December 28, 2009
Vol. 16, No.8
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Postcards Sent Home

Verdie Cox hole
It snowed a bit back in the day, too.

A large Priority Mail box came to my office recently, and I had no idea what could be inside. Normally, I don't get Christmas packages at work. However, inside were some great items, and they were perfect gifts for the holiday (or any) season.

Alum Les Reid '51 sent along some great old photos (left) from the late 1940s and early 1950s of the Tech campus and Keweenaw scenes. He also sent some Michigan Tech Lodes from the same time period. And, since I'm an old newspaper guy, those were especially appreciated.

Among the great photos and documents, two things struck me: how much Tech and the Keweenaw have changed and how much has not.

In 1948, there was a polio scare that hampered student activities. Today, we have H1N1 and other scares for which we must prepare.

Back then, Chesterfield cigarettes were advertising in the Lode, but so were Kirkish Furniture, the Lode Theater, and Swift Hardware.

Blue Key was debating a change in Winter Carnival procedures, and today we already have enough snow for next year's Carnival!

I was struck also by the photos, some of them postcards that were sent home to mom and dad, and how I could "feel" the campus and community of more than six decades ago. Snowplows, fraternities, statues, local restaurants, the (old) bridge: it could be today's Tech, in some respects.

And Les Reid's notes to home and letter to me have strengthened another couple of generations' connection to Tech. I assured Les that we'll take good care of these memories!

And, speaking of memories, we will be using Email Bag submissions from the past couple of years on a special 125th anniversary website that we know you'll enjoy. Please email me if for some reason you don't want your email reused in this new website.

Thanks and keep writing!

Dennis '92, '09

Snowfall totals (at the airport)
Season total: 85.5"
Snow that fell in the last week: 15"
Snow on the ground: 19"

Last year's total: 81"
On the ground: 27"

At Tech

Can Snowmobiles Adapt in the Age of Ethanol?

By 2022, federal regulations will require a 400 percent increase in the amount of renewable fuel in America’s gasoline, from 9 billion to 36 billion gallons. Cars and trucks are being designed to run on these ethanol-rich fuels. But can a snowmobile? More

Furhmann Named IEEE Fellow

Dan Fuhrmann, chair of Michigan Tech's Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, has been named a Fellow of IEEE (the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers). Fellow is the IEEE's highest grade of membership and only one-tenth of 1 percent of the entire membership can be awarded the honor in a given year. More

Michigan Tech at Detroit Auto Show

Michigan Tech will be one of just two universities invited to participate in the North American International Auto Show in Detroit Jan. 16-24, 2010. Michigan Tech's exhibit—part of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation's (MEDC) EcoXperience and Alternative Energy Showcase on the lower level of Cobo Hall—will include a cutaway engineering test vehicle provided by GM and information on the University's new professional Master's degree program now being developed with a $3 million grant from the Department of Energy. Industry preview days are Jan.13-14, and tickets can be purchased for $75 here.

Tickets are $12 for adults and $6 for seniors and children ages 7 to 12. Children 6 and under enter free with a parent or guardian.

Pulling Their Way for Others

Imagine a wheelchair that is “rowed” around scenic trails and woods, allowing the disabled to enjoy the outdoors. A student team at Michigan Technological University has made it a reality. The Human-Powered Off-Road Wheelchair prototype was created through the mechanical engineering senior capstone course. The 8-speed vehicle is easy to maneuver by pulling back on the handlebars and can reach speeds up to 4 mph, roughly equal to a slow jog, although the speeds are “user dependent.” More

A Reminder from the Michigan Tech Fund

As we approach the end of the 2009 calendar year, we want to take a moment to remind our alumni and friends that it's not too late to make an annual contribution in support of Michigan Tech—and still receive a 2009 tax deduction.

You can phone the Tech Fund offices at 906-487-2310 or toll free at 877-386-3688 to make your gift with a credit card. You also have the option of making your credit card gift through our secure online gift site by going to These online gifts can be made up until 11:55 (EST) on December 31.

The Michigan Tech Fund offices will reopen on December 28, 29 and 30 from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. On Thursday, December 31 the office will be staffed from 10:00 am until 2:30 pm.

Get Your MBA Competitive Edge—Online!

The Michigan Tech MBA Online program is changing the rules for online MBAs. Our two-year online program focuses on innovation and technology management, the perfect complement to a technical career.  Bridge the fields of technology and business to meet the demands of a constantly changing world. The Tech MBA Online is an AACSB-accredited program that provides you with a global and sustainable business perspective.

In addition to world-class faculty and curriculum, you will experience:

  • Professional development seminars
  • Business simulations and real-world projects
  • Three summer residencies, one at an international location
  • Interactive multimedia instruction and technology support
  • Peer and professional networking opportunities
  • Career counseling and job placement services

You already have a great Michigan Tech education, now is your opportunity to get a competitive edge without leaving your current job. The Tech MBA Online program is now accepting applications. Please visit for more information.

Alumni Around the World

Alum Named Honorary Consul to Poland

Polish ConsulJohn F. Petkus '78 has been named an Honorary Consul to Poland, in a recent ceremony in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Here is a link to the Polish Embassy in Washington DC’s website with information and pictures from the official opening ceremony of the Polish Consulate in Las Vegas.

Petkus is currently president of Hemisphere West International, in Las Vegas, which specializes in currency validation products for applications ranging from Internet kiosks, amusement, and vending to payment, ticketing, gaming and lotteries.

While at Michigan Tech, Petkus was a member of the Varsity Club, having played varsity basketball, and was also a member of the Flying Club, Amateur Radio Club, and WMTU. His bachelor's degree was in liberal arts.

Fill in the Blanks

Rekhi 214Maybe you used the "new" Rekhi Lab in 214 in 2005? Email me.

Frank Krieber
Do you remember the goalie from Houghton, Frank Krieber, and the 1980-81 run into the NCAAs?
Email me.
View more sports >

Tech Sports

The Wrap-up

What’s Happening This Week

Tue, Dec. 29
4:06 p.m., Hockey at Michigan State Great Lakes Invitational (Radio 93.5 FM)
5:30 p.m., Women's Basketball vs. Concordia Concordia-St. Paul (Radio 93.5 FM)

Wed, Dec. 30
4:06/7:36 p.m., Hockey at at Michigan/RPI Great Lakes Invitational (Radio 93.5 FM)

Sat, Jan. 02
1:00 p.m. Women's Basketball vs Northern Michigan (Radio 93.5 FM)
3:00 p.m., Men's Basketball vs. Northern Michigan
(Radio 93.5 FM)
TBA, Men's Nordic Skiing at US National Championships
TBA, Women's Nordic Skiing at US National Championships

Thu, Jan. 07
5:30 p.m., Women's Basketball at Ashland (Radio 93.5 FM)
7:30 p.m., Men's Basketball at Ashland (Radio 93.5 FM)

Fri, Jan. 08
8:07 p.m., Hockey at at St. Cloud State (Radio 93.5 FM)

Sat, Jan. 09
1:00 p.m., Women's Basketball at Tiffin (Radio 93.5 FM)
3:00 p.m., Men's Basketball at Tiffin (Radio 93.5 FM)
6:07 p.m., Hockey at St. Cloud State (Radio 93.5 FM)

Tue, Jan. 12
7:07 p.m., Hockey vs. Northern Michigan
(Radio 93.5 FM)

Thu, Jan. 14
5:30 p.m., Women's Basketball vs. Hillsdale (Radio 93.5 FM)
7:30 p.m., Men's Basketball vs. Hillsdale
(Radio 93.5 FM)

All times Eastern. Home events in bold.

Complete Schedule

Center Court Connection: Ten Years with Women’s Basketball “Family”


It can sometimes be tough, and lonely, playing women’s basketball in the snow banks of the north and far from home. So, Ron Helman and other fans decided to do something about it.


Underclassmen Skiers Succeed at Sprint Races

A small group of underclassman on the Michigan Tech Nordic ski team competed at the Junior Olympic Qualifier Dec. 19-20 in Wausau, Wis., with coaching by graduate assistant coach Andrew Joda. Redshirt freshman Lauren Rantala won the Olympic Junior Classic Sprint race and finished third in the freestyle. More

Tech Hockey To Take European Tour in August

The Michigan Tech hockey team has recently finalized plans to play five exhibition games during a 10-day European tour this summer. The Huskies will take on German and Austrian professional teams between Aug. 12-21. More


Around the Keweenaw

When the Mill Closes: Ontonagon Reeling over Loss of Smurfit-Stone

Just a week after the announcement that Smurfit-Stone Container Company, a paper mill in Ontonagon, will close the doors permanently, residents in the village are looking at different outlets. The mill, which was once the largest employer in Ontonagon County, was the topic of discussion all over Ontonagon, especially at the village council meeting last week, Village President Scott Frazer said. "It was definitely a different atmosphere," he said. More

Business Owners Back US 41 Move

Houghton business owners were largely in favor of a proposed plan to convert Shelden Avenue to local traffic during the first of two meetings held on the subject Wednesday. The new routes would be similar to those put in place during the Shelden Avenue streetscape project, which won many fans over the summer, said Houghton City Manager Scott MacInnes. More

Four-Day School Week Coming to Adams Township

Adams Township Schools will observe a four-day school week effective January 2010 when students return to school. At the Adams Township School District Board of Education meeting Tuesday, the district adopted the four-day week for the three coldest months of the year, January through March, in an effort to save the district money. Most of the buildings will be shut down an extra day, saving on heating and electric costs. Details on the four-day week are still being discussed, but previous discussions involved making the school days slightly longer and extending the school year a little longer. More

From the Email Bag

Trailer Park up on the Hill

trailertownI believe this was located at the top of Garnet street, south of 7th ave. Used to walk thru there on my way to Hubbell field for football and softball games.

Jim Pruner 61


This looks suspiciously like the trailer park on the east side of Garnet
Street, a bit south of Seventh Avenue - perhaps by a lot or two, it didn't directly border Seventh Ave. In the mid to late fifties, there was a small pond immediately to the east of the trailer court proper that served as an attractive nuisance for the kids who lived on East and Blanche streets at the time (and perhaps others). This particular crowd included Bobby Hagen, Gary and Bobby Shandley, Scott MacInnes, Rod Guilbault, myself and others.

Many a fort was build in those woods, and uncountable games of Cowboys and Indians, Cops and Robbers, and untold war games were played in the woods South of Seventh Avenue.

Steve Haas
Houghton High School ('69)
Michigan Tech ('74)

ROTC at Commencement

Thanks for the great article about mid-year graduation ceremonies. I am so happy to learn that our MTU ROTC graduates are not only able to publicly take their commissioning oath at the graduation ceremony, but that they also receive positive public recognition for their commitment of service to this country.

Sadly it was not always that way. In 1976 when I received my commission as a second lieutenant in the US Army my oath was administered in the basement of the ROTC building and we were not allowed to wear our uniforms to the graduation ceremony. I wore my uniform under my cap and gown in spite of the warm May weather as my own special form of protest, and on my way down the hill with my family after the ceremony I was derisively called "baby killer" by several passing cars. The Vietnam conflict was well over, but then you must realize that MTU was always a step or two behind in the antiwar protest movement!

I treasure my ROTC training at MTU and my 4 years on active duty. Fortunately for me the most dangerous thing I did while on active duty was drive on the Autobahn. The post-Vietnam Army was a real mess with many of the "volunteer" enlisted men choosing the Army over a jail cell. I was provided the opportunity to develop my leadership skills under demanding conditions which continue to serve me well in business over 30 years later. When I did resign my commission and enter the civilian world the combination of an MTU education and Army leadership meant I was unemployed for less than 24 hours!

John Helge

John: I can tell you it remains the goose bump moment at every commencement ceremony.

Dave Halkola

Dennis, Thank you for posting the information about Professor Dave Halkola. I fondly remember him since we was on the on-campus professor/liaison for all of us who interned as living history interpreters at Fort Wilkins when that program was a part of Michigan Tech. Not only did he help us learn the local history for the roles, but each year we'd make a trip to other living history sites in preparation for the summer.

One year, Professor Halkola, the interpreters & Tom Friggens (then historian at Fort Wilkins) went to Fort Snelling in Minneapolis and the next year we went to Old Fort William in Thunder Bay. On each of these trips & during the training class, Dave put up with all of the shenanigans of us college kids and amazingly every year the living history program kept getting better & better.

During the summer of '84, my husband & I both worked at the fort in the weeks before we got married - 25 years later we're still using the lamp that the Halkolas gave us as a wedding present. He was a good teacher in a lot of different ways as well as a good friend, he will be missed.

Peggy (Perkins) Barchi, '84

Peggy: You'll be glad to know there was a great turnout at the funeral, including the Pep Band!

Fundraiser for Bruce Clarke '79, '82

Bruce Clarke
Alum Bruce Clarke '79/'82 (civil engineering) has been battling Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia since his diagnosis in 2003. Since that time he has undergone 4 series of chemotherapy which unfortunately have not knocked out the cancer. His doctors have now advised him to undergo a stem cell transplant at Karmanos Cancer Research Center in Detroit, with his brother as donor. This treatment is intensive and will require him to be in the hospital for an extended time of up to 6 months and possibly even a year. The hospital requires that a family member be present for his stay and fortunately his wife Jean is available to do that. The loss of his income while in treatment will result in a tremendous financial burden on his family. 

As friends, we have come together and organized a fund-raising event for Bruce and his family to be held Saturday, January 23, 2010 at the Family Life Center in Assumption Church in Belmont. The event will be a fun evening of music, dancing, hors d'oeuvres and raffle.

We are asking you to donate a raffle prize such as a gift certificate, gift baskets, travel, sporting event or performance tickets or cash donations. Any new items that would be appealing as a raffle item would be greatly appreciated. Donations have already started coming in just from word of mouth. Our venue rental fee has been waived by Assumption Catholic Church in Belmont, Two To Tango Disc Jockeys have volunteered to provide our music free of charge, Red Wing tickets have been donated by the Reisinger Law Firm, some table munchies have been provided by an anonymous donor (but we do need more!), and Williams & Beck is providing all promotional and printing costs. Your name will be prominently displayed at the raffle as the donor of that item. Companies that provide large prizes or cash donations valued at $250 or more will also receive additional promotion before and after our event in our advertising and press releases. All monies generated  from this fundraiser will go to the Clarke family to alleviate some of their financial burden, allowing Bruce and Jean the peace of mind to concentrate on Bruce's recovery from his transplant.

We are hoping that you can find it in your heart to help one of our own with a donation.

Just give us a call and we would be happy to come by at your convenience to collect any donated items.  Thank you so much in advance for your support. And we hope you will join us for this event come January.

The "Clarke Family Fundraiser Donation Card" requires: Name, Address, Telephone, Email, & Donation Amount. Please send to:

Clarke Family Fundraiser Committee
c/o Dawn Taylor
6440 Botany Bluff Dr. NE
Belmont, MI 49306

OR if you would like to donate raffle items, please contact:

Dawn Taylor (616) 365-2434
Kathy Uzarski (616) 361-9821

Fundraiser is Saturday, January 23, 2010, 7:00 pm. Tickets to the event will be $10. and available at the door. Music, Dancing, Hors D'oeuvres at the Assumption Church Family Life Center, Belmont, MI.

If you have any further questions, please don't hesitate to call me at (616) 874-2500.

D. Eric Strang

Featured Alumni Benefits

Michigan Tech on iTunesU

Michigan Tech is now in session on iTunes U, an area in the iTunes Store where the University shares knowledge with the alumni community—and the world. On iTunes U, you’ll find a wealth of audio and video content, including course lectures, language lessons, lab demonstrations, neat videos, podcasts, and more.

Visit for easy, 24/7 access to:

Stay Connected—Hear the latest lectures from your former professors. Find out what’s happening on campus. Connect with the Michigan Tech community.
Continue Learning—Brush up on a favorite subject. Explore new interests. Gain knowledge from Michigan Tech students, faculty, and alumni. Learn for credit or just for interest!
Sync Up—Find, download, and organize Michigan Tech educational content on your Mac or PC the same way you do music and movies. Then sync to your iPod or iPhone to learn anytime, anywhere.



More Alumni Benefits & Services information

Class Rings
Diploma Frames
License Plates
University Images Michigan Tech Clothing and Giftware

Job Opportunities

On Campus

Assistant Grant Accountant, Sponsored Programs Accounting

Research Associate, Michigan Tech Research Institute-Ann Arbor

Planning Analyst I, Institutional Analysis

Complete Job Descriptions are available on the Human Resources website.

Off Campus