November 6, 2006 (Vol. 13, No. 24)

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 best part about tomorrow's election, besides exercising our rights as citizens, is that all of the advertising will end. I can still remember the first time I voted, in 1976, and I long for the days when the elections were not so nasty.

This will be my son's first election, and he's excited. It's great to see someone so young so interested in the outcome of the election. It's in great contrast to the many who don’t bother to vote, and I wonder if we'll get 50 percent of Americans to the polls tomorrow.

Here at Tech, the Rock the Vote people had a voter registration drive that included a setup on the campus mall, so students could easily register. It sounds like they had a good turnout for the event.

I just hope they all remember to get to the polls tomorrow. If more of them get involved in the political process, maybe they can begin to turn the negativity around. Besides, who better to fix a broken system than some engineers? And scientists, foresters, business people, communicators, computer types, technicians . . .

At Tech

ENGINEERING + SOCIAL SCIENCES + HARD WORK: TECH STUDENT HELPS BRING CLEAN WATER TO MEXICAN VILLAGE: People in the small, desperately poor Mexican town of Rosario used to call Agustin Robles "that crazy lagoon guy." Now, when he visits, they call him Engineer Robles and he gets more invitations to come to breakfast, lunch and dinner than he can handle. "I couldn't find enough time or space in my stomach to accept them all," he says. "My last few weeks there were exhilarating." What caused the residents of Rosario to change their minds about Robles, then a master's student in environmental policy at Michigan Tech, was the news that their town had finally received the money to build a new sewage treatment facility. Professor Alex Mayer, whose field engineering class designed the system, credits Robles with knitting together the social and political alliances that made it happen. More: <>


YES! EXPO EXCEEDS EXPECTATIONS: More than 20,000 high school and middle school students from across Southeast Michigan packed Ford Field in Detroit Thursday to get exposed to the possibilities of a technology career at the YES! Expo, hosted by Tech in partnership with Innovation Emporium Inc. Special emphasis on the sold out event was placed on attracting under-represented groups, including students from greater Detroit, and Michigan Senator Carl Levin and Detroit Mayor Kwame Kirkpatrick addressed the students at the start of the event. The feature attraction was Bill Nye, the Science Guy, who amused and inspired the next generation of college-bound students. Nearly 100 companies, educational institutions and organizations were on hand to show these students careers in technology and sciences. Exhibitors ranged from space exploration to Earth sciences and from biological studies to robotics. More: <>


CRAIN'S DETROIT BUSINESS TALKS TECH: Tech was featured recently in Crain's Detroit Business, discussing the YES! Expo and the new Michigan Tech Research Institute in Ann Arbor. More: <>


STUDENT ENTERPRISE FEATURED ON NSF WEBSITE: The Aqua Terra Enterprise is featured in this story posted on the National Science Foundation website. Read more about the students' work in Nicaragua at <>

Tech Sports

VOLLEYBALL HEADED TO NCAA TOURNAMENT! The Tech volleyball team has qualified for the NCAA Tournament for the sixth time in the program's history and first since 1997. The Huskies (15-14) have been awarded a #6 seed in the Great Lakes Regional hosted by Hillsdale. They will face #3-seeded Southern Illinois-Edwardsville (27-5) on Thursday (Nov. 9) at 12 noon. Tech is one of five teams from the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference in the eight-team regional field. Other match-ups include #1 Hillsdale vs. #8 West Virginia State, #2 Grand Valley State vs. #7 Lewis, and #4 Ferris State vs. #5 Ashland. Semifinals are set for Friday (Nov. 10) at 5 and 7 p.m., with the championship match scheduled for Saturday (Nov. 11) at 7 p.m.


COLORADO COLLEGE DEFEATS TECH, 2-1, TO EARN SWEEP: The Huskies received a goal from Malcolm Gwilliam (Kamloops, B.C.) and a solid performance between the pipes from sophomore goaltender Rob Nolan (Sherwood Park, Alta.), but were edged by the Colorado College Tigers, 2-1, in WCHA action Saturday night at World Arena. The Huskies controlled the play in the first period--tying a single-period season-best with 14 shots on goal while giving up only eight--but still found themselves down a goal during the first intermission. Chad Rau put the home team on the scoreboard on a power-play goal at the 7:19 mark of the opening stanza. Rau picked up a loose puck near the left face-off circle, skated into the slot and put a shot over Nolan's left shoulder to give the Tigers (5-4-1, 2-2-0 WCHA) a 1-0 advantage. Brian Connelly and Cody Lampl were credited with assists on the goal. More: <>


HUSKIES WRAP UP 2006 FOOTBALL CAMPAIGN SATURDAY: Tech will conclude its 2006 football season Saturday (Nov. 11) seeking its sixth consecutive victory on the year. The 5-4 Huskies, who were off last Saturday (Nov. 4), will travel to Findlay in hopes of finishing with a better than .500 record for the third straight year.


OWEN 13TH AT NCAA REGIONAL: Senior Kristina Owen wrapped up her cross-country career with a 13th-place finish at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional Championship last Saturday (Nov. 4). Owen clocked a time of 22:40 on the six-kilometer Michigan Tech's women finished 11th of 24 teams at the meet, while the men were 17th of 23 squads.


MARANA NEEDS 180 FOR RECORD: Tailback Lee Marana (Ishpeming, Mich./Westwood) owns 4,609 career rushing yards and needs 180 more in the Huskies' final game at Findlay Saturday (Nov. 11) to become the school's career rushing record holder. Jim VanWagner (1973-67) is the current record holder at 4,788 yards, while Jeremy Monroe (1990-93) is second on the list at 4,695 yards.


Recent Results

Hockey (5-3, 2-2 WCHA)
11/3 - Colorado College 4, #15 Michigan Tech 1
11/4 - Colorado College 2, #15 Michigan Tech 1

Football (5-4, 5-4 GLIAC)
Did not compete

Volleyball (15-14, 11-7 GLIAC)
10/31 - at Ferris State 3, Michigan Tech 0 (30-24, 31-24, 30-22) (GLIAC Tournament Quarterfinal)

Women's Basketball (0-0, 0-0 GLIAC)
11/4 - at Wisconsin-Green Bay 94, Michigan Tech 56

Men's Basketball (0-0, 0-0 GLIAC)
11/5 - at Michigan 85, Michigan Tech 50

Cross Country
11/4 - Women 11th of 24 teams, Men 17th of 23 teams at NCAA Regional


What's Happening This Week

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

Thursday, November 9, 2006
Volleyball vs. Southern Illinois-Edwardsville, 12 noon (Live Radio, 93.5 FM)
    -- NCAA Great Lakes Regional at Hillsdale, Mich.

Friday, November 10, 2006 (Husky Friday: wear school colors!)
Blueline Club Luncheon, 12 noon (Grant Hockey Ed Center)
Volleyball at NCAA Regional Semifinal, 5 p.m.
#15 Hockey hosts Minnesota Duluth, 7:07 p.m. (Live Radio, 93.5 FM)

Saturday, November 11, 2006
Football at Findlay, 1 p.m. (Live Radio, 93.5 FM)
Volleyball at NCAA Regional Championship, 7 p.m.
#15 Hockey hosts Minnesota Duluth, 7:07 p.m. (Live Radio, 93.5 FM)

All Times are Eastern

Around the Keweenaw

Adapted from the Daily Mining Gazette

LOCAL SPRUCE CHOSEN FOR CAPITOL CHRISTMAS TREE: Hancock's loss is the state's gain, at least as it pertains to a towering tannenbaum. A 61-foot blue spruce is on its way to Lansing today, where it will be placed in front of the capitol building and decorated for the holidays. "I am a little bit sorry to see it go," said Liz Valencia, who along with husband Patrick and daughter Isabel, watched the tree felling early Wednesday. "It's a beautiful tree and I hate to see it cut down but at least it's going to a good cause." Valencia said the tree was donated after she contacted the state earlier in the summer. The family had planned an addition on their house and had planned to take it down, when a friend suggested the capitol Christmas tree donation. A visit from state representatives in the summer put the tree on the short list, with final confirmation coming through in September. The Michigan Association of Timbermen handles the entire process, Valencia said. "We get a number of nominees, but this one turned out to be a winner," said Dennis Olson of the MAT. MORE: <>


NEW BOOK ON ITALIAN HALL DISASTER PUBLISHED: A cold wind on Calumet's 7th St. whips across the lot and stirs a thin layer of newly fallen snow on the ground. Fresh footprints follow the path under the 98-year-old Italian Hall archway. The path continues along to three stone benches, a couple of bare shrubs and a historic sign. But the tracks stop inside the arch, pausing at the site where more than six-dozen people were crushed to death almost a hundred years ago. The date was Christmas Eve, 1913. Someone cried fire. Or maybe they didn't. The doors opened in. Or maybe they opened out. Seventy-three people died. Or maybe it was 79. Or 80. The building was torn down two decades ago, the bodies buried long before that and all the Copper Country is left with is a single arch, transcripts, fading memories and unanswered questions. In his new book "Death's Door: The Truth Behind Michigan's Largest Mass Murder," Steve Lehto wades through the mining history of the area in the early 1900s and examines conflicting news reports and transcripts of the event. More: <>


DIWALI NIGHT A CELEBRATION OF LIGHTS: It was an evening of authentic Indian culture, says Indian Student Association member Gaurav Kulkarni. The 15th annual Diwali Nite, hosted by the ISA, was held at Tech Friday night, beginning in the Wadsworth Hall Cafeteria with a genuine Indian meal. Kulkarni said professional dancers were flown in from Minneapolis, and chefs came from Detroit. The Ragamala dancers performed at the Rozsa Center. "It's basically the celebration of the lights," Kulkarni said, of the tradition of the evening. He said one noteworthy change from last year was the absence of lines. People who attended went straight to their tables for the dinner to be served. Kulkarni said the ISA was hard at work. "Getting everything ready was really crazy," he said.

From the Emailbag

Dear Dennis;
In reading the recent Tech e-mail regarding the Legacy of Tech, I am proud to be a member of a family that has three Michigan Tech grads. My father, Glenn E. Koster, after attending Junior College, continued his education at Michigan Tech, and then left school to serve in WWII in the Army Corps of Engineers in the South Pacific, returning to Michigan Tech and graduating in 1946 with his Civil Engineering degree. I began my Michigan Tech college career in 1970 and graduated in 1974 with my Civil Engineering degree as well. My son, Kevin E. Koster, graduated from Michigan Tech in 2004 with his Civil Engineering degree, and is currently working for a consulting engineering firm.

Karl E. Koster P.E.
Civil Engineering 1974


My brother (Andy Verhamme) was featured in a picture on the front page of the free press on Monday, Oct 30. He ran in the Detroit Marathon on Sunday the 29th. He also plans on running the Boston Marathon in April. Andy graduated from Michigan Tech in '03 from the EET program. I also noticed a heavy Michigan Tech presence at the marathon, maybe a good place for an alumni event. Here is a link to the article.


Ed Verhamme
Ann Arbor, MI
MS, Env. Eng. '05


Dennis, I appreciate having a father child experience. My father and I would bowl in scotch doubles tournaments where I would bowl the first ball and he would bowl the second one. He tried to keep a smile on his face when I would throw some mean splits for him to pick up, but I know he enjoyed bowling with me just the same.  We also had a lot of father-daughter dinners in Girl Scouts where inevitably we would have chicken, which he was definitely not fond of. Now that he has passed away, I try to have meaningful experiences with my daughter to pass on the tradition.  She and I have been trading Pokemon back and forth between our GameBoys. I also have beaten her at Mario Party on the GameCube every once in awhile. It keeps us closer together.

I think my daughter lets me win occasionally so that I will keep playing the game. The new game cube controllers are not the same as the old Atari ones that I am used to. With Atari there was one button and one joystick. With the game cube there are two joysticks and at least 10 buttons. My more mature brain is having a hard time understanding which ones to use when. If I could just figure out how to get my character to jump properly. I am so glad that you are able to share an activity with your son that produces great memories.  That's what keeps me going as I mourn my father. We had a lot of good times together.

Stacey E. Morrison, MS
SA Export Control Representative
NASA/Johnson Space Center


Please tell me more about the "Muck Run." Can 54 year olds handle it?  My son is on a co-op at Ford Motor Company this year but will be back in Houghton next September for his senior year. I can come up to Houghton that weekend and run it with him, provided I know the details. Is there a date for the 2007 run?

Ken Hafeli 1977

Editor's Note: I assured Ken that even those of us in our fifties can handle it, and there were five in our age bracket that did just that. I also didn't do much else the rest of that day! Complete results can be found here: <>


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:


8--South Range, Keweenaw Alumni Chapter, Wine and Cheese Event, Carousel Winery, South Range. 5:00-7:00 p.m.

18--Denver, Hockey--Alumni Dinner


20--Houghton, Keweenaw Alumni Chapter, Holiday Social, Thirsty Fish, 5:00-6:30 p.m.

29-30--Detroit, GLI Hockey at the Joe Louis Arena


10--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, Outstanding 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

Assistant Professor (two positions)--Geological/Mining Engineering and Sciences

Department Chair--Biological Sciences

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