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

2-4, Houghton, Alumni Reunion

3, West Michigan Whitecaps Baseball

26, Second Annual Detroit Tigers Outing


HuskyLink Online Alumni Community

Not yet a member? Well, why not? It's a snap to do.For assistance in gaining access to the online community (click here).

And, in the new email version of Techalum, there are new features that appear in this spot! You'll have to get it, through HuskyLink, to get it all!


. . . but there's always time to fish.

July 30, 2007 (Vol. 14, No. 7)

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

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

If you no longer wish to receive TechAlum or would like to change your e-mail address, visit HuskyLink, the online alumni community, and update your profile or, if you are not a member of the OAC, use our on-line update form here.

For past issues, see our archives.

In This Issue
* Reunion(s)/New TechAlum
* At Tech
* Tech Sports
* Around the Keweenaw
* From the Email Bag
* Job Opportunities

The learning never ends. . .


It never fails. Every time I attend a high school or Tech reunion, I am pleasantly surprised. This past weekend, at our high school reunion, I ran into an old friend who split a paper route with me 34 years ago. Another old timer, and former Tech employee, was looking good after some health issues.

An old golf buddy made it back into town, and another guy, more mechanically inclined than yours truly, has his own construction business now. I didn't remember another former classmate, but she recognized me. (I don't know if that's a good thing or not.)

Finally, a handful of our class sat around and told stories until late into the evening (early morning really). It's always a time to take stock of where we are in our lives, and I'm happy with both my location and my station in life. No complaints here.

Which brings me to this coming weekend and Tech's Alumni Reunion. The campus will be buzzing beginning Thursday, and it's a great time to come back and tell the old stories. And the memories last forever, too.

Like last year, when I managed to get a photo of Ray Smith and Verdie Cox. (They've planted a nice tree on the tee of number 6 at Portage Lake Golf Course in memory of Verdie and Virginia Cox.) It's a moment I'll always treasure.

So, if you haven't already decided, there's still time to come up. I'll be at the Pasty Picnic with a real old-timer and at the golf outing with a cousin.

And I'm sure that I'll be making new memories.


TechAlum Update

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At Tech

songerDr. Matthew N. Songer

Alumni to be Honored at Awards Banquet: Michigan Tech will honor the achievements of two alumni and a benefactor at the Alumni Reunion Banquet Friday, Aug. 3.

The banquet begins at 5:30 p.m. Friday with a social hour in the Memorial Union Ballroom, with dinner at 6:30 p.m. The dinner features a variety of entrees, including prime rib. Tickets are $30 at the Alumni Reunion registration desk in the Memorial Union. For more information, call 487-2400.



Governor Appoints Alum Steve Hicks to Board of Control
By Jennifer Donovan, director of public relations

Michigan Governor Jennifer M. Granholm has appointed Marquette businessman Stephen J. Hicks to the Board of Control. He succeeds Michael C. Henricksen.

Hicks is president and CEO of J.M. Longyear LLC, a natural resources company. He also is vice chairman of Minnesota Steel.


Tiny Tractor Beam Could Keep Satellites in Formation: Brad King and Gordon Parker have developed a tractor beam. Now, they're looking for ways to use it.

"It's a hammer in search of a nail," says King, an associate professor of mechanical engineering-engineering mechanics.

The tractor beam is not the sort that could immobilize a Klingon vessel. Instead, it could hold a small group of spacecraft in formation. The device would rely on the subtle electric charge accumulated by objects in space, harnessing forces as small as 10 micronewtons. To put that in perspective, a single paper clip resting on a table exerts a force of about 10,000 micronewtons.


Michigan Tech Helps State Get Cellulosic Ethanol Plant
By Jennifer Donovan, director of public relations

The state that gave birth to the American automobile industry is about to become a leader in development of the next generation of biofuels. Michigan Governor Jennifer M. Granholm announced today that Massachusetts-based Mascoma Corporation will build a commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol plant to manufacture automotive biofuel from woody plant materials in Michigan.

Michigan Tech's expertise and research leadership played a key role in the bio-energy company's decision to come to Michigan. The Wood to Wheels initiative is already pooling the brainpower of research leaders to create a clean-burning, energy-efficient and cost-effective biofuel using an abundant local resource: trees.

Tech Sports

Alicia SchneiderWomen's Basketball Owns Nation's Fourth-Best GPA--Squad Combined for 3.55 Cumulative Grade Point Average:The Michigan Tech women’s basketball team has received national honors from the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) for its success in the classroom. Of 275 teams at the NCAA Division II level, the Huskies were ranked fourth on the WBCA’s Academic Top 25 Team Honor Roll for their cumulative team grade point average of 3.553.


Hutchins Named Head Track and Field Coach
By Wes Frahm, director of athletic communications and marketing

Margot Hutchins has been named head coach for Michigan Tech's track and field program. Hutchins will also serve as an assistant coach for the Huskies' cross country and Nordic skiing teams. Joe Haggenmiller, who has served as the head coach for all three of those programs for the last four years, will continue work with track and field as an assistant coach and remain head coach of the Nordic skiing and cross country programs.

Around the Keweenaw

Adapted from the Daily Mining Gazette

agassizChanging Lake Superior Frustrates Boaters, Mystifies Scientists: As the research boat bobs up and down on gray, choppy Lake Superior, Michigan Tech University chemist Noel Urban and two students drop a metal cylinder over the side to retrieve a water sample from the bottom.

They are measuring carbon dioxide content — an unspectacular statistic by itself, yet an important piece of a highly complex puzzle.


Contamination at Torch Lake: A portion of Torch Lake has been cordoned off by the Western Upper Peninsula District Health Department after possibly dangerous levels of lead and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were found in sediment at the lake shoreline.

Jam Fest, Grand Opening Bring Crowds to Keweenaw Mountain Lodge:
Keweenaw County showed off its new and improved Keweenaw Mountain Lodge recently in the midst of a celebration of thimbleberries.

The grand opening of the Mountain Lodge’s $3.3 million expansion, including a 7,000-square foot conference facility, coincided with Keweenaw Krayons’ eighth annual Thimbleberry Jam Fest.


Cushingberry--State Needs to Increase Revenue Stream: State Rep. George Cushingberry Jr., D-Detroit, said the state must increase its revenue stream--and a property tax increase could be the means--in order to continue providing necessary services.

The chair of the state House appropriations committee gave a presentation at Michigan Tech University Saturday as part of his “Restoration of Revenue” tour. Houghton was the 23rd city of 30 Cushingberry plans to visit to emphasize the need for revenue in order to restore state services.

From the Emailbag

My brother works for the Detroit Science Center as their Engineering Content Developer. The Science Center's Careers in Engineering Theater will present inspirational profiles of engineers and their education, lifestyle, work day, services and products. Their goal of attracting young people to choose careers in engineering and science mesh very closely with some of the goals of Michigan Tech. I am thinking there are probably Tech alumni out there working in exciting fields who may welcome the opportunity to showcase their talents. If possible, can you please help me get the word out in the next TechAlum Newsletter and have any interested parties contact Rick Russell at 313-577-8400 ext. 417 or e-mail to rrussell(at)

Jim Russell
BSME '84

p.s. - I love the TechAlum newsletter. Keep up the great work.


The Michigan Tech chapter of Alpha Phi Omega will be celebrating its 60th anniversary in December. As part of the historical records of the fraternity, we are looking for alumni to contribute their stories and/or photos to the APO alumni website. We would also like to update the alumni contact database.

If you are an APO alum, please send your current info (postal address, phone) to one of the following email addresses, and we will contact you to follow up.

* webmaster(at) (Al Gorup)

Thank you, and in L, F, & S
Carla Martinek


Thank you for the technologically enhanced news letter. It is always good to hear from "home".

George Semenak
Class of 1984


I just want to add that I stayed at Tech during the summer of 1987 and my boyfriend and I would start up the WMichigan Tech radio station on Saturday for a couple of hours. We would play requests and songs that we liked that were popular in the 60's, 70's, and 80's. We judge how well we were doing by whether the people in the weight room next door were listening. If they turned us off, we knew we were not playing songs they liked. I had to write down every song we played and I also did the call sign and public service announcements at the precise times. It was an interesting experience that I will always cherish.

Stacey E. Morrison, MS


Loved the thread on WDHH. I graduated too soon (1952), so I missed out on all the fun. A few years after that though, fate found me as the engineering officer of an Armed Forces Network (AFN) radio ststion in a reserve outfit in Detroit. It was my first encounter with the broadcast business, and it was pure fun. We had a complete station, from console to transmitter, though we never fired up the transmitter. We had both rack mount and portable tape machines...everything we needed. Following those days, I found a nice RCA broadcast console, and several Ampex tape machines, and they're among my radio collection at home. Guess I just couldn't get away from it!

Doug. Houston
Ortonville, Mich.


Okay, I suppose I'd best check in with a few words. I never appeared on the air on WRS (didn't it stand for "Wadsworth Really S**ks"? - that's what some used to say), but I knew many of the folks that were there. I'm looking forward to Jon Wenger sending along his comments. Anyway, living in Co-ed Hall we didn't get that station -- but Walt (what was his name?) built a similar carrier-current rig and ran W A L T Radio from his room, or my room -- similar idea, not quite as official., Let's see -- that would've been winter '67-68.

About that time Paul Hinzmann (physics prof.) was recruiting for Joe Kirkish's radio show on WMPL during the late evenings -- "The Michigan Tech Hour". Jack Z. Natkin got the Friday show -- called it "The Seventh Circle", and played things of eclectic interest. For instance, he'd dedicate "Go To Hell" to the faculty from the students after finals. He'd play "Leaving on a Jet Plane" to the students that'd be drafted after failing their finals.

I hosted Wednesday evenings -- broadway musicals. That's where I got introduced to Dick Storm (he worked nights at WMPL while finishing his degree) -- Dick ran the control board, I sat in the outer studio and talked when the record ended. A few months into the show Dick introduced me to his sister-in-law. It took a few years before she and I got married, but that's another story.

Eventually (spring of '68) Joe Kirkish got WGGL-FM ready to go. It was April Fool's Day 1968 (I think it was) when the station signed on the air officially for the first time. Were you listening? It was MY VOICE (on tape) that did that first sign-on. I eventually worked my way up to permanent part time at WGGL, then full time after graduation.

That's the end of this story.

Jon Wennerberg
Seldom Seen Slim Land Speed Racing
Marquette, Michigan
(that's 'way up north)

PS Hi to Bruce Kelly -- a/k/a BK the RA. Ask him about Walt -- I think they were roomies. . .


WDHH Origins: I was surprised & happy to see the recent set of notes about WDHH and the Wadsworth Radio stations. I did not see anything about the origins of WDHH in them. I do not remember the exact year it was started, but know it was before October 1957, because Don Korb who had a Hallicrafter multi-band radio, taped the Sputnik signal at that time and broadcast it over WDHH. I remember the transmitter being built by, I think, Peter Rankin, who was an electrical wizard. Seems to me that he got the plans or idea for it out of one of his ham radio magazines. It was built from scratch right there in our rooms.

I was the first Record Librarian. That was a low-tech enough job that I could do that. Seems to me that we had to do some arguing with Mr. MacKinnon to get permission to use the storage room near our rooms {329, 330, etc) to set up the station. We had “subscriptions” with several record companies, Columbia is the only one I can remember now, and they sent us free records like a “regular” radio station, for the “publicity” value. I always wondered what happened to WDHH, as it had disappeared when I made a visit to Tech a few years ago. I was surprised to hear that FCC had shut it down, as we understood that the signal though the Dorm carrier circuit could not pass through transformers and no one outside the dorm could hear it. I think we had about 6-8 people to act as Disk-Jockeys. Those I remember were myself, Pete Rankin, Don Korb, Frank Schwenk, John Taylor, Bob? Bentley. It was a fun time.

Ora Flaningam (classes of 1957-1958 & 1960)

Ken Hafeli mentioned the Douglas Houghton Hall station WDHH in a previous alumni issue. Without being too modest, I built the am version of WDHH in the 56-57 era with the help of some fellow dorm mates. I vividly remember building the transmitter over a Christmas break in Saginaw, MI - trying to finish before that dreaded 512 mile winter trip back to Tech. I think it was just before the Mackinaw bridge was finished. I'm glad to hear that a version of the station persisted till the late 70's

Although it was a carrier current station, we did have a problem with leakage. You could pick up the station quite well with a car radio by following the power wires through Houghton and on to Hancock. We had registered the call letters with the FCC so for a while, we were the only registered station on the Tech campus. As a result, we signed up with a couple of record companies and received all the albums they produced in several categories during the years. Our venue was more
folk and classical than the other available stations. We also broadcast the Michigan - Michigan Tech away hockey game a couple of times. One of the games coincided with the appearance of the Kingston Trio at the gym - I don't think we had many listeners that night.

Great Times and Lots of Memories.

Pete Rankin '59


Hi Dennis,
As I was reading through the Newsletter this afternoon, I got to the section with emails from former WDHH DJs. Well, Joe Fishbein ('75) mentions the "guy" with the show after his that played Easy Listening. You know, I had a late afternoon show and I played mostly Easy Listening to ease everyone into another week of classes. So he may be remembering me. Only I'm not a "guy"!

Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

Linda Hagopian '75


Thanks for the work. I have revised my profile to receive the newsletter.

John Seelman


Appreciate the electronic format. I am much more likely to read, and respond!

Some of us are a bit far away for even an annual visit so how about more photos ... the fire, red ridge dam ... just everyday stuff in town.

Tom Bingham

Tom: I'm trying to get more local photos, and it is proving tougher than it should be. Stay tuned.


Well Dennis, I don't know what you did, but it worked ! Just received an email copy of the Tech Alum. Newsletter. Hopefully they will keep coming. Thanks much.

Doug Davies '69

Doug: I don't know what I did either! . . .


Thanks for the invite. Although my heart is still yearning for the Copper Country (especially in winter), my wallet and my allegiance goes to Clarkson, home of the Knights. My son plays Sax in the pep band ("BoneSaw!!!"). The Knights won the ECAC this year and made it to the NCAA playoffs. Just like "Da Tech", Clarkson is far north, engineering, COLD, near Canada, no girls, HOCKEY, and normal people don't understand why anyone would want to go there !!!

Dave Plumeau

Dave: We're not going to hold that Eastern league thing against you! ;>} See you in the playoffs!


Dennis – this updated format is great! I have always enjoyed the newsletter, but the increased readability, links, etc. really make it an outstanding publication. Thanks for all your work!!

Also, I really enjoyed WMichigan Tech when I started school in ’79, am being carried over the power lines in Wads. What great tunes, and what crazy personnel!

John P. Travis, ’82 AAS-CET

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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.

Dennis Walikainen
University Marketing and Communications
1400 Townsend Drive
Houghton, MI 49931-1295
(906) 487-3510