June 29, 2009
Vol. 15, No. 22
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Father's Day Frisbee

disc golf
Good form displayed by the Class of 2010.

The Michigan Tech Disc Golf Course beckoned early Father's Day morning, so my son and I played a couple of rounds. Frisbee golf has changed a lot since we used to make up holes around campus back in the day. Corners of buildings and free-standing signs used to be "holes."

Now, official disc golf baskets are the targets, and Tech's nine-hole layout has them tucked amid trees, near creeks, and around doglegs, just like the Portage Lake Golf Course. And I would have a similar lack of success with disc golf. First, there are different, heavier, Frisbees to choose from. We had drivers, mid-range, and putters to use.

And, again like regular golf, the putter gave me the most trouble. Drivers, too, had to be aimed carefully, and trying to bend the discs around, through, or over trees sometimes meant throwing them upside down or vertical and hoping for a kind roll.

We carded a few pars and each had a birdie (unlike the usual round at PLGC), and I was very impressed with the Tech course. It is challenging: all par-threes, from long to short; and it is very scenic, tucked into the trees near a small creek behind Sherman Field and the soccer fields.

It was already getting hot that morning, and I lost on the final putt, of course, but my son didn't rub it in too much. It was the perfect Father's Day present, as we thought about Father's Days past.

Dennis '92, '09

At Tech

Tech Takes Iron Team Award in 2009 Baja SAE

Michigan Technological University's Blizzard Baja Enterprise finished the three-part Baja SAE collegiate design competition at the top of the heap, with more points than any other competitor. More

Researcher Gets Stimulus Money for Blood Pressure Research

Jason Carter, chair of the Department of Exercise Science, Health and Physical Education at Michigan Technological University, will receive $20,900 in federal stimulus funds through the National Institutes of Health (NIH). More

Teaching the Teachers: Grand Rapids Science Teachers Converge on Tech

Fifteen middle-school earth science teachers from the Grand Rapids Public Schools learned about the geology of Michigan. They were on campus working with Michigan Tech faculty and graduate students to develop new ways to teach their students about the world of science and add excitement to their curriculum on current issues such as climate change, earthquakes, volcanoes, energy and water resources. More

Michigan Tech Tops the Nation in Women Earning Engineering PhDs

Michigan Tech's College of Engineering graduates a higher percentage of women with PhDs in engineering than any other engineering school in the nation, the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) reports. More

Alumni Around the World

Georgia Alumni Gather

Georgia alumni enjoyed networking during two events held in Atlanta and Peachtree City, June 19 and 20. Alumni Relations Director Brenda Rudiger and Alumni Association President Mark Mitchell '77 updated the groups about what is happening at Tech . Many thanks to Denny Euers '66 and Ed Eiswerth '77 for planning these events.


Southeast Michigan Alums Meet, Chat, and Eat

It was an exciting time last week in Southeast Michigan with four corporate alumni events held in the Detroit area. At the Ford Motor Company alumni lunch event, more than seventy alums enjoyed pasties and pickled eggs at a pavilion in Dearborn.

DTE Energy, Continental, and ITC also hosted first-time alumni events at their own headquarters with Douglass ("Dog") House pickled eggs enjoyed at each event.

Watch for more details on all of the events coming in the near future.

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

From the Daily Mining Gazette, June 1978: Students in a Michigan Tech geophysics field course found a sudden change in surface topography when they came upon a cave-in of a shaft of the old Hancock Mine at White, Shafter and Pine streets in Hancock. Art Ettlinger measures the depth to a ledge, which is 25 feet. The diameter of the gaping hole is about 12 feet. The students have been doing preliminary work in the area, mapping the layout of old underground workings that could possibly lead to future subsidence, and have been walking on top of the shaft a few days earlier. The shafts' cave-in was blamed on its never having been properly sealed. The city has fenced and posted the hazard until steps are taken to correct it. Were you there? Email me.

Fill in the Blanks II: Where is this?

Ted Bornhorst and students
A different angle. Can you identify where this photo was taken? Email me.
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Tech Sports

Sanregret Named Central Region Athletic Director of the Year


Michigan Tech athletic director Suzanne Sanregret will receive the Under Armour Division II Central Region Athletic Director of the Year Award Saturday (June 20) at the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics Convention. The Huskies’ fourth-year athletic director will be one of only four from Division II to gain the honor. The award will be presented during the James J. Corbett Luncheon at the World Center Marriott Resort. More

GLIAC Honors 28 Huskies

The Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference announced the 2009 all-academic teams for the Spring season and they included 28 Michigan Tech athletes. The men’s track and field team had 12 athletes selected with the women close behind with 11. The men’s tennis team had all five of it’s eligible players selected to the team. More

Around the Keweenaw

Beware of Bears

It may seem that bird food wouldn't be enough to satisfy even a young black bear, but at this time of year it's one of the animals' favorite foods of opportunity. On June 9, a yearling black bear was spotted on Summit Street in Hancock and it wandered around the city for about a week getting into trash bags and bird feeders. More

Come Sail Away

A faithful recreation of a 19th-century schooner will be sailing the waters of the Keweenaw and Lake Superior. The S/V Denis Sullivan is coming for day sails on Saturday and Sunday and a Lake Superior expedition on Monday and Tuesday. This marks the third visit to the area for the S/V Denis Sullivan, which was completed in 2000. The ship, Wisconsin's flagship and a flagship for the United Nations Environment Program, is the world's only re-creation of a 19th century three-masted Great Lakes schooner. More

Powerhouse Grant Closed

The $1 million grant that funded the renovation of the Powerhouse building was closed out at the Houghton City Council meeting Monday. The grant, obtained in 2007 from the Michigan Economic Development Corp., funded a tripling in the available square footage at the MTEC SmartZone incubator site, including the creation of two new floors. The building houses GE Aviation's University Development Center, which performs services such as software development and hardware design. More

Hail to the Bridge

Three-and-a-half-year-old Clea Ollanketo seemed more intent on fishing a stick out of the water of the Portage Canal than actually trying to pull a fish out of the water with her mother Anne's help Saturday during the Keweenaw Peninsula Chamber of Commerce Fishing Derby in Hancock's Porvoo Park. More

From the Email Bag

The Pits

the pits
Here is a photo taken in what was affectionately known as the "Pits" in Wadsworth Hall in the Fall of 1966. There were at least 2 sets of these (3 adjoining 'study halls' given to a single R.A. to 'supervise' and housing approximately 60 students total).

These 'Army barracks' style accommodations were mandated by a lack of regular dorm-space as a result of an influx in the enrollment of new students at a time when more and more young men upon leaving high school were being subjected to being drafted into the military (I wonder if the irony of living in 'boot-camp' conditions was lost on anyone?). Now I don't recall how long these extraordinary measures were needed as I was married after my Sophomore year and moved up to Daniel Heights where we lived until I graduated.

Note that in the fall of 1965, when I enrolled as a Freshman at Michigan Tech, there was also a shortage of dorm-space, but it was not as critical and was handled by simply having people 'triple-up' in several rooms in DHH and Wads (I should know as I was in a 3-man room in DHH for a few weeks myself). But the 1966 surge totally overwhelmed the system and this was despite the fact that the so-called 'Co-Ed Dorm' was opened in time for the Fall 1966 start of classes.

Anyway, perhaps some survivors of the "Pits" will remember these times and add their own recollections as well.

John R. Baker, '71
Irvine, CA

Mystery Photo

Editor's Note: Well, there's no fooling you alums. The first to respond correctly was Jeremy Curtis '99.


Looks like the west entrance to East McNair.

Scott Stachowiak ('95)


While I don't know what the deal is with your first photo (as I wasn't even a thought in my parents mind in '69). But after living 3 years in Das Lowen Haus in West McNair. I often escaped the elements by going through that doorway and walking along the first floor of East McNair.

James Tuttle BSEE '07


The bricks on the building look like Co-Ed Hall.

And by the sun shining on the building, the angle of the shadows of the vestibule, and the slope of the ground surface (going up to the right), I'm going to guess this photo was taken on the west side of Co-Ed Hall near the southwest corner.

Am I close?
Patrick T. Hughes, P.E., CFM


Dennis that looks like the western exit door of East Mcnair hall looks to be taken from the kitchen loading dock, the ramp to which is on the right.

Bob Gilreath


From looking at the background, the windows from above, and the general slant of things, I'd have to say that's an entrance off of East McNair Hall by the rear loading dock. The windows behind the overhang look somewhat similar to the current stairway in that area as well. I can't say any of this for sure, because by the time I started attending in 1999, we already had the ramps between the doorway and the loading dock.

Dustin Pomprowitz - STC '05


My younger brother, who was a one-termer at ‘da Tech’, lived in what we called the ‘Co-Ed Dorm’ during his very short time there, which we often suspected may have contributed to him not making the cut, at least not from an academic point of view. That was in the Fall of 1966. I was a Sophomore and an R.A. in the ‘pits’ in Wadsworth Hall (now there’s a topic that might generate some interesting comments, people experience living in the ‘Pits’ a situation forced upon the University in the mid- to late-60’s as a result of a quick rise in enrollments due not in small part to young men, like my brother, trying to avoid the draft). [See photo above.]

Perhaps when I get back home tonight I might dig up a couple of pictures showing the conditions we had to put up with. If you post them, I’m sure it will bring some comments from an albeit rather narrow group of former students, but it would be something to see what the views on the ‘social experience’ we all had, including those of us who were there ‘voluntarily’ (as I said, I was an R.A.).

John Baker


Hey Dennis,
Love the newsletter. Thanks for all your work keeping the alumni informed. In reference to the "Fill in the Blanks II: Where is this?" I would like to take a stab. It looks like the west exit out of East
McNair hall with the alley leading up to the back drive. The fencing on the background of the photo looks like the upperclassmen parking lot immediately behind the hall. If I am right, it is only due to the many sprints from East to West McNair outside after midnight sauna sessions!

Kevin Soper
Class of '04 Chem Eng



Hi Dennis,

Is that the east entrance to McNair Hall?

Mary Jane Lowney


I believe this is a new entrance to East McNair right by the loading dock.

My wife (also a tech alum) and I had taken my nephew up to Tech for a campus tour not long ago and had seen this. Not sure what that it was totally necessary, in the few years that I lived in McNair I never had a problem walking down the ramp to get in the building. Oh well.

Jeremy Curtis ('99)

Homecoming History


The "Bosch'em" float was the Co-Ed Hall (now McNair Hall) entry. The image was a can of Bosch beer crushing the opponent's mascot (was it a Beaver from Bemidji?). We even got the guys from the Bosch brewery to haul it with
their truck. Unfortunately, even though we had a sign on the front of the truck that said Co-Ed Hall, the judges assumed it was a commercial float and so we didn't get our (fully deserved) first prize for best float.

There was a hobo theme in that parade, and everybody in the band headed to the thrift shops to get outfitted. So the hobo theme goes back at least that far, and seemed well established already.

Kerry Irons '72
(former president of Co-Ed Hall Association)


I will try to find a write I did on homecoming history back when I was at tech. But the hobo theme started in about 1959, but the parade didn't start until the mid-70's

One night digging in the basement of the house we were renting we found a paper from 1960, noting the second annual hobo theme. The story I always here was that the parade started in the 70's as the Phi Tau float came across the bridge and was ravaged by winds - thus lead to a Hobo float the ball really got rolling form there.

Will try to follow up more later,
A.J. Lee


I started at Tech in the Fall of '62 and the hobo theme (hobo week) for
Homecoming was already well entrenched.

Don Ingersoll


MTU homecoming had a hobo theme when I attended from 74 to 78.

Debbie Hamm


I know it was going on when I was on campus. The first actual pictures of Hobo days in my year books shows it to be 1959. There was a Homecoming parade in 1957, but my year book doesn't show any pictures of hobos, so possibly '59 was the first year of that theme.
Gail Richter '61


As president of the Varsity Club, I worked with the Chamber of Commerce and we started Hobo Days in 1959 or 1950. Jim Hamilton from Schumacker, Ontario won the "best dressed Hobo" with a suit he dug out of the landfill.

The Chamber may have more information than I can supply. They were a great group to work with.

Best regards,

David Courtney


Michigan Tech 1969 Keweenawan Yearbook:

Hobo Days: Bums take over - As is traditional at MTU, homecoming gets started with a "dress down" affair called Hobo Days. A Hobo mixer started things off..... and from their the hobos bummed around until next day when judging took place. Picture shows Hobo King & Queen for 1969 Lyle Northrup and Ann Michelbacher.

Jeff Strauss

Family at Tech

Please pass on to Kim that her great uncle Rusty Hellman had two children that also graduated from Tech - Gene Hellman (63) and Kathy (60 or 61). Kathy 's husband Bill also graduated from Tech.

David Bugge (63)

Sig Rho House

Regarding the SIG RHO House.My recollection of the house burning illustrates my aging mind. Maybe it was just one of their great, hot parties they had. Sorry for passing out erroneous info. Yes to John Trotter , I`m the same guy as was known as "Mel". The nickname was hung on me by our friend Bob Paterick who graduated in 56 or 57 -I think.

Keep in touch.

Jim Nyquist

Slate River Field Trip

slate river

Hi Dennis,
In regards to the Slate River Field Trip picture in the newsletter this week...

My friends and I are in that picture. That picture was taken during field geology in the summer of 2006. In the back row from left to right is Josh Richardson ('07) who is currently working on his PhD at Tech, Walt Rathbun ('08), Ben Beard ('08). In the front row from left to
right is Michaela Polster ('08), Poonam Reddy Ramesh ('08), Dr.
Bornhorst, and Richard Leach ('08). That locality was one of the first places we went to that summer where we weren't being constantly swarmed by black flies!

-Walt Rathbun ('08)

Michigan Tech's Youth Programs Alumni Special!

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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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