July 17, 2006 (Vol. 13, No. 10)

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:

The Great Lake

Ninety-degree days just don't feel right in the Keweenaw. We adjust to them though: Portage Lake Golf Course was packed early Saturday because the temperature was only going to get worse.

The heat was also an excuse to go to the big lake and cool off. Calumet Waterworks Park was also busy. A local company was having a picnic, and many small groups of people were lying on the beach. Children and their parents were swimming, and I couldn't resist, so I went in. The waves were just large enough to knock me around like driftwood, bouncing me on the rocky shore, and I was happy there were no cameras around to record my lack of grace.

On the way back to town, I thought about all that Lake Superior gives us, in addition to a place to cool off when it is too hot. At Tech, it provides great opportunities for research. The Center for Water and Society, through the Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences, holds an Ecology of Lake Superior class each summer. A tall ship, the "Denis Sullivan," was in town last week as part of the Department of Education's Lake Superior Educational Adventure. The lucky teachers get to sail to Isle Royale on the beautiful ship. The Lake Superior Ecosystem Research Center (LASER) is housed in the Department of Biological Sciences and also includes faculty from geology, forestry, and environmental engineering.

It's a perfect fit, of course. Researchers are a stone's throw from one of the most extensive freshwater bodies in the world, and they can analyze its currents, ecology, and effect on the lands around it. They can even use our own research vessel, the "Agassiz," for their work. I just hope they make time to enjoy the beauty of the Great Lake while they do their research.

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

ADDITIONAL TECH STUDENT WON NISSAN AWARD: Last week, we told you Tech junior Sunny Pereira was one of 16 students to win the Inaugural Nissan-World Wildlife Fund Leadership Award presented in Washington, DC. Well, Greg LeFevre was also a winner, and we overlooked him. Sorry, Greg. Tech was the only school with two winners, by the way. That website again is: <http://home.businesswire.com/portal/site/google/index.jsp?ndmViewId=news_view&newsId=20060705005758&newsLang=en>


INTERSTATE TURNS 50--TECH PROF OFFERS EXPERTISE: The interstate highway system turned 50 last month, a birthday marked by mixed emotions. No piece of infrastructure has come closer to symbolizing all that is grand and petty, dazzling and deplorable in post-war American politics and technology. Michigan Tech professor Bruce Seely, chair of the Department of Social Sciences, has been fascinated by highways since he was a boy watching earthmovers carve out the Ohio and Indiana Turnpikes. As he got older, they formed the basis of his PhD thesis and, later, his 1987 book, "Building the American Highway System: Engineers as Policy Makers." It's a misconception to mark June 29, 1956, as the birthdate of the interstate highway network, Seely says. The engineers were busy long before that. By the time Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the Federal-Aid Highway Act, they had spent two decades debating and designing a vast, uniform network of roads to link all corners of the nation. So, when Congress finally decided how to pay for it, the bulldozers were already lined up at the starting gate. More: <http://www.admin.mtu.edu/urel/news/media_relations/502/>


ALUMNI REUNION AROUND THE CORNER: This year's reunion is scheduled for August 3,4, and 5, and we'll be honoring the Golden "M" Club (all classes that have previously celebrated their 50th reunion), the classes of 1956, 1966, 1976, 1981, 1986, and 1996. Everyone's invited! More information is available here: <http://www.admin.mtu.edu/alumni/reunion/>


Tech Sports

FORMER HUSKIES CONNER AND WILSON SIGN NHL CONTRACTS: Tech hockey players Chris Conner (Westland, Michigan) and Clay Wilson (Sturgeon Lake, Minnesota) have each signed two-year entry-level contracts with National Hockey League teams during the past week. Conner inked with the Dallas Stars, while Wilson signed with the Anaheim Ducks. Financial terms of the two-year deals were not disclosed. "We are very happy for both of these individuals," said head coach Jamie Russell. "Chris and Clay represented Michigan Tech very well during the time they played here and have continued to do so since their professional careers began. It's always great to see players that work really hard to get to this level be rewarded by signing NHL contracts."

Conner led the Huskies in scoring for the second time in his four-year career last season with 17-12--29 points. He also paced Tech with nine multi-point games and two multi-goal games in his final collegiate campaign. Named Western Collegiate Hockey Association Offensive Player of the Week on Oct. 17, Conner also poured in three game-winning goals and three shorthanded tallies. Conner is Tech's all-time leader in career shorthanded goals (15) and ranks second on the NCAA's shorthanded goals chart. The former All-American finished with 69-60--129 points in 151 games and is one of 60 Huskies in the 100-point club. He ranks 19th among all Michigan Tech players in goals and 35th all-time in points.

Defenseman Wilson tallied 10-27--37 points in 60 games for the AHL's Grand Rapids Griffins in 2005-06, good for third among all rookie defensemen. Wilson garnered AHL Player of the Week accolades on Dec. 26, becoming the first Griffins defenseman to ever win the honor after chipping in four goals and an assist in three games. He ended the regular season with a plus-17 rating. A four-year standout at Michigan Tech from 2001-05, Wilson amassed 17-40--57 points with 119 penalty minutes in 148 career games. He was a two-time recipient of the Gitzen-Loutit Memorial Award as the Huskies' outstanding defenseman. Conner and Wilson will report to their respective training camps in Dallas and Anaheim in September.


MICHIGAN TECH WOMEN'S TRACK AND FIELD TEAM HONORED BY USTFCCCA: The Michigan Tech women's track and field team has been named to the 2006 Division II U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Women's All-Academic Track & Field Team, it was announced today. Tech was one of 49 Division II teams and six Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference teams to field a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or higher.


MEN'S BASKETBALL ENRICHMENT CAMPAIGN LAUNCHED: Head men's basketball coach Kevin Luke announced that the men's basketball program will officially kick off its Men's Basketball Enrichment Campaign in an effort to raise the funding deemed necessary to compete with the elite NCAA Division II basketball programs in the country. "Due to the success we have had over the past decade, I believe we are very close to having the capability to successfully compete at the national level. Achieving the goal of the enrichment campaign will allow us to reach a level playing field with our strongest competitors." The goal of the campaign is to raise at least $500,000 by June 30, 2008. During the past year, a number of major supporters of Tech's men's basketball program were contacted for leadership gifts. To date, there has been a very positive response to the request for support, as campaign totals have now reached $323,000.

A Men's Basketball Advisory Council has been active throughout the year to help maximize the potential of the basketball program. The advisory council consists of Mike Augustine (Volunteer Coach), Tim Baroni '79, Chad Bultynck '98, Marc Caspary '74, Verdie Cox, Brian Dukes '99, Chuck Finkbeiner '73, Joe Frustaglio '83, Bob Hogeboom '53, Dr. Garey Johnson '71, Jeff Johnston '90, Luke Kiss (Assistant Coach), Mike Kissman '98, Al Koskey '77, Gary Lange '74, Gary Lundin '56, Kevin Luke (Head Coach), Bill Massey '64, Steve Mattson '99, Rod Ruth '88, Suzanne Sanregret (Athletic Director), Brian Schwanitz '73, Jan Stage '86, and Rick Yeo (Director of Athletic Development).


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

Thursday, August 24: Volleyball Season Opener: vs. Abilene Christian, 1 p.m. (at Marquette)

Friday, September 1: Women's Cross Country Season Opener: UP Collegiate Opener, 3 p.m. (Tech Trails)

Friday, September 1: Men's Cross Country Season Opener: UP Collegiate Opener, 3 p.m. (Tech Trails)

Saturday, September 2: Football Season Opener: Huskies host Wayne State, 1 p.m.

Friday, September 8: Women's Tennis Season Opener: Huskies host Findlay, 3 p.m.

Around the Keweenaw

Adapted from the Daily Mining Gazette

STORMS RIP THROUGH KEWEENAW: Despite reported high winds, buckets of rain, and strobe-lightning dancing in the sky, Sunday’s early morning storm caused minimal damage, according to local officials.The area was primed for instability by high temperatures late last week, said Jason Alumbaugh, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. "We had the instability, but we needed a trigger, " he said. That trigger came early Sunday morning in the form of a weak front coming in from Minnesota. In Laurium, 3.76 inches of rain fell between 4 to 6 a.m. The North Houghton County Water & Sewage Authority reported more than five inches of rain, leading to four locations with overflow, including Florida Location and First Street in Laurium. According to the Michigan State Police, a section of Highway M-203 took a beating from the rainfall and a portion of the road between Begunn Creek and Muggun Creek washed out. Motorists were forced to use Lakeshore Drive as an alternate route until the road was reopened later in the day.

Kevin Harju, engineer manager of the Houghton County Road Commission, said the storm caused several other road washouts as well as tree damage. "There was a concentrated band where most the washouts occurred," he said, adding that the Bear Lake and North Superior areas were in the same path as the M-203 damage. "There was such a large quantity of water that the ground couldn't absorb it fast enough," he said. "The trees were blown over from the saturated ground." A small part of U.S. 41 just south of Houghton was also washed out.


ANOTHER PAIR OF RESTAURANTS GO SMOKE-FREE: Two more restaurants in the Copper Country are following the lead of other establishments that have decided to stub out smoking in their buildings. Owners and managers at Perkins Family Restaurant in Houghton and Carmelita's Southwestern Grille in Calumet have both decided to call it quits and create "clean air dining." "That's what I like to call it," said Carmelita's owner Sandy Mitchell. She decided to ban smoking inside the newly opened Mexican-style eatery on June 1, but still allows customers seated on their outside porch to light up, not to follow trends, but rather because that's what customers seem to want. It's hard to tell as yet whether the move has affected business since June is typically a slower month in the restaurant industry, Mitchell said. One group told her they would not return due to the no-smoking policy, but positive comments have so far outweighed the negative. "People will come in and say 'We love it.'" she said. Findings of a recent study by Michigan Tech University students agreed most customers surveyed in Houghton and Hancock wouldn't be deterred by a smoking ban in restaurants and bars. Mitchell said she hopes her customers feel the same way, and that a no-smoking policy in Carmelita's can become part of the restaurant's image rather than hinder it in breaking into the market as a new business. Nevertheless, if customer traffic drops, in the long run she might reconsider the ban. "This is the hospitality business after all, and the customer dictates," she said. "I hope it works."


HOUGHTON MULLS STREET PARKING BAN FOR BRIDGEFEST PARADE: Parking along the streets during the Bridgefest parade might become a thing of the past. Mayor Eric Peterson said parked cars make it harder for drivers of parade vehicles to see children running out to pick up candy. Allan Baker of Houghton, who has more than 20 years of experience driving in Bridgefest parades, said the frequency of children darting out from behind cars requires constant watching. "It's dangerous and scary, from a driver point of view," he said. Peterson suggested moving the parade to Saturday morning, when parking would be easier to regulate. Ticketing those cars along the road, he said, might also be a disincentive. However, MacInnes said, clearing the streets of cars wouldn't have much impact on overall behavior. "If people are throwing candy ... parking or no parking, I don't care what you say, kids are coming out," he said. Other options discussed by the council included moving all parking to one side of the street and eliminating parking along three or four blocks of the Parade of Nations route this year as a trial run.

In other action, the council approved a wayfinder sign for the Pearl Street Mall complex. The design will measure 8 feet by 7 feet, and be mounted on four-foot steel posts. It replaces a larger one put before the council two weeks ago. The council voted 6-1 in favor of the proposal. Peterson voted against it, citing philosophical opposition to business signage along College Avenue. The facility will open in August.


From the E-mailbag

Soccer is one of the fastest growing sports in North America and eclipsed baseball in the last decade. About 20 million people play soccer in the US--twice as many as baseball. Baseball participation is declining about 25% a decade. But more people watch American Idol than saw the World Cup final. In Canada, hockey is still number one.

Rick Page from Victoria, BC.


I for one was disappointed with the World Cup. To see the USA team go down in a ball of flame early, to see second rate officiating, to see the best player award go to the French captain who was ejected in the championship game, during overtime, for a stupid loss of character and judgment... and what amounted to 4 years and hundreds of games come down to penalty kicks.... MAJOR DISAPPOINTMENT!  Please note that I played high school soccer.... and my 12-year-old son has been playing since he was 5.

Here in Manatee County Florida we have three different soccer clubs with over 1000 youth players. Several of the USA team players went thru the IMG Academy right here in Bradenton. Yet we can't seem to get over the hump. For me the CUP was a disappointment.

Skip Thomasser, '78
Bradenton Fl


I still say if soccer got rid of the off side call it would be a much more interesting game. That however, is extremely unlikely to ever happen.

Tom Cieslinski, '63


Editor's Note: We received many responses to defining the Michigan left for an alum. This one gives a nice web link:

A Michigan left


George Pomerville


At the risk of beating a dead horse, it appears that the "Michigan Left" might be migrating to North Carolina!

Although not mentioned by name, my best understanding of the intersection and interpretation of the description leads me to that conclusion: "Although the description isn't as elegant as engineers might like, it resembles an elongated traffic circle, with traffic signals... replacing the single traffic light with four, the design will eliminate left turns from northbound U.S. 15-501 onto Erwin Road and from U.S. 15-501 southbound onto Europa Drive. It also will eliminate the direct road access between Erwin Road and Europa Drive. Motorists who want to turn left onto those two roads or go from one to the other will have to use U-turn points that will be constructed about 800 feet in either direction of where the intersection is now."

Full article from Durham Herald-Sun newspaper is at <http://www.heraldsun.com/durham/4-751040.html>

Phil Jakes


Hi Dennis,
Last week our Minneapolis Star-Tribune newspaper described a "Michigan  J" intersection being proposed in a small farm town nearby that would make it easy to go from a major highway through town to Main Street, and back. It would preclude a diamond or cloverleaf intersection and would also not necessitate use of added traffic signals. The diagram of it looked pretty clever.  Michigan must have some creative traffic engineers thinking up new ways of moving traffic efficiently.

Jim Bentley, '57


The Michigan left was begun on US1 and continues on the NJ Turnpike today.  They invented the first Parkway with limited access.  Although I'm a Detroiter where it is widely used, I think the record should remain factually correct.

Dick Berry '50


It's about time Tech started using Tech ID numbers! Glad to hear it. I felt far from secure putting my SS number on every document and using it for every log-in on campus. For a Technical school, it always seemed a bit archaic to use SS numbers everywhere. I especially enjoyed when some profs would post grades using the last 4-digits of your Student ID (aka SS number). I heard a few stories of profs goofing and using the entire Student ID (SS#) to post grades or test scores.

I enjoy getting this newsletter every week! I only graduated a year ago, but I enjoy the updates. Even in little Houghton things change fast.

Stephy Oehlke 
MSE '05
(That's Materials Science and Engineering)


This sounds like "Back to the Future", issuing student ID's instead of depending on Social Security numbers.  Back in the 60's we had student ID's which were serially assigned so that you could look a person's ID number and estimate how long they had been enrolled at "da Tech".  In my case I graduated 6 years after my initial enrollment and during my last term I ended up taking, in essence, a "freshman" Psychology class (needed one more social science elective) and it quickly became obvious, once my student ID was known, that I was not part of the some "generation" as were the rest of the students.  In fact, there were 3 or 4 of us in that situation, one guy with an even OLDER student ID, and I think the younger students always wondered why we were really there.

Anyway, it's interesting that it has taken this long for the university to get back to what seemed to be a system that worked for us in the past.

John R. Baker, P.E. '71


It was interesting to read that Tech will not be using Social Security numbers for general identification purposes.  Tech has now gone full circle.  In the 60's, we all had a student I.D. number.  I would guess that very few Toots knew their SS# back then.

Mike Sutkowi, BSME '70


I remember when Tech switched from student ID numbers to Social Security numbers around 1979-80.  I refused to give anyone my SS number at first and continued to use my Tech-issued ID number for as long as I could. It's interesting that now some 25 years later everyone else is realizing that it's a bad idea to use the SS number for an ID number. I'm glad Tech switched back.

-Ken Thorp, '81



It's interesting how some things come full circle. A case in point is the use of Michigan Tech ID numbers instead of Social Security Numbers.


We had student ID numbers (mine was a five digit), during my first two years at Tech. Then we were forced to switch to SSN usage, in '79 or '80, I believe,  probably to satisfy some Federal funding requirement.  I also recall many students were none too happy about the switch.

I wonder if soon, we will no longer use our Social Security Numbers for ID. After all, for many years (I had one of these) Social Security cards said something like: "number not to be used for identification purposes."

Kevin Jarchow
Class of '82


Your comment about Michigan Tech abandoning Social Security numbers as student ID numbers, and using different numbers assigned by the University, shows how things have a way of coming full circle.  When I started at Tech in 1971, we were given 5-digit ID numbers, which gradually were changed to SSNs over the next few years, although I believe that those with the old numbers kept them through their Michigan Tech career.

Joe Fishbein '75 (ID #35525)


Between 1983 and 1988 we played indoor soccer at the SDC on the bare concrete in the hockey rink. It was always fun to watch the hockey team take on the foreign students. The games got pretty rough sometimes.

Is this still going on today? Have they made any improvements (like turf or nets)?

Jeff Roof

Editor's note: As far as I know, the soccer club has moved to the outdoor fields above the SDC exclusively, and I know of no indoor action taking place. Floor hockey, however, is the hottest intramural sport now, according to well-placed sources. The students are crazy for it, and it is played in the Multipurpose Room in the SDC.


Hi Dennis,
I've been surprised that you haven't mentioned the Pine Mountain Music Festival in your list of events going on at Tech. Since both of my children have chosen music for their careers, they will never attend Tech as students, but my son is currently there with the Festival under the Orchestra Fellowship Program. My husband and I had the pleasure of attending the Symphony concert this past weekend and were duly impressed by the Rosza Center. What a beautiful facility! I hope the current students know how lucky they are to have it. We are looking forward to next week's opera production.

Barbara Schwaderer, '80

Editor's note: Since the PMMF is not a University event, it is not part of our news and information packages. However, it is a great addition to the Keweenaw and the UP. <http://www.pmmf.org/>

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


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 Director--University Marketing and Communications

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