December 15, 2008
Vol. 15, No.8
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Bittersweet Commencement

The graduates and faculty ringed the SDC Multipurpose Room as they anxiously awaited the time to march into the Wood Gym. "We'll begin to move at precisely 10:30," said Marshall Pat Joyce, professor in the SBE, over the loudspeaker.

Patrick Kuntz was getting is ME-EM degree and beginning his career close to his home. He'll be working for Flint Hill Resources in South Saint Paul, Minnesota, but not right away. "I'm going out to Montana to do some snowboarding," he smiled.

Lyndsay Wyatt will be using her applied ecology degree with the Oregon Department of Forestry. The Jenison, Michigan, native will be working in timber sales and wants to go to graduate school, perhaps at Tech. "I'll go wherever life takes me," she said.

Finally, Huan Zhang is heading to Florida to work for an "ISIT company with a long name that I don't know how to spell," he said. He'll be applying his business degree taking in data and "making it easy to use, on web pages and elsewhere online and managing all that data." He, too, wants to pursue graduate school, and the MBA at Tech is in the running.

When the two lines finally entered the Wood Gym, some graduates were looking for their names in the commencement programs, finding them, and smiling. I spotted some students I knew: Cara Deforge was a student teacher in Chassell. Joel Vertin did many web pages for our department.

"Hey Uncle Jeremy," some youngsters hollered from the balcony, and Uncle Jeremy waved back. Many digital cameras captured the graduates' last walk at Tech, some family members and friends ran up to the front of the line to shoot them up close.

The commencement speaker, Susann Blake Nordrum '86, began by quoting many other speakers, "They say, 'I'll keep it brief,' then they don't. So, I'm not going to say that."

And, she kept it brief. Quickly acknowledging her work with the UN's climate change panel that allowed her to share the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007, she focused on three points for the graduates to keep in mind: look for good in other people, take the lead in your life, and take time to stop and think about what's going on.

Jason Cousineau '98 was honored with the Outstanding Young Alumni Award and also kept it nice and brief. The ME-EM grad recalled his days at Tech and anticipated a trip down Mt. Ripley later.

The presentation of degrees was next, and the many shout-outs and cheers personalized each one—a constant from commencements past.

So, why bittersweet? We lost a couple of incredible Tech people in the last week.

Bill Gregg, associate professor of geology, was one of those truly great teachers who was a joy to work with, and he really loved his work. Completely devoted to his students, both undergraduate and graduate, he epitomized the Tech educational experience for thirty years.

Tanya J. Klain '90 also passed away this week. She remained totally involved with the University: recruiting graduates for GM, going to the YES! Expo in Detroit each year, coming back to Houghton to help the Alumni Association and the ME-EM department several times a year. And she was a devoted mom and wife.

So, some sadness hung over the University this weekend. But, if those women and men graduating needed role models, there were two great examples who were, and will remain, omnipresent.

Dennis '92


Snowfall Totals
Total 46.5"
On Ground 14" (and lots of nasty wet snow coming down Sunday)

Last Week
Total 17"
On Ground 6"

Last Year
Total 51" (Copper Harbor and Painesdale: 80")
On Ground 24"

At Tech

Faculty Member Bill Gregg Perishes in Mine Accident

Bill Gregg

One of Michigan Tech's finest teachers died Saturday, Dec. 6, in a fall down the Quincy Mine Hoist No. 2 Shaft, in Quincy Township. The accident occurred at about 2:15 p.m.

William Gregg, 60, was installing steel ladders in the shaft to provide an emergency exit from the mine, which is part of the Quincy Mine tour. He lost his footing and fell about 225 feet down the shaft, according to the Houghton County Sheriff's Department. More

Tanya Klain: Alumna, Supporter of Tech, Passes Away

Tanya Klain

A devoted supporter of Michigan Tech, Tanya J. (Wareham) Klain, 41, of West Bloomfield, Michigan, died unexpectedly Sunday morning, Dec. 7, from complications following recent surgery. Tanya, who received a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering in 1990, was active on the Alumni Association Board of Directors and the ME-EM Advisory Board.

Her colleague at General Motors, Terry Woychowski '78 said, "Tanya's commitment to Michigan Tech was obvious and one of her passions. We have lost a friend and supporter." More

Michigan Tech Cautiously Optimistic, Positioned for Growth

In these dire economic times, it's rare to hear upbeat news. But, although the Governor and Legislature have spared higher education immediate budget cuts, Michigan Technological University has positioned itself to weather future financial storms, President Glenn D. Mroz told the University's Board of Control at its regular meeting on the Michigan Tech campus on Friday, Dec. 12. "Because of actions taken over the past several years, I am pleased to report that Michigan Tech is healthy, moving forward and poised for even greater success in the years ahead," said Mroz. "We carry a real sense of optimism." More


As we approach the end of the 2008 calendar year, we want to take a moment to remind our alumni and friends that it's not too late to make an annual contribution in support of Michigan Tech - and still receive a 2008 tax deduction.

You can phone the Tech Fund offices at 906-487-2310 or toll free at 877-386-3688 to make your gift with a credit card. You also have the option of making your credit card gift through our secure online gift site by going to These online gifts can be made up until 11:55 (EST) on December 31.

The Michigan Tech Fund offices will be closed on December 24 and 25, but will reopen on December 26, 29 and 30 from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. On Wednesday, December 31 the office will be staffed from 10:00 am until 3:00 pm.

Alumni Around the World

Huskies Pack Grandma's Sports Garden in Duluth

BasketballGrant Wickman, Class of 2020, pulls his own ticket for a
Huskies hockey stick!

Around forty alumni, friends, and family braved the northern Minnesota blizzard to gather for some food and drinks before watching their Huskies go on to tie the Duluth Bulldogs 1-1. This was the second annual Duluth hockey pregame event bringing some new and old faces to the popular Grandma's Sports Garden in Duluth's waterfront district. Trent Wickman '94 brought a crew of 6 along for the game. His sons, Grant (11) and Ryan (8), helped facilitate the raffle by picking numbers and holding prizes. Future husky Grant randomly drew his own ticket from the hat for the grand prize, a hockey stick autographed by the entire 2008-2009 Huskies hockey team.


Fill in the Blanks

song book

It looks like a fairly large protest was held on campus. We believe this is either 1969 or 1970. The image is clickable, so you'll be able to maybe recognize some faces. We'd love to hear if you remember this one. Email me.

Fill in the Blanks: II

old campus photo

Remember the Greek Festival of Lights, 2005? Email me.

View more sports >

Tech Sports

Women's Hoops Team Dismantles Northern

Northern game

The No. 14 Michigan Tech Huskies held Northern Michigan to 24.6 percent shooting en route to a 74-43 women’s basketball victory at the SDC Gym tonight. The win was the ninth straight for Tech over their arch rivals from Marquette, and Huskies’ third straight victory in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. The hosts improved to 6-1 overall and 3-0 in the GLIAC. “Coach Mattson and his team really came out ready to play tonight,” said head coach John Barnes. “Once we settled down, we were able to find some open shots. We tried to take advantage of the mismatches inside, and it paid off." More

Tech Men Edged 69-67 by Northern

The Michigan Tech men’s basketball team came up on the short end of the scoreboard against Northern Michigan tonight, 69-67. Tech’s biggest rival used a 50 percent shooting night from beyond the three-point arc to gain the win which was the second consecutive Tech-Northern contest to be decided by two points. The Huskies dropped to 4-4 overall and 1-2 in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference with the loss, while the Wildcats improved to 6-1 overall and 2-1 in the GLIAC. “It’s really disappointing because I know that the kids played hard enough to win tonight,” said 15th-year head coach Kevin Luke. “Credit the NMU shooters because they made some difficult shots all night long.” More

Hockey Huskies Tie Duluth

Michigan Tech freshman goalie Josh Robinson made 24 saves on 25 shots to earn a 1-1 tie on the road at Minnesota Duluth on Saturday (Dec. 13).

“We played good smart hockey,” said head coach Jamie Russell. “We took a good step last night. We talked about taking another step tonight. We did that but we are not where we want to be. The object is to win the game. We showed a lot of character bouncing back from one goal in a tough building. We got a big point tonight.” More

Ski Teams Win Day One Combined Team Title

The Michigan Tech Nordic ski teams won the combined team competition by one point over Wisconsin Green Bay today (Dec. 13) at the CXC Season Opener. Sophomore Jackie Pribyl was the top finisher for the Huskies finishing first among college women and fourth overall in the women’s five-kilometer freestyle race in 14:52. Junior Jenna Klein finished 12th (15:21) and junior Liz Quinley was 16th (15:28) to round out the top three for Tech. More

Around the Keweenaw

KEDA Sees Positives in Economy

HOUGHTON - Despite the economic downturn, there is reason for optimism about the Copper Country's prospects, Keweenaw Economic Development Alliance Executive Director Phil Musser said during the group's monthly meeting Wednesday. KEDA's jobs listing board showed 32 job listings as of Tuesday, including 13 in health care and nine in engineering. "People are hiring," he said. "There are openings." A number of companies have been expanding, Musser said, including GS Engineering (54 jobs created, $13.6 million in economic benefits) and GE Aviation (50 jobs, $3.1 million). More

Hancock City Hall Renovation Completed

For many Hancock residents and government officials, the city hall building on Quincy Street is the trademark symbol for the city, so the recently completed renovation of the building is something many people think is important for the community. During an open house and ceremony Tuesday recognizing the completion of the project attended by city, state and federal officials, Gene DeRossett, state director for the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development, made a presentation of a symbolic check for $604,000 for the project to city officials and spoke about the importance of the project. More

Snowboard Contest Coming to Downtown Houghton

Houghton will host a snowboard contest on Huron Street next month. The city council approved a proposal from the owners of Rhythm for the event, which will take place on Jan. 17. It will start that morning and go until about 4 p.m., said Rhythm co-owner Joe Schwenk. Schwenk said entrants would have to sign a waiver beforehand. "It's not going to be a free-for-all," he said. Schwenk said he was talking with representatives from snowboard companies abut the event. "We may be able to get some professional snowboarders up here," he said. More

Many Involved in Future of Ripley Smelter

The 110-year-old Quincy Smelter Works site may belong to Franklin Township, but many people from several organizations are involved in deciding its future use. In June, asbestos was removed from 12 buildings on the site clearing the way for development, and the Environmental Protection Agency is taking public comments about the possible uses for the site until mid January to help with the agency's proposed plan. Ripley Township Supervisor Glenn Ekdahl said EPA officials are intending to conduct a public meeting about the status of the site and hear suggestions for future uses there in early January. A definite date and place haven't been decided yet, however. More

From the Email Bag

Fill in the Blanks I: Dow Atrium


Tim Dombrowski is the guy in the white t-shirt sitting at the table with the two girls, Good friend of mine, we both still see each other periodically while vacationing in Eagle Harbor, MI. Timeframe is correct.

Bryan J. MacKenzie



That is me, I forget who is in the middle, and Anastasia (Nastia) Minaeva. Old times, neat. I don't remember when this was. I'm thinking 2000-ish is right, if I was working w/ Nastia on something.

Tim Dombrowski


Matt Davis in the brown hat on the right in the back

Barry Anttila


I think, I am not 100% but is the blond in the middle Shannon Beir? She ran cross country for tech

Lisa (Kukula) Blodgett


Fill in the Blanks II: Old Campus


I think the photo was of a 1969 Camaro rather than 1968.

Bill Worman


Hi Dennis,

I don't remember I had seen the road went through campus while I was at Tech during '56-'60 so it must be later. But I remember that I have got off the Greyhound I'd rode from Chicago around the end of August '56 at the bus stop not far from the union walking with my luggage to Wadswoth Hall.

Wera ME'60


Cannot ID the people but my brother started up there in the fall of 1969 and they were still pouring the concrete for the current road. In typical fashion he had trouble staying between the "forms" on a walk back from town on a Friday night.

John J. Mentink


Yes, the late 60’s would be right and US 41 went right through the campus. This would be after the admin building was built and after the sign at the corner of the Memorial Union block was installed. The sign had plastic letters and for at least a year I had the job of changing the sign letters a couple of times a week as new messages were needed, part of the service projects done by Alpha Phi Omega. You’ve got to love the sideburns and the short skirts.

The more I look at this picture and the sidewalk and curb the more I'm thinking US 41 has already been moved and we are seeing the corner of College and Hubbell Streets and a little turnaround area there. The pedestrian sidewalk area is too wide. This would make it 1969 or so. The car is likely a Camaro as you suggest. Pontiacs and the Dodge Cornet and anything similar that I can think of all had quad headlamps.

Book bags, too: There are two 'toots' using them in the picture. It would be nice to know what the sign said.

And Dee Stadium didn't get a Zamboni until at least '67. I was an usher (more APO service projects).

I need to find my old slides.

Chris Otis ‘70

Editor's Note: I told my children what "book bags" were, and they just stared at me. And, we'd love to get old Tech images from you alums!


Dontcha just LOVE those sideburns? We were SOOOO Cool!!!

The pix may be of the early '70s if that is indeed a '69 Camero in the background ... what "toot" could afford a new car?

-Stan Smart
class of '69

More in the Pool

I believe that pool was originally in the Sherman Gym. Someone mentioned "Walker Gym", which is incorrect. The building only took on the Walker name after it was converted from the old Sherman Gym back in the mid 80's. This building was the athletic facility prior to the construction of the SDC.

Rich Fosgitt
BSCE '92

The Inclined Pine

I just took a look at the webcam (between EERC and Chem-Sci), looking for that white stuff, you know, albino brain chiggers, no, SNOW! The white pine (that's Pinus strobus for the foresters) in the middle of the shot looks pretty red on camera. Not a good color for it. Is it doing okay?


George Teachman

George: The pine is white now ;>} I've sent your comments on to another Twig. I'll let you know what the answer is.

Naked Swim Classes?

I saw the reference to a swimming pool in the current newsletter, and that made me wonder if many others think about the PE swimming classes in Sherman Gym back in the day, where we were not allowed to wear a swimsuit. We all had to swim buck naked. Is that still the case? Even then, I couldn't quite figure how it could be "policy". I think I was told that swimsuits carried the possibility of disease. I guess naked doesn't?

I had swimming for PE during a winter term (yes, I scheduled it myself) and I can tell you there were many cold mornings as I walked from Sherman gym to the Civil building. I still wonder how I could have willingly subjected myself to such a thing. Frozen hair was an everyday experience.

Ken Page
CE 1958-61 and 65 - 67.

Thanksgiving Ride Home and Back

It’s easy to remember—it was so awful. As usual, the four of us waited as long as possible to return to Tech from Thanksgiving break in 1966 and finally left the Toledo area around 2:00pm Sunday, November 27th. Severe weather was not, as I remember, predicted. As we proceeded north on I-75 things got progressively worse and slower. By the time we crossed the Mighty Mac it was dark, the wind was howling and it was nearly white-out conditions.

The bridge was closed about 30 minutes after we crossed. I was fortunate to fill with gas in St. Ignace. We crawled along Route 2 westbound until traffic finally just came to a stop around Brevort. We stayed in the car that night and the next—not a plow in sight. The power and phones were out everywhere (of course, well before cell phones).

There was a small bar/café near where we stopped but it was jammed with people who had run out of gas. With no power and no water, it wasn’t much of a haven anyway. Buses were running out of fuel and things were getting pretty serious. Finally, the plows made it through on the third day and we worked our way to Houghton late Wednesday. The drifts on the north-south road (Route 77 through Blaney Park) were incredible—20’ high in places.

I’d like to say that we learned from that experience to better plan and leave earlier from holiday vacations, but we didn’t. We always waited as late as possible to return. There were other stormy, snowy trips, but nothing like 1966.

Bill Niggemyer
Mining 1969


Hi Dennis,
Regarding drives home and back for Thanksgiving I think it was in ’66 (maybe ’67) that the drive back to Houghton from the Detroit area was very special. I had gotten a ride from someone who advertised on the ride share board in the Union. Four of us were in the car as we headed back and the snow just kept coming down. We crossed the Mackinaw Bridge just minutes before they closed it due to the weather and we got as far as Naubinway, perhaps 50 miles or so west of the bridge on US 2.

The snow just became too deep to navigate on the road and we stopped at King’s Motel to try and find a room for the night. The motel was closed for the season but the owner let us sort of camp out in her living room. Other motorists, students from Tech and Northern mostly, also took refuge there, about 30 of us in all. The electricity had gone out, but the stove was propane and the owner ran a little store next door and trudged over there for supplies. She served us sandwiches and soup and we stayed there nearly 24 hours before the plows went by and we could get moving again. Every time I pass through Naubinway I tell the story and say a prayer of thanks for the kind lady at the King’s Motel.

Chris Otis ‘70

An Engineer Joke

Heated Up!
An engineer, a psychologist, and a theologian were hunting in the wilderness of northern Canada. Suddenly, the temperature dropped and a furious snowstorm was upon them. They came across an isolated cabin, far removed from any town. The hunters had heard that the locals in the area were quite hospitable, so they knocked on the door to ask permission to rest. No one answered their knocks, but they discovered the cabin was unlocked and they entered.

It was a simple place -- two rooms with a minimum of furniture and household equipment. Nothing was unusual about the cabin except the stove. It was large, pot-bellied, and made of cast-iron. What was strange about it was its location: it was suspended in midair by wires attached to the ceiling beams.

"Fascinating," said the psychologist. "It is obvious that this lonely trapper, isolated from humanity, has elevated this stove so that he can curl up under it and vicariously experience a return to the womb."

"Nonsense!" replied the engineer. "The man is practicing the laws of thermodynamics. By elevating his stove, he has discovered a way to distribute heat more evenly throughout the cabin."

"With all due respect," interrupted the theologian, "I'm sure that hanging his stove from the ceiling has religious meaning. Fire LIFTED UP has been a religious symbol for centuries."

The three debated the point for several hours without resolving the issue.

When the trapper finally returned, they immediately asked him why he had hung his heavy pot-bellied stove from the ceiling.

His answer was succinct. "Had plenty of wire, not much stove pipe."

Phrank's observation: Many of the engineers I know would have come up with the actual answer.

Frank Shoffner

A Cartoonist's View of the Big 3 Mess

I thought you might be interested in a recent cartoon I drew on the subject of Michigan’s automakers:

I’m a Tech grad, and I freelance editorial cartoons for the Grand Rapids Business Journal in Grand Rapids, Michigan. (To my knowledge, I’m the only active editorial cartooning alum -- not the typical career path.) Back in the day, I financed my weekly grocery purchases at Jim’s Foodmart by drawing cartoons for the Lode.

As a Michigan resident, it’s distressing to see the lack of understanding in Washington DC and on the coasts for the whole subject of manufacturing. Michigan Tech grads actually build things you know. It’d be nice to have public policy that at least acknowledges their importance.

John Auchter

STC Class of 1985


Hi Dennis,
Just wanted to add some fuel to this fire:

We are focused on helping the wrong group of companies.
We need to help those companies that pay low wages, provide less health care, and lower retirements, by explaining what they must to be paying employees.

We need to level the playing field.

Why do we bash the current big three in Michigan for their excesses?
We should join Obama's "spread the wealth" philosophy and force the other automakers,
both landed in the U.S. and over seas, to pay their workers the same as the big three:
same high wages, same high retirement structures, and same health care that the current big three employees enjoy.

Why not raise everyone up, instead of lowering a few?

Who picks up the retirement plans, which will no longer exist after chapter 11, answer: You and I will thru our Fed government's pension insurance plan.

John Sewell '72


There are many misconceptions regarding what is going on in the industry today. The big three have made huge strides towards fuell efficient vehicles ( anyone guess who offers more vehicles over 30 mpg?), improved quality ( anyone guess that the number one automaker for recalls is VW and #2 to Toyota) and the manufacturing operations of the big are some of the best ( see Harbour and assoc. for the facts) I would encourage people to view the following web site.

Geoff Weller
BSME 1975

Featured Alumni Benefits

Tech on iTunes U

Michigan Tech is now in session on iTunes U, an area in the iTunes Store where the University shares knowledge with the alumni community—and the world. On iTunes U, you'll find a wealth of audio and video content, including course lectures, language lessons, lab demonstrations, neat videos, podcasts, and more.

Visit for easy, 24/7 access to:

  • Stay Connected—Hear the latest lectures from your former professors. Find out what’s happening on campus. Connect with the Michigan Tech community.
  • Continue Learning—Brush up on a favorite subject. Explore new interests. Gain knowledge from Michigan Tech students, faculty, and alumni. Learn for credit or just for interest!
  • Sync Up—Find, download, and organize Michigan Tech educational content on your Mac or PC the same way you do music and movies. Then sync to your iPod or iPhone to learn anytime, anywhere.


More Alumni Benefits & Services information

Class Rings
Diploma Frames
License Plates
University Images Michigan Tech Clothing and Giftware

Job Opportunities

On Campus

Complete Job Descriptions are available on the Human Resources website.

Associate Director of Immigration and Faculty HR, Human Resources

Data Analyst, Human Resources

Employment Services Coordinator, Human Resources

Operations Manager/Senior Research Engineer, Sustainable Futures Institute, Position duration is dependent upon external funding

Graphic Designer, University Marketing and Communications

Non-Tenure Track Lecturer/Senior Lecturer/Principal Lecturer/Professor of Practice, Engineering Fundamentals

Off Campus