May 8, 2006 (Vol. 12, No. 47)

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:

First Round

I got out to Portage Lake Golf Course for my first round recently, and it was a bit chilly, windy, with no leaf coverage, but I wasn't complaining. "It beats shoveling snow" was my motto. I played the old nine (now the back nine), which is a favorite of mine. It's where I learned the game, played for the high school team, and have scattered enough balls around to scare the neighbors and fellow players.

More often than not, I seem to play my first and last rounds at Portage by myself. Although I'd rather have a companion, I don't mind it as much during these rounds. I remember shots I or my son or friends have made, and I often think of the people I've met at the course, like the legendary coach Verdie Cox; and people I've played with over the years, many different folks from all walks of life.

They say you can tell a lot about people by the way they play golf, and I think that's true. Do they count all their strokes? Stay composed? Can they laugh? Do they talk too much? Not enough? Do they try to help? Even when not asked? Can they help me with my putting?

Actually, it is probably a good round when you don't notice the other person too much, and he or she doesn't have to worry about helping you find lost balls. That way, you can both enjoy the course, the views of the lake, the hills across the Pilgrim River on the new nine (now the front nine), and concentrate on the game, even if sometimes it seems like nothing more than "a good walk spoiled."

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

UP MAKES TOP TEN SUMMER VACATION LIST: Suffering from Capri ennui? Finding the Hamptons just the tiniest bit tedious? Well then, check out a lesser-known vacation paradise: the UP.

Yah, you betcha, Michigan's Upper Peninsula has made the Top 10 Summer Destinations list. True, ShermansTravel ranked us 10th, but in company such as all the National Parks and Scandinavia (four whole countries), we aren't complaining. Allison Carter, Michigan Tech's director of undergraduate recruitment, was pleased, to say the least. "I thought, wow. How cool is that? We're on the same scale as the Greek Isles." The Top 10 article, available on the MSN Travel site at <> , describes the U.P. as a land "where majestic wildlife, unspoiled rivers, waterfalls and dense forests abound."

Well, duh, ShermansTravel. Tell us something we don't know. In all fairness, however, the UP is famous--if it is famous at all--as a remote, wilderness paradise of snow and ice. It's easy to forget that even the north country has a spring thaw." Summer in the UP is amazingly beautiful," Carter said. "We've got Lake Superior, waterfalls, lots of history and tons of outdoor recreation."

"Usually, students who come Michigan Tech know about our great winters, but they are really surprised at how beautiful it is here in the summer, and about how many neat things they can do," she said. "In addition to all the recreation, there's a lot going on in the local communities." Already booked your summer vacation? Then you might want to pencil in the UP for your fall color tour or winter getaway. True, we don't have the nightlife of Top 10 Summer Destination No. 4, London. But the snowmobiling is a heck of a lot better.

P.S. Alumni Reunion is August 3-5, and it's being held in one of the top-ten vacation spots in the world: Houghton!


RECENT TENURE AND PROMOTIONS: The Board of Control approved the university's tenure and promotion recommendations April 28. Promoted from assistant professor without tenure to associate professor with tenure were Linda Nagel (SFRES), Nilufer Onder (Computer Science), Charles Wallace (Computer Science), Susan Amato-Henderson (Education), Mary Friedrich (Fine Arts), Heidi Bostic (Humanities), Will Cantrell (Physics), Yoke Khin Yap (Physics), Seth Donahue (Biomedical Engineering), Jason Keith (Chemical Engineering), Paul Bergstrom (Electrical and Computer Engineering) and Tammy Haut Donahue (MEEM).

Promoted from associate professor without tenure to associate professor with tenure were Igor Kliakhandler (Mathematical Sciences), Shuanglin Zhang (Mathematical Sciences) and Brian Barkdoll (CEE). Promoted from associate professor with tenure to professor with tenure were Blair Orr (SFRES), Chung-Jui Tsai (SFRES), Larry Sutter (School of Technology), Sarah Green (Chemistry), Tom Drummer (Mathematical Sciences), Mark Gockenbach (Mathematical Sciences), John Jaszczak (Physics), Miguel Levy (Physics/MSE), Alison Hoagland (Social Sciences), Gregg Bluth (GMES), Amatabh Narain (ME-EM) and Gordon Parker (ME-EM).


BEAR BONES, HORMONES, AND OSTEOPOROSIS: Bears sometimes snooze away almost six months out of the year and typically emerge from hibernation with bones as strong as two-by-fours. Why bears are able to dodge the osteoporosis bullet has been a puzzle. Now, a Michigan Tech scientist may have solved the mystery. During and right after hibernation, bears have a much higher concentration of parathyroid hormone in their blood than they do during the rest of the year, says Seth Donahue, an associate professor of biomedical engineering. And parathyroid hormone is key to bone formation. Bones are constantly being broken down and rebuilt, in both people and bears. Osteoporosis occurs when bone loss outpaces bone formation, weakening bones sometimes to the point that they fracture. In people, staying active promotes strong bones. So does parathyroid hormone, but when people are sedentary, parathyroid hormone production doesn't increase as it does in hibernating bears. "We can't say for sure at this point that parathyroid hormone is what protects bear bones from osteoporosis during hibernation, but the results are very provocative at this point," Donahue said. Donahue has identified the bear gene responsible for making parathyroid hormone and has synthesized the hormone in the lab. "Our next step is to sprinkle it on bone cells and see if we get activity related to bone formation," he said. The work holds promise for developing a new drug to reverse osteoporosis, prompting the university to enter into an agreement with Apjohn Group LLC. The Kalamazoo-based business development advisory firm specializes in commercializing life sciences technology.


Tech Sports


Rookie Wins High Jump; Takes 10th in Long Jump: Aided by freshman Erin Ballun's first-place showing in the high jump, the Michigan Tech women's track and field team finished seventh of 10 teams in the final day of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Outdoor Track and Field Championships hosted by Ferris State. "Overall, I was pretty happy with how the team performed here," said head coach Joe Haggenmiller. "We didn't have athletes in enough events to challenge the top teams in the GLIAC, but we had quite a few respectable individual performances."



Newcomer Turns in Yet Another School Record in 200 Meter Dash: Led by a pair of top-five performances from freshman Robert Haynes, the Michigan Tech men's track and field team compiled 18 points to finish eighth of nine teams in the final day of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Outdoor Track and Field Championships hosted by Ferris State. Haynes set a wind-aided school record in the 200 meters with a time of 21.26, which was good for second in the event. The rookie clocked in with a 10.63 in the 100 meters to secure fourth-place. As a result of his two standout efforts, Haynes garnered All-Conference honors and was voted GLIAC Freshman of the Year by the league's coaches.



Saturday, June 24: Men's Basketball Golf Outing, Portage Lake Golf Course, 11:45 a.m.

August 3-5: Volleyball Alumni Reunion


Around the Keweenaw
(Adapted from the Daily Mining Gazette)

SULFIDE MINING DEBATED AT TECH: Speaking at a panel discussion at the Tech recently, Department of Environmental Quality geologist Joe Maki said an 8,000-page permit application for the Eagle Project, a controversial proposed nickel-copper sulfide mine, has been received by DEQ, and could be granted or turned down as early as September. Written public comments will be accepted until May 16, before a draft decision and a further 28 days of public input follows before a final decision is made, he said. The project covering 1,600 acres would mine primarily nickel, copper and other metals from a small, rich deposit about 25 miles northwest of Marquette and about 10 miles southwest of Big Bay. The entry site is 2,400 feet away from the Salmon Trout River.

Opponents, including groups like the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, are also worried about the risks from impacts of sulfuric acid, formed when oxygen, water and sulfide combine. The forum, attended by about 40 people, was intended as an informative discussion on the permit application process. Jon Cherry, manager of environmental and governmental affairs for Kennecott, used the opportunity to describe the mining process and make assurances. Cherry outlined a timeline for the project in which mining would take place from 2007 to 2015, pending another air quality and groundwater permit to DEQ and a zoning permit from Michigamme Township. New House Bill 6243 passed in late December regarding nonferrous metal mining in the state calls for four new requirements; an environmental impact study, a reclamation and environmental protection plan, and a contingency plan and financial assurance. Studies are ongoing Cherry said. As detailed in the permits, a period of reclamation would take place following mining, during which the area would be restored and re-planted.


SMOKING IN LOCAL BARS AND RESTAURANTS STUDIED: A smoking ban in bars and restaurants in Houghton and Hancock wouldn't ward off most regular customers, and the move would be supported by almost all employees, according to a recent study by Tech students. Graduate students of "Air quality and the Built Environment" spent their spring semester studying air quality issues, including cigarette smoke in the workplace, health effects of first- and second-hand smoke, and smoke-free policies. A group surveyed customers in 12 local bars and restaurants to see how people felt on the issue locally. Overall, they found both customers and employees prefer less smoke exposure, no matter what their own choices are on cigarettes. The group surveyed 326 people, 24 percent of whom were smokers and 76 percent of whom were nonsmokers, proportions approximate to the population, according to the Center for Disease Control.

From the E-mailbag

Hey Dennis,
I was in the Huskies Pep Band from 1999-2003.  I still come up for Winter Carnival and usually make it to at least one night for GLI. 

The Michigan Tech Fight Song is "Fight Tech, Fight" (Fight Tech Fight, Engineers.....).  When you listen to the recording you linked two weeks ago, the trumpets are playing the "sung" part.  I'm really shocked more people don't realize that!

"No Beer" is not a Huskies Pep Band song, but the Huskies Pep Band has added our own lyrics over the years (no snow, no refs, no sex, no pot, no wildcats, etc).  Go here for all the lyrics and cheers

"Engineers" is another song like "No Beer" that isn't our own, but we've added verses that are our own.

The Copper Country Anthem, is really the "Blue Skirt Waltz" and, as you mentioned, is still played between the second and third period of every home hockey game.  We also play it at every GLI game that Tech is in, and I think I recall playing it at the Bash at the Big House, just for the heck of it.  Can any other younger alumni correct me on that?

The Band has always dabbled at doing some recording over the years, but it never came to fruition.  Either the acoustics were bad, we had too few people playing for the recording, or we changed directors.  There are a few decent recordings hidden in the Fine Arts department that I'm sure could be polished up enough to be put online on the Michigan Tech website.  I know for a fact they have a few versions of the Fight Song, Engineers, and No Beer as well as some cheers. 

Oh, and for a bonus factoid, the band plays the intro to the movie 2001: A Spacey Odyssey (with a different drum vamp) when they enter any indoor event (and even some outdoor ones).  Just because the stripes aren't enough to get people's attention and let them know the band has arrived.  ;o)


Ward "Wardo Rican" Rietz Jr.
B.S. MSE 2003

Editor's note: As a "newer" tradition, the band's entrance at home games is an absolute gem: the drums beating louder and louder as they march into the court or MacInnes Student Ice Arena before the final trumpet fanfare. Very cool.



I just thought that your readers may want to know that Tech's chapter of Mu Beta Psi is in the process of compiling many of the songs and cheers that Pep Band has done over the years.  With any luck, the Songbook will be available for purchase by the time they drop the puck for the 2006-2007 hockey season.  The songbook includes most of the verses for "No Beer" and "Engineers", I'm guess that most of your readers won't recognize a lot of the verses as typically on 3 to 5 verses are sung at the hockey games.

Thanks for all of your hard work!

Alice Gerhardt, BSME '94 & MSME '97


Just had to tell a little story about wearing Michigan Tech apparel while traveling...

I was out in Las Vegas a few weeks ago wearing a Michigan Tech shirt. I sat down at a bar next to a guy and he eventually caught a glance of my shirt and started laughing...  he then proceeded to ask me if the shirt was "serious." Let alone having never heard of it, he didn't seem to believe there could even be a "technological" university in Michigan. I assured him that it did exsist and was one of the top engineering schools in the country. He asked me where Tech was located and I said oh its waaaaay up north in Houghton. Then he said, oh I know where that is, wow that IS waaaay up there, that's like almost to the bridge or something isn't it, I think my dad has a cabin near Houghton Lake.  ... I had to chuckle and try to explain that that wasn't even close and it was way past the bridge and much further north than even that, and yes it is possible to survive in the winter that far north. It was pretty funny enlightening someone who lives so far away.

BJ Tomiko
BSCS '03

Alumni Association Programs

Michigan Tech Alumni Relations and Admissions are proud to present the following Michigan Tech SPOTLIGHT NIGHTS, as part of the STARnet volunteer program.

* See the dates listed below.

Know bright, motivated, and adventurous students in these areas? Encourage them to come out! Michigan Tech Spotlight Night is a great place to check out Tech.

Spotlight Night programs introduce prospective students to Michigan Tech. The event will showcase the seven interest areas of study:  Arts and Human Sciences, Business, Computing, Engineering, Environmental Studies, Sciences, and Technology, along with showcasing various Enterprise and Senior Design projects. Prospective students and guests including parents, teachers and counselors are welcome and encouraged to attend.

For the Spotlight Night schedule, posters and more information,

Information is also available on the Alumni & Friends and Admissions homepage, or contact: Kim Klender at ksklende(at)  (906.487.3674)

RSVP: <>


ALL CHAPTER EVENTS: For more information on alumni chapter events, e-mail mtu_alumni(at) or see the alumni chapter site on the web:

8 - Boston Presidential Reception
9 - 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*

3 - Grand Rapids Annual Golf Outing
3 - Dual City Golf Outing/BBQ for Sigma Tau Gamma Alumni (Chicago and Detroit)
Bob Wojcik--bobwojcik(at) for info
10 - Detroit Annual Golf Outing


14 - Saginaw Annual Golf Outing


3-5 - Alumni Reunion
5 - Grand Rapids Whitecaps Alumni Event
12 - East Coast Gem, Mineral & Fossil Show



The Admissions Office is looking for alums to help out at high school awards ceremonies. You hand out awards that Tech has given to graduating students and have a chance to say a few words about your alma mater. (There is a script, if you prefer.)

The schools are listed below, and the contact person is Kathy Ross




School, City, Date of Event, Time of Event


Millennium, Goodyear, 5/17, 6:00 PM


Kalaheo, Kailua, 5/17, 6:30 PM


Academy of Inkster, Inkster, 6/3, 10:30 AM
Allegan, Allegan, 5/16, 7:00 PM
Almont, Almont, 5/23, 7:00 PM
Alpena, Alpena, 5/30, 7:00 PM
Armada, Armada, 5/22, 7:00 PM
Athens, Athens, 5/23, 7:30 PM
Beaver Island Cmty High School, Beaver Island, 5/31, 2:00 PM
Bellaire, Bellaire, 5/25, 7:00 PM
Benton Harbor, Benton Harbor, 5/19, 9:00 AM
Big Bay De Noc, Cooks, 5/17, 7:00 PM
Blissfield Community, Blissfield, 5/23, 7:00 PM
Buchanan, Buchanan, 6/1, 7:00 PM
Bullock Creek, Midland, 5/18, 7:00 PM
Byron Center, Byron Center, 5/23, 7:00 PM
Carman-Ainsworth, Flint, 5/30, 6:00 PM
Carson City, Carson City, 5/9, 7:00 PM
Chassell, Chassell, 5/30, 7:00 PM
Chippewa Hills, Remus, 5/11, 6:45 PM
City High-Middle School, Grand Rapids, 5/9, 7:00 PM
Clinton, Clinton, 5/18, 7:00 PM
Clio, Clio, 5/23, 6:30 PM
Concord Academy, Boyne City, 6/6, 10:00 AM
Coopersville, Coopersville, 5/10, 7:00 PM
Creston, Grand Rapids, 5/17, 7:00 PM
Dollar Bay Tamarack City, Dollar Bay, 5/23, 2:00 PM
Forest Area High School, Fife Lake, 5/16, 7:00 PM
Forest Park, Crystal Falls, 5/22, 7:00 PM
Gaylord, Gaylord, 5/17, 7:00 PM
Gobles, Gobles, 5/26, 8:00 AM
Grant, Grant, 5/15, 7:00 PM
Gull Lake, Richland, 6/5, 7:00 PM
Harbor Springs, Harbor Springs, 5/31, 7:00 PM
Heritage, Saginaw, 5/23, 6:30 PM
Houghton Lake, Houghton Lake, 5/15, 7:00 PM
Ionia, Ionia, 6/2, 7:00 PM
Ishpeming, Ishpeming, 6/1, 7:00 PM
Lake Linden-Hubbell, Lake Linden, 5/19, 9:00 AM
Lakeshore, Stevensville, 5/25, 7:00 PM
Lakeview, Lakeview, 5/18, 7:00 PM
Lakeview, Saint Clair Shores, 6/8, 6:30 PM
Littlefield, Alanson, 5/12, 8:00 AM
Lumen Christi, Jackson, 5/15, 12:00 Noon
Mason, Erie, 5/18, 6:30 PM
Meridian, Sanford, 5/24, 7:00 PM
Mio-Ausable, Mio, 5/10, 7:00 PM
Montague, Montague, 5/26, 8:30 AM
Mount Clemens, Mount Clemens, 5/16, 7:00 PM
Northport, Northport, 5/25, 7:00 PM
Norway, Norway, 5/24, 1:15 PM
Ogemaw Heights, West Branch, 5/11, 6:00 PM
Paw Paw, Paw Paw, 5/25, 7:00 PM
Pellston, Pellston, 5/24, 7:00 PM
Pewamo-Westphalia, Pewamo, 5/9, 7:00 PM
Reeths Puffer, Muskegon, 6/5, 7:00 PM
Rogers City, Rogers City, 6/2, 7:00 PM
Ross Beatty, Cassopolis, 5/11, 7:00 PM
South Lyon, South Lyon, 6/7, 7:00 PM
Southfield Christian, Southfield, 5/22, 7:30 PM
Sparta, Sparta, 5/26, 9:30 AM
St Jospeh Public, Saint Joseph, 5/22, 7:30 PM
Stephenson, Stephenson, 5/17, 7:00 PM
Stockbridge, Stockbridge, 5/17, 7:00 PM
Suttons Bay, Suttons Bay, 5/31, 7:00 PM
Tecumseh, Tecumseh, 5/16, 7:00 PM
Union, Grand Rapids, 5/15, 7:00 PM
Wayland, Wayland, 5/24, 8:30 AM
Westwood, Ishpeming, 5/16, 6:30 PM
Yale, Yale, 5/18, 7:00 PM


Carlton, Carlton, 5/24, 7:00 PM
Cathedral High School, Saint Cloud, 5/26, 9:15 AM
Dassel-Cokato, Cokato, 5/31, 7:30 PM
Falls, International Falls, 5/22, 7:00 PM
Forest Lake, Forest Lake, 6/5, 7:00 PM
Hibbing, Hibbing, 5/22, 7:00 PM
New Life Academy, Woodbury, 6/1, 8:15 AM
Orr High School, Orr, 5/10, 7:00 PM
Red Wing, Red Wing, 5/24, 7:30 PM
Rochester Lourdes, Rochester, 5/23, 8:00 AM


Stivers School for the Arts, Dayton, 5/24, 6:30 PM


Trinity, Washington, 6/6, 8:30 AM


Cino Ranch, Katy, 5/16, 6:30 AM
Martins Mill, Ben Wheeler, 5/11, 6:30 PM


Altoona, Altoona, 5/25, 7:00 PM
Bayfield, Bayfield, 6/6, 6:00 PM
Cashton, Cashton, 5/17, 1:30 PM
Drummond, Drummond, 5/24, 6:00 PM
Fox Valley Lutheran, Appleton, 5/17, 9:00 AM
Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau, Galesville, 5/29, 7:00 PM
Green Lake, Green Lake, 5/24, 7:00 PM
Greendale, Greendale, 6/8, 8:00 AM
Greenfield, Milwaukee, 6/1, 7:30 AM
Hayward, Hayward, 5/23, 2:00 PM
Kaukauna, Kaukauna, 5/24, 7:00 PM
Laconia, Rosendale, 5/10, 7:30 PM
Manitowoc Lutheran, Manitowoc, 5/24, 7:00 PM
Marinette, Marinette, 5/16, 7:00 PM
Marion, Marion, 5/15, 7:00 PM
Mercer, Mercer, 5/28, 2:00 PM
North High School, Eau Claire, 5/31, 7:00 PM
North Crawford, Soldiers Grove, 5/24, 7:30 PM
Oconomowoc, Oconomowoc, 5/22, 7:00 PM
Osceola, Osceola, 5/15, 7:30 PM
Park Falls, Park Falls, 5/26, 9:30 AM
Peshtigo, Peshtigo, 5/17, 6:30 PM
Phillips, Phillips, 5/24, 7:00 PM
Somerset, Somerset, 6/7, 7:30 PM
South Shore, Port Wing, 5/17, 6:30 PM
South Milwaukee, South Milwaukee, 5/30, 7:00 PM
Washburn, Washburn, 6/1, 6:30 PM
Waukesha West, Waukesha, 5/22, 6:30 PM
Waupaca, Waupaca, 6/1, 8:00 AM
Wausaukee, Wausaukee, 5/17, 6:30 PM
Winter, Winter, 5/20, 1:30 PM
Wrightstown, Wrightstown, 5/24, 6:30 PM

Job Opportunities This Week

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

Research Associate--Electrical and Computer Engineering

Printer I--University Marketing and Communications-Print Shop

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