March 9 , 2009
Vol. 15, No. 14
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The Dining Room

Deep-Fried Food Stand
"Here's to all of us!" The cast of The Dining Room has a toast.

It is the place of numerous family discussions where we have solved most of the world's problems.

It is also the title and place of the latest offering from the Department of Visual and Performing Arts that we enjoyed recently.

The Dining Room centers around and takes place exclusively in that room as we trace the histories of families and the history of America through poignant and funny exchanges among family members.

The acting was top-notch, especially Dennis Kerwin, who teaches in VPA.

Some of the historical mentions had current-day relevance: debating government involvement in private industries, discussing an unpopular war, dealing with aging and confused parents and grandparents.

It was fast moving: one scene blending into the next, six actors taking on many different roles, coming and going into the room, and their characters aging along the way.

The gist of the play was that the dining room is a lost treasure, even being studied by an anthropology student! The idea is that were are all too busy now to sit down and enjoy a meal together (and this was written in the 1980s). With the advent of the Internet and all the social networking within, it might be getting worse.

Here's hoping that notion is wrong and that we all still have time to sit down and talk, and not just over Thanksgiving turkey. Besides, there are all those problems to solve.

Dennis '92


Snowfall Totals
Total 243.5" (260.2" in Keweenaw County)
On the ground 31"

Last Week
Total 240.5"
On the ground 36"

Last Year
Total 232"
On the ground 31"

Snowfall Totals over the Years

At Tech

Board Approves Bonds for $24 Million in Capital Projects

apt. bldg.

At its regular meeting Thursday, Michigan Technological University's Board of Control approved issuing bonds totaling more than $24 million for capital improvement projects that include

  • A student residential apartment complex (above): $16.5 million.
  • Great Lakes Research Center: $6.8 million.
  • Keweenaw Research Center expansion: $1 million.

Tech Remains Top Peace Corps School

Approximately 34 graduate students from Michigan Tech are serving in the Peace Corps around the world as part of their master's degree program. As a result, the Peace Corps has announced, Michigan Tech remains the university with the most Peace Corps Master's International (PCMI) program students in the nation. Tech ranked number one in the nation last year too. More

Beautiful Bugs in Blue: The Making of Luminous Bacteria

A team of Michigan Technological University researchers led by Associate Professor of Chemistry Haiying Liu has discovered how to make a strain of E. coli glow under fluorescent light. The technique could eventually be used to track down all sorts of pathogens and even help in the fight against breast cancer. More

Former Students Establish Scholarship in Memory of Bill Gregg

Two of Bill Gregg's former students have established a scholarship fund in his memory. Seth and Shannon (Bair) Lemke both graduated from Michigan Tech in 2000, Shannon with a BS in Geological Engineering and Seth with a dual major in geological engineering and geophysics. More

Milt Olsson Retiring

When Milt Olsson arrived at Michigan Technological University in 1976 to direct the Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra, it wasn't initially meant to be a long stay. Olsson was drawn to the fact that he could work with both an orchestra and a choir - in what would become the MTU Chamber Chorus, now called the Concert Choir - at the university, but he didn't plan to remain in Houghton forever. More

Alumni Around the World

Michigan Tech Goes to Florida

karl bohnak

Dave Shonnard discusses Wood to Wheels.

David R. Shonnard, Richard and Bonnie Robbins Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering, and Deputy Director, Sustainable Futures Institute (SFI); was the featured speaker at Tech Connect events in Tampa and Orlando, Florida. On Tuesday and Wednesday, February 24 and 25, Shonnard spoke with alumni and friends about the Wood to Wheels research project. The Tech Connect events are a new initiative of the Alumni Relations and Development offices to inform alumni of Michigan Tech’s leading edge research.

Jacksonville Alumni Reconnect

It was a lively crowd at the Seven Bridges Grill and Brewery in Jacksonville on February 26. Thirty alumni and friends ranging from Bob Brandt, '54 to Nicole Vestich, '07 enjoyed an evening of Tech stories and reminiscences. Alumni Association president Mark Mitchell '77 and his wife Sharon Knowles drove seven hours from Mobile, Alabama to join the party. A great event, thanks to event organizers and hosts Nicole Vestich and her fiancé Ben Biesterveld '06.

Tenth Anniversary of the Clean Snowmobile Challenge

Marie's deli

March 16 through 21st Michigan Tech will welcome teams from colleges across the US and Canada for the 10th anniversary SAE Clean Snowmobile Challenge. The Clean Snowmobile Challenge is the Society of Automotive Engineers' newest collegiate design competition. Teams of engineering students from 13 participating schools have reengineered stock snowmobiles to reduce emissions and noise while maintaining or improving performance.

On St. Patrick’s Day, Tuesday March 17, all are welcome to attend the grand opening ceremonies beginning at 11 a.m. at the Keweenaw Research Center, located next to the Houghton County Memorial Airport. From there, the public are invited to cheer on the snowmobiles as they head south for the Endurance Run parade and cross through Hancock and Houghton via the Bridge around noon on their way to Baraga.

All teams will have their sleds on display Wednesday, March 18, 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.

On Saturday, March 21 beginning at 10 am, catch the exciting Polaris Acceleration and Objective Handling events taking place at the Keweenaw Research Center Test Course.

All events are open to the public free of charge. For details on the SAE Clean Snowmobile Challenge 2009 visit:

Fill in the Blanks

mini baja
You might be in this Spring Fling shot from 2005. Click to enlarge. Email me.

Fill in the Blanks II: Fisher Hall, 1960s?

TKE statue

These vintage electrical panels were installed when Fisher Hall was built in 1964. Where were they? Email me.

View more sports >

Tech Sports

Hillsdale Tops Tech Women in GLIAC Tourney Title Game

No. 18-ranked Michigan Tech got off to a slow start and could never recover in an 81-69 loss to No. 6 Hillsdale in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Women’s Basketball Championship game tonight at the SDC Gym. The Huskies fell to 24-6 while the Chargers improved to 27-3. The game couldn’t have started more in the Chargers’ favor. They made 11 of their first 13 field goal attempts to build a 26-7 lead in the first 10 minutes of the game. GLIAC Player of the Year Katie Cezat had 10 of HC’s first 26 points. More

The women's team plays Northwood at Northern Kentucky in the NCAA Midwest Regional. More

Findlay End's Tech Men's Season

The Michigan Tech men’s basketball season came to an end in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference semifinals tonight at the hands of No. 1-ranked Findlay 64-46. The Huskies stayed within six at the break but couldn’t match the depth of the host Oilers (29-0). “We played a great first half, and Robby (Springborn) got hot,” said head coach Kevin Luke, who has guided Tech to 10 trips to the GLIAC Final Four. “Their depth got to us in the second half, and (Josh) Bostic showed why he’s the player of the year. “They’re hard to beat anywhere, especially here.” More

Hockey Huskies Split at Home with Minnesota

No. 17 Minnesota posted a 2-0 win over Michigan Tech in the final game of the regular season Saturday (March 7). The Gophers (15-12-7, 12-11-5) finished with a slight advantage in shots, 25-21, over the Huskies (6-23-7, 2-19-7). “I didn’t think our power play was sharp tonight. Flip it around I think we did much better defensively. Our back checking was much sounder and we had far fewer turnovers,” said head coach Jamie Russell. “They are a very talented team. Their first line is as good as any in the country and we held them to 25 shots on goal. I felt offensively we passed up a lot of opportunities. We had some opportunities where we could have created some more rebound chances and forced the goalie to make some saves who is struggling with his confidence.” More

School Record Six Skiers Qualify for NCAAs

The NCAA released the list of qualifiers for the 2009 NCAA Skiing Championships and a school record six skiers will represent Michigan Tech. Junior Jesse Lang, junior Oskar Lund and freshman Petter Sjulstad will represent the men’s team and junior Jenna Klein, junior Elizabeth Quinley and sophomore Jill Smith will represent the women’s team at the championships held March 11-14 in Rumford, Maine. More

Around the Keweenaw

Judge OKs Kennecott Land Lease

A judge has upheld the Michigan Department of Natural Resources' decision to lease 120 acres of state land for a nickel and copper mine in the Upper Peninsula. Ingham County Circuit Judge Paula Manderfield dismissed a lawsuit by opponents of the mine, proposed for the rural Yellow Dog Plains region of Marquette County. Manderfield said in her ruling Tuesday the DNR had not broken any laws and had acted within its authority by leasing the property to Kennecott Eagle Minerals Co., which wants to put the mine's surface facilities there. More

Lake Superior Frozen Over in Cold Winter

There hasn't been much snowfall in the Houghton/Hancock area recently, and according to Steve Fleegel, that's due in large part to the condition of Lake Superior. "It's pretty much frozen over," said Fleegel, who is a meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in Negaunee Township. "There's a few little breaks here and there." More

Cuts Threaten Local Arts

Budget cuts proposed by Gov. Jennifer Granholm that eliminate grants to nearly 300 artistic and cultural projects and groups statewide has left some area arts organizations wondering how they will make up the difference. Keweenaw Krayons Director Susan Hallwachs said her organization is upset about the proposed cuts. Especially disheartening is Granholm's proposal to have a $1000 non-refundable grant application fee, up from $300, she said. More

From the Email Bag

College Ave. running through campus in the 1970s

winter campus 70s
Sure it did. The tall building is the Mech. Bldg, the one on the right is the Chem. Bldg. the one on the left is the library and the one on the right in the foreground is Fischer Hall. College Ave. still ran through campus I believe but ended on the south at the new US41. When I first arrived at Tech in 1969 US 41 was College Ave. The bypass was being built but was not finished.

Tom Permoda 1973


The road did go right thru the "now" campus!! I went to Tech from 1974-1979 and the picture is correct!

Sally (Renn) Pendleton


The street in the picture was actually between the library and Fisher Hall. College avenue was already closed when this picture was taken. The street in the picture was used for parking and was a dead end.

Cheryl (Isaacson) DeCovich
Class of '71


I believe what you see in this picture is meter parking only and it stopped at Fisher and the library. I attended starting in 1978 and was at Women in Engineering in 1976. College Avenue did not pass through campus then. Thanks for the newsletter, I enjoy it.

Jennifer Kilgore '83


In the mid 1970's it did not snake through, however the road did go north between the Library and Fisher, then head east

Geoff Weller


College Avenue still went through the campus when I left in January ’79. Sometime after that it was rerouted. It passed in front of Wadsworth Hall and proceeded west to the south of the library and what was the student center before curving to the northwest by the administration building. Hope this helps!

Jim Heim


On the "Fill in the Blanks from the mid 1970s, I did attend da Tech at that time. What you see is not College Avenue, but parking outside of the Memorial Union. The tallest building on the left is the MEEM building, and the somewhat tall building next to it is the Chem-Met building. In the foreground on the left is the Memorial Student Union Building and the mostly glass three story building on the right is Fisher Hall.

The Student Union and Fisher Hall did directly face College Avenue, but this almost looks like a view of that area, possibly from just across College Avenue, but not actually displaying College Avenue. If I had to guess, I would say that the picture was taken just down the road from Wadsworth Hall and the Delta Sig frat house. From the angle, it seems like it might have been just down the street from that, perhaps a block or so closer to town.

Brian Masinick
1979 Computer Science MTU grad


When I arrived on campus the fall of 1971, College avenue had already been moved away from mid-campus. Segments of the road still existed and were used for parking. The road you see in the picture went between the Library and Fisher Hall, turned to go on the north side of Fisher (the old College avenue) and then turned to connect back to the new College avenue. I had an office on the second floor of Fisher facing north during the mid-70s and got to watch them rip out the road and replace it with sidewalks.

Ken Williams
class of '75 & '85


I started at Tech in the fall of 1975 and College Avenue did not go through the campus, nor did it appear that the change had been recent. To the best of my recollection the ME-EM building was built in the early 70s. This picture is probably from the '72-'73 time frame if I had to guess.

Keep up the good work.

Richard B. Singer
MTU Class of '79


Townsend Drive was built in about 1968 and parts of old College Ave remained in use for parking, as it does today at the Admin Bldg, until some landscaping did take place. Mid 1970's?????

John Sullivan




I remember a fair amount of the faces and one or two names. It’s only been a few years for me and I find it amazing how quickly memories fade.

Matt Todd, Hugo, MN

Todd: It only gets worse!




I am fairly certain that I remember playing broomball (DHH) at the Dee in '59, and certainly as early as '60 (Miners). I expect it had already been around for years, at that time.

Frank Shoffner '62

Frank: I'm still digging, but, yes, it goes back at least to 1960 in the Keweenawan.

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Michigan Tech alumni are in high demand by employers throughout the US. Alumni can take advantage of a wide range of services including:

  • Post your resume, search for jobs online using NACElink.
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  • Utilize the video and career library. Visit or contact the Career Center (906) 487-2313 for more information.


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Job Opportunities

On Campus

Complete Job Descriptions are available on the Human Resources website.

Coordinator, African American Outreach, Educational Opportunity

Tenure-Track Assistant or Associate Professor, Industrial Archaeology, Industrial History and/or History of Technology, Social Sciences

Tenure-Track Assistant or Associate Professor, Historic Preservation, Architectural History or Public History, Social Sciences

Off Campus