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26, Second Annual Detroit Tigers Outing


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Students and staff were ready for Orientation/move-in.

August 27, 2007 (Vol. 14, No. 9)

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
* Return of the Students/Colorologist
* At Tech
* Tech Sports
* Around the Keweenaw
* From the Email Bag
* Featured Alumni Benefits
* Job Opportunities

Summer Hockey School has winded down.


Orientation brought life back to Houghton as more than 1,300 students moved into their residence halls over the weekend.Dumpsters overflowed with empty boxes that carried every conceivable electronic gadget known to these new Huskies.

Keara Scott, a second-year biomed major, was helping parents and students move into DHH. Early Sunday morning it wasn't too busy, but she was enjoying her first time helping out. She even gave me a rundown on the three residence halls, with facts like what Learning Communities were (floors set aside for special interests like CS majors or international students).

The area in front of the Walker building was being set up for the family picnic, which, along with Parent Orientation, was keeping the parents I talked to in Houghton for one more night.

Jeff and Angela Sweet from Sterling Heights moved their son, Jonathon, into Wads, where he was rooming with his friend from high school, Arthur Adlem. The Sweets appreciated the Tech students and staff who helped them move all his stuff into the room. "They don't do this at State," Jeff said. He knows because they moved their older son to East Lansing a couple of years ago. "Tech has nicer rooms, too," Angela said of Wads newly refurbished digs.

Jonathon said he chose Tech because it was small, and he could find a job when he got his ME degree. His roommate was a biomed major.

Mark Girard '88 from Iron Mountain was just beginning to move his sophomore son, Chad, into Wads, too. Chad was another biomed, and he liked the move-in help so much as a freshman that he returned early to get the assistance. Classes don't start until Tuesday, September 4.

Finally, Howie Derksen from Hamilton, Michigan, moved in Saturday with help from parents Cheryl and Ramsey. Howie is majoring in physics–"Better him than me," said his dad–and was also matched up with a roommate from his hometown. "That'll make the move easier," said Cheryl, and she meant both for him and his folks. They like what they saw of Houghton, having never been here before. Howie chose Tech because it "looked like a good school" and "We get the in-state tuition," mom added.

Of course, we know that the students are in good hands, and the parents seemed convinced, too. And I can't believe it's been two years since we sat at the family picnic with our son and six years since we did the same with our daughter. They've both grown immensely since then, and I guess we have too. These rites of autumn enliven our hometown and remind us to count our blessings.

Colorologist Returns

The colorologist was seen on the Maasto Hiihto trails over the weekend, and he was dumbfounded. His favorite maple tree was already turned vibrant red.

"It's the dryness," he said, shaking his head. "It's even worse than last year!" When asked to give a percentage, he said it depends on where you go. "But, I'd say we are, overall, 10-20 percent turned already."

"If this keeps up, we'll have a leafless home football opener [September 8]!" he said. "Okay," he added, "maybe not quite."

At Tech

TECH HITS TOP TIER IN US NEWS UNDERGRAD RANKINGS: Michigan Tech's undergraduate education ranks in the top tier of national universities, according to U.S. News & World Report's latest edition of America's Best Colleges. The rankings were released online today and scheduled to hit newsstands on Monday, August 20.

Michigan Tech is one of three public universities in Michigan to make the top tier of the magazine's undergraduate rankings. The other two are the University of Michigan and Michigan State University.



MECHANICAL, ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING MAKE US NEWS TOP 25: Two undergraduate programs at Michigan Tech have been ranked among the top 25 in US News and World Report's Best Undergraduate Colleges guide.

Environmental engineering was listed 13th in the nation, with mechanical engineering ranking 22nd. Programs are ranked solely according to peer assessment.

"Recognition in the US News rankings demonstrates that the faculty staff and students of the mechanical and environmental engineering programs have earned the respect and notice of our peers," said Dean of Engineering Tim Schulz. "Their hard work and accomplishments are being recognized across the nation, bringing well-deserved attention to Michigan Tech."

Environmental change in the Earth's atmosphere is clearly writ in the bones of wolves, scientists from Michigan Tech have discovered.

To track atmospheric change caused by human activity, researchers have long studied a variety of materials, from tree rings to air trapped in glacial ice. A problem has been "noise"-- natural variability caused by sampling and random events that affect atmospheric chemistry. Noise can make it hard to tease out trends from the data.


TECH TOPS STATE FOR WOMEN IN ATHLETICS: Michigan Tech has the highest proportion of women participating in athletics of any public college or university in Michigan, compared to the number of women in the student body as a whole.

In fact, according to a report issued recently by the National Women's Law Center, Michigan Tech ranks fifth in the nation among NCAA Division II schools whose proportion of women athletes outstrips the proportion of women students overall. Only the New Jersey Institute of Technology, the Florida Institute of Technology, Goldey-Beacom College and the Colorado School of Mines had higher proportions of women athletes.


Tech Sports

SHORT BREAKS THREE SCHOOL RECORDS IN 47-44 OVERTIME LOSS AT WINONA: Sophomore quarterback Steve Short set school records for passing yards (431), total offense (504), and touchdowns (six) but Michigan Tech fell in overtime at Winona State, 47-44. Special teams was the story of the game -- especially in overtime as the Warriors made a 37-yard field goal and the Huskies’ missed their 37-yarder.Michigan Tech overcame a 23-12 halftime deficit by scoring 32 points in the second half. The lone points for either team in the third quarter came off a two-yard pass from Short to tight end Ben James. Short ran in the two-point conversion to make the score 23-20.




WOMEN’S TENNIS TEAM EARNS ITA ALL-ACADEMIC DESIGNATION: The Michigan Tech women’s tennis was named an All-Academic Team for the 2006-07 season by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association. The Huskies have now earned the honor each of the last nine years and 11 times overall.

Teams qualify for All-Academic status by having a combined 3.20 grade point average or better. The Huskies had an average cumulative GPA of 3.68.


Around the Keweenaw

Adapted from the Daily Mining Gazette and WLUC TV6

HIGHER EDUCATION BILLS PASSED: A pair of bills passed in the State House of Representatives early this morning in Lansing would divide the state’s universities into two groups for funding purposes.

Michigan Technological University and 11 other state universities would be funded under House Bill 4350 while House Bill 4351 provides funding for the state’s three research universities—the University of Michigan, Michigan State University and Wayne State University.


RHYTHM CELEBRATES OPENING OF NEW HOUGHTON LOCATION: After months of work, Rhythm co-owner Todd Brookhouse had “goosebumps” looking at the completed shop.

He wasn’t alone. The Shelden Avenue business, which sells extreme sports equipment as well as men’s and women’s clothing, drew raves during a ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday.

Brookhouse, along with co-owners Joe Schwenk and Adam Yeoman, moved the store from a smaller location further east when the former Superior Music building became available earlier this year.


HOUGHTON COUNCIL HEARS GRANT UPDATES: Houghton City Manager Scott MacInnes updated the Houghton City Council on the progress of several grants during Wednesday night’s meeting.

“It’s starting to be quite a menagerie of grants and things for our community,” MacInnes said.

Houghton is considering another application for Facade Improvement Initiative grants, following the initial seven businesses currently undergoing renovation.

With the recent release of the contract for the Downtowner Lounge, the city is hoping to have all of them done before the snow hits.


PRAYING FOR RAIN; DROUGHT CONTINUES: Despite last Tuesday’s rainfall, drought conditions are taking their toll on livestock farmers in the Copper Country.

“It’s been brutal,” John Talsma said. “There’s been no re-growth on pastures, no re-growth on the hay fields; there’s not going to be any second crop on the hay and we’re already feeding the hay that we should be saving for winter.”

Talsma runs a cow-calf farm outside Bruce Crossing. He has 84 animals; 38 are cows he keeps for breeding and the rest are calfs he sells in the fall as breeders.


HOUGHTON COUNTY FAIR WRAPS UP: Adults and children got a last taste of summer Sunday at the Houghton County Fair.

"We wait for this all summer long," said Gail Masters of Tamarack City. "We don't do anything else until now, the fair, before the kids have to go back to school."

And for the first time, Barbara Gregory, who is just visiting, but is originally from Calumet, had the opportunity to give her grandchildren a lesson in Fair Food 101.

From the Emailbag

I'm working on an article for the Michigan Tech Magazine and am looking for feedback from alumni about which faculty they felt were critical to their success as students, as well as faculty who took an active role as mentors following graduation and into alum's professional careers. It's my hope that I can share some alumni stories, publish some photos from our collections and highlight some of the characters who have made Tech a place that alumni remember.

I feel as if there has been a lot of discussion about Myron Berry in the last year. But I'm wondering which other members of the Tech faculty have a spot in alumni memories. It could be because they were tough graders in important subjects (and thereby made students learn things that proved important later) or it could be that they were personable and friendly
giving students a sense of collegiality they hadn't found before.

Folks can e-mail me directly at


Erik Nordberg, University Archivist


Hi Dennis,
To answer John Gonser's question, W8YY still exists. This is the amateur radio call sign for Tech's amateur radio club, Husky Amateur Radio Club, otherwise known as HARC. I was the PR manager for the club two years in a row (94-96, iirc) and President the year after. During my term, I spoke with Astronaut Jerry Linenger while he was aboard the MIR space station, passed a message from him to former Michigan Tech President Tompkins, and eventually met him during a talk he gave at the campus during the summer of 1997. The club is still very active and has the capabilities to not only talk with other amateur radio operators world wide but even when they're in space aboard the ISS.

I believe the club's current web site is located at the following link:

Mike Long, N3YPA


I just thought I'd explain the story about W8YY, as I remember it. The Husky Amateur Radio Club, callsign W8YY, is the FCC licensed amateur radio station located in the penthouse of Wadsworth Hall. HARC owns many of the large antennas on the roof of Wads. The club was very active in the mid to late 90s. I was president in 1998-99 and a member for 4 years. We had a thriving membership of over 30 people in 98-99 and from what I can tell it has steadily declined since then. Too bad though. I had some of the most fun times at Tech with the great people in that club. The station in Wads has made contacts with the space station Mir, utilized low earth orbit satellites (LEO's) and communicated with thousands of amateur radio stations throughout the world on HF (2-30 MHz). HARC has some of the best equipment of any college amateur radio club in the nation. The "shack" as we called in was a great quiet place to study or a nice place to take a break during the day and a social gathering place for club members in the evenings. I'd often have lunch up there and talk to people on the radio around the world between classes. We even had a couch up there too that people used to catch up on sleep from the previous night's late night study sessions. The best thing about the club was the camaraderie. Club members appeared in one notable issue of the Lode mocking the Alaska Anchorage Seawolves at a hockey game. We, like many groups going to the hockey games, were merciless to the opposition. It looks like club is still active. Their website is

Mike Swiatkowski (amateur radio callsign AA9VI)
BSEE 1999


Hi Dennis,
I was a frequent operator at W8YY during my time at Tech, especially the time I was a Wadsworth resident in the mid-60's. The station was located in the "penthouse" on the roof of Wads. We never had to worry about being cold in the winter becvause the station was comprised of equipment that was donated by the Heath Company (of Heathkit fame) and all of it had tubes. It kept the "shack" nice and warm <g>. (Boy, how I'd like to have that equipment today!!). Darned if I can remember any of the others who operated there and were members of the ham club. We sure had some good times with that station and all of the other work like putting up and maintaining antennas in all kinds of weather. It was great to be able to go up to the "shack" for a break during some of the all too frequent all-nighters and see what part of the world was coming in. I did manage to contact W8YY form my home station a few years back but haven't heard them in quite a while. Is the station still there and is the club still active?

Doug Davies '69


I really enjoy the Michigan Tech presence I feel each time a flip through the webcam images. Every camera, the changing weather conditions bring back reminders of my time spent at da ‘Tech. I was disappointed that I had a schedule conflict for the reunion this year. It has been thirty years since I graduated, but my wife and I have made frequent trips back to the Keweenaw area.

Anyway, the reason I am contacting you is in regard to the “Ripley Cam 2: Still Image—Mont Ripley Ski Hill up close”. The camera appears to be aimed at the Portage Canal and not the ski hill. It may be intentional, and that is okay, but in the past, it was aimed at the ski hill (which was beautiful during the color changes).

Kind Regards,

Lawrence D. Bishop

Editor's Note: I'm glad you like the webcams. We did, indeed, aim it at the water, but will point it at the ski hill for the color season, which is beginning right now. The webcam site is here:


I am happy to report that I will be heading up to Houghton shortly to bring my first born to the Michigan Tech orientation for a BioMedical Engineering major, and I am hearing rumblings from numbers 2 and three about Michigan Tech as well. It was all her decision; I didn’t use any undue pressure to overcome the overwhelming University of Michigan extended family history to have her blow off acceptance at U-M for Tech—really! (All those stuffed huskies when she was younger and driving around with an Michigan Tech license plate on her beater since she turned 16 could not have had a subliminal effect, either.)

Ken Price


HI Dennis,
I always enjoy the alumni newsletter, but don't need two copies. I don't know why I always get two. Can you scale me back to one?

Nancy Vogel '78

Editor's Note: Nancy, will do. Also, just a reminder to alums to designate only one address at



Featured Alumni Benefit

University Career Center Services

Michigan Tech alumni can take advantage of a wide range of services, including:

* Post your resume, search for jobs in eRecruiting.
* Attend resume and interviewing seminars, Michigan Tech job fairs, and company information meetings.
* Utilize the video and career library.

Visit or contact the Career Center (906) 487-2313 <> for more information.


Links to other Alumni Benefits & Services information

Class Rings
Diploma Frames
License Plates

Job Opportunities This Week

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

No job postings.


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