May 30, 2006 (Vol. 13, No. 3)

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:


That was the year the Tech Alum Newsletter began, and we marked the beginning of Year Thirteen recently. I could say "What a long, strange trip it's been," but that phrase is becoming cliché, and I've only been involved with Tech Alum since September 2005.

There have been many changes, however, both in my life and at Tech, since 1994. We've mourned the loss of many great family members and friends and celebrated graduations, weddings, and births. My daughter was in sixth grade back then; she's wrestling with master's research topics out East now. My son was in second grade; he's completed his first year at Tech now and is moving into a house full of paintball guys.

Change is a constant at any university and Tech is no exception. My department, University Marketing and Communications, has undergone changes, too, and I believe we are better for it. Coincidently, we presented at an on-campus professional development day recently, and we got to tell the folks here what we do and what we could do for them. We received some good reviews.

My part of the message was simple: marketing Tech is vitally important, so much so that President Mroz and the executive team have been very involved in it since they took over the reins here. Many offices and departments on campus use our services already or at least consult with us before they communicate. That is as it should be. We need consistency in our messages, and we are working hard to achieve that. But the other part of the equation is finding out what the campus wants from us. What are we not doing that might help them do their jobs?

We want to work together as a team; something of which I know many alumni are fully aware. But, we also need to change peoples' perceptions of Tech in order to become more than a great engineering school. That's a fairly new movement on campus, and, by reading our Strategic Plan, I believe you'll agree that it's a wise move.

We're not the same University we were in 1994, or in 1964, when we first took our present name, and I firmly believe that's a good thing.

Happy Anniversary!

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

BOSTIC, SANDELL TO RECEIVE DISTINGUISHED TEACHING AWARDS: Good students make good teachers, say both recipients of Michigan Tech's 2006 Distinguished Teaching Awards. Assistant Professor Heidi Bostic (Humanities) has been honored in the lecturer/assistant professor category, and Associate Professor John Sandell (Chemical Engineering) will receive the award in the associate professor/professor category. "The students I get at Tech are incredible," says Sandell. "They are ideal students. And the chemical engineering students are so driven; the discipline seems to attract a very special student." To teach such students, Sandell applies a simple formula abbreviated to the acronym RICK. "I go by four rules: Respect, Interest, Communication and Knowledge," he said. "I try to do everything I can to show that I respect students, to create interest in the subject matter, to communicate effectively and to know the subject. "I love teaching," Sandell says. "It's not a job, it's not a career. It's something I love to do. I wish I had time to teach more classes."

Bostic, too, is enamored of her profession. "I love young people, and I love teaching them something very different from what they usually learn," she says. Bostic teaches a variety of French language and culture classes, as well as Spanish and graduate courses on women's studies and narrative. "Michigan Tech students are a joy to teach," she says. "They love studying languages." While knowing another language is generally agreed to be a useful and even rewarding skill, learning to speak one has always been another matter. It's more fun now that it used to be, Bostic says. "It's not just conjugating verbs and learning to say 'table,'" she says. "It's learning about other ways of looking at the world and talking about current events; it's bringing the world alive."

As recipients of the Distinguished Teaching Award, Sandell and Bostic will each be given $2,500, and plaques in their honor will be displayed in the Memorial Union Red Metal Room.


TECH TO HOST CC SKI NATIONALS: Michigan Tech will be hosting the 2007 and 2008 U.S. Cross Country Skiing Championships. "Pretty cool, huh? I start almost every conversation like that," said Mike Abbott, director of sports and recreation and ski buff extraordinaire. "This is a national competition. If it were basketball, we'd be calling it the Final Four." Why is it coming here? A better question might be, why not? "Several of the skiers were here during the Junior Olympics, and they loved it," Abbott said. "We've got great snow, and because Michigan Tech owns the trails, we've got guaranteed access. And we've got state-of-the-art grooming." Plus, we've got four homologated courses, a designation that has nothing to do with milk. "Homologated" means the U.S. Skiing Association certifies them for official competition. Tech's are among only 13 such courses in the nation, Abbott said. Both the 2007 and 2008 competitions will be held in January and will include freestyle (skating) and classic (striding) events, as well as a separate competition for the U.S. Disabled Ski Team. Skiers who are unable to use their legs instead use their arms to speed through the course. "We'll need quite a crew of volunteers again," Abbott said. "And it will be a fundraiser for our own cross-country ski team and for the trails." Thus, local skiers who won't be able to use the course during the competition may also see a major benefit down the line. "We hope to be able to install lighting on some of the trails afterward for night skiing."


MILLIGAN NAMED CIO: Walter Milligan, a professor of materials science and engineering, has been named to fill the new post of chief information officer at Michigan Tech. As CIO, he will develop and coordinate information technology decision-making and policy, said Provost David Reed. "I'm very pleased that Walt has accepted this challenge," Reed said. "His background and experience make him an ideal candidate for the position, which will focus on formulating policies and setting priorities for information technology services and resources in support of our strategic plan." Milligan, who came to Michigan Tech in 1989, has directed his department's information technology component since 1991, hiring system administration support and overseeing the student computer lab. In addition, he has served on numerous campus-wide committees addressing information technology issues.


SUTHERLAND NAMED SME FELLOW: The Society of Manufacturing Engineers has named Professor John Sutherland (MEEM) to its College of Fellows. He is among eight new SME Fellows, who were chosen worldwide based on their outstanding contributions to manufacturing. These recipients are recognized by SME, their peers, and the manufacturing community as key contributors to the social, technical and educational progress of manufacturing. Sutherland, the Richard and Elizabeth Henes Chair Professor of Mechanical Engineering, was recognized as a driving force for improving the environmental performance of manufacturing. He also pioneered the introduction of courses in environmentally responsible design and manufacture at Michigan Tech. He co-chairs the university's Sustainable Futures Institute, which is committed to education and research aimed at ensuring that human activities such as manufacturing do not lead to diminished quality of life due either to losses in future economic opportunities or to adverse impacts on social conditions, health and the environment.


STUDENTS RECEIVE DEVLIEG FELLOWSHIPS: Three Michigan Tech students have received the university's 2006 DeVlieg Fellowships. In the MS category, Essa Gross (Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences) will receive $1,500. In the PhD category, Margo Hutchins (Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics) and Marika Dalton (Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences) will each receive $3,000. The fellowship winners were selected from among the nominees by a committee convened by Assistant Provost Mary Durfee and including Assistant Professor Kurt Paterson (CEE), Assistant Professor Heather Youngs (Biological Sciences) and Assistant Dean of the Graduate School Marilyn Vogler. These fellowship awards funded through a generous donation provided to the Graduate School by the DeVlieg Foundation. Funding is intended to contribute to the education and attainment of research goals by graduate students in engineering disciplines.


EXSEL PROGRAM RECEIVES NATIONAL AWARD: Michigan Tech's ExSEL Program has been selected to receive a 2006 Lee Noel-Randi Levitz Retention Excellence Award. This award is given to two institutions in North America annually. It will be presented at the 2006 National Conference on Student Recruitment, Marketing and Retention in Denver, to be held July 19-21. ExSEL is an academic support program that targets at-risk students and is currently a partnership between Educational Opportunity, the College of Engineering and the State of Michigan's King-Chavez-Parks Initiative. Noel-Levitz is nationally recognized as a leading higher-education consulting firm.

Tech Sports

ALPERS TO PLAY MEN'S BASKETBALL MICHIGAN TECH: 6-9 Center Spent Last Year at NCAA Division I Lipscomb: Kris Alpers (Eden Prairie, Minn.), who spent last season at NCAA Division I Lipscomb University, will attend and play men's basketball at Michigan Tech next year it was announced today by men's basketball coach Kevin Luke. Alpers, a 6-9 center, played 19 games for the 21-11 Lipscomb Bisons as a freshman a year ago and was named to the Atlantic Sun Conference All-Academic team. As a prep senior, he averaged 18 points and eight rebounds for Eden Prairie High School. He helped the Eagles to a 20-7 record and also earned all-conference honors during his final campaign. "Kris is an outstanding student and a strong post player," said Luke. "He can score with his back to the basket and is also an excellent passer from the post." Alpers will be a sophomore and will be eligible to play immediately. He joins the other 2006-07 Huskies' newcomer, Brandon Ball (Grand Rapids, Mich.), a transfer from Saginaw Valley State.


GUISFREDI, STAEHLIN JOIN 2006-07 WBB FRESHMAN CLASS: Pair Makes Six New Players on Huskies Roster: Tech women's basketball coach John Barnes announced today the addition of Angela Guisfredi (Hubbell, Mich.) and Lisa Staehlin (Tinley Park, Ill.) to the Huskies roster for the upcoming 2006-07 season. Guisfredi, a 5-5 guard, was an all-state selection and four-time all-conference pick for Lake Linden-Hubbell High School. She averaged 18.8 points and eight rebounds per game as a senior and finished as the school's all-time leading scorer with 1,331 points. Guisfredi twice earned academic all-state first team recognition and was an All-Upper Peninsula pick three times. "Angela fits very well into our scheme," said Barnes. "She is a very good student and an extremely hard worker who will add depth to our off-guard position." Staehlin averaged 18 points and nine rebounds per game a year ago as a senior at Andrew (Ill.) High. The 6-2 center earned All-Southwest Suburban Conference honors and team most valuable player honors each of the last three years. She helped Andrew to an 18-9 record and league title in 2005-06. "Lisa is a versatile post player who can play well with her back to the basket and has range out to 15 feet," said Barnes. "She also has a true hook shot that will make her tough to defend."

Guisfredi and Staehlin join four others in a highly touted incoming class. Danae Danen (Green Bay, Wis./Ashwaubenon), Amy Storer (Hudson, Wis./Hill-Murray), Katie Wysocky (Whitefish Bay, Wis.), and Katie Zimmerman (Green Bay, Wis./East) all committed last November to play at Michigan Tech. That foursome accumulated several prestigious honors during their senior campaigns.

Danen helped lead Ashwaubenon to a Wisconsin Division I state championship in 2006 and was an All-Bay Conference Second Team pick. Storer was a Minnesota All-Star and the Classic Suburban Conference Player of the Year. She also was one of a select few players nation-wide to be nominated for the McDonald's All-America Team. Wysocki was one of just five players in Wisconsin to earn Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel All-State First Team honors. She also was the North Shore Conference Player of the Year. Zimmerman earned All-Fox River Valley Conference First Team and all-state honorable mention accolades.

Michigan Tech Women's Basketball 2006-07 Incoming Freshmen

Player • Pos. • Ht • Hometown/High School
Danae Danen • F • 6-1 • Green Bay, Wis./Ashwaubenon
Angela Guisfredi • G • 5-5 • Hubbell, Mich./Lake Linden-Hubbell
Lisa Staehlin • C • 6-2 • Tinley Park, Ill./Andrew
Amy Storer • G • 5-5 • Hudson, Wis./Hill-Murray
Katie Wysocky • F • 6-0 • Whitefish Bay, Wis.
Katie Zimmerman • G • 5-6 • Green Bay, Wis./East



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

COUGARS IN MICHIGAN? Some western Upper Peninsula residents, including some in Houghton County, claim to have seen cougars roaming around the area. A wildlife organization in the Lansing area reports scientific evidence of cougars in several parts of the state, including Houghton County. Officials with the Department of Natural Resources claim there is no scientific evidence that cougars exist in the state. Dennis Fijalkowski, executive director of the Michigan Wildlife Conservancy in Bath near Lansing, said a paper published in the April 2006 edition of the American Midland Naturalist, a publication of Notre Dame University, presents evidence of cougar populations in many areas of the Upper and Lower Peninsulas. Fijalkowski said the paper, which was written by an assistant professor of biology at Central Michigan University and Patrick J. Rusz, MWC director of wildlife programs, presents evidence of cougar populations. "We collected 297 scats (droppings) from around the state," Fijalkowski said. Testing of the DNA in those scat samples showed the presence of at least eight cougars in several of those areas, Fijalkowski said. A Tech graduate student working on a degree in wildlife management collected droppings in 2003 in Houghton County, which Fijalkowski said were from a cougar. "She saw a cougar on her own property (west of Houghton)," he said.


NEW KEWEENAW PARK CRITERIA CREATE BACKLASH: Heritage organizations in the area are evaluating what role they will play in telling the area's copper mining story following a recent announcement from Keweenaw National Historical Park. Park Superintendent Frank Fiala, park staff, and members of the park's seven-person advisory commission met with representatives from the park's 16 heritage sites, formerly known as cooperating sites, to provide details on the establishment of a new program. That program replaces the previous informal arrangement with the sites and institutes a new system of review and evaluation sites will have to meet in order to be designated a heritage site. Park staff developed the criteria that were then circulated and altered in response to comments from site representatives and the advisory commission, according to Commission Chair Kim Hoagland. However, Fiala "ignored the recommendation of the commission" in not grandfathering in the existing sites, Hoagland said, which launched a heated debate at the meeting. "The majority of us there were instrumental in getting the park going, volunteering a lot of hours and a lot of effort to get it here in the first place," said Julie Sprenger, Manager of Laurium Manor Mansion Tours. "To all of a sudden say 'by the way, you're no longer a site,' is offensive and a slap in the face." Fiala, in an e-mail Thursday, said the Heritage Sites Program would, for the first time, formalize the partnership between the park, the advisory commission and the heritage sites as to expectations, roles and responsibilities. "Since a new program is being implemented, grandfathering past sites doesn't apply and all new applicants will start on an equal footing," he said.


UP TOURISM NUMBERS ERRATIC: Tourism toyed with emotions last year. Even with gas prices creeping upward at the pump, the summer of '05 proved fruitful, tourism officials said, drawing seven to eight percent higher revenues than the previous year. But the high was followed by an unexpected low after gas prices skyrocketed following Hurricane Katrina. This summer tourism season is already rolling in on RVs and minivans, and Upper Peninsula tourism officials are holding their breath. "The UP is a drive-in destination, not fly-in. We are definitely concerned about gas prices," said Tom Nemacheck, executive director of the Upper Peninsula Travel and Recreation Association in Iron Mountain. "If anyone wonders if gas prices matter, they can look at last fall," Nemacheck said, referring to the dramatic drop in tourism sales following high gas prices after Hurricane Katrina wrought destruction ailing the US gulf coast. "We had a great summer, but then we fell right off a cliff," he said. But his biggest concern for the UP's tourism industry, which typically brings in $1 billion in revenue a year, has to do with the state's sagging economy. "The UP tourism industry has been built on the back of the auto industry," he said. "The health of that industry is our biggest challenge. When people aren't making money, they don't go on vacation." Layoffs at large companies such as General Motors in Detroit strain the state's tourism industry, he said.


REMOVAL OF CANOPY CONTINUES: Reacting both to a potential safety threat and a newly expanded view of the Houghton waterfront, the Houghton City Council voted to remove the canopy from the south end of Huron Street. Work on removing the covering begins today. The dismantling of the canopy over the northern section of Huron Street concluded earlier this week. The council had previously authorized a combined $20,000 in work on the two canopies, which the city installed in the late 1970s. Money for the removal is coming from the city's Downtown Development Authority fund, which is budgeted for $13,000 more this year. City Manager Scott MacInnes said money from next year's budget would also be put toward the project. The now-coverless street provides an unobstructed view of the Portage Canal--as well as of the canopy's impact on businesses it shrouded for so many years.


NEW CONDOS FOR HANCOCK WATERFRONT: This summer's construction season will bring a new look to the Hancock waterfront. The construction of a condominium project will be located between the Portage Lake Lift Bridge and the Houghton County Marina. Josh Purrenhage, project manager for Moyle Construction Inc., said the company received approval Monday from the Hancock Planning Commission to begin construction of the 46,000 square-foot project that will have 20 or 21 units. The first level of the units will have enclosed parking, Purrenhage said, and above that will be three floors of living space. It's not certain yet how much the individual units will cost. "It's still being determined," he said. Purrenhage said the architectural work is being done by Central States Inc. in Valders, Wis., and the structural engineering work will be handled by Hitch Inc. of Portage Township. Construction should start in the next few weeks, Purrenhage said.


From the E-mailbag


For the past several years we have offered our summer cottage on Lake Roland near Twin Lakes State Park as a place for Michigan Tech friends and fellow alumni to spend some relaxing time in the UP as part of a visit to the summer season.

We would very much appreciate it if you would post this note again this year.

Weeks including July 4th and also late August are still available this year. Usually these times are taken by family members.

People may go to <> for details and photos.

Thank you,

Bill Savela


Alum Scott Hartz sent along the following link on an article about the Edmund Fitzgerald:




 Just got back from a 3-week Europe trip. Read the several recent mailbag comments about Tech songs.  Coincidentally, my wife and I (married in Aug '50 while Juniors at Tech) are in the process of downsizing from our home of 30 years.

In sorting through 78 and 33-1/3 records going back to the 1920's, I ran into two 78's recorded at MCM under the Pfau label.


  Record 1, Side 1. (E2-QB-5718) 7-52-1
             HERE'S TO THE M.C.M.
         Warney Ruhl and his Orchestra
            Vocal: Chuck Johnson

  Record 1, Side 2.  (E2-QB-5719)  7-52-2
              HAIL ALMA MATER
           Vocal: Ruhltones

  Record 2, Side 3.  (E2-QB-5720)  7-52-3
             FIGHT TECH, FIGHT
           Vocal by the Ensemble

  Record 2, Side 4.  (E2-QB-5721)  7-52-4
                Kitti Maskowski
           Warney Ruhl and his Orchestra
              Vocal: Ruhltones

The suggestion was I should put these up for sale on EBay. But I've never used that.

I'd like to see them added to someone's or something historical at Tech. But I'm concerned. They are fragile.  (We lost four top pre-war labels just by handling them today. Any suggestions?

Les Reid (Forestry '51)

Editor's Note: I sent Les's email to Erik Nordberg here at the Archives, and Erik responded with the following:


Yes, we would be interested in a potential donation of this item to our collections.  The best advice I can give you on handling (and possibly shipping) is to take them to a local shipping shop in your area--something like a Mailboxes Etc or UPS store--and have them wrap them in bubble wrap and place them in a larger box with additional packaging.

Please let me know what additional information I may share to you.

Thanks for thinking of us,


Erik Nordberg, University Archivist
Michigan Tech Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections
Michigan Technological University

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:

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 (kgross(at) 1-888-688-1885.

School, City, Date of Event, Time of Event


Beaver Island Cmty High School, Beaver Island, 5/31, 2:00 PM
Chassell, Chassell, 5/30, 7:00 PM
Concord Academy, Boyne City, 6/6, 10:00 AM
Dexter, Dexter, 6/1, 6:30 PM
Harbor Springs, Harbor Springs, 5/31, 7:00 PM
Ishpeming, Ishpeming, 6/1, 7:00 PM
Madison, Madison Heights, 5/30, 7:00 PM
Rogers City, Rogers City, 6/2, 7:00 PM


Dassel-Cokato, Cokato, 5/31, 7:30 PM
Forest Lake, Forest Lake, 6/5, 7:00 PM
New Life Academy, Woodbury, 6/1, 8:15 AM


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


Greendale, Greendale, 6/8, 8:00 AM
Greenfield, Milwaukee, 6/1, 7:30 AM
North, Eau Claire, 5/31, 7:00 PM
Somerset, Somerset, 6/7, 7:30 PM
South Milwaukee, South Milwaukee, 5/30, 7:00 PM
Washburn, Washburn, 6/1, 6:30 PM

Job Opportunities This Week

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

Assistant Director--International Programs and Services

Catering Manager--Dining Services-Memorial Union

Senior Major Gifts Officer-Advancement

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