June 15, 2009
Vol. 15, No. 21
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Outdoor Adventures

Sturgeon River

You can enjoy the Sturgeon River and other excursions during the Alumni Reunion this summer and at other times.

The next time you visit Michigan Tech and the Keweenaw, you can get out and enjoy the great outdoors, thanks to a new program.

The Outdoor Adventure Program (OAP), housed in the Memorial Union Building, has equipment for rental and numerous trips and outings planned.

You can rent sleeping bags, tents, hammocks, coolers, canoes, kayaks, and even mountain bikes.

In addition, the OAP team can help you schedule group trips according to Jared Johnson, the OAP director. They've done trips to Isle Royale, the Porkies, Keweenaw Point, whitewater rafting, and more.

"We'll be backpacking on Isle Royale this July 28 to August 1," he says.

"The OAP can come up with a couple of options that alumni can choose from, give cost estimates, and keep it within so many hours away, so the alums just have to show up," Johnson says.

The OAP also runs safety demos for kayaks and other equipment.

For Alumni Weekend, August 6–9, they have trips planned, such as the Sturgeon River canoe trip, a waterfall tour ending with a cookout on Great Sand Bay, and mountain biking on the Tech Trails.

So, if you want to do a little exploring next time you are up, give the OAP a shout: oap@mtu.edu, www.opa.mtu.edu, or 906-487-2290, 906-487-0332 (fax).

Dennis '92, '09

At Tech

Michigan Tech Receives Stimulus Funding for Teacher Education

Nearly $1 million of federal stimulus money has found its way to Michigan Tech for a scholarship program that focuses on increasing the number and quality of teachers of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in the state. More

Students Break 1,000 mpg in SAE Supermileage Competition

Michigan Tech's team surprised everyone last weekend by wringing a whopping 1,140 miles per gallon out of their low, sleek, custom-made vehicle in the 2009 SAE Supermileage competition. The effort was enough to earn them a silver in the 25-team field in just their second year at the event, held June 4-5 at the Eaton Corporation Marshall Proving Grounds, in Lower Michigan. More

Michigan Tech Partners With IBM in Global Rail Innovation Center

When IBM set its sights on becoming an international rail transportation leader, one of the first university partners they turned to was Michigan Technological University. Michigan Tech's Rail Transportation Program is an emerging player educating future leaders for the rail industry. More

Ulrich Hansmann Wins 2009 Michigan Tech Research Award

Ulrich Hansmann, professor of physics and leader in computational and biophysics research, has received the 2009 Michigan Tech Research Award. He developed seminal numerical techniques for modeling the working of living cells and led efforts to apply computational algorithms to protein physics. More

Michigan Tech Physicists Make a Splash with Rain Discovery

It's conventional wisdom in atmospheric science circles: large raindrops fall faster than smaller drops, because they're bigger and heavier. And no raindrop can fall faster than its "terminal speed"—its speed when the downward force of gravity is exactly the same as the upward air resistance. More

Alumni Around the World

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

This Homecoming photo comes from 1969. Of interest here—and in other photos from this sequence—is that there doesn't seem to be a "hobo" theme. Any information on the 1969 parade or when the hobo tradition started? Email me.

Fill in the Blanks II: Where is this?

Ted Bornhorst and students
A different twist this time. Can you identify where this photo was taken? Email me.
View more sports >

Tech Sports

Klein Named Academic All-American

Michigan Tech junior Jenna Klein was named to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-American third team by the College Sports Information Directors of America. The Ely, Minn., native competed in her third straight NCAA Skiing Championships this past season and carries a 4.0 cumulative grade point average in exercise science. More

Two Runners Sign Letters to Attend Tech

Michigan Tech head cross country and track and field coach Joe Haggenmiller has announced that Jonathon Kilpela of Atlantic Mine, Mich., and Amanda Halonen of South Lyon, Mich., have both signed a National Letter of Intent to compete for the Huskies during the 2009-10 season. More

Gilkerson Honored for Academics

Michigan Tech junior Ken Gilkerson was named to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District IV team. The Brooklyn Park, Minn., native ran a school record and NCAA provisional qualifying time of 1:52.50 in the 800-meter run and holds a 4.0 GPA in mechanical engineering. He will also be placed on the national ballot for CoSIDA Academic All-American selection. More

Around the Keweenaw

A Bittersweet Goodbye:
After Years in Houghton, Father Larry Van Damme to Move to Marquette

For 12 years, he has been the face of Houghton's St. Albert the Great University Parish, but on June 30, Father Larry Van Damme will end his tenure at the church. The Catholic Diocese of Marquette mandates that its priests spend no more than two six-year terms in one location. Van Damme said this arrangement benefits priests and church members. "I think too long in one place you might become too comfortable or overly stagnant," he said, also explaining that a new priest will bring a fresh approach and new ideas for the church. More

Weather Slows Shelden Ave. Project

The first block of Shelden Avenue in downtown Houghton was not open for vehicles this weekend, as originally planned. Mike Momont, project superintendent with Bacco Construction of Iron Mountain, said moisture in the air has caused a delay in the work on the brick pavers. Crews began placing pavers on first block on June 3. They had planned to finish on June 10 and begin grouting, a job that needs a dry day. Momont was hoping they will get the rest of the bricks in and ready for grouting by the weekend, depending on the weather.

Council Approves Sign Use

The Houghton City Council approved the use of a wayfinder sign Monday on Sharon Avenue for the Mine Shaft and Rock House Hardwood Grille, which is scheduled to reopen later this summer. Kevin Geshel, director of development for Moyle Real Estate & Development, said the new tenants, Trifecta Management Group of Agoura Hills, Calif., wanted to put a wayfinder sign on Sharon Avenue and Razorback Drive. The city has stanchions for a sign at the intersection. Geshel said the company had experience running similar facilities. "They're good at what they do, to come in and fix these things and make them work," he said. More

Camp Kitwen to Close

Although Gov. Jennifer Granholm is taking action to reduce government costs, including closing prisons and prison camps, State Rep. Mike Lahti, D-Hancock, is disappointed so many Upper Peninsula employees may lose their jobs because of her actions. Granholm announced Friday three prisons, including Camp Kitwen in Painesdale, would be closed by the end of the year. Other U.P. facilities slated for closure include Hiawatha Correctional Facility in Kincheloe, Camp Ottawa in Iron River and Camp Cusino in Shingleton. More

From the Email Bag

Family Graduating from Tech

My family has strong ties to Tech. It started with my grandfather Milbert (Micky) Keranen who received his mining degree in 1934. Back then your diploma was on parchment paper rolled up in a sheep skin. Then we have my great uncle Gordon Hellman who graduated in 1942. Yes he is the same Gordon Hellman that was a professor of mechanical engineering and head of physical plant at Tech. The list continues with my uncle William Keranen, ME - 1968, uncle Thomas Keranen, CE - 1972, sister Tamara Westen, STC - 1986 and aunt JoAnn (Neher) Keranen who attended but did not graduate from Tech. Also my great uncle Russell (Rusty) Hellman while he did not a graduate of Tech, did support Tech especially while he was in the state legislature. I'm sure there are more family members that have attended Tech that I don't know about and some that have worked at Tech. As for my daughter, she took pity on my wallet and is staying close to home and attending Rutgers. There is however hope for my son in 4 years.

Kim Westen (1983)


I graduated from Tech in 1975. My father, John Walter graduated around 1950. He was a classmate of Dr. Smith (Past President) and Harold (Dean) Meese. I couldn't get away with anything. I could not convince my son to attend Tech. He graduated from the University of North Florida.

Mark Walter (1975)


Dennis - Regarding how many family members are Tech alum. Our family has 6 with a 7th attending Tech now. They include myself - Greg Schurig '72, my brother Doug Schurig '73, my wife June Huhtala Schurig '74, our daughter Jennifer Schurig Dykhouse '94, her husband Tony Dykhouse '94, our son Greg Schurig '97 and our nephew (Doug's son) Ryan Schurig is attending Tech now. Hopefully, in another 21 years we can add Jen and Tony's son Liam to that list.

Greg Schurig


FYI - Just found another family with many ties to Tech, some School of Business and Economics.

David Williams is President & CEO at Upper Peninsula State Bank in Escanaba. He graduated from business in 83. According to his profile, we have the following:

  • Father, George H Williams, 1952 MTU grad
  • Brother, George H Williams Jr, 1978 MTU grad
  • Brother, Richard W Williams, 1972 MTU grad
  • Brother, Daniel J Williams, 1978 MTU grad

Darrell Radson
Dean, School of Business and Economics


My father, Tauno Kilpela attended from 1938-40, I believe, and then finished after the war 1946-48. The rest of us are as follows

Don Kilpela 1972-76
Daniel 1998-2002
Mikael 2000-2005
Samuel 2004-09
David 2007-present
Jonathan 2009-

Don Kilpela

Editor's Note: Jonathan Kilpela will join the Tech cross country and track teams this fall.


We don't quite qualify as three generations attending Tech, but my parents, Sherwood and Marion taught there, starting in the 40s, I graduated in '81 and my second daughter will join the first one at MTU this fall. My son already plans to join them in a few years...if he doesn't change his mind we'll have a hat trick, or a sweep! Of course this may not go over well with the extended family, however, most of whom are U-M, including my wife Deb, who also teaches there. Also, this fall a third generation attends U-M starting with a cousin coming from Maine—while my daughters travel all the way to Houghton from our home near Ann Arbor—go figure.

Ken Price

Ken: If they are traveling from Ann Arbor to Houghton for schooling, then they are really smart!


I come from an MTU family of seven:

My husband Jeff and I, both '77 grads
My sister Sharon Stoyack Mason and her husband Kevin Mason, late 70's grads
My brother Joe Stoyack, graduated after the rest of us - 1980.
My daughter Stacy graduated in 2008. (Her boyfriend Steve Littlepage is also a grad - 2009. Don't know if that "counts")
My son Ken is entering his senior year and will graduate in 2010.
The Tech experience was great for all of us!

Barbara Stoyack Link

The Old Benedict Lab

Sig Rho house
Editor's Note: One of our astute staff, Al Niemi, has identified this location as the southeast corner of the pilot plant end of what was known as Benedict Lab, built in 1955, and part of the Institute of Mineral Research. The Minerals and Materials Engineering Building was built on this location in 1991, and IMR evolved into the Institute of Materials Processing that exists to this day at Tech.


Old Paint in the MacInnes Student Ice Arena


I'm wondering if you could use this photo in the fill in the blanks section in the next newsletter to maybe shed some light on what this painting was about that was behind the Blue Line Club's box.

Brandon Maurisak

Editor's Note: Brandon, we talked to some staffers here, and the paint job matched the color of the old seats and was done to brighten up the light yellow walls. The color scheme was extended to the Wood Gym and the Multipurpose Room. The rest of the SDC was added on to the MacInnes Student Ice Arena in the early 1980s, so the paint job came after that. The skybox was added in 1990, and the other corner skybox came soon after.

The construction up the hill is taking place to make room for new skyboxes. Stay tuned!

Slate River Field Trip

slate river
The girl in the center is Poonam Reddy Ramesh Babu.

Rohit Joshua Itticheria


Referring to the Slate River picture in the current newsletter...

Geological field trips back in the early 60's, conducted by professors Spiroff and Nordeng, would make a stop sooner or later at the Red Rocks near L'Anse.

There, as I recall, we would listen to Dr. Nordeng expound at length on the oxidizing environment present at the time of deposition.

Having done this trip once myself, but also having heard reports from other years, on more than one occasion the question was offered, generally from a mining major, "What is it worth per ton?"

Not a particularly diplomatic question to ask...

Frank Shoffner '62

Sig Rho House

Dennis: I played football with Jim Nyquist and Gene Foco in the fall of 1954 and was happy to see they are both active. I don't think the Sig Rho house in Houghton burned down. I believe it was removed to make way for the construction of Wadsworth Hall. As I recall, the Sig Rho house in Chassell burned not long after the Sig Rho's moved there and it was reconstructed. The Theta Tau house, of which I was a member, burned down in the early 60's and they moved to their current location at Anchor Hill, just beyond the golf course.

Jim Ombrello, '58

Editor's Note: I informed Jim that once in a while I can still hear the Theta Taus through the trees having fun while I'm on a spring or fall golf outing.


The old Sig Rho house was still across from Sherman Gym when we came to Houghton in 1956. I distinctly remember their Winter Carnival statue in Feb. 1957. It was Cinderella. They had the pumpkin and Cinderella was coming down the steps in front with her lost slipper on one of the steps. A photo of the house appears in the 1957 Keweenawan.

I don't think the house burned down at that location. It was properly torn down for the addition of West Wads. The original house in Chassell is the one that burned. My son, Scott, was a member at that time so it would have been in the early 70's.

Jerry MacInnes


Hi Dennis:
Enjoy your monthly offering, a comment tho on the Sigma Rho house article. Jim Nyquist says the old Sigma Rho white house in Hoton burned down, unfortunately it was torn down by Mich Tech so Wadsworth Hall could be expanded thru our front door. The fraternity bought a wonderful old lakeside home on Hy 41 in Chassell, the location of current house, called the Worcestor property that was perfect for our needs, It along with one other burned down over the years, bummer. I was a member of the fraternity during the Chassell migration. As an aside, wonder if Jim Nyquist is Jim, "Mel" Nyquist formerly of Escanaba, an old friend?

John Trotter

Michigan Tech's Youth Programs Alumni Special!

Youth Programs is gearing for another summer of innovative and interactive programming. We offer over seventy different Explorations in areas such as: Bridges, Dams, and Skyscrapers–Building Big; Catapults, Rockets, and Robotics–How Stuff Works; Sports Science; Stop the Hackers! Computer Network and Security; Wolf Ecology; Aquatic Ecology; Digital Photography; Mechanical Engineering; Geology; Aviation and Aerospace; Creative Writing in Nature and History; Journalism; Theater; Mountaineering and Orienteering; Michigan Tech Motor Sports; General Engineering; and Be Smart Be Rich, just to name a few. Travel to our web site at www.youthprograms.mtu.edu to continue exploring the rest of our exciting programming.

As an alumnus or alumna of Michigan Tech you have earned your son or daughter a $50 discount off our normal program fees. Our programs are filling up quickly and we work on a first come first serve basis. Book your adventure today!

Michigan Tech Youth Programs: Where college begins…………….

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