March 19, 2007 (Vol. 13, No. 42)

A weekly electronic newsletter for alumni and friends of Michigan Technological University

Edited by Dennis Walikainen (MS ’92), Senior Editor, University Marketing and Communications

For past issues, see our archives.

In this issue:

Collective Memory

I haven't totaled the responses to the snow closure Techalum, but it was massive! I have been shoveling through them all morning, and I've created a page of them all. <> I have been able to come up with a rough idea of when Tech has closed due to winter weather (I think).

1960s, once, 1966.
1970s, twice: once in 1971-72, it was indeed the "Snow Control Central" storm; once in the late 1970s due to cold.
1980s, at least twice: once in 1981-82, and there were also the three consecutive Friday storms that socked people in over the weekend (1983?), but no closings; March 1985?; and the infamous Thanksgiving Drive of 1985. I remember a photo of a car stuck on the side of the road, covered in ice. We had a photo of it in Tech Topics and dubbed it the "Carsicle."
1990s, twice: the 1993-94 year had the bad windchills and frozen water pipes all over the local area; 1996-97 was the year of the hostage taking/bank robbery in downtown Houghton.
2000s, twice: at least one-half day 2003(?) for windchills; and March 2, 2007, snow and wind.

So, it looks like the old-timers might be correct. They really didn't close Tech way back then. Although, I still don't believe they walked uphill to school both ways!


Snowfall Totals through March 16(from KRC)

Snowfall total: 130.75"
Depth on ground: 18.0"
Snowfall total last week: 129.75"
Depth on ground last week: 25.0"
Snowfall total last year: 213"
Depth on ground last year: 36"

At Tech

CLEAN SNOWMOBILE CHALLENGE THIS WEEK: Tech is preparing to welcome teams from colleges across the US and Canada for the SAE Clean Snowmobile Challenge, to be held here this week. The Clean Snowmobile Challenge is the Society of Automotive Engineers' newest collegiate design competition. Teams of engineering students from 14 participating schools have reengineered stock snowmobiles to reduce emissions and noise while maintaining or improving performance. All teams will have their sleds on display Wednesday, March 21, at the Copper Country Mall from 6 to 8 p.m. Everyone is invited to stop by to view the custom snowmobiles and talk with the young engineers. The public is also welcome to attend the grand opening ceremonies beginning at 11 a.m. Tuesday, March 20, at the Keweenaw Research Center, located next to the Houghton County Memorial Airport. From there, the snowmobiles head north for the Endurance Run to Copper Harbor.
More: <>


Submitted by Athletic Communications and Marketing

Michigan Tech Head Hockey Coach Jamie Russell has been recognized as Western Collegiate Hockey Association Co-Coach of the Year, and sophomore Michael-Lee Teslak (Fernie, B.C.) has garnered All-WCHA Third Team accolades. Russell has guided his team to an 18-16-5 overall record and a sixth-place finish in the 2006-07 WCHA standings, marking its best conference showing since 1992-93. In his fourth year behind the Huskies' bench, Russell led his troops past Colorado College in the opening round of the WCHA Playoffs last weekend, two-games-to-one, which solidified Tech's first appearance at the WCHA Final Five since 1996. With 18 wins, the Huskies have recorded their highest win total since the 1995-96.
More: <>


TECH SELECTED FOR GM SULLIVAN FELLOWSHIP PROGRAM: General Motors and the United Negro College Fund have selected Michigan Tech to participate in the GM Sullivan Fellowship Program. The program includes a $5,000 grant to develop a Sullivan Principles program on campus. In addition, a $5,000 scholarship will be provided to the Sullivan Fellow based upon the successful completion of a GM summer internship and the completion of a written and oral presentation on the Sullivan Principles. The Global Sullivan Principles of Corporate Social Responsibility, developed by the Rev. Leon Sullivan, are a litany of human rights to be recognized by business and industry. They range from providing employees a living wage and a safe workplace to honoring intellectual property and refusing to pay bribes. You can read more about the principles at <>.

Tech Sports

TECH FALLS, 4-0, TO WISCONSIN IN WCHA FINAL FIVE OPENER: A 26-save shutout for Wisconsin goaltender Brian Elliott spoiled Michigan Tech's first game in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association Final Five since 1996. Behind the effort of Elliot, the Badgers gained a 4-0 victory Thursday night at the Xcel Energy Center. The 20th-ranked Badgers quickly got on the board just 1:45 into the contest when Blake Geoffrion was credited with his second goal of the year, an unassisted tally. Geoffrion gained possession of the puck near the Michigan Tech blue line and then sent a pass from the left circle towards the front of the net that glanced off the stick of Geoff Kinrade (Nelson, B.C.), and found the back of the net. Tech put together an offensive flurry in the final few minutes of the opening stanza, firing four of the period's final five shots. Mike Batovanja (Hinton, Alta.) may have had the best chance after making a brilliant move around a Badger defenseman and then putting a point-blank shot right on from the slot. Elliott was up to the task, however, and stopped all seven shots he faced in the frame.
More: <>


MEN'S TENNIS WRAP UP SPRING BREAK TRIP--Huskies Drop Contests to Wesleyan, St. Leo: Michigan Tech men's tennis wrapped up its 2007 spring break trip with matches vs. Wesleyan and St. Leo. The Huskies finished the trip 1-5, which pushed their season slate to 5-11. Tech fell, 7-1, in a late match vs. Wesleyan Tuesday (Mar. 13). The number three doubles pair of Brandon Ellefson and Alan Parenteau claimed the Huskies' only point with a 8-6 triumph. The match gave the doubles team 10 wins at number three--good for fifth all-time at Tech.
More: <>


WOMEN'S NETTERS CLOSE TRIP WITH WIN--Huskies Edge St. Leo, 5-4: The Michigan Tech women's tennis team closed out its 2007 spring break trip with a win at St. Leo today. The Huskies edged the Lions, 5-4, to advance to 8-11 on the year. Michigan Tech got singles wins from number two player Amy Palmgren (4-6, 7-6 (4), 6-2) and number five player Whitney Schoep (7-5, 6-1). In doubles, Tech's Silvia Oliveros and Palmgren teamed up for an 8-3 victory.


Recent Results

Thursday, Mar 15
Hockey: #20 Wisconsin 4, #16 Michigan Tech 0 (WCHA Final Five--St. Paul, Minn.)

Wednesday, Mar 14
Men's Tennis: at St. Leo 8, Michigan Tech 1
Women's Tennis: Michigan Tech 5, at St. Leo 4

Tuesday, Mar 13
Men's Tennis: Wesleyan 7, Michigan Tech 1 (at Orlando, Fla.)
Men's Tennis: Lees-McRae 8, Michigan Tech 1 (at Orlando, Fla.)

Monday, Mar 12
Men's Tennis: Fairfield 7, Michigan Tech 0 (at Orlando, Fla.)


What's Happening This Week

Saturday, Mar 24
Women's Tennis at Minnesota Duluth
Men's Tennis at Mercyhurst, 10 a.m.

Sunday, Mar 25
Men's Tennis at Findlay, 10 a.m.

All Times are Eastern

Around the Keweenaw

Adapted from the Daily Mining Gazette

PASTY FOR FAVORITE STATE FOOD: The pasty for president? Not quite, but the staple of Upper Peninsula cuisine is a contender in a statewide recipe contest sponsored by the Michigan Humanities Council. Residents from around the state are invited to log on to <> and cast their ballot for their favorite Michigan food. The site was designed to help raise the awareness of Michigan's food culture as part of an effort directed at the 2007-2008 tour of a pair of traveling exhibits. The tour will visit six Michigan towns, including Calumet, and will include an exhibit from the Smithsonian Institution called Key Ingredients: America by Food and a companion exhibit from the Michigan State University Museum called Michigan Foodways. Calumet's Keweenaw Heritage Center at St. Anne's will host the exhibit from July 13 through Aug. 26. Local programming is also in the planning stages.
More: <>


TECH BENEFITS FROM DOD GRANTS: Michigan Tech will benefit from two grants totaling more than $600,000 toward purchasing state-of-the-art equipment for defense research, according to the offices of Sens. Carl Levin, D-Detroit, and Debbie Stabenow, D-Lansing. The funding, available through the Department of Defense, will come from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) as part of the Defense University Research Instrumentation Program (DURIP). Michigan Tech will receive $467,017 for the Air Force Office of Scientific Research Human-Robot Interactions and $151,069 for the Air Force Office of Scientific Research Microplasma Device Characterization. Brad King, associate professor of mechanical engineering, said the latter grant will provide money to build labs and equipment for his department. Specifically, the researchers are currently developing and testing microscopic ion thrusters for satellites the size of a cell phone, he said.
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SAVING THE POINT IN COPPER HARBOR: People have been visiting Hunter's Point in Copper Harbor for generations and enjoying its natural beauty, and Richard Powers wants to make certain it can be enjoyed for generations to come. Powers, who is deputy supervisor of Grant Township, said he began the process to prevent development of Hunter's Point during his term as supervisor from 2002 to 2005. "About four years ago, we started a drive to save Hunter's Point," Powers said. "The concern was we were going to lose public access to (it)." That concern comes from the fact that owners, AuGlaize, LLC, which is a Michigan-based company, were already selling plots on the property to develop a subdivision, Powers said. Roads, sewers and electricity were installed. A few parcels were sold, but they aren't near the property being preserved.
More: <>


COUNTY OKS AIR ACT: A proposed indoor smoking ban was unanimously passed by the Houghton County Board of Commissioners Tuesday night, but not before lengthy debate in the form of a public hearing. Western Upper Peninsula Health Department Officer Guy St. Germain opened the hearing by providing a history of the proposal, which its board approved on Jan. 29. The regulation, officially titled the Western Upper Peninsula Health District Clean Indoor Air Regulation, prohibits smoking in all public places and work sites, with the exception of bars, restaurants and tribal properties in the five counties the WUPHD serves - Houghton, Baraga, Keweenaw, Ontonagon and Gogebic. Employers would be responsible for maintaining a smoke-free worksite, developing and posting a smoke-free policy and informing employees of that policy. Violators of the policy would be subject to a $100 fine for a first offense, up to $300 for repeat offenses. Lone business owners who smoke in their own business are also subject to the fine if their business is not their residence, St. Germain said.
More: <>

From the Emailbag

Dennis...   all Tech alumni should be proud of our Pep Band's representation at this past weekend's WCHA Final 5 in St Paul.  Even though the Huskies were eliminated in Thursday's play-in game the Pep Band appeared Friday and Saturday to entertain fans in the Excel Energy Center concourse much to the delight of all hockey fans!!  Kudos to these young men and women who represented Michigan Tech with the utmost spirit and pride of our alma mater.

Bill Johnson '69


Subject: FINAL EXAM at Michigan Tech

At Michigan Tech, there were four sophomores taking chemistry and all of them had an "A" so far. These four friends were so confident that, the weekend before finals, they decided to visit some friends and have a big party. They had a great time but, after all the hearty partying, they slept all day Sunday and didn't make it back to Michigan Tech until early Monday morning.

Rather than taking the final then, they decided that after the final they would explain to Doc Berry why they missed it. They said that they visited friends but on the way back they had a flat tire. As a result, they missed the final. Doc Berry agreed they could make up the final the next day.

The guys were excited and relieved. They studied that night for the exam. Doc Berry placed them in separate rooms and gave them a test booklet. They quickly answered the first problem worth 5 points. Cool, they thought!  Each one in separate rooms, thinking this was going to be easy.... then they turned the page.

On the second page was written.... For 95 points:

Which tire? _________

Tom Narva


Pardon me for being a little late replying to this, but school did close for the mentioned half day when I was in grad school, which would have been in the '93-'94 time frame.  I seem to remember the daily high not getting above -10 F for 9 days in a row.  My '86 Escort's gas line froze twice that week and the rear window defroster was only powerful enough to melt the frost on the window into a sheet of ice.  The funny thing was, at the time there was a visiting professor in the ME department from Siberia of all places.  He was unfailingly cheerful the entire 9 days as this was normal temperature where he was from.

David Bauer


Hi Dennis,

Reading through the memories of Tech closures, I'm surprised no one has mentioned the winter of 1996. We had a huge snowstorm during the night (I don't remember the date, but I believe it was in January), coupled with the unfortunate Houghton National Bank robbery downtown. Both of these events caused Tech to cancel classes for the whole day. In fact, during the winter of 1996, Houghton amassed the second highest seasonal snowfall total on record. I love snow, but when it was snowing in May, that seemed like too much! 

Along with the tremendous snowfall that year, I also remember that Winter Carnival was absolutely frigid!  The high temperatures were -20 F and the wind chill plunged to -60 F. The interesting thing about the UP is that life goes on during that type of weather. However, here in the Detroit area, the schools were closed for 2 days in February when the high temperatures were in the single digits. If they only knew what real winters were like!

Jennifer (Butine) Wilson
BSME '97


Alumni Association Programs


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

24--Keweenaw, 40th Annual Jazz Reunion and Don Keranen Memorial Concert

26--Chicago, Chemistry Alumni & Friends at ACS National Meeting

Job Opportunities This Week

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

No postings this week.

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

Michigan Tech is on the web at <>. For the alumni pages, click on "Alumni/Friends" at the top of the home page.

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