June 26 , 2006 (Vol. 13, No. 7)

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:

Basement Memories

Having the family all together during this week, we did the right thing: went to work on cleaning out the basement. It was hard work, moving out the stuff into keep, sell, and throw-out piles. Sadly, the throw-out pile is the smallest.

Of course, moving the "inventory" around also meant discovering the memories: Legos and Ghostbusters for him; Barbie and My Little Pony for her. We saved enough "good stuff" to move to the attic for safe keeping, but there were times when, if you looked quickly, you could see him analyzing an action figure like he did in K-Mart fifteen years ago before buying them. And, she looked over the She-Ra Castle or Little Pet Shop for more than a few minutes.

They pretended to be beyond it, though, and so did we. We had to get the job done. (It's a work in progress still). And, I had my own batch of memory joggers: Frisbee, baseball, golf, and music. But, most of my memories were wrapped up in theirs, or at least we concentrated on the stories behind their stuff before we were all too tired to reminisce.

They are making new memories now. He's getting ready for year two at Tech; she's doing the same for grad school. They run in new circles now, mostly, but they still hear from old friends: he's got one home now who is on his way to Iraq; she runs into high school friends each trip she comes home.

They collect new "stuff" now, though it is much less (no room in apartments) and mostly devoted to school. But they know they can come home whenever they want and dig into an old box or two, and they'll find the good times again. And they are more than welcome to take a box or two back with them, if they like!

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

TECH TO OFFER MBA: Michigan Tech's Board of Control gave final approval to a new Master of Business Administration degree. The new degree program will attract students with undergraduate degrees in engineering and science and would provide a general understanding of business. The MBA could be completed in a calendar year (three semesters, including summer semester). The program is primarily aimed at students graduating from Michigan Tech, said Christa Walck, dean of the School of Business and Economics. "The program meets the demands of today's fast-paced and technologically rich workplace," said Walck, "and will make a significant contribution to Michigan Tech's efforts to integrate business and technology. These MBAs will create the technology-driven businesses of the future." Currently, the SBE offers an MS in Business Administration, but not an MBA. The new program will begin enrolling students in the fall.


PRESIDENT MROZ RECEIVES FIVE-YEAR CONTRACT: The Board of Control ratified a new contract Thursday with university President Glenn Mroz. The five-year agreement runs through June 30, 2012. "We're delighted with President Mroz's performance and with the university's strategic direction," said Board Chair Mike Henricksen. "We also recognize the importance of the upcoming capital campaign, and this is an important step to insure Glenn's leadership through its culmination in 2012." The contract was developed in recognition of Mroz's exemplary performance over the past two years, Henricksen said. "In a very short time, Glenn has stabilized and strengthened the university's financial position and led the development of a new strategic plan that focuses on Michigan Tech's key strengths," he said. "Under his leadership, the university has also seen significant growth in research volume and productivity and in the number and scope of academic programs." The board appointed a subcommittee to make recommendations on Mroz's salary at its next meeting, in August. Mroz was named president in March 2004. His previous contract was set to expire June 30, 2007.


CLARK TO CHAIR BOARD OF CONTROL: Kathryn Clark was elected to a one-year term as chair of the Board of Control Thursday. Russell Gronevelt was named vice chair. Clark has served on the board since 2001 and has been vice chair for the past year. A former chief scientist with NASA, she is president of Docere, a consulting company specializing in science and education. Among its clients are the Jean-Michel Cousteau Society, the Argos Foundation, the National Marine Sanctuaries and the Sea World Hubbs Institute. "This is an ideal time to be board chair," Clark said. "President Glenn Mroz is doing a really good job, the strategic plan is establishing a great direction for Michigan Tech, and the capital campaign is being set up to implement it. "The university is running in the right direction, so I'm coming in at the perfect time." Clark was chief scientist for the International Space Station Program for two years before being named chief scientist for NASA's Human Exploration and the Development of Space Enterprise program in 2002.


BOARD APPROVES BALANCED BUDGET: The Board of Control adopted a balanced budget Thursday for the 2006-07 fiscal year, which begins July 1. The $120.8-million general fund budget is up about 7.6 percent from this year's estimated $112.3 million and projects a state appropriation of $49.0 million, about 1.7 percent greater than the current year's $48.2 million. The budget reflects an 8.75 percent increase in annual tuition and mandatory fees, from $8,194 to $8,911, for resident undergraduate students. The increase for nonresident undergraduates and graduate students will be 7.0 percent. Financial aid funding increased 14.2 percent, from $12.9 million to $14.5 million. Graduate students will see a 3 percent hike in their minimum stipend, and the university will increase its contribution to the cost of their health care premiums. Room and board rates are slated to rise 7.3 percent, from $6,355 to $6,820, for a standard occupancy room in the McNair or Douglass Houghton residence halls and 19 meals a week. Overall enrollment is expected to rise by 50, 20 more undergraduates than last year and 30 more graduate students. The budget includes a $1.9 million increase in overall funding for salaries and wages.

Tech Sports

KATTELUS TO SKATE FOR MICHIGAN TECH HOCKEY TEAM: The Michigan Tech hockey program has announced the signing of Eric Kattelus (Houghton) to a National Letter of Intent for the 2007-08 season. A 6-1, 165-pound forward, Kattelus was named the 2006 North American Hockey League Rookie of the Year after registering 35-40--75 points in 50 games with the Bismarck Bobcats. Kattelus led all NAHL rookies in scoring and ranked third in goals and points among all players. He also led the Bobcats with nine power-play goals and six game-winning markers. Originally from Traverse City, Mich., Kattelus moved to Houghton prior to his junior year of high school, where he played one season for the Ojibwa Eagles Midget AAA team. He compiled 30-45--75 points in 49 contests for the Eagles in 2004-05 and was named co-MVP. Taken as the seventh pick in the first round of the 2006 United States Hockey League Entry Draft, Kattelus will spend next year with the Indiana Ice. "Eric is an extremely competitive player with a very high skill level," said head coach Jamie Russell. "He is already a complete player who can play both ends of the ice. He is working hard to add strength to his frame, which will only increase his ability to dominate games at the college level. Not only is he a super player, but he is a great person with very strong local ties to this community." The Huskies launch the 2006-07 campaign with an exhibition against Lakehead Oct. 6 at the John MacInnes Student Ice Arena. Tech opens regular-season competition by hosting Northern Michigan Oct. 13.


MICHIGAN TECH HOCKEY ADDS TWO RECRUITS FOR 2006-07: The Michigan Tech hockey program today announced the addition of Ryan Bunger (Sammamish, Washington) and Drew Dobson (Palatine, Illinois) to the team's 2006-07 roster. Both student-athletes will attend and play hockey at Tech beginning this fall. "We are very pleased with this incoming class," said head coach Jamie Russell. "This group filled our needs for next season and into the future. These players have great character and share a deep enthusiasm for the Michigan Tech hockey program."

Bunger, a 6-1, 185-pound forward, comes to Michigan Tech as a two-year veteran of the North American Hockey League, having played 117 games with the Bozeman IceDogs in his two-year career. He notched 17-27--44 points in 53 games with 134 penalty minutes in 2004-05 and scored 29-31--60 points in 64 games in 2005-06. Bozeman's third leading scorer this past year, Bunger helped the IceDogs advance to the NAHL regular-season championship after an outstanding 48-9-1 campaign. In addition to tying a NAHL single-season record for victories, Bozeman amassed a 22-game unbeaten streak and 20-game winning streak. "Ryan is a hard-working player that will be a valuable addition to our program," said Russell. "He has good speed and strength and plays with a lot of heart."

A 5-11, 180-pound defenseman, Dobson, will join Michigan Tech after skating with the Waterloo Black Hawks of the United States Hockey League for each of the past two seasons. Dobson played in 60 games and posted 5-21--26 points in 2004-05, which solidified a spot on the USHL All-Rookie Team. During his final year in Waterloo, Dobson compiled 2-15--17 points in 52 contests. Dobson was one of 22 players named to the USA Hockey Junior Select 18 & Under Team that competed at the 2006 Viking Cup in Camrose, Alberta. The blueliner tallied two goals and seven assists as the U.S. secured a bronze medal and 5-1-0 record in the tournament. "Drew is a great puck-handling defenseman that brings a lot to the table with his consistency and edge. He has played against some quality competition, which should help him succeed in college hockey."

The duo of Bunger and Dobson joins forward Phil Axtell (New Windsor, Maryland) and defenseman Eli Vlaisavljevich (Shoreview, Minnesota), who signed with Michigan Tech during the fall early period in 2003, and brings Michigan Tech's total 2006-07 class to four student-athletes.

Notes: Alex Gagne, who redshirted last season, will see his first action in a Michigan Tech uniform in 2006-07 ... Bunger's grandfather, Ernst Windberg, also attended Tech.



August 3-5: Volleyball Alumni Reunion http://www.volleyballreunion.mtu.edu

Around the Keweenaw

POWER OUTAGE DARKENS AREA: In the second major transmission line power outage in a month, about 24,000 Upper Peninsula Power Co. customers were left without power late Wednesday after a rain and windstorm blew through the Upper Peninsula. L'Anse, Baraga, Ontonagon areas and the entire Keweenaw Peninsula did without electricity after fallen trees cut off transmission lines, said UPPCO Communication Manager Janet Wolfe. She said smaller outages or storm-related distribution outages, in which downed power lines affect a small area of customers in a specific area, happen sporadically and depend on weather. "Most of our outages are caused by high winds and lightning and because power lines are above ground, they're susceptible to weather," she said. But the two transmission line outages, the last one three weeks ago when a piece of heavy equipment struck a line and Wednesday's, are rarer. "That is not usual," Wolfe said. "These transmission outages are not as common." She added that much like the smaller outages, transmission lines are also often at the mercy of the weather. Such as Wednesday's outage, in which storm-damaged trees hit UPPCO's two transmission lines. Some customers however, didn't have to wait as long. A combustion turbine in South Range was used to bring service to some in the Keweenaw. Also, some Ontonagon customers had service sooner because of generation from White Pine Power.


SNOW THERMOMETER ARROW REPLACED: To see the newest upgrade to a Keweenaw County landmark, motorists will have to look up, way up. The snow thermometer, located on U.S. Highway 41 about three miles north of Mohawk, has received a new arrow indicating last year's snow totals. The arrow was installed by the Keweenaw County Road Commission last week, said County Engineer Gregg Patrick, and replaces an arrow stolen many years ago before Patrick joined the commission, he said. "I don't know how many years it's been gone, but it's been a while," he said. Whereas the previous arrow was on a pulley system and could be adjusted by moving a cable up and down, the new one is simply screwed into place, Patrick said. "The old one was very expensive to maintain, since ice would get into the system," he said. "Plus, it gave vandals just too much fun." Motorists may have also noticed that the thermometer itself has been replaced, said Patrick. The previous snow gauge listed snow totals back to 1910, while its replacement as of May 2005 lists snow totals back to 1957. "Keweenaw County didn't have its own snow gauge before 1957, so when we replaced it, we decided to start with our first official year," Patrick explained. "The new thermometer raised our average snowfall by a significant amount." The thermometer garners interest from residents and visitors alike, he said. "People are always curious about how much snow we're getting," he said. "It's a neat idea to keep track from year to year."


AREA ETHINICITES TOPIC OF DAY-LONG TALKS JULY 1: The rich ethnic history of Michigan's Copper Country will be examined during a day-long symposium at Michigan Tech University. "An Interior Ellis Island: Ethnic Diversity and the Peopling of Michigan's Copper Country," is sponsored by the J.R. Van Pelt Library at Michigan Tech. The symposium is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on July 1 in Room U115 of the Michigan Tech Minerals and Materials Engineering Building. The event is open to the public free of charge and there is no need to register. Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula became the center of the nation's first capital-intensive mining boom in the mid-Nineteenth Century, propelling Michigan's Copper Country to international fame and attracting the hopes and dreams of thousands of ethnic immigrants. The 1870 Federal Census revealed that Houghton County had the third largest percentage of foreign-born residents in the entire country; more than 95 percent of all Houghton County residents had at least one parent of foreign birth, the greatest such percentage in the entire United States. For further information contact the Michigan Tech Archives at (906) 487-2505 or via e-mail at copper(at)mtu.edu.


HANCOCK OKAYS FIVE-YEAR REC PLAN: The Hancock City Council adopted a five-year recreation plan for the city Wednesday, but council members intend to make revisions. Public comment on the plan was taken prior to the regular council meeting with residents reiterating some of the same feelings expressed during a citizens' forum on the plan Monday night. "I understand you're all likely to pass this plan tonight and this is our last chance for input, but I have some reservations about it," resident Ann Pace told the council. Pace said the plan's inventory was not thorough enough, there was not enough effort to take into account changing economics, and there was no specific community vision in the plan which, she said, was necessary to be able to efficiently employ the city's limited financial resources. Lori Hauswirth of the Western UP Planning and Development Region said her office developed the plan to serve funding eligibility purposes. Previously, the state Department of Environmental Quality required a plan to list all projects for which a municipality planned to apply for funding, and that was no longer the case. "The DEQ used to require every project a city had in mind to be included in its plan, and that's no longer true," Hauswirth said. As long as the general idea was there, the city would have eligibility for a project, she added.


From the E-mailbag

Dear Dennis,
In response to John Polakowski's memo about Sylvia Combelack, I lived at 207 Pearl Street, which at that time was owned by the Fentons. Mrs. Combelack was right across the street from our rooming house, and I ate at the Combelack's for several years while at Tech. The meals there were second to none. There was also a Grandma Stevens living there at the time; I think she was either Sylvia's or Stan's mother.

Walt Humy
Met Engr, 67


I remember eating at Sylvia Combelack's house from 1962 through 1964. It was not too far from the Wesley House if I recall correctly. Three meals a day and all good. Saturday, it was breakfast and lunch and then you were on your own.  It was such a letdown to have to eat at the sometimes-dreaded Union Cafeteria. Combelack's was a mother and daughter operation.  The mother had gray hair and the daughter had a beautiful head of jet-black hair.

Don Robinson, 1964


Two comments on this one:
The letter about Michigan Lefts makes sense. The problem is that on the same road (here in Detroit Metro) there's often no way to tell if the next intersection is going to be a standard or Michigan left because they aren't all the same. This forces drivers to hold in the middle lane until they get within a few hundred feet and finally see an indication of which lane they need to get into to turn left.  Adding signs well in advance or making the turns all the same would be useful.

In reference to the Michigan University of Technology reference; at least they considered what the acronym would be! I bought a Finlandia University tee shirt just because I thought it was so funny.

Bob Crump, 1987


Craig and other readers might be interested to know that the Orion side of the Brown Road LLC development involves two Tech grads. My husband John (ECH '83) is on the Orion Township Board of Trustees and a member and former Chairman of the Planning Commission. Rob Pote is the current Planning Commission Chairman and has a Forestry degree from Tech.

Julie Steimel '83
Lake Orion, MI


Regarding the Admissions Office request for help with scholarship presentations:

It was my pleasure to help out with this! It was interesting that I was the only representative from a University to present a scholarship.  All other scholarships were presented by the high school counselor (even local schools such as SVSU and Northwood University didn't send a representative).  At the Freeland High School Awards Assembly, all of the high school students are present (9th through 12th grades). Therefore, I like the idea of being able to say some excellent things about Michigan Tech so that I, hopefully, can leave an impression in the younger students.  A few of the parents of the Senior Class were impressed with us presenting the scholarships.

Ken Seibert


It's funny that you mention that "We are at the age where we do more of that now: those things our dads used to do." As I get older (and wiser as the father of an 11 year old) that I realize how true that is. Today I had the pleasure of calling my father and telling him that I now realize how much fun he had torturing me when I was a tweenager and teenager.

I have the sheer joy of just being myself (or maybe a little dorkier) and it driving my daughter absolutely bonkers! Even my eyebrows can drive her up a wall, let alone my dancing to the car stereo while filling up on gas--of course, to "Play that funky music white boy."

I look forward to many years of torturing her with various stories, songs, behaviors and anything else I can imagine, just by me very being as a person on this earth. And then the pleasure of her coming around to realize that I am actually a pretty good guy--like I did with my father when I was in my early 20's and engaged to my wife.

Thanks for your hard work,

Richard Passavant
Michigan Tech & Sigma Tau Gamma - '93


Dear Dennis,
You mentioned in passing, "P.S. The Yankees are still fighting with the Red Sox."

I grew up in the Detroit area, so I was a LONG TIME Detroit Tigers fan. When I moved to New Hampshire in 1985, I gave up some of my Detroit sports teams for their New England equivalents. My Tigers won a World Series the year before I left, but never since (though this looks like a GREAT year to try again). My Red Wings were "dead things" in the eighties when I left, but became the Red team of choice in the nineties, and have been very respectable since then.

When I moved out here, I became an immediate Boston Celtics fan, but I got only one championship out of them before Larry Bird's back starting giving him problems, eventually leading to his retirement and the demise of the Celtics franchise. The Detroit Pistons "Bad Boys" arose to fill in the gap.

I had no New England football team at first, but the Patriots did arise out of nothing when I first came out here, only to get swallowed up by the likes of Walter Payton, "Refrigerator" Perry, and the then awesome Chicago Bears.

Fortunately, when the Celtics dropped off, the New England Patriots have picked up to become a nationally known and respected team.

My beloved Michigan Tech Huskies, once a hockey super power, have dwindled from my freshman year, (way back in the "Woodbeck-ing" days)! to become a second tier team. Several of the northeastern teams have had a chance in the limelight, as have a few midwestern teams.

I guess that is what the Lion King calls "The Circle of Life."

Even our alumni writers come and go. It was good to have Dean Woodbeck around for many seasons--he used to rite in "The Lode" back when I was at Tech. But things change, and I am glad to have you carrying the Tech torch to us as things move on.

Some of my youngest professors and instructors are now some of the senior staff at Tech, and a few have even departed.

A lot has changed since 1974, when I first visited the Tech campus. Most of it represents good memories. Thanks for providing a good newsletter. I appreciate it.

Brian Masinick
Computer Science class of 1979


Hope you're enjoying Father's Day. Your stories about the holiday, and what it has meant to you, really hit home with me for a couple of reasons. First, my father passed away six years ago on the day after Father's Day, ironically on his 69th birthday. It was the week before the Lambda Chi 20th reunion. That reunion really helped me get through the loss of my father; being around people with whom I shared so much made me feel better. Kelly ackson, in particular, was enormously helpful, and I will be forever grateful to him.

The other reason today is so important is that my wife and I just brought our new daughter home from the hospital, about 15 minutes ago! Patricia Joan "PJ" Holden was born on June 15, 2006, at 0420. Mother and baby are doing well, but the hospital was being cautious and wanted to hold her for a few days to be safe. I don't recall ever being so happy to return home, with my beautiful wife and beautiful daughter. This is truly a special Father's Day for me.

Finally, Lambda Chi Alpha is pleased to announce the opening of its new fraternity house, located at 918 College Avenue, in Houghton. Most recently known as the Charleston House bed and breakfast, our new house has received over $200,000 in upgrades and renovations to preserve its historic character and make it a place that the entire university can be proud of. In celebration of this occurrence, Lambda Chi will be holding an Open House on Friday, August 4, in conjunction with Tech's Alumni Reunion.  All interested persons are welcome to tour the house, and see for themselves what Lambda Chi members are so proud of. Hours for the open house will be from 3 pm to 7 pm. Sorry, no on-site parking will be available. A private dedication ceremony and alumni picnic will be held the afternoon of Saturday, August 5, 2005 for alumni and brothers of Lambda Chi Alpha and invited guests. More details regarding the dedication and ceremony will be provided later.Anyone with questions regarding our Open House or dedication and picnic can direct them to me at jtholden(at)sbcglobal.net.

Again, Happy Father's Day.


I appreciated the info from Allen Sorgenfrei about the link to Bosch beer (sorry, I don't spell it "bier"), but he neglected to say the link was in German. I barely passed one year of high school Spanish, and after that, decided I was just one of those who was multi-linguistically challenged. I was supposed to go over to China in 1986 (equipment installation was temporarily cancelled, because that's when the protest fun started), my employer at the time even bough my passport, but I got a book on trying to learn Chinese. With all the dialects there, and the Chinese characters they write with, I was pretty sure it was going to be a lost cause.

Great job on the newsletter, I look forward to it every Monday. Keep it up!
Courtney Fitzsimons, BSMY, '83


Alumni Association Programs

ALL 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: http://www.admin.mtu.edu/alumni/chapters/usamap.html

14 - Saginaw Annual Golf Outing
23 - Detroit Tigers Group Outing

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

Job Opportunities This Week

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

Assistant Professor--Electrical Engineering Technology Program--School of Technology

Lecturers/Instructors--Construction Management, Computer Network and System Administration, Electrical Engineering Technology, Industrial Technology, Mechanical Engineering Technology and Surveying Engineering programs--School of Technology (full- and part-time)

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