April 6, 2009
Vol. 15, No. 16
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Welcome Home

I snuck into an empty SDC Wood Gym.

Black and yellow balloons were everywhere. On the basketball floor were a row of chairs, podium, and a table full of trophies and memorabilia from the women's basketball team's playoff run. There would be a welcome home celebration later that day.

The silence in the gym added to the bittersweet moment.

The women had a great year and lost to the eventual national champs, but they wanted to bring one more trophy for that table.

They'll be back: only one senior is leaving. And they'll be making memories again in the Wood Gym, with the Pep Band, and with the fans who turned out in great numbers this year.

It was reminiscent of other moments in that gym: the men's incredible run in the NCAA's, hosting the regionals in 2004; and Midyear Commencments I have attended, cheering on family members, friends and students we've worked with over the years.

That final push is on now, as the students work toward that final goal, whether that's Spring Commencement, a summer co-op or internship, or just surviving this academic year to get to the next.

Like the women's team, their dedication, drive, and perseverance will see them through to those goals.

After all, they are Huskies.

Dennis '92


Snowfall Totals
Total 258" (272.2" in Keweenaw County; 19" on the ground)
On the ground 17"

Last Week
Total 248"
On the ground 19"

Last Year
Total 174.5"
On the ground 29"

Snowfall Totals over the Years

At Tech

Oh Deer: Grad Student Studies Effect of Whitetails on Hemlock

Nicholas Jensen likes hemlocks. "They're my favorite tree," he says, both for their graceful, arching tops and branches and for the shady, uncluttered forest floor they create. But hemlocks are in trouble, down about 99 percent throughout their regional historic range. So Jensen, a master's student in forest ecology and management, is studying how one particular animal species might impact the survival of the remaining 1 percent. More

Science Spectacular Reveals the Fun Side of Science

girl in science
Girls from across the UP and northern Wisconsin are coming to Michigan Tech for a Saturday of science fun this weekend. In a Science Spectacular, sponsored by the Girl Scouts of the Northwestern Great Lakes, women students from Michigan Tech will lead hands-on science projects such as Engineering Slime, Cosmetic Chemistry, Candy Cars and How Does Your Garden Grow? Different choices of activities target girls in grades K-3, 4-8 and 9-12. More

Michigan Tech Climbs in Research Funding Rankings

Michigan Tech's science and engineering research expenditures increased more than 28 percent during fiscal year 2007, according to figures just released by the National Science Foundation (NSF). Michigan Tech's overall ranking in research expenditures rose to 66th in the nation among universities without medical schools. The University ranked 117th among public universities and 163rd of 662 institutions nationally. More

Bone Deformities Linked to Inbreeding in Wolves of Isle Royale


The wolves on Isle Royale are suffering from genetically deformed bones. Scientists from Michigan Tech blame the extreme inbreeding of the small, isolated wolf population at the island National Park in northern Lake Superior. Researchers have collected the first scientific evidence that inbreeding has caused genetic deterioration of the bones of the wolves of Isle Royale. More

Digging Up the Past in Utah

A scientist from Michigan is digging up the past in Utah. The 19th century pottery he unearths will be displayed at the Iron Mission State Park Museum in Cedar City. Tim Scarlett, an archeologist at Michigan Technological University, calls pottery one of Utah's "pioneer-era" industries. "The potters helped build a society in the desert," he says. More

Alumni Around the World

California Alumni Discover the Connection
between Nanotechnology and Visual/Performing Arts

Pasi Lautala

High school and college classmates Don Gefvert '55 and Dave Knauer '55 meet for the first time in Torrance, CA.

Over 100 alumni were eager to see President Glenn Mroz '74 and Professors Craig (Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics) and Mary Carol (MC) Friedrich (Visual and Performing Arts) travel the west coast last week. The Michigan Tech Connect events which highlighted new technologies and research at the University began on Monday March 30 in San Diego, stopping at Anaheim, Torrance, and Santa Clara, and then finishing this past Friday in downtown San Francisco.

President Mroz delivered an update on the many successes and opportunities currently at Michigan Tech. Professor Craig Friedrich showed the audience how his research in nanotechnology affects our daily lives in the world of orthopedic devices, toxin sensors, and biological solar cells. Professor MC Friedrich demonstrated how the University’s technological education is helping develop the nation’s next leaders in sound, lighting, set and costume design.

The highlights of each event were the connections made between alumni. A unique meeting of two fates occurred in Torrance, CA when 1955 classmates Don Gefvert and Dave Knauer met for the first time ever. The story of the two goes on further when they discovered that not only were they both Michigan Tech graduates from 1955, but they both grew up and attended the same high school in Duluth, MN. They learned their parents had known each other as well. They now live only four miles apart in southern California. An example of how the Michigan Tech network has helped connect two alumni that have been just missing each other their whole lives.

Survey Request for Vault College Buzz Book

Alums: We ask you to help in this survey each time it comes out, so here you go.

Instructions for Completing the Vault College Buzz Book Survey

Dear Alumnus/Alumna,

Michigan Technological University has agreed to participate in the Vault College Buzz Book Survey. The information from this survey may be included in the 6th edition of Vault's College Buzz Book and will appear online on the Vault.com web site. Your participation will help countless prospective students make key choices during the application process.

In completing this survey, we encourage you to be candid, as your identity will remain anonymous. Vault may quote your survey responses, in full or in part, in its College Buzz Book.

Below are instructions for taking the survey. Please read all of these instructions carefully before beginning the survey:
Click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser (do not add "www" or anything else to the URL):


Please complete the survey by April 14, 2009.

Many thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to complete Vault's survey!

Fill in the Blanks

Homecoming 97
Homecoming 1997. Email me.

Fill in the Blanks II: Campus 1961

1961 Campus
Another view of campus, this one from 1961. Remember? Email me.
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Tech Sports

Haggenmiller Named Coach of the Year

coach haggenmiller
Michigan Tech Nordic ski coach Joe Haggenmiller was named men’s coach of the year for both the Central Collegiate Ski Association and the NCAA Central Region. This is the first time that Haggenmiller has won the award. Haggenmiller had three male skiers earn All-CCSA honors and seven male performances earn All-NCAA Central Region honors this season. The team also sent the maximum of three male skiers to the 2009 NCAA Skiing Championships, including junior Jesse Lang who became the first male skier to earn NCAA All-American honors with his eighth place finish in the 20-kilometer freestyle. More

Fourteen Skiers Named National All-Academic

Michigan Tech had 14 skiers named to the 2009 National Ski Coaches Association National All-Academic Ski Team. To be eligible, skiers had to have a 3.5 GPA for the Fall semester and have participated in the NCAA Central Regional Skiing Championships. "This is a great honor for these student-athletes," said head coach Joe Haggenmiller. "They work hard both in the classroom and in competition and this award recognizes their hard work." More

Men's Tennis Wins Second Straight

Michigan Tech defeated Findlay 7-2 in Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference men’s tennis today. The win was the Huskies’ second straight on the road and improved their record to 6-8 overall. For the second straight day, Tech swept the doubles points to jump out to a 3-0 lead. Tim Viola and Chris Verhulst posted an 8-1 win at No. 3 doubles, while Brandon Ellefson and Anders Sandholm paired for an 8-2 victory at No. 2. Brett Girard and Douglas Yossida were 8-4 winners at No. 1 doubles. More

Women's Tennis Splits at Duluth

The Michigan Tech women’s tennis team split a pair of matches here this weekend with a 8-1 win over Minnesota Duluth and a 5-4 loss to St. Scholastica. The Huskies record now stands at 14-7 in 2008-09. Tech’s win over UMD was its second 8-1 victory over the Bulldogs this season. The Huskies won at every position except No. 5 singles. Slivia Oliveros and Natalia Rondelli were 8-6 victors at No. 1 doubles, and both players won by 6-2, 6-2 margins at No. 1 and No. 2 singles, respectively. More

Wiltzius Breaks School Record in the Discus

Freshman Molly Wiltzius broke the Michigan Tech school record with her throw of 129-7 in the discus to finish seventh at the UW-Oshkosh Invitational Saturday (April 4). She also posted a 14th place finish in the shot put with a mark of 36-5.5. Her mark in the shot put was the 10th best in school history. Junior Ken Gilkerson ran a smart 800 race to finish first in 1:54.74, 0.34 seconds shy of the school record. More

Around the Keweenaw

Smurfit-Stone Layoffs Continue

Once again, Smurfit-Stone Container Corporation has extended the temporary shutdown at its Ontonagon paper mill through April. Mill employee Scott Frazer said he attended an informational meeting last week and also received a letter announcing the extension. Representatives at Smurfit-Stone headquarters in Chicago did not return calls for confirmation or comments. This is the fourth time Smurfit-Stone has extended the market-related layoff that began in November and impacts approximately 140 employees. More

Wonders of Science

Approximately 300 students filled Michigan Tech's Memorial Union Building Monday night, but they were not in college. Students from grades fourth through eighth from 15 elementary and middle schools in Houghton, Baraga and Gogebic counties took over the building for the 11th annual Western Upper Peninsula Science Fair. More

Houghton Park Among Trust Projects

Funding for the City of Houghton's acquisition of .77 acres for a neighborhood greenspace park was among $5.2 million in Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund projects, State Sen. Majority Leader Mike Prusi, D-Ishpeming, announced recently. The city received $22,000 in grant money, with an additional $7,440 coming from current owner Shalini Suryanarayana. More

From the Email Bag

Spring Fling

spring fling

Click for larger image.

The only person I recognize is the girl in the center with the cutoff t-shirt and wind pants. She is Maggie Williams (that is her married name not her maiden name) She was a resident in DHH and ended up marrying one of my residents Ray Williams. Ray was a resident of mine in 1999-2000 and went on to become an RA in DHH in 2000-2001. I distinctly remember that setup outside of DHH for Spring fling that year. I also remember being on the TV news that year with oozeball team because after the match when the TV camera was there we threw one of team members who was not dirty enough into the mud!

Matt Sohrweide
Class of 2001


I can identify that photo! The center of action is Matt Martyn, who was President of the MTU Ridge Roamers (a.k.a. the climbing club). In case anyone is confused about what he's doing, he is balancing and walking across a piece of webbing strung between two trees. Folks in the climbing world call this slacklining, and Matt was pretty solid at it. As I recall, Matt came to Tech after the Marines, and graduated with a degree in EE.

I also recognize Rebecca on the far left, and Becky in shorts, also prominent members of the Ridge Roamers, but their last names are eluding me right now.

-Lianna Miller, '04 and '06


Your first picture in today's news letter that has subtitle "Spring Fling 2000" was my era. The guy walking the tight rope is Matt Martyn. He was my RA for the hall in Wads at the time called "Sleepy Hollow"

Randy Gardner
Env. Eng. 04'


I believe the person on the tightrope is Matt Martyn—he was a RA for me in East Wads (Sleepy Hollow) at the time of this picture. I’m not sure on anyone else---I tried to enlarge the image but it wouldn’t work—I think there may be a few other residents from Sleepy Hollow in the picture as well.

Lisa Anderschat Lockman

Spanky's and Chuck's Isle Royal(e?) Bar


Seems to me back in the 60's this was Chucks Isle Royal bar. Had foosball
games and we used to sit there and drink beer and write lab reports!

gary rhoney '65


Spankys is probably well after my time at Tech, but I believe it was, at one time, Chuck's Isle Royale Bar. I think I see the Post Office lurking on the right side of the picture. It was the first (or last) stop on the tour of taverns in Houghton and Hancock, depending on which way you were headed at the time and, if it was the last stop you probably didn't know which way you were headed anyway.

Dave Elack ' 60


Spanky’s? You bet I remember. Turned 21 and had my first “legal” beer there. I still have my Spanky’s mug to prove it.

Joseph Moore


Editor's Note: The street where the Library Bar is located is spelled Isle Royal, unlike the island: Isle Royale. I wonder which way the bar was spelled.

Fisher Hall

Fisher Hall

The picture is shown on page 128 of the 100th Anniversary. The caption says that Professor Longacre and a student are adjusting an electric control panel in the new Fisher Hall.
I would bet that the picture and more information are in the MTU Archives.

Douglass Seeber '54


Hi Dennis,
This is probably not Kenneth McMillin, he would have been 45 at the time and this gentleman is much older. I’m guessing this is Charlie Mandeville from Physics.

Also, the picture from 1964 is not one of the analog computers. The Analog Computers are in the following pictures from 1969. On the left are the early Analog’s and on the right is an advanced Analog made by Electronic Associates (EAI) There’s also a great picture of the early machine taken 20 years earlier in the Digital Archives (below).


Hi Dennis,

I believe that the people in the picture identified as Fisher Hall are
Professor WA Longacre and student William Thuma. Professor Longacre taught
geophysics courses and was on the staff of the Physics Department, and Bill
Thuma was a geophysical engineering student during the mid 1960's.

Jim Knight
Geophysical Engineering 1966




College Ave.

1972 Campus

Click for larger image.

Your latest tidbits and photo of College Ave. brings back memories of what Da Tech was like back in the late 60s-early 70s. I remember that road going all the way through Campus from Sherman Gym past the ROTC building and Ft. Smith. By that time of the photo, I had gotten married and was a commuter. Used to park on College Ave down near DHH. The photo in your latest alumni newsletter best represents Tech as how I remember it.

Joseph Moore


Our family moved to Houghton in 1954 when my father accepted his teaching position at Tech in the Civil Engineering department. Our first house in Houghton was on East Street. We lived there until the summer of 68, when the highway department purchased the property for the relocation of US-41. That house was demolished during the summer/fall as clearing of the right of way commenced. The current westbound lanes of US-41 pass directly through the location of the house; eastbound lanes through our garden area. Construction of the highway around the campus should have been complete by the fall of 69, summer of 70 at the latest. After the highway traffic was relocated onto the new route, access to "old" College Avenue was increasingly limited as various segments of the road were torn out and replace with walkways.

Steve Haas '74

Snowfall totals

I've just seen your chart on seasonal snow totals (1890-2009) which confirms memories I've closely held for over 50 years.

1) It confirms oldtimers' stories of moderate to light snowfalls from 1890 to the 1950s.

2) I enrolled at Tech in the fall of 1947. My Jr/Sr years were the heaviest snowfalls on record, 1949-50 (254") and 1950-51 (257").

I brought my brand-new bride up in Sept 1950, when the seasonal record for that winter was 257 inches. Maybe that's why we were marooned while deer hunting in Misery Bay in November of that year. That also was when the Tech hockey team was wiped out and the remaining season cancelled when their bus hit a snowplow head-on in a white-out near Gaylord on the return trip from their downstate contests. The ruined, rusted wreck of the bus was stored down on the lakefront behind the classrooms.

Of course, there have been several monster snow seasons since then, but my photos of snowthrowers on the Baltic-Calumet highway are still awe-inspiring.

Thanks Dennis for the good alumni work you do.

Les Reid '51

Les: Thank you for the note. I missed 1978-79, the big one I always hear about. The snowfall chart is kept on the Alumni Relations site and is here: Snowfall Totals over the Years

Help Needed for Swartz Creek (Michigan) Middle School

Hi Dennis,
I'm an engineer-turned-teacher, and am in need of a volunteer or two to come to our Career Fair at Swartz Creek Middle School. Speakers will give a 30 minute presentation to three classes (7th and 8th grade) - so bring your power points, pictures of projects and hands-on activities. The fair is May 14th in the morning.

Please contact Penny Adams (padams@swcrk.org) or myself (aeculver@swcrk.org) for questions or info.

Thanks Dennis!

Amy Culver
EEn, 1996

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