April 20, 2009
Vol. 15, No. 17
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What a Week!

tracked chair
It was one of those action-packed weeks at Tech.

We began by attending the musical Robber Bridegroom Saturday night. Tech ingenuity and humor were evident as the actors simulated water, boats, and various locales on a packed stage. They even pushed a real pickup truck on stage to match a vintage RV. Very funny.

As students wrapped up their final projects and got ready for finals, they also revealed some special creations.

Thursday, they were part of the Undergraduate Expo that showcases Senior Design, Enterprise, and Undergraduate Research projects.

In the SDC pool, High School Enterprise students showed off their remote operated vehicle. With a light and camera aboard, the students from Traverse City are able to explore underwater and feed the images back to a laptop. More than a couple of these future engineers are interested in attending Tech.

The Tech Trails were also home to some student innovation. The Senior Design team called Off-Road Assist Vehicle brought out a fascinating creation: a tracked wheelchair (shown above) that allows the handicapped and elderly to get around in the woods. Under the leadership of ME-EM Professor John Beard, the students created the cool machine and are looking to get people from the community to give it a whirl.

Finally, Spring Fling was Friday, and the campus was full of food, fun, and action as the last party before the last push was celebrated.

I'm tired just thinking about it all.

Dennis '92


Snowfall Totals (4–10 inches predicted for Monday and Tuesday. Not funny.)
Houghton County Total 258.5
Keweenaw County Total 272.2

Snowfall Totals over the Years

At Tech

Professor Honrath Dies in Kayaking Accident

A Houghton man is dead after a kayaking accident on the Silver River in L'Anse Township. According to the Baraga County Sheriff's Department, 47-year-old Richard Honrath Jr. became pinned under a tree in fast-moving rapids. Deputies pulled Honrath Jr from the river Friday night around 8:20 p.m. More (from WLUC TV6)

Michigan Tech to Host State's First Summer Transportation Institute

Michigan Technological University is the first university in the state to receive a Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) grant to host a National Summer Transportation Institute for high school students. The grant will enable Michigan Tech, the FHWA and the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) to introduce young people to the varied opportunities in transportation careers. More

Governor Appoints Tom Baldini to Board of Control

Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm has appointed Marquette civic leader Thomas L. Baldini to fill a vacant seat on the Michigan Technological University Board of Control. Baldini will serve through 2016. He replaces David Brule, whose term has expired. Baldini has served as district director in Marquette for US Representative Bart Stupak since 2003. More

Tracked Wheelchair Aims to Get Everyone onto the Trails

Looking like a prop from the Terminator or RoboCop, a tracked wheelchair has a purpose well beyond the box office. Michigan Tech mechanical engineering students have spent the last year creating the vehicle to allow handicapped people to get out onto trails and into woods where they might not normally be able to venture. More

Up the Hill and Underwater with a High School Enterprise Team

"I've learned about BASIC programming while working on the control system," says Jon Nielsen, a junior from Traverse City Central High School who was steering a remote-operated vehicle underwater in Michigan Tech's diving pool. "In a minute or two, I can improve the steering," he says, "and I’ve learned how to solder, too." Nielsen's High School Enterprise team was on campus Thursday as part of the Undergraduate Expo. He and his teammates were putting two ROVs through the paces under the watchful eye of their Coach Keith Forton. Three motors, a light and a camera were on board the PVC-pipe-based, propeller-driven creations. More

Three Michigan Tech Students Named Goldwater Scholars


Academically, Michigan Tech is batting 1,000. All three of the University's nominees for prestigious Goldwater Scholarships this year are winners of the 2009 awards. John Mark Gubatan, Hansen Nordsiek and Eli Vlaisavljevich, all third-year students at Michigan Tech, were named Goldwater Scholars by the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation. Gubatan is a biochemistry and molecular biology major with a double minor in French and Spanish. Nordsiek is majoring in physics, and Vlaisavljevich is a biomedical engineering major. More

Rolf Peterson, Craig Friedrich Named to Robbins Endowed Chairs

Two distinguished researchers at Michigan Tech have been named to sustainability chairs endowed by Tech alumnus Richard Robbins and his wife, Bonnie. Rolf Peterson, research professor in the School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science, will hold the Robbins Chair in Sustainable Management of the Environment, formerly held by the late David Karnosky. Craig Friedrich, associate chair and director of graduate studies in the Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics, was appointed to the Robbins Chair in Sustainable Design and Manufacturing. More

Alumni Around the World

West Michigan Chapter Annual Spring Dinner

West Michigan Alums

Chas Thompson '91 (brewmaster at Schmohz Brewery) autographs one of only three six packs in existence of his "Miracle on 34th St" brew which was auctioned for the winning bid of $70 by alumni Jim '81 and Shawn Rathbun '82.

Alumni and friends gathering on a beautiful spring evening at the Kent Country Country Club in Grand Rapids for a wonderful dinner and prizes. The highlight of the evening was the keynote presentation of "A Snow Road Across Antarctica" by Russ Alger '81 and '83, Program Manager for Keweenaw Research Center, Director of Institute for Snow Research. Russ amazed guests with images and stories from his four treks across one of the last explored places on earth. Chapter President Kevin Grzelak '89 ended the evening with an auction for three six packs some infamous Schmohz Brewery (owned by Jim Schwerin ‘86 and Laurie (Kuhn) Schwerin ‘86) beverages. Lynn Grzelak won the annual Fishing Charter Raffle as well. All proceeds go towards the chapter's local scholarship fund.

BREAKING NEWS: Alum Issues Challenge!

A Michigan Tech alumnus has pledged $50,000 in Annual Fund support this fiscal year if we can attract an additional 2,000 Annual Fund gifts by June 30, 2009. Be assured, your gift matters and makes a difference in many ways. Please help us take a step closer to receiving this generous challenge gift which will benefit both current and future Michigan Tech students!

To make your gift to the Annual Fund,


Toll-free 1-877-386-3688

Michigan Tech Fund
1400 Townsend Drive
Houghton, MI 49931-1295

Fill in the Blanks

HPV 2005
Human Powered Vehicle team, April 2005. Email me.

Fill in the Blanks II: Wads Hall Message

1970s love message
This was from the 1970s. Remember? Email me.
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Tech Sports

Men's Tennis Goes 1-1 in GLIAC Tournament

Michigan Tech split its first two matches at the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Men’s Tennis Championship today. The fifth-seeded Huskies lost their opening-round match to No. 4 seed Wayne State 5-1 before defeating No. 8 seed Tiffin 5-0. Tech’s lone point vs. WSU came at No. 2 doubles where Brandon Ellefson and Anders Sandholm combined for an 8-5 victory. No. 3 doubles was a tight finish. Chris Verhulst and Tim Viola were serving up 7-6, but lost three straight games to fall 9-7. More

Black Edges White in Spring Intrasquad Football Game

For the second straight year, Michigan Tech’s annual spring intrasquad game came down to the wire. Team Black’s 82-yard drive in the final 1:25 led to the go-ahead score in a 13-12 win. Team White appeared to have the game in control with a 12-7 advantage and possession of the ball deep in Black territory with the clock winding down. Black used all of its timeouts to keep the clock stopped and forced White to turn it over on downs to gain possession. More

Haggenmiller Tabbed NCAA Region Coach of the Year

Michigan Tech men’s Nordic ski coach Joe Haggenmiller collected another award for the 2009 season being named NCAA Central Region Coach of the Year. This marked the first time that he was awarded this honor. Haggenmiller was also named Central Collegiate Ski Association Coach of the Year in 2009. “The team deserves the bulk of the honor for this award,” said Haggenmiller. “They did they hard work to bring our team to a new level.” More

Around the Keweenaw

Music Festival Fills Weekend

College students migrated toward a campus building Easter weekend. They went not for a weekend study session, but for a lesson in music. The third annual Keweenawesomefest was held Friday and Saturday at Michigan Technological University's McArdle Theatre and featured 14 up-and-coming musical acts from across the Midwest. Put on by Tech's student-run radio station, WMTU, the concerts drew approximately 250 music lovers each night. More

Hancock Looks for Help With Sewers

Some of the infrastructure of Hancock could get repaired with the help of funding from the federal government. During his report to the Hancock City Council Wednesday, Hancock City Manager Glenn Anderson said he's applied for grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development for city water and sewer projects. More

Bomb Found in Calumet Apartment

Officers from the Michigan State Police bomb squad in Marquette detonated a pipe bomb Friday found in an apartment building in Calumet. There are no details as of press time about who placed the bomb or why. No one was injured by the bomb. More

From the Email Bag

1961 campus

1961 campus

The building in the foreground is the original
McNair Hall, also known as the 'ME Shops' building.

See attached picture (left).

Gary Rhoney '65


The "Fill in the Blanks - Campus 1961" pic maybe was taken from the
tower of Sperr Hall (Mining Building).

Frank Shoffner '62

Frank: I think you are correct. And "Hubble" should read "Hubbell."


That is the campus when I was at Tech beginning in 1959. The building in back is Hubbell Hall where I sat through math and physics classes. In the center is Koenig Hall which was the home of the chemistry, chemical engineering and nuclear engineering. The build in from I believe was Kerr Hall where shop classes and engineering drawing classes were held. I spent many hours in all of them. Out in front was the best spot to hitch a ride into town and a corner of the Union Building shows across College Ave.

Ken Kok ‘64


Hi Dennis,
I remember the campus just like this. In about 1962, several of the "radius" walkways were surfaced with wood chips in front of Hubbell Hall, the Chem Bldg. and easterly to the old EE and Mining Bldgs. and out to the concrete walk along College Avenue. Thanks for the nostalgic photo!

Bruce L. Gall
B.S. Civil Engineering-1963
B.S. Engineering Administration-1968


Hey, finally a picture of the central campus area I can relate to. This was when you still had to take your life in your hands to get from one side of US 41 to the other when getting from the Dorm to the class buildings. I lived in Wadsworth for one year, then got married the second year I was up there, and brought my bride up to keep me warm. She is still doing it too, almost 50 years later. We lived in an apartment in Houghton the first year, straight up the hill from the Sheriffs Dept. My Senior year, we were among the first occupants of the new married student housing up behind Wadsworth. Lots of friends and good times up there.

Andy Robinson "61"


lf I remember right that is Hubbell Hall (referred to as the math building) on the right with the Admin Building hidden from view in the middle and then I'm pretty sure the EE Building in the foreground. The north corner of the Memorial Union can be seen on the left. Further up on the left hidden by the trees would be the Forestry Building. College Ave was a two lane street going right through the middle on the Campus towards Downtown Houghton at that time.
Looks like the picture could have been taken from the roof of the then new Civil Geological Building.

Jim Roley
Class of 1962


You know you are getting old when identifying photos from the archives.
I believe the building with the white roofs is Hubbell Hall and the building in front is the old Shops Bldg. that housed mechanical engineering. U.S. 41 is the road to the left of the buildings and heading towards Hancock at the top of the photo.
Attending Tech back then and graduating, was one of my most treasured accomplishments.

Daniel J. Filipski '61


To whomever:

Isn't that the Tuesday 1 - 2 PM, ROTC marching field?

Dick Kuenzer EE '63 & '67

Tech Baseball


Hello Dennis,
This year at MTU, a division 2 club baseball team has been formed as a student organization. This team plays other division 2 NCBA college teams across the midwest.

My freshman son, Jason Schram, is a member of the team. My wife and other two children traveled to watch the teams first NCBA games this past weekend in Madison, Wisconsin. I cannot begin to express how proud I was of how the entire team represented themselves, and MTU on the field.

I have had the privilege of being on the playing fields photographing many high school sports for the past several years, so I am very familiar with the talk and behavior in the dugouts. I was fortunate to also be on the fields to photograph the games in Madison. Not only did MTU play two very high quality, competitive baseball games, there was not a single negative comment made by anyone on the team directed at each other or their opponent. The entire team was supportive of each other, and played outstanding baseball. To be able to field a team that can play competitively at this level is a huge accomplishment in their first season, considering many of the team members have not stepped on a baseball field or played a game in over a year.

In addition to the respect the players had for each other and the game, I was also extremely impressed with the leadership of the club president, Ben Meemken. He is clearly an individual that has strong leadership skills, and has brought this group of young men together as a team.

This team has already overcame many obstacles to get where they are today. Things like fundraising, practicing indoors all winter, practicing at times when facilities are available (like midnight to 2AM), the list goes on.

The Office of Student Activities has helped the team financially this season, and hopefully will continue to be able to do so in future seasons as well. However, the bulk of the financial burden this season was shouldered by the team by reaching out to friends and family members to raise money.

Jeff Schram BSEE 1987

Early Computers

Dennis- The dose of personal nostalgia that your newsletters usually bring for me is the photo this month of Tech's early analog computer. It is a model EC-1 Heathkit educational computer, one of, if not the first, in a product line that is one of only two vestiges that remain of the well-known Heathkit do-it-yourself line of consumer electronic kits popular in the '50s through the '70s. The VTVM to the right of the EC-1 is also a Heathkit but not the oscilloscope. When I went to work for Heath as a design engineer in 1957, I was the second degreed engineering employee, the first being Carl Heald, BSEE '55, who was involved in the design of the EC-1. Not many EC-1's were sold so if it is gathering dust somewhere on campus, with the MTU connection, it does have some historical value. Heath Company is still located here in St. Joseph producing self-study and vocational school products in the electronics field.

The other vestige referred to earlier is the Heath/Zenith line of home automation/security products sold at big box DIY and chain hardware retailers. Heath was a fun place to work as a single design engineer was entirely responsible for a new product development, even, early on, to writing the assembly manual. Lots of personal pride if the product sold well. But the electronic kit business declined in the late '70s and early '80s due to better and lower cost assembled product imports. I took advantage of another employment opportunity in 1979 but still enjoy the nostalgia seeing
Heathkits pictured or mentioned in today's media.

-Al Robertson, BSEE '54


If you go up to the 5th or 6th floor (not sure which) of the ME-EM building you’ll probably find some of this stuff in one of the display cases they have along the walls. I know I found the WANG Calculator that we used to use back then for simple math problems, along with a bunch of other test instruments and stuff that I know came out of some of the labs I worked in back when I was a student.

I still have and use to this day a Heathkit VTVM (Vacuum Tube Volt-Ohm Meter)…


…which I built while still in high school. As I said before, I started out at Da Tech as a Double-E but then discovered that ‘Electronics’ hadn’t quite caught-up with the curriculum and besides, I spent the summer between my freshman and sophomore year working as a draftsmen at a company in Saginaw and got a chance to see what both Electrical and Mechanical Engineers did in the real world and immediately switched to ME once I got back to school in the fall of 1966. I still play with old electronic gear as a bit of a hobby and have a couple of radios which ‘glow in the dark’ (meaning that they have ‘tubes’).

BTW, I attended the Alumni get-together in SoCal last week and got a chance to meet President Mroz and hear the really interesting presentation by the Friedrich’s.

heathkitAs for the analog computer in Fisher Hall, the really weird one was the Analog/Digital hybrid that ‘Black Jack’ McMillin was working on when I was a student there in the mid- to late-60’s. He was convinced that pure digital computers would never be able to be fully integrated into our ‘Analog’ world and he was looking for that ideal mix, however by the time the 70’s got rolling the Digital era was gaining speed, literally. But that did not mean that Analogs were dead as far as the classrooms were concerned since they still allowed you to solve many mechanical problems in ‘real-time’. In the fall of 1970 we were still using Analog computers in such ME-EM classes as Vibrations, not ones with the big slanted chassis as shown in the photo, but slightly smaller Heathkits which were about the size and shape of a large microwave oven.

And as far as the ME-EM department was concerned, they thought Analogs were going to be around for some time as I helped design and layout a new Analog lab, complete with new systems that could be linked to a master console where the instructor could set-up a problem which the entire class could access. This new dedicated Analog lab was planned for the new ME-EM building, then under construction (1970-71), but which I understand was used only a couple of years before being scraped as the Digital era fully took hold. BTW, I started out at MTU as an Electrical major but switched to ME after my first year, but when we started to use those Analog computers suddenly my old EE ‘skills’ were in demand since you had to set-up L-C (Inductor-Capacitor) circuits to simulate the time-dependent behavior of decaying systems like mechanical vibrations and harmonic resonance conditions. Ah, the good’ol days.

John R. Baker
Class of 1971

Spanky's/Diamond Mike's

The photo you have listed as Spanky’s in the 60’s, I believe that one was where Diamond Mike’s was housed during my stint at Tech -1978-82. I think it closed before I graduated in 82 but I do remember going in there a couple of times. Our best Friday night hangout was the bar at the west end of town, before the lift bridge; that had Double Bubble where beers were 2 for 1. And then after a few hours there, we would go to the Ambassador and get dinner and a Zombie. Oh the good ole days.

Jodi Behm Bondy

Jodi: I played Frisbee for Diamond Mike's years ago, and the Downtowner, which is still open, had the Double Bubble.

Homecoming 1997

1997 Homecoming

The guy in the center with the check pants is Bill Binder. He was a student director of the Pep Band. He's also the only guy I know whose driver's license picture contains a pirate hat.



The sax up front is Bill ?? (student director, lived in DHH, CS). Behind him looks like me (Jon Schewe). The French Horn in front of Bill in the green would be Karen Rebek.

Jon Schewe



I can name three people in this photo. On snare is Kris Gordon, playing the f'n horn is Karen Rebek (sp?), and on sax is Bill Binder. The BA!s were probably getting ready to run through BK before we finished heading down Collage Ave and then up to the SDC. It never failed, one of the junk cars would break down right in front of us on the way up the hill. We would have to inhale all the exhaust, or whatever smell it made, as the occupants either pushed it up the hill or abandoned it on the side of the road. Ah, those were the good days. At least it looks like it was some what warm for homecoming.

Thanks for the memories!

Janna Roome (Pugh) '99 Flax/piccolo

Gitzen and Loutit

Gitzen_Loutit Award

I was wondering if you could provide me with info newspaper article etc on the Tech hockey team bus accident.

I was a student from 1966 thru 1971 and never heard anything about it.

Anthony (Tony) Cooper


Sounds like a bus accident on Saturday, Jan. 14, 1950. The hockey team was on a chartered Copper Range bus heading north on US27 north of Gaylord when the sideswiped a Greyhound bus heading which was heading south. Both buses had bad damage, with the sides of each ripped open and some passengers thrown.

Robert J. Gitzen was a sophomore mechanical engineering student from Houghton and player on the team, while Richard D. Loutit was a third year civil engineering student from Battle Creek and student manager of the team. Both were killed instantly.

Three passengers from the Greyhound bus were also killed, including a 2-year-old girl. Oddly enough one of the other deceased on the Greyhound was traveling from Mohawk.

Many other passengers on both buses were seriously injured. The list of injured from the Copper Range bus is a veritable who's who of Tech from that time: Bill Frantti, Bert, Pete and Jocko Noblet, Jimmy Ruhl, coach Amo Bessone and AD Alan Bovard.

Some of the injured stayed in hospital in Gaylord over the succeeding weeks. After the accident, those who could travel headed north by train to the straits. Richard Nebel, a judge from Munising, sent cars to St. Ignace and drove the guys back to Munising where they stayed overnight until cars sent from Houghton could pick them up.

Details from Daily Mining Gazette, Monday Jan 16, 1950 and Michigan Tech Lode, Jan 19, 1950.

Editor's Note: Thanks to Erik Nordberg, Tech Archives, for this write-up. That is the Gitzen-Loutit Award for outstanding defenseman, above, that is still given out each year.


Tech Represented at Frozen Four

One of the linesman is Matt Ulwelling, who played center for the Huskies 1997-2001. He's been reffing for the WCHA for a couple of years and got the call to do some playoff work this year.

Erik Nordberg.

Erik: We also had our Athletic Communications and Marketing staff—Wes Frahm and Ian Marks—representing Tech as volunteers who help with stats, etc.

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

Featured Alumni Benefits

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Job Opportunities

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African-American Outreach Coordinator, http://www.edopp.mtu.edu/outreach-african.php.

Assistant Director of Residence Life, Housing and Residential Life
revised and reposted

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Complete Job Descriptions are available on the Human Resources website.

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