storm (US).

As our children grew, they also became fans of the games. My daughter was a Kristi Yamaguchi fan, and my son played out the hockey games on our mini rink in the back yard. And we would follow the games on family road trips: we saw Kerri Strug hit that vault on her wounded foot in the 1996 summer games from a hotel room in Chicago.

So, it was sad to see these games come to an end, with yet another goofy closing ceremony. My wife and I concluded that nearly all the opening and closing ceremonies are at least somewhat strange. A couple of exceptions, for me, were the grand pianos in the 1984 Los Angeles summer games, and the Calgary games in 1988, with the Stampede theme. In fact, the winter games are returning to Canada, to Vancouver, in 2010. Maybe our gang can see it in person this time . . .

Snowfall Update
(Website http://www.admin.mtu.edu/alumni/snowfall/)
As of February 24, 2006

Snowfall to Date, On the Ground

This Week: 190 "     45 "
Last Week: 168 "     31 "
Last Year: 125 "     32 "

ALUMNI BULLETIN BOARD: Remember the alumni bulletin board for you to use for discussions related to this newsletter, Tech sports, or anything else: <http://www.admin.mtu.edu/pps-cgi-bin/yabb2/YaBB.pl>

At Tech

NEW DEGREE PROGRAMS LAUNCHED: The Board of Control gave final approval Friday to a new Bachelor of Science in Anthropology program and preliminary approval to two other BS degrees, one in biochemistry and molecular biology and the other in exercise science. The anthropology program is part of an ongoing effort to expand the number of degrees offered by Michigan Tech and attract a wider range of students. "Based upon enrollments in anthropology on other university campuses, we expect that this will broaden our appeal, particularly among women and underrepresented groups," said Bruce Seely, chair of the Department of Social Sciences. Students majoring in anthropology will be able to focus in two specialties: archaeology and environmental anthropology, which examines the relationship between humans and their environment.

The new BS in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology will be a cooperative effort between the Departments of Chemistry and Biological Sciences."The interface of chemistry and biology is a very hot area and will be into the future," said Sarah Green, chair of the chemistry department. The new degree program will build upon concentrations that have been offered for years, said John Adler, chair of the biological sciences department. "This has been an evolutionary process, and we have a number of faculty who are very active in this area," he said. "As a result, students will have the opportunity to participate in their ongoing research as undergraduates." The program is expected to enroll about 40 students within a few years.

The BS in Exercise Science will be the first degree program to be offered by Michigan Tech's Department of Physical Education. It will provide a strong, scientific foundation for students seeking employment in the health and fitness industry as well as for those seeking advanced degrees in the health and allied health professions. The goal in the first year is to attract 20 students, with an anticipated 60-80 enrolled after four years.

The degree programs are expected to begin in fall 2006.


TEACHING AWARD ADDENDUM: Last week, I left off the contact info, and alums are allowed to voice their support for former teachers, so here it is: comments may be sent to Nancy Seely (nsseely(at)mtu.edu) by April 3, 2006.

Associate Professor/Professor Category

* Brian Fick (Associate Professor, Physics)

* Dean Johnson (Associate Professor, Business and Economics)

* Carl Nesbitt (Associate Professor, Chemical Engineering)

* Soner Onder (Associate Professor, Computer Science)

* John Sandell (Associate Professor, Chemical Engineering)

Assistant Professor/Lecturer Category

* Heidi Bostic (Assistant Professor, Humanities)

* Ann Brady (Assistant Professor, Humanities)

* Sean Clancey (Lecturer, Chemical Engineering)

* Karyn Fay (Lecturer, Biological Sciences)

* Guy Hembroff (Assistant Professor, Technology)

Tech Sports

WOMEN TO HOST GLIAC BASKETBALL QUARTERFINAL: Tech will host Lake Superior State on Tuesday at 7 p.m. in a quarterfinal game of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference women's basketball tournament. Tickets for Tuesday's game at the SDC Gym are currently on sale at the SDC Ticket Office (906-487-2073), and season ticket holders will have until noon on Tuesday to claim their same seats. The Huskies own the second-best record in the league and are the #2 seed in the GLIAC North Division. LSSU is the #3 seed in the North. The winner of the game will advance to the GLIAC Final Four, which will be hosted by the remaining team that owns the best record.

FOUR OVERTIME THRILLER IN MEN'S BASKETBALL: Tech and Northern renewed their rivalry for the 186th time last Saturday, but this match-up was like none either team had ever been a part of. The regular season finale proceeded through four overtimes and 60 minutes before the host Wildcats finally came away victorious, 81-76. The game went down as the longest in Michigan Tech's 80+ years of basketball history. The teams, which were tied at 46 after regulation, combined to score 65 points in the overtimes.

MEN'S HOOPS ON ROAD TO GVSU FOR GLIAC TOURNAMENT: The men's basketball team will travel to eighth-ranked Grand Valley State on Tuesday (Feb. 28) for a GLIAC Tournament quarterfinal game. The Huskies will look to repeat their feat from last year, when they knocked the Lakers out of the league tournament in a quarterfinal game in Allendale. Tuesday's game time is set for 8 p.m.

TECH RECORDS 2-2 TIE AT ST. CLOUD STATE: For the third straight weekend, the hockey team secured a tie in the closing game of a two-game series. This past Saturday, the Huskies recorded a 2-2 stalemate against #19 St. Cloud State. Tyler Shelast scored the game-tying marker and Brandon Schwartz turned in a goal and an assist. Michael-Lee Teslak stopped 40 shots to improve his record to 7-10-4. Chris Conner tallied his 15th career shorthanded goal in last Friday's contest against SCSU.

TECH TO HOST SKIING JUNIOR OLYMPICS: The Michigan Tech Ski Trails will serve as the site for the 2006 Chevrolet Junior Olympics coming up March 5-11. The event will no doubt be the largest-ever held on the trails, with an estimated 400 athletes expected. Several of Tech's Nordic skiing student-athletes will race in the event as well. Opening ceremonies are scheduled for Sunday, March 5, at the Rosza Center on the Michigan Tech campus. More details can be obtained at: www.2006juniorolympics.org

For up-to-date standings, go to the following links:
Hockey: http://www.collegehockeystats.net/standings/wcham
Women's Basketball: http://gliac.org/womens/basketball/default.asp
Men's Basketball: http://gliac.org/mens/basketball/default.asp


Men's Ice Hockey (7-21-6, 6-14-6 WCHA)

Feb. 24: at #19 St. Cloud State 6, Michigan Tech 1
Feb. 25: Michigan Tech 2, at #19 St. Cloud State 2, OT

Women's Basketball (19-7, 14-4 GLIAC)

Feb. 22: at Michigan Tech 82, Finlandia 41
Feb. 25: Michigan Tech 67, at Northern Michigan 57

Men's Basketball (14-13, 10-8 GLIAC)

Feb. 25: at Northern Michigan 81, Michigan Tech 76, 4OT

Nordic Skiing

Feb. 25: Michigan Tech at American Birkebeiner

Men's Tennis (1-7, 0-0 GLIAC)

Feb. 25: Winona State 8, Michigan Tech 1 (at Duluth, Minn.)
Feb. 26: at St. Scholastica 5, Michigan Tech 4


Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Women's Basketball hosts Lake Superior State, 7 p.m.--GLIAC Tournament Quarterfinal (Live Radio, 920 AM)

Men's Basketball at #8 Grand Valley State, 8 p.m.--GLIAC Tournament Quarterfinal (Live Radio, 93.5 FM)

Wednesday, March 1, 2006

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

Friday, March 3, 2006 • Husky Friday (wear school colors)

Women's Basketball at GLIAC Tournament, TBA

Men's Basketball at GLIAC Tournament, TBA

Hockey at #12 North Dakota, 8:37 p.m.  (Live Radio, 93.5 FM)

Saturday, March 4, 2006

Women's Basketball at GLIAC Tournament, TBA

Men's Basketball at GLIAC Tournament, TBA

Hockey at #12 North Dakota, 8:07 p.m.  (Live Radio, 93.5 FM)

Sunday, March 5, 2006

Skiing Junior Olympics Opening Ceremony, 1:30 p.m. (Rosza Center)


Friday, March 3 at North Dakota, Fighting Sioux Sports Network (FSSN) 8:37 p.m.

Saturday, March 4 at North Dakota FSSN 8:07 p.m.

Friday, March 10 - WCHA Playoffs TBA

All Times are Eastern

Around Town
(Adapted from the Daily Mining Gazette)

ROAD CONSTRUCTION TO BEGIN IN APRIL: The Michigan Department of Transportation has plans for 18 road repair and reconstruction projects starting in the spring in Baraga, Houghton and Keweenaw counties, ranging from simple patching to realignment of several miles of curves. One of the larger projects in the Copper Country is the realignment of curves on M-26 from South Range to Trimountain, which has been budgeted at $3.45 million. Andy Sikkema, manager of the Michigan Department of Transportation Service Center in Ishpeming, said after a study of that section of road, MDOT officials decided the straightening project was necessary. "We concluded there were a significant amount of crashes (from South Range) to Trimountain," he said. The project contractor is MJO Contracting Inc. in Hancock Township, Sikkema said. Although major construction on the project will start in early spring, preliminary work was done last autumn when a baseball field in the path of the new construction in South Range was relocated.

NEW BAKERY OPENS IN CALUMET: Connie's Kitchen opened recently at the Mine Street Station in Calumet, owned by Connie and Dave Hella. After operating a pasty shop in Ahmeek, where winter traffic proved too slow to remain open, the Hellas have opened their own shop. They also were both employed at the former Thurner's Bakery, where Dave worked for 35+plus years as a master of versatility. "I did pretty much everything, from filling doughnuts to mixing breads to packaging," he said. Following the closure of Thurner's in 2001, the Hellas worked at local bakeries and grocery stores while earning acclaim for their wares at Calumet's annual PastyFest celebration. But it was always Connie's dream to return to her own store. "It was just a matter of the right location at the right time," she said. The shop occupies the former Curves for Women exercise facility next to Subway sandwich shop, with the irony not lost on Connie.

OLD HANCOCK DPW SITE OKAYED FOR SALE: City officials are hoping to sell a 3.3-acre site that, at one time, was the site of the city's Department of Public Works headquarters. First the problem of contaminated soil and groundwater had to be taken care of, and, after a seven-year effort, that's been done. Hancock City Manager Glenn Anderson said the former DPW site at the foot of Birch Street with Portage Lake Shipping Canal frontage, was demolished in 1998 when a new headquarters was built on Tomasi Drive. Anderson said part of the demolition involved removing three underground diesel fuel storage tanks, and when that was done it was discovered there was contamination caused by fuel leaking from the fuel pump islands. "The tanks weren't leaking," he said. The old site was in operation since the 1940s and in 2003 about 100 yards of contaminated soil was removed from the site, according to Anderson. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality is working on remediation of the site, and Wayne Morse, DEQ environmental quality analyst at the agency's Gwinn location, said his office became involved because of state regulations governing underground storage tanks.

HOUGHTON CITY COUNCIL SELECTS NEW MEMBER: Houghton's new city councilman wants to follow the lead of his predecessor. When Gernot Joachim came to Houghton 13 years ago, he said, Bill Blumhardt and his family were among the first people he met. "I've always appreciated Bill and what he's done for the city, and I hope to continue doing what's best for Houghton," Joachim said. The council selected Joachim from a pool of five candidates to fill the seat vacated by Blumhardt, who resigned last month to spend more time with his family. Blumhardt also served as mayor pro tem, a position now held by Councilman Bob Backon. Joachim serves as the assistant director of the Western Upper Peninsula Substance Abuse Service Coordinating Agency. Prior to that, he worked at Gartner's Department Store in Hancock.

From the E-mailbag

We heard about the snowball fight/snow angels/snowball on the local news here in the Atlanta, GA area last week as well! I was working late on the Saturday of carnival when my wife called me and said "You went to school with such a bunch of geeks!" I asked her what she meant, and she said that she'd just seen a report on the local news about Michigan Tech trying to break those world records. I told her that we were PROUD to be geeks, and that actually my school produces a bunch of WINNERS, as evidenced by the report! I asked her what world records HER alma mater (Sweet Briar College in Virginia) held, and she had no answer, of course. Apparently the newscasters were rather sarcastic and a bit mocking in their reporting, though, saying something along the lines of "I guess they don't have anything better to do up there during the winter." Personally, I think that they were just jealous.

I also wanted to say what a pleasure it was to meet President and Mrs. Mroz at the Presidential Reception in Atlanta last week. I found them to be charming and full of enthusiasm for both the University and its mission. I have very high hopes and greater than ever confidence in the continued and increasing success of Michigan Tech. President Mroz seems to have a strong grasp of what's needed going forward in order to take Michigan Tech "from good to great." While those of us that have had the "Tech Experience" know that it's ALREADY a great University, the world at large is still relatively oblivious to that fact. Getting Michigan Tech "on the radar" is key to bringing the national prominence that is deserved, but without losing the personalized and excellent education that Tech offers. His vision for the future appears to build on the strengths the University already possesses while putting in place the resources to address the weaknesses using structured, well-planned, and thought-through strategic objectives. A big THANK YOU to President and Mrs. Mroz and to Steph Olsson for taking time out of their busy schedules to personally meet with those of us Alumni that are far removed geographically from Da Tech, but hold it dearly close in our hearts.

Rick Stevens
Chem Eng '87


A comment & sharing.

I'm a Michigan Tech grad in EE and Engineering Admin.  Currently, I am an expat working in Shanghai, China.  Also, I work closely with many of the Asian Pacific countries, including India.  I wish I could explain in words what it is like here, particularly in technical education, science & technology, and engineering.  For example, I just got back from working in South Korea.  While there during my short visit, I worked with the employees Wednesday - Saturday.  The engineers and I worked 19+ hours each day.  The Koreans wanted me to continue working Sunday, and additional days, but I had other pre-planned obligations back in China. Another example, I work with Asians that can speak three or more languages, and have a highly academic educated background.  In a world market, the future of US engineering, science & technology, and technical education will be challenged to change.  I wish I could share more, but I have a meeting to attend.

David Church
Engineering Group Manager


Dennis, what is concerning is your report about working being sent to China and India. Working for a Fortune 500 corporation, I have seen how engineering work is being "off-shored" to India and manufacturing is also being sent to low cost work centers. I have also seen the affect of these practices on our town; many former large manufacturing businesses now sit empty, having moved their work to Mexico, China, or India. CEO's, with their eyes on the almighty dollar, have latched onto this as a method to reduce costs and raise stock prices, thereby insuring they receive their multi-million dollar bonuses. From a worker's point of view, these practices not only erode our technology base but also degrade morale. Perhaps Congress needs to step in and impose legislation that will limit the amount of work that is off-shored.  


Yes, more on the roundabouts...

I agree with a previous contributor that roundabouts work well in Europe, where they have been in use for some time. However, American drivers (as a whole) are simply not courteous enough to use them properly. Additionally, the consultants are generally not wise enough to design them effectively. Should you need proof, just look at the sequencing of left turn arrows compared to through traffic lights in any larger town. In Traverse City, there is no consistency, which is either done out of ignorance or to keep drivers on their toes!

Frank H. Guerin
BSCE Class of '95


Having lived in the UK and possessing a UK Driver's License [no mean feat, I can assure you], I wanted to weigh in on the roundabout debate.

While it is true they are excellent at keeping traffic moving in many applications, they too fail in heavily used intersections.  I know of many roundabouts in London that are controlled by stoplights as well. In these situations, much of the utility of the roundabout is negated.

Nevertheless, I found 'normal' roundabouts to be quite easy to negotiate.  There is only one cardinal rule: always, ALWAYS, yield to traffic coming from the right. This rule would be reversed, of course, for American roundabouts.

They also require some special skills: Speed reading, for instance, is a must when confronted with multiple signs directing you to various obscure villages. Proper signaling is also a requirement--one that, judging from the habits of many of my fellow American drivers, might just render roundabouts totally unsuited to this country.

On the other hand, they might prove useful in eliminating excess cars from our streets.

Ken Kreckel '74

Alumni Association Programs

CHAPTER EVENTS: For more information on alumni chapter events,
e-mail mtu_alumni at mtu.edu or see the alumni chapter site on the web.

March 2006                                                    

01 - Boca Raton Presidential Reception
10 - Grand Rapids Muskegon Fury Hockey/Alumni Event
15 - Pittsburgh Presidential Reception
16 - KAC After Hours Social St. Urho's Day @ KBC
21-22 - Buffalo National College Fair
24-25 - Green Bay- Hockey Regionals @ the Resch
25 - Grand Rapids Griffins Hockey/Alumni Event
30 - Houghton/Hancock Spotlight Night @ Wadsworth Hall

April 2006                                                      

02 - Houston National College Fair
04 - Seattle Presidential Reception
05 - Portland Presidential Reception
05 - Green Bay Spotlight Night
06 - Chicago Spotlight Night
11 - Denver Presidential Reception
12 - Student Expo - Alumni Night
18 - Ontario/Inland Empire National College Fair
19 - Honolulu National College Fair
20 - San Diego National College Fair
22 - Orange County National College Fair
23-24 - Greater LA National College Fair
25 - Ventura National College Fair
27 - San Francisco National College Fair
29 - Spring Commencement

May 2006                                                       

03 - Grand Rapids Spring Dinner/Presidential Reception
09 - Boston Presidential Reception
10 - Philadelphia Presidential Reception
10 - Duluth Spotlight Night
11 - Minneapolis Spotlight Night
16 - Saginaw/Bay City/Midland Spotlight Night
17-18 - Detroit Spotlight Night
22 - Marquette Spotlight Night
23 - Traverse City Spotlight Night
24 - Grand Rapids Spotlight Night
24 - Green Bay Golf Outing
24-26 - Washington DC (MTF Board Meeting), Presidential Reception
25 - Kalamazoo Spotlight Night


Job Opportunities This Week

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

Trades Supervisor--Facilities Operations

OFF CAMPUS: For off-campus positions, visit the alumni section of the career center's web site ( http://www.career.mtu.edu/alumni.php)