September 11 , 2006 (Vol. 13, No. 17)

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:

Doc Berry

"Legend" is one of those words that are overused nowadays. But, in the case of Doc Berry, it is fitting. He ensured that a couple of generations of Tech alums knew their chemistry, and he was tough. You earned your chemistry grade and your diploma.

I was fortunate enough to know Doc outside the classroom through the Lambda Chi Alpha chapter he helped start here. He did whatever he could for the fraternity, and, when called on to help install new officers, he would arrive, early, and would have all his lines memorized, of course. Forty-plus years younger than he, we would sheepishly have to refer to our handouts.

He also was on the Board of Directors for the TKE's, understanding the importance of all Greek life on the Tech campus and in the lives of young men.

But, he'll best be remembered as the Eliminator, who would also help out the thousands of students who would have trouble with his class. "He was tough but fair," is the phrase I've heard most often since his passing.

I thought of him when my son was a freshman here last fall. I ran into my son on campus, during his first couple of weeks, and he was lamenting a computing class and another class: "It's hard!" he said. Of course it's tough, I said. It's Tech!

Doc would've been proud.

Editor's Note: The chemistry department has been getting many inquiries about memorials in Doc's name, and the Michigan Tech Fund has set up a special page for donations: <>


Colorologist returns: I spotted the colorologist on Quincy Hill, and, after he pondered a moment, he blurted out: "Strange summer and early fall--dry, leaves are falling in some areas already--but it's just beginning. We're 12.5 percent turned," he said, putting away his slide rule.

At Tech

DOC BERRY DIES: Legendary professor Myron "Doc" Berry of Hubbell, who taught chemistry to thousands of baby-boom generation Tech students, died August 29 at the age of 87. Berry came to the university in 1955. From 1960 to 1980, he directed the freshman chemistry program, retiring in 1984. "He indeed was a legend," said Professor Emeritus Les Leifer, who joined the chemistry faculty in 1966. "He was devoted to teaching and devoted to his students." He was also tough. Peter Catellino, director of the YES Expo and educational programs, was one of the lucky ones who only had to take Berry's first-year chemistry course once. "My chemistry teacher at Kingsford High knew how Doc Berry taught, and he taught high school chemistry the same way, so we'd be prepared," Cattelino remembers. More: <>


HELMAN NAMED INTERIM ALUMNI RELATIONS DIRECTOR: Ron Helman, who retired from Tech in 1996 as vice president for advancement and executive director of the Michigan Tech Fund, has agreed to return as interim director of alumni relations. "Ron brings an extensive knowledge of Michigan Tech and its culture, as well as a warm, personal touch to all of his work," said Shea McGrew, the current vice president for advancement. "We're delighted to have him." Helman will stay on through Thanksgiving as the university searches for a permanent director to replace Steph Olsson, who stepped down Aug. 31. During that time, he will oversee the Alumni Relations staff, serve as liaison to the Alumni Association Board of Directors and respond to alumni queries. Helman is also expected to advise the university on the focus of the alumni relations program. Before coming to Michigan Tech, he was president of the Miami (Ohio) University Alumni Association. He and his wife, Lou Ellyn, were named Michigan Tech Honorary Alumni by the Michigan Tech Alumni Association upon his retirement. "This is a personal lifetime highlight to rejoin the Michigan Tech team," Helman said. I look forward to the challenge and this experience." When Helman retired after 20 years at the university, he volunteered his talents and energy on behalf of a variety of local organizations.


TECH ENTERS PARTNERSHIP WITH TAIWANESE UNIVERSITY: Michigan Tech has entered an agreement with Chaoyang University of Technology, in Taiwan, that will expand opportunities for students and faculty at both institutions. President Glenn Mroz and CYUT President Chin Chung-Jen signed a memorandum of understanding on Tuesday, Sept. 5. The agreement opens to door to a variety of cooperative endeavors, said Robert Warrington, dean of engineering. "As Michigan Tech works to expand its global programs, it's natural that we start these strong collaborations with universities such as CYUT," he said. "It's similar to us in many ways: it's focused on technology and interested in growing innovative programs and research." Possible areas of collaboration include joint undergraduate programs; faculty and student exchanges; graduate education; and research. "I'd expect that this partnership will bring a number of highly motivated, qualified students to Michigan Tech," said Professor Chung-Jui Tsai, director of Michigan Tech's Biotechnology Research Center and a native of Taiwan. "It will also allow our own students to broaden their education and expand their view of the world. "CYUT was founded in 1994 as the first private technological college in Taiwan and became the first private technological university in 1997. It received the top rank among private universities for FY2005 by Taiwan's Ministry of Education.


FISHER HALL GETS EXTREME MAKEOVER: Fisher Hall had more than a facelift this summer. The circa 1964 classroom and office building has gone through an extreme makeover. It needed it, says Jim Heikkinen, manager of planning, engineering and construction. "This building was in bad shape," he says. "It had lot of obsolete stuff that we've wiped out and replaced. Fortunately, it was a well-designed building. "It has good bones." That made this summer's re-do easier. The lobby is now dressed up in new colors and awash in light, both from big windows opening onto an outdoor seating area and from new lighting. New classrooms are wired, Fisher 135 is unrecognizable, and the roof doesn't leak. More: <>



Tech Sports

HUSKIES DROP TIGHT GAME AT INDIANAPOLIS--Marana Rushes for 120 Yards; Koenig Scores Twice: Indianapolis' Justin Russell hauled in four touchdown passes--three in the second half--to lead the Greyhounds over Michigan Tech today by a score of 34-31 in a Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference football contest. The Huskies held the lead at halftime, 10-7, after a 99-yard touchdown drive at the 11:18 mark of the second quarter. The Huskies started the drive standing in their own endzone and converted three big first downs to get to the Indy one. A fullback dive by Billy Koenig was his first career touchdown. More: <>


VOLLEYBALL HUSKIES ROLL PAST MERCYHURST 3-0 FOR SECOND WIN OF WEEKEND--Tech Tallies Fourth Straight Win Over Lakers: For the second consecutive day the Michigan Tech volleyball team came away with a 3-0 victory, as the Huskies bested Mercyhurst 30-19, 30-17, 30-28, Sunday afternoon at the SDC Gym. The win bolstered Tech's record to 6-5 overall and 2-1 in Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference action. The Lakers saw their record fall to 6-6 overall and 1-3 in the conference. "It was great to come away with two GLIAC wins, especially at home," said eighth-year head coach Krista Mikesch. "They challenged us in the third game, but I was happy with how we responded to the pressure." The Huskies fell behind just three times in the first two games, but Mercyhurst was resilient in game three. The home team trailed 20-15, before mounting a 15-8 comeback that was punctuated by block assists from sophomore Jen Jung (Andover, Minn./Coon Rapids) and senior Amanda Neuhalfen (Arlington, Neb.) at match point. More: <>


7-2 WIN OVER WAYNE KEEPS TENNIS UNDEFEATED--Huskies 2-0 in GLIAC: Strong play up and down the lineup pushed Michigan Tech's women's tennis record to 4-0 today as the Huskies dispatched Wayne State, 7-2. Tech is now 2-0 in Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play with the win over a Warriors team that has given the Huskies fits in past years. "This was a very good win today," said head coach Mike Axford. "Everyone played with confidence, and we're excited to still be undefeated and at the top of the conference standings." Tech swept the three doubles points once again, with number one and three doubles winning by 8-4 margins. The number two doubles team of Samantha Jang-Stewart and Monika Malinska fought back from being a break down to win, 8-6. Silvia Oliveros closed out a 6-1, 6-2 victory at number two singles for a 4-0 lead in the team match. Wayne State scored its first team point at number six singles when Heather Neff lost to Sargam Bhatt, 6-4, 6-1.


Recent Results

Women's Volleyball

Sunday, September 10: at Michigan Tech 3, Mercyhurst 0

Saturday, September 9: at Michigan Tech 3, Gannon 0

Tuesday, September 5: at Northern Michigan 3, Michigan Tech 1

Women's Tennis

Saturday, September 9: at Michigan Tech 7, Wayne State 2

Friday, September 8: at Michigan Tech 9, Findlay 0


Saturday, September 9: at Indianapolis 34, Michigan Tech 31


What's Happening This Week

Tuesday, September 12

Women's Volleyball hosts Minnesota Duluth, 7 p.m. (Live Radio, 93.5 FM)

Thursday, September 14

Fall Sports Luncheon at Grant Hockey Educational Center, 12 noon

Friday, September 15

Women's Tennis at ITA Great Lakes Regional (Midland, Mich.), All Day

Saturday, September 16

Women's Volleyball at Northwood, 4:00 p.m.

Women's and Men's Cross Country at Midwest Collegiate Meet (Kenosha, Wis.)

Women's Tennis at ITA Great Lakes Regional (Midland, Mich.), All Day

Football hosts #23 Northwood, 1 p.m. (Live Radio, 93.5 FM)

All Times are Eastern


Around the Keweenaw

Adapted from the Daily Mining Gazette

K-DAY GOES INDOORS: Andre Lewis enjoys K-Day at Tech so much he's attended it all four years he's been at the school. Lewis, who is a chemical engineering senior from New Haven, said he thinks K-Day is an excellent vehicle for letting students know what's available on and off campus. "It's a good way to get people out and involved, particularly the new students," said Lewis Friday as he stood in a hallway of the Michigan Tech University Student Development Complex talking with some friends. As far as the activities at the event are concerned, Lewis said he especially likes the inflatable obstacle course. "It's always good to grab a partner and do that," he said. Jason Bergeron, assistant director of student activities for Greek life, said although he doesn't know exactly when Keweenaw--K--Day started, it's purpose is really educational. Traditionally, Bergeron said the event is conducted at McLain State Park north of Hancock, but rain forced it into the SDC on MacInnes Drive. Bergeron said K-Day is the idea of the Interfraternity Council, and it was IC members who got the 110 individual events and displays set up Friday morning in the SDC. There were more than 1,000 students at the K Day events Friday, Bergeron said.


SCOTT BUILDING GETS $2.8 MILLION FOR IMPROVEMENT: Mike Lahti had a skip in his step as he walked along the front of the Scott Building in downtown Hancock recently and pointed out the historical features the building still boasts after 100 years. "It's historically really perfect," he said excitedly, running his hand along a pillar. His enthusiasm was helped along after he was handed a $2.8 million check from the Michigan State Housing Development Authority yesterday for continued rehabilitation on the building. The money is a loan and is more than half of the overall $4.2 million project. Lahti purchased the building in 2004 and is in the process of renovating it into a mixed senior living and retail/commercial facility. About 45 people gathered outside the building for the presentation where accolades were given to the MSHDA, City of Hancock, Downtown Development Authority, Michigan Economic Development Corporation and the Main Street Program. Construction for the project will begin two to three weeks from now and should be completed in the next 12-14 months, Lahti said. The structure, which was built on the corner of Quincy and Reservation Streets in 1906 as a hotel, will consist of ground level retail and upper level senior housing when completed.


PORTAGE TOWNSHIP CIVIL SUIT PROGRESSING: A pretrial conference will take place later this month regarding a Portage Township dispute over the alleged blocking of Section Line Road, also known as County Road P103A. A group of landowners consisting of John Madacey, James Tarsi, Betty Peterson, Barbara Bystol and Ultimate Performance, Inc., are suing neighbors George Jaehnig, Shelley Jaehnig and John Laux in Houghton County Circuit Court, saying that one or all of the three have placed obstructions in the road preventing them from reaching their property. The group is seeking court orders mandating continued access to the roadway and removal of any obstructions, a permanent injunction against interference with the roadway, and whatever damages in excess of $25,000 to which they are entitled. " ... We want that road," said Dave Peterson, husband of Betty Peterson. "They're just blocking a county road, and we want it open so we can use it. All the property owners can use that county road." Laux could not be reached for comment, while George Jaehnig declined comment. Last year, the plaintiffs sought to have Portage Township reverse a 2001 vote that ceded all township claims on the road and gave it back to the landowners. The group had cited laws stating that townships cannot own roads, as well as a court ruling that Houghton County had never formally abandoned the road.


From the E-mailbag

Attention Grand Traverse Area Michigan Tech alumni:

A group of Michigan Tech alumni, currently living in the Traverse City area, are interested in starting a scholarship fund at the University which would be used to benefit students coming form our area.  The current, interested alumni include: Herb Flubarty (65), Chris Griffin (79), Marlene Griffin (78), Cindy (Manninen) Kring (78), Marty Lagina (77), Terry Paquet (73), Dave Pax (89), Howard Walker (77), Tim Wolf (05) and Alex Yockey (98). We will be working with the University to establish the scholarship account, determine specific selection criteria, and develop a plan for encouraging support of the scholarship.

We invite you to join us at an Informational Meeting to take place on September 12 at 7:00 p.m. at Espresso Bay, on the corner of Cass and Front Streets in downtown Traverse City. By joining this effort, you can help promote Michigan Tech in our area and help worthy local students achieve their educational goals.

Please send me a quick e-mail if you think you can attend, as this will help us prepare for this meeting. If you are unable to make this meeting, but would still be interested in learning more about our plans or want to be involved, please let me know.

Thanks, and I look forward to hearing from you.

Terry Paquet
Michigan Tech Alum Class of 1973


Star Trek is now 40 years old. Scary, huh?

Anyway, some inspirational posters... <>

M.C. (Mike) Albrecht, PE


Hi, Dennis!
I never thought I would be writing to fellow alumni and asking them to think about helping rescue a cultural treasure of the western Upper Peninsula. The Pine Mountain Music Festival is having some financial difficulties because, like most cultural non-profit organizations, it's funding has been dwindling over the years, and the cost of touring opera, symphony, and chamber music around the western U.P. has skyrocketed. We've always had a close connection with Michigan Tech, performing in the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts and cooperating with the Summer Youth Program to help our Orchestra Fellowship Program students experience a once in a lifetime opportunity to play side-by-side with professional musicians in both a symphony and an opera pit orchestra--on full scholarship. Please navigate over to our web site at <> and take a look under the Survival Campaign button. I was lucky enough to find work again with this wonderful unique organization - a true treasure in the north woods. I wonder if my fellow alumni would spare a few dollars to help keep this important Festival (which brings over a million dollars of income to the local economy of the western U.P.) alive.

Mick McKellar - '73


Here in Tennessee, we have a "Distinguished Teachers" program to advance and help with the lack of experienced science teachers in certain counties including my Knoxville area. I begin teaching advanced chemistry in one of good high schools in a week. I told one of my school principal friends it was almost worth doing this without pay to rub his teachers in the new title. But we Distinguished fifteen do get paid.

Our Governor Phil Bredeson who sold the program, was a BS math undergraduate who took his PhD in physics at Princeton before he tackled politics, which surprises many.

I am a chemical engineer by first Tech degree, a civil/environmental and geotechnical engineer by practice, and a recent geologist for the fun of it. I think I even remember enough chemistry to teach.

Dick Berry
BSChE 1950


What a wonderful idea to have staff help freshman move-in! 

My mom, dad, and I unloaded a station wagon of stuff to the 5th (top) floor of McNair, 6 years ago. (No TV or computer, but I still filled a station wagon!) We took the stairs every trip, because it was faster than the elevators. My dad repeatedly mentioned that he only brought a suitcase and a shotgun when he moved to college (in Crookston, MN). 

Stephy Oehlke
Materials '05



For those of us who can only speak RPN I recommend the following website for a good (freeware) RPN calculator program for your computer desktop:

In my Palm Pilot I use:

Dave Hackett '64


In my era at Tech, TI scientific calculators (like the TI-58C, TI-59) were notorious for keybounce issues - you'd get 4 or 5 digits for each button press. The HP-41C was the cream of the crop but you had to learn RPN.  I used a community scholarship when I graduated to pickup a TI-58C for about $225. HP is still making RPN calculators, but they're making them with dual entry modes.  The recently introduced HP-50G is one sweet example.

Glenn Buskirk


Regarding HP calculators, I have owned three over the years: An HP-21, which was the "second generation" scientific calculator after the HP35/45, an HP-29C, one of the earliest programmable calculators with continuous memory, and the bulletproof HP-15C.  Of these, only the 29C has bitten the dust (due to a faulty keyboard).  I still use the 15C daily at work, and the 21 is my calculator of choice at home (much to the chagrin on my daughter, who never mastered the joys of RPN). There is a web site,, that provides parts and service for older HP calculators.  I recently obtained replacement rubber feet for my 15C from them, as the originals had wandered away a long time ago.  No financial interest, but they are good people to deal with.

Joe Fishbein '75


My "calculator" was about a foot long, 2 1/2" wide, and 1/4" thick. Used no batteries and was only as accurate as the operator's ability to work it. Never had to worry about programming either. Know what it was? The name on it is POST (I still have it).

Fred Roman
BSME '66


Hi Dennis
I always enjoy your newsletter and have especially enjoyed the e-mails about HP Calculators & RPN. As a sophomore at Tech in the fall quarter of 1974 I bought a shiny new HP 45. It had just dropped about $100 in price and as I recall was then only about $400 as I recall. My wife (Melanie) would also comment that the day I bought it was the first night after about a month of marriage that we did not go to bed at the same time. I was up late that night with the HP 45!

John Wiltse '77


Dennis, It’s fun to read the emails from the “young” college grads regarding RPN calculators.  When I went to Tech we used sliderules.  The year I started (1953) I made two major investments – a German nickel-silver drafting set ($35) and a Post Versalog bamboo sliderule ($35) with two extra log-log scales that our electronics prof., Jimmy Oswald, didn’t have on his.  If he had a problem that needed the extra range, he would have a student do the calculation on his new “high powered” Versalog.  The chemical students used an 8” circular sliderule, “copywrited 1931”, for better accuracy (I have one in front of me).  Text books cost about $3.50 and tuition was $123 for the year. 

When I worked for 3M in the late 70’s, the company bought a bunch of new HP35 calculators for its employees at $350 each.  The next year, HP came out with the HP45 for the same price.  I still have my HP45, but it doesn’t take a charge anymore.  I liked it better than the HP 32SII RPN Scientific Calculator that I use now (over 15 years old and still running on the original battery).   Of course, Intel came out with the first microprocessor chip before the HP calculator and the PC does a lot more.  But for portability, the small RPN calculator is a lot handier for what it does.  HP sells a 33s scientific calculator with RPN for about $50 now.  If the battery lasts 15 years, I wouldn’t worry about HP getting out of the RPN business.  There will probably be something better by then.   A lot can happen in 15 years!

As an aside, I would like to know what a “yeti” is, too.

Jim Bentley, P.E.E.E. ’57

Editor's Note: A Yeti is also known as Bigfoot, Abominable Snowman, etc.


To answer Joe Masterson's question, I was only lucky enough to spend one year at Tech, 69-70, but I remember the Chuck U. Farley comic strip. Was always surprised it got away with the lines it did. Lots of fond memories.

Also, we had student numbers then too, not the SS # on our ID cards.

John Lee


Your comment about the student who had built a loft at home then assembled it in the dorm reminded me of my Sophomore year at Tech. My roommate Ray Collar and I knew we would be moving into 208E Coed Hall, so we took detailed measurements of the room at the end of Spring quarter. Ray built, sanded and stained the loft at home, and we assembled it in the room, complete with bookshelves and little shelves up high for our alarm clocks. Once we got it together, we tapped a couple of shims in to lock it in place, and that was that! We had a little trouble with the dorm building inspector, but eventually convinced him that a 2x4 in tension could easily support one side of a bed (the building code said 2x6 lumber was needed). I also recall Ray's dad commenting that he should have brought his radial arm saw along, and charged 50 cents per cut for all the students who were busy building lofts when they moved in.

Thanks for the newsletter!

Bob Wallraff

BSEE '85


Hi Dennis:

Engineers are not the only ones that make use of Legos. See attached...

John D Traka '78


Ok Dennis, regarding childhood experiences which led us to engineering. We used to play with fireworks and blow up lots of animate and inanimate objects. I ended up with a mining engineering degree - who should I blame??

Chris Pritchard, P.E. (78) EMG


What are they thinking of?


Frank Shoffner


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:


12 - Traverse City, Info Meeting for Scholarship Fund: 7:00 p.m., Espresso Bay, on the corner of Cass and Front Streets, paquetjt(at)

15 - Houghton, Theta Tau 100-Year Anniversary Open House, mguenther2000(at)



10 - Tech Legacy Reception, Winter Carnival

Job Opportunities This Week

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

Director, Alumni Relations--Advancement

Lecturer and Development Math Specialist--Mathematical Sciences

Lecturer and Director of First-Year Mathematics--Mathematical Sciences

Tenure-Track Assistant/Associate Professor--Biomedical Engineering

Assistant Research Engineer--Keweenaw Research Center

Position duration dependent upon external funding

CAEL Coordinator/User Support Specialist--Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics/WECN (West Engineering Computing Network)

Laboratory/Systems Associate--Physics Department


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