November 27, 2006 (Vol. 13, No. 28)

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:


At Thanksgiving, we always host the feast. And, what used to take two tables now takes only one. We've lost many great people over the couple of decades we've been doing it, and some have moved away. But it is still a great day, in spite of having to watch the Lions.

We had reminders of the Greatest Generation all around us, and not only at the dinner table. A next-door neighbor has been moved into a senior community. Another neighbor has passed away at age 90. A great aunt is now 98, and we added some Christmas lights to her nursing home room this weekend. Still another distant downstate relative turned 103.

And, as impressive as all those numbers are, we've got a new generation getting ready to take their (and our) place. Great nieces and nephews have been born recently in Manhattan and Texas, and others are located in Hawaii and up on Quincy Hill. Two of the great nephews were born on the same day one year apart.

So, we know the tradition will continue, as these new folks, and their parents, begin to take on more of the duties of Thanksgiving and other events of our lives. We hope they learn to appreciate it all, and take time from preparing, eating, cleaning, and napping to remember those who have gone before and tell all those youngsters about them, too. And don't let them forget to save some dark meat for a certain "great uncle." I like the sound of that.


Snowfall Totals

Snowfall to date: 8”
Depth on ground: 0"
Snowfall total last year: 32.5”
Depth on ground last year: 9”


At Tech

STUDENTS RETURN FOR FINAL PUSH: The campus came back to life after the Thanksgiving break as students prepare for their last three weeks of class and finals week. The weather cooperated this year, and travel to home and back was not impeded by snowstorms or road closures. The Undergraduate Student Government sponsored the Escape Express charter bus, which brought students downstate on the last day of class and returned to Houghton Sunday. And, in a sure sign of the impending holiday break and spring semester, Carnival queen applications are due today, and the Carnival Rulebook is being distributed! The Nordic ski team is supposed to host a meet this weekend, so, let it snow!


'76 GRAD IS COMMENCEMENT SPEAKER: John Soyring, vice president for Global Solutions and Software for IBM Corporation is the 2006 Midyear Commencement Speaker. Soyring provides global business leadership for a multi-billion-dollar annual revenue portion of the IBM software business. He has comprehensive responsibilities, providing leadership for strategy, research and development, marketing and sales, business development, product support, and services. Soyring previously was vice president and senior executive for IBM Software Services and Support, which is a global business unit with the mission of developing and delivering professional services for IBM's clients and business partners. During his career with IBM, Soyring also has held a variety of technical, professional, managerial, and executive positions for wide-ranging services, including several worldwide software initiatives. Soyring, who is from Marquette, joined IBM in 1976 after graduating from Tech with a bachelor's in electrical engineering. He later completed graduate studies in computer science, electrical engineering, and business administration at the University of Minnesota and at State University of New York. As a Tech student, Soyring served as a resident assistant for two years; was a member of Eta Kappa Nu, the electrical engineering honor society; and was recognized as a student leader by the Scott Paper Company Foundation. As an alumnus, he serves on the Electrical Engineering Academy and the College of Engineering Industrial Advisory Board.

Tech Sports

HOCKEY OPENS FOUR-GAME HOME STAND FRIDAY: The Michigan Tech hockey team will host St. Cloud State Friday (Dec. 1) in the first of four straight home games for the Huskies. Tech, which was off last weekend, owns a 6-4-2 overall record and 3-3-2 slate in Western Collegiate Hockey Association play.

TECH-NORTHERN IN HOOPS WEDNESDAY: The Michigan Tech basketball teams open their Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference schedules with a trip to face arch rival Northern Michigan Wednesday (Nov. 29). The women play at 5:30 p.m. at the Berry Events Center in Marquette, Mich., with the men to follow at 7:30 p.m.

STROM NAMED TO AFIC ALL-TOURNEY TEAM: Junior forward Tim Strom of the men's basketball team was named to the all-tournament team of last weekend's American Family Insurance Classic in Duluth, Minn. The 6-7 Strom accounted for 42 points, eight rebounds and five assists in the Huskies' two games. He is now the team's leading scorer at 18.0 points per game.

BARTELS NOTCHES CAREER HIGHS: Jenna Bartels helped the Michigan Tech women's basketball teams go 1-1 in last weekend's Rollins Thanksgiving Classic in Winter Park, Fla., by tallying a game-high 19 points in both contests. The 6-0 senior forward broke her old career high of 18 points with 19 Friday (Nov. 24) in a 63-50 loss to Tampa. She matched that Saturday (Nov. 25) with 19 points in a 53-47 win at #20-ranked Rollins.

NORDIC SKIING SEASON SET TO START SATURDAY, MAYBE: Michigan Tech's first two races of the 2006-07 Nordic skiing season are set for Saturday (Dec. 2) and Sunday (Dec. 3) in Marquette, Mich., and Houghton, Mich., respectively. However, the races will likely be cancelled because of a lack of snow.


Recent Results

Hockey (6-4-2, 3-3-2 WCHA)
Did not compete

Men's Basketball (2-2, 0-0 GLIAC)
11/24 - Minnesota State Mankato 67, Michigan Tech 48 (at Duluth, Minn.)
11/25 - at Minnesota Duluth 80, Michigan Tech 76

Women's Basketball (2-2, 0-0 GLIAC)
11/24 - Tampa 63, Michigan Tech 50 (at Winter Park, Fla.)
11/25 - Michigan Tech 53, at #20 Rollins 47


What's Happening This Week

Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Women's Basketball at Northern Michigan, 5:30 p.m. (Live Radio, 93.5 FM)
Men's Basketball at Northern Michigan, 7:30 p.m. (Live Radio, 93.5 FM)

Friday, December 1, 2006 (Husky Friday: wear school colors!)
Blueline Club Luncheon, 12 noon (Grant Hockey Ed Center)
Hockey hosts St. Cloud State, 7:07 p.m. (Live Radio, 93.5 FM)

Saturday, December 2, 2006
Nordic Skiing at U.P. College Opener (Tentative -- at Marquette, Mich.)
Women's Basketball at Ashland, 1 p.m. (Live Radio, 93.5 FM)
Men's Basketball at Ashland, 3 p.m. (Live Radio, 93.5 FM)
Hockey hosts St. Cloud State, 7:07 p.m. (Live Radio, 93.5 FM)

Sunday, December 3, 2006
Nordic Skiing hosts U.P. College Opener (Tentative)


All Times are Eastern

Around the Keweenaw

Adapted from the Daily Mining Gazette

NWS: LOCAL WEATHER "NOTHING OUT OF THE ORDINARY": If it seems the autumn so far in the Copper Country has been mild, that's because it has been, at least as far as the temperature is concerned. Dave Pearson, forecaster for the National Weather Service in the Negaunee office, said temperatures are running a little high for this time of year. "It's been warmer than usual," Pearson said. "(However,) it's nothing out of the ordinary." The cold temperatures haven't been excessive, either, Pearson said. Trying to do averages, either of temperature or precipitation, in the Keweenaw Peninsula can be tricky, Pearson said. For example, one area can have several inches of snowfall while an area only 10 miles away may get only flurries or even nothing at the same time. "How do you average something that varies so much over a small area?" he asked. Although some areas in the Keweenaw are running as much as 10 degrees above normal for this time of year, Pearson said other areas are below average. "At the Houghton (County Memorial) Airport, the average temperature has been three or four degrees below normal," he said. More: <>


L'ANSE WOMAN DIES AFTER VEHICLE CRASH: A woman died from severe injuries sustained in a car wreck Wednesday. Two others were severely injured in the head-on collision, which occurred at about 4 p.m. on U.S. Highway 41 near Denton Road. Valerie Norman, 40, of L'Anse died at Portage Health from injuries sustained in the accident. She was a front-seat passenger in a Pontiac Grand Prix driven by Patrick Thill, 50, of Baraga, who was severely injured, as well. The Pontiac, traveling northbound on US Highway 41, crossed the centerline, entering the path of a southbound Dodge Caravan mini-van. "The van tried to avoid it by going off into the ditch, but couldn't avoid it," said Houghton County Sheriff's deputy Scott Leonard. The Pontiac took the brunt of the damage, its front end crushed to the windshield. The driver of the mini-van, Melody Doig, 50, of Houghton was severely injured in the crash and was later airlifted to Saint Mary's Hospital in Duluth for medical treatment. Thill was transported to Marquette General for treatment. Chris Doig, 14, a passenger in the mini-van, received minor injuries and was treated and released from Portage Health. Rescuers had to use the Jaws of Life to free occupants from both vehicles. All four vehicle occupants were wearing seatbelts. Hurontown Fire and Rescue, the Chassell Fire Department and First Responders, Mercy Ambulance, Michigan Tech University Public Safety, the Houghton City Police Department and Houghton County Sheriff's Department assisted at the crash.


"LIGHTS OF LOVE" EVENT UNDERWAY: An annual event at Portage Health not only raises the spirits of those who participate, but also raises some much-appreciated funds. During the hospital's "Lights of Love" campaign, the Portage Hospital Auxiliary invites the public to honor, celebrate or memorialize loved ones by making donations and reserving lights on the hospital's Christmas tree in their names. The names are displayed in the lobby of the hospital during the holiday season and placed in a memory book. Names will also be read during a tree-lighting ceremony, which will also feature musical accompaniment by area students. "It's somber, but it's also very nice," said auxiliary member Ronda Bogan of the ceremony. "It gives people a chance to honor loved ones near and far away, and remember those who are gone." This year's ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. on Dec. 7 in the lobby of Portage Health. Perhaps more important than the ceremony, Bogan said, are the long-lasting effects of the donations, which are used to fund a scholarship for an area student entering the health care field. "People who have gotten the scholarship have been really excited about it," Bogan said. "As a mother of a daughter in college, I know every little bit helps." Recent recipients include Darren Perttu of Bruce Crossing and Michigan Tech bio-medical engineering alumnus Tom Thornton, both of whom are currently in medical school.
More: <>


CALUMET'S OAK STREET ALMOST COMPLETE: The Oak Street renovation project came a little closer to official completion after the Calumet Village Council voted to request the payment of a $26,000 grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation for the project. Sue Dana, village comptroller, said when received by the village, the money would be used to pay the contractor for the work on the street. However, Village President Tony Bausano said that payment should be delayed because large cracks have developed on parts of the new asphalt on the street. Bausano said Village Engineer Eric Waara should look at the cracks to determine what needs to be done about them. On another renovation topic, Dana told the council that the village was approved to receive a $35,000 grant from the Michigan Council for the Arts and Cultural Affairs to do repair work on the Calumet Theatre building, including replacing mortar around bricks on the building facade and repair some roof leaks. That $35,000 must be matched by the village to cover the $70,000 cost of the repairs, Dana said.

From the Emailbag

Hi Dennis,
Any chance you could add a link in your alumni events section of thenewsletter so people can get to the order form for GLI tickets?  Here it is:  <>

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.

Kelly Jost
BSCE 2000


I'm not sure if you are aware but one of your Alumni is a race engineer for the new NASCAR Champion Jimmie Johnson. Greg Ives is a race engineer for Hendrick Motorsports. In addition to his duties as an engineer, he sits on the pit box and helps the crew chief call the race. I raced against Greg for years at the Norway Speedway.  He is really making a name for himself in NASCAR. He's mentioned in this article: <>

Rich Holmstrom


I can't believe they tore down the College Motel!!!

That's where I stayed on my first visit to Tech, my freshman year before moving into the dorms and where my parents stayed on their honeymoon when they came up to Houghton to visit my Uncle. I will mourn its passing, it was a wonderful, little, family run motel. Thanks and GO HUSKIES!!!!!!

Jeffrey K. Stier, M.A., LLPC


From Scott Hartz:

OK, which of us haven't thought about doing this?

Idaho ice rink employees fired after taking Zambonis on food run

Associated Press

BOISE, Idaho — Would you like fired with that?

Two employees of the city's ice skating rink have been fired for making a midnight fast-food run in a pair of Zambonis.

An anonymous tipster reported seeing the two big ice-resurfacing machines chug through a Burger King drive-through and return to the rink around 12:30 a.m. on Nov. 10. The squat, rubber-tired vehicles, which have a top speed of about 5 mph, drove 1.5 miles in all.

The Zamboni operators, both temporary city employees whose names and ages were not released by Parks and Recreation Department, had to negotiate at least one intersection with a traffic light on their late-night creep from Idaho Ice World.

"They were fired immediately," said Parks Department Director Jim Hall. "We're pretty sure it was just the one time. When we interviewed them, they didn't seem to be too concerned about it. I don't think they understood the seriousness of it."

Hall said neither the $75,000 Zambonis nor their $10,000 blades appeared damaged, but the city could charge the employees with operating an unlicensed motor vehicle on a public street.


Michigan Tech grad on page 21, Mike Kwan...




Regarding last week's letter on Affirmative Action:

Very well put, Jeff. Thank you so much for voicing precisely what I have been thinking while reading all of the "hand wringing" over Prop 2. Adding to your comments - we live in a DEMOCRACY. I believe that the voters have spoken. As a woman engineer in a predominantly male field, I have seen a lot of "discrimination". However, I am confident enough in my capabilities to stand on my own merits, not wait for special treatment. And although I am proud to say that I employ women and minorities in my small company, all of my staff know that it is the merits of their work for which I hired them, and the merits that keep them here, not their race or sex. That is the real world.

C Sloat '82


Hi Dennis,
The concept of Affirmative Action is not nearly so simple as a chemistry result or mathematical proof. I speak as a WASP representative when I say that I was able to skate through high school and achieve the grades needed to be accepted to Tech. I owe that in a large part to being born into an upper middle class family, and having every opportunity I needed laid at my feet. I would be comfortable if people brighter than me, but who didn't have the same advantages and opportunities to show their ability to achieve, got a better shake than I. In order to offset the unfair balance of our society and the automatic disadvantages some people face depending on where and how they're born and raised, we all have to be somewhat less selfish.

Roy Schmidt


I too must comment on the students being "too busy" to vote. I have always voted (I might have missed a few school board primaries), on the premise that if I don't vote I can't complain about the people in office, or the referenda that pass. I have voted after work, waiting in line with children in tow, more times than I can count... I am proud to say that both of those children, now in college, voted, one by absentee ballot (thus planned out weeks in advance) the other by registering locally. My daughter, who had to return to the polls with better proof of residence after being turned away the first time (how do you prove where you live when you pay all your bills on-line?), said simply that she wanted to be sure that she had a chance to affect the election... I guess we raised them to be good involved citizens.

We are also keeping an eye on the Hockey Huskies (the years my husband and I attended Tech we got two chances to follow the team to the NCAA championships) and are glad to see them on the rise. Whenever they play in Madison, we make a point to go and cheer for both teams. That way we are never disappointed with the outcome.

Amy Rapaich Moser '72


Maybe I missed last weeks (13 Nov) newsletter - I don't remember getting it or reading it. Nonetheless, the notes this week about the students being "too busy to vote" caught my attention.

I have just two words for them: ABSENTEE BALLOT.

John Alaniva '83


Regarding "Cheating Winter, Seeking Venison"....

I can hear the Yoopers in the background with the "da Second week of Deer Camp" as I read your ramblings today.... especially the part about "Never shoot a deer"

Scott Hartz

Editor's note: We weren’t totally shutout this year. My son and I each bagged a partridge a couple of minutes apart, a father-son first!

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:


20--Houghton, Keweenaw Alumni Chapter, Holiday Social, Thirsty Fish (old Franklin Square Pub) 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, 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

Non-Tenure-Track Lecturer: Exercise Science, Health and Physical Education

Tenure-Track Assistant Professor: Exercise Science, Health and Physical Education

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