December 18, 2006 (Vol. 13, No. 31)

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.

Note: Techalum-L will not be sent until January 8, 2007.

In this issue:

A Good Year

Before I take a break from Techalum-L for a couple of weeks, I can look back at 2006 with a smile. To quote Frank Sinatra, "It was a very good year."

On campus, we've made important strides in enrollment and our bottom line keeps improving. Recent renovations to Fisher Hall, Walker Arts and Humanities Center, and even our beloved Ad Building have made for a better place to study, do research and work for students, faculty, and staff.

Our football team made a great turnaround, going from 0-4 to 6-4, and hats off to Coach Kearly on a great season. Lee Marana finished second overall in career rushing yards (by just five yards), and there are plans afoot to improve Sherman Field. Stay tuned. The hockey team has turned the corner, including a sweep at North Dakota, and good things are coming there, too.

Closer to the alums' homes, you'll be seeing new communication tools coming your way. It's all part of our constant attempt to improve the way we talk, and listen, to you.

Closer to my home, it’s been an especially good year. Both my children are home for the holidays, one from Delaware (the state, not the town), one from Houghton, and I am close to moving on to another stage in my seemingly never-ending paper chase. For that, I know, my family will be especially grateful.

So, here's to a great holiday season to you all, and I'll see you in 2007, January 8, to be exact.


Snowfall Totals (from KRC)

Snowfall to date: 33.5"
Depth on ground: 1.0"
Snowfall total last week: 33.0"
Depth on ground last week: 10.0"
Snowfall total last year: 99.7"
Depth on ground last year: 21.0"


At Tech

TECH MAKES PC MAGAZINE'S TOP-20 WIRED COLLEGES: Michigan Tech has been ranked number seven among PC Magazine's 2007 Top 20 Wired Colleges. The leading technology publication in the United States, and The Princeton Review, the premier test prep and educational services company, announced the winners Tuesday. Michigan Tech, the only university in the state to make the list, was cited for involving undergraduates in information technology and system administration at the earliest stages of their careers. Many stay on to work at the university. "A large number of the IT pros here are former students," said Michigan Tech CIO Walter Milligan. "A lot of people here provide outstanding IT services to students, faculty and staff, and our students themselves deserve a great deal of credit for that," Milligan said. "We have some of the best students in the country, and they bring a fresh, innovative approach to important problems."
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MROZ REVIEWS FINANCES AT OPEN FORUM: President Glenn Mroz reviewed Michigan Tech's finances at Tuesday's open forum. The news is good, but for uncertainty brought on by a shortfall in state tax revenues. As the university approaches the halfway point of the fiscal year, it is on track to finish approximately $400,000 in the black, he said. That would diminish the cumulative general fund deficit to about $9.0 million. The balance in the current fund, which includes all of the university's funds, would increase to $15.0 million. Mroz warned that the state may revisit its appropriation to Michigan Tech. "The state isn't collecting as much money as they anticipated," he said. If the university's appropriation is reduced, as happened in the past, the year-end $400,000 balance could be used as a cushion. However, he stressed, "We'll make every effort to minimize the impact, similar to the situation we faced in 2005. You can't cut your way to greatness." The university is focusing on growth, particularly in research and fundraising. "Our intention is to do the best we can to move Michigan Tech forward."
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TECH RECEIVES FEMA GRANT: Michigan Tech has received $56,250 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to create a multi-hazard mitigation plan as part of its Disaster Resistant University Program. The program helps universities plan ahead to reduce their vulnerability to natural, manmade and technological disasters. Hazard mitigation is any action taken before, during, or after a disaster to eliminate or reduce risk to life and property. In addition to reducing risk, the planning process helps universities form partnerships and build better relationships with the surrounding communities. "We're looking forward to working with our partners as we develop the multi-hazard mitigation plan," said Jon Ahola, Michigan Tech's director of Safety public safety. "We'll be looking at what preparations we have in place, fine-tuning and improving our existing plans, and investigating opportunities for more cooperation within the community."
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BOARD APPROVES NEW PHD PROGRAM: The Board of Control gave preliminary approval Friday for a new PhD program in Atmospheric Sciences. The program brings together faculty and research programs in three departments: civil and environmental engineering, physics, and geological and mining engineering and sciences. "We have about 10 faculty members working on projects dealing with the Earth's atmosphere, and we are already working together," said Raymond Shaw, associate professor of physics. "We want to foster the collaboration that's taking place. Our hope is that it will allow the faculty to work together even more than we have in the past and nurture a sense of community among the students." Currently, graduate students focusing their studies on atmospheric sciences earn advanced degrees in areas such as physics or environmental engineering. By creating a new PhD program specific to atmospheric science, students interested in the field will be more likely to consider attending Michigan Tech.
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Tech Sports

HOCKEY SWEEPS NORTH DAKOTA!: Michigan Tech recorded its third series sweep of the season with 3-1 and 3-2 victories at #17 North Dakota last weekend (Dec. 15-16). Sophomore goaltender Rob Nolan (Sherwood Park, Alberta) got both wins in net as he stopped 59-of-62 shots in the series. The Huskies evened their season record at 8-8-2 and improved to 6-0-1 when scoring three goals or more. The four-point weekend moved Tech into a tie for fifth in the WCHA standings heading into the holiday break. Michigan Tech is off until it hosts the 42nd Annual Great Lakes Invitational at Detroit's Joe Louis Arena on Dec. 29-30.
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WOMEN'S HOOPS WINS 15TH STRAIGHT VS. GLIAC SOUTH: Michigan Tech defeated Findlay, 76-57, last Saturday (Dec. 16) to move to 4-1 in Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play on the season. The Huskies are 2-0 vs. teams from the GLIAC South Division on the year and undefeated in their last 15 contests vs. GLIAC South foes, dating back to the 2003-04 season.
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RICHARDSON TIES A SCHOOL RECORD: Radayl Richardson Detroit, Mich.) tied a school record for free throw percentage in a game by knocking down all 12 of his attempts in a 22-point second half effort last Saturday (Dec. 16) vs. #9 Findlay. The senior guard's output tied the mark which is also held by Matt Cameron (Dec. 11, 2002) and Chris Gutkowski (Jan. 25, 1980), who both hit 12-of-12 from the foul line.
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NORDIC TEAMS IN NEED OF SNOW: The past weekend's Christmas Classic/Pre-U.S. Nationals was canceled because of a lack of snow at the Michigan Tech Nordic Training Center. The Huskies hope to be able to host a time trial this Saturday (Dec. 23) in preparation for the U.S. Nationals scheduled for Jan. 2-9 at the Nordic Training Center.


Recent Results

Hockey (8-8-2, 5-7-2 WCHA)
12/15--Michigan Tech 3, at #17 North Dakota 1
12/16--Michigan Tech 3, at #17 North Dakota 2

Women's Basketball (6-3, 4-1 GLIAC)
12/16--at Michigan Tech 76, Findlay 57

Men's Basketball (5-4, 3-2 GLIAC)
12/16--#9 Findlay 71, at Michigan Tech 63

Nordic Skiing
Did not compete (Michigan Tech Christmas Classic canceled due to lack of snow)


What's Happening This Week

Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Men's Basketball hosts St. Joseph's, 7 p.m. (Live Radio, 93.5 FM)

Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Huskies Drive Time on Mix 93.5 FM, 7:30-8 a.m.

Friday, December 22, 2006 (Husky Friday: wear school colors!)
Women's Basketball hosts Minnesota Duluth, 5:30 p.m. (Live Radio, 93.5 FM)
Men's Basketball hosts Minnesota Duluth, 7:30 p.m. (Live Radio, 93.5 FM)

Saturday, December 23, 2006
Nordic Skiing hosts Pre-U.S. National Time Trial (Tentative)

All Times are Eastern

Around the Keweenaw

Adapted from the Daily Mining Gazette

KEWEENAW APPROVES ZONING: It took more than three years and required many meetings and public hearings, but the Keweenaw County Planning & Zoning Commission completed a revised zoning ordinance recently. Jon Soper, commission chairman, said the plan will now be sent to planning and zoning consultant Mark Wyckoff of the Planning & Zoning Center Inc. in Lansing for review. It will then be sent back to the commission who will send it to the Keweenaw County Board of Commissioners for their approval. "Once they approve it, it's law," Soper said. The current ordinance was established in 1975, and has had few changes, Soper said. Before the commission could approve the document Thursday, however, they had one more task to complete. They had to decide on a definition of a yurt and decide how they could be used in the county. Originally, yurts were round structures with a conical roof covered in animal skin on a collapsible frame developed by nomadic people of inner Asia. That basic form has been adapted with various types of outer coverings as either a permanent or temporary dwelling structure. One of the uses the commission discussed Thursday was how they're used by the owners of Mount Bohemia Ski Resort near Lac La Belle. The yurts at Mount Bohemia are used as lodging and warming facilities, and at the Thursday meeting, Lonie Glieberman, president of the Mount Bohemia Ski Resort, said the use of yurts is becoming popular at the most prestigious ski facilities.
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CAR HITS DOWNTOWN HOUGHTON PARKING DECK, PARKED VEHICLE: In the second downtown Houghton accident in two months, a vehicle driving down Shelden Avenue crashed into a parked car Monday. John Hermanson, 88, of Houghton, veered into empty parking spaces, crossed the sidewalk and smashed into the concrete foundation of a parking garage. His vehicle then bounced back toward the street and struck a parked 1995 GMC Jimmy owned by Sean Deffendall, 23, of Traverse City. The accident occurred directly across the street from the Four Seasons tea shop, near where a similar accident occurred in October on the opposite side of the street. In the October accident, a 74-year-old Laurium man struck a parked vehicle, causing a domino effect of crashes along the line of parked cars, eventually involving five vehicles. He was the only victim taken to the hospital by Mercy Ambulance that day. It was the same with Monday's accident. Hermanson was transported to Portage Health by Mercy Ambulance. Deffendall, a Michigan Tech University student, said he had just put money into the parking meter and headed down the block when he heard the crash behind him.
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IMPACT OF ONTONAGON REROUTE STILL UNCERTAIN: Business owners here say it is too early to tell what kind of impact the new bridge on state Route 64 will have on commerce. Syl's Cafe is the closest restaurant to the mostly-dismantled swing bridge that formerly carried traffic over the Ontonagon River in this western U.P. town. That means Syl's is now the farthest restaurant from the highway where cars zip by over the bridge. But owner Kathy Wardynski hasn't made up her mind about whether the new traffic pattern has hurt business. "I haven't yet and for two reasons," she said. "One, it's not the tourist season and two, another restaurant in town closed." The closure of Wagar's Restaurant has brought more business Syl's, she said. But even with new customers, she still worries about the upcoming snowmobile season. "I'm really, really concerned about how snowmobilers are going to get down to us," Wardynski said. She said she would have a better idea at the end of next summer's four-month tourist season. "A third of the year, we do about two-thirds of our business for the year, so that's when we're going to know for sure," Wardynski said. It's clear that travelers are a key part of the business at Syl's Cafe. A guest book stands prominently on the corner of the checkout counter nearest the door. "It took less than two years and we had somebody here from all 50 states and we're up to about 12 countries," Wardynski said.
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SOUTH RANGE ALSO HAS NEW LOOK: Michigan Department of Transportation said safety concerns were the driving force behind state Route 26's new look near South Range. When the department began planning the resurfacing of the highway from South Range to Painesdale, they looked at the former route. That route required drivers going both directions to turn onto Trimountain Avenue before turning again onto Baltic Avenue or Globe Avenue. "We were looking to improve highway safety and reduce the number of crashes that were happening on that curvy section of M-26," said Andy Sikkema, a transportation engineer with MDOT's Ishpeming office. "Every time we do a project, we look at crashes along a stretch of roadway and we identified a situation that we thought we could improve." Work on the project was completed Oct. 17. The new route involves a wide road cut into the hillside south of South Range. "We took over a portion of Baltic Avenue . . . reconstructed it and it's now a part of M-26," Sikkema said. Karen Johnson, owner of the antique shop Etc. Etc. on Trimountain Avenue, fears the new road will make it too easy for motorists to bypass South Range's business district. "They just go whizzing by without even looking at the main street, or thinking about it," Johnson said.
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From the Emailbag

Hi Dennis,
I heard a report on WWJ radio this morning about how Michigan Tech was named the 7th best Wired school.  On the Great Lakes IT Report. Go to or


to hear the report.

Cool stuff, especially since my son Mark is in the new Computer Systems and Network Administration program.

Way to go Tech!


Editor's Note: I am with you, Art. We are very pleased here about the ranking, and, with a son in Software Engineering and sys ad, I can vouch for the involvement of undergrads. It's what makes Tech unique.


From our faculty:

NASA has posted an image and a news article that originated with researchers at Michigan Tech and in Ecuador:

Nick Smith is a graduate student in GMES, and Matt Patrick is a post-doc in GMES.

Wayne Pennington, Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences


From the Michigan Tech Fund:

Please Make Your Annual Gift to Tech Soon

Many Tech alumni make year-end gifts to the University in order to benefit from a tax deduction for the current year.  If you are planning to make a 2006 contribution to Michigan Tech, please don't wait. The end of the years is rapidly approaching!  You can call the MTF at 906-487-2310.

The IRS states that a check you mail to a charity is considered delivered on the date it is mailed.  Contributions charged on your bank credit card are deductible in the year you make the charge, so it must be completed by December 31.

Gifts to the Michigan Tech Fund can be made online at  <>.


Alumni Association Programs

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

Houghton, Keweenaw Alumni Chapter, Holiday Social, Thirsty Fish (Franklin Square Inn), 5:00-6:30 p.m.

29-30--Detroit, GLI Hockey at the Joe Louis Arena
The order form for GLI tickets: 
Tickets that are ordered in advance are $1 less than the box office, and a portion of the money goes to the Detroit Chapter Scholarship Fund.

Allendale, Michigan Tech vs. GVSU West Michigan Chapter Event
< Tech_vs_ GVSU_2007.pdf>
28--Grand Rapids, Brunch at Marie Catrib's West Michigan Chapter Event

Houghton, Tech Legacy Reception, Winter Carnival


ALUMNI ASSOCIATION LOOKING FOR NOMINEES: The Alumni Association would like to solicit nominees for the four awards to be given at next year's Alumni Reunion in August 2007. The four awards are Outstanding Service, utstanding Young Alumni, Distinguished Alumni, and Honorary Alumni. Nomination forms can be found at:
There was an outstanding slate of award winners at this year's Alumni Dinner at Reunion including former Michigan Tech President Ray Smith. Any alumni can nominate someone they feel is deserving via the online form. Nominations must be in by January 2007. Feel free to contact Mark Mitchell <mmitch12(at)>   if you have any questions.

Job Opportunities This Week

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

Executive Assistant--Advancement

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