July 12, 2010
Vol. 16, No. 23
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Women @ Tech

Future forensic scientist and Husky.

As we move toward the downhill side of summer, we had to bid adieu to our daughter, who is heading back east to grad school. It's sad to see her go, but she's got work to do, including some teaching.

We know she'll do well, since she got her start here at Tech, and she is well prepared for whatever comes her way.

She's not alone.

As you know, many women have earned their degrees here over the years and brightened our campus and communities in the process, my better half included.

Lately, Women in Engineering students have been on campus. The folks who run the program said the average GPA this year was 3.96, and the 140-plus women came from eighteen different states. A couple of typical quotes:

“My favorite part was just being able to hear and experience the different engineering fields.”—Ashley, Washington DC.

“My favorite thing this week was learning about natural disasters, volcanoes and earthquakes in particular.”—Stephanie, Anchorage.

We hope they were inspired to pursue solutions to problems facing our technological world, while they were here. And we also hope those dreams begin at Tech.

Dennis '92, '09


Tell us about your experiences at Tech, in WIE, Youth Programs, or whatever. You can do so via the 125th anniversary website or the Alumni Association Facebook page. You can send me your memories, too.

At Tech

Where the Buoys Will Be

The first of three coastal monitoring buoys traveled from Ann Arbor to Houghton late last week. After spending an afternoon hunkered down on a walkway in front of the Dow Environmental Sciences and Engineering Building, the new buoy was towed to its data-collecting location two miles northeast of the North Entry of the Portage Canal. More

Moose and Osteoarthritis

As a 150-pound person ages, the aches and pains of osteoarthritis—a degenerative and progressively crippling joint disease—often become an unpleasant fact of life. Think how the same condition hurts a 1,000-pound moose. More

Plichta Named ASM International Fellow

Professor Mark Plichta, chair of materials science and engineering at Michigan Technological University, has been named a Fellow of ASM International, the Materials Information Society. He was honored for his contributions to the field of materials science and engineering. In particular, he was recognized “for his seminal contribution to understanding the mechanisms of massive transformations and for his pioneering innovations in the education of students in materials science and engineering.” More

Alumni Around the World

Tech Makes Large First Appearance in the Cherry Royale Parade

groupThis clickable image shows the turnout for the parade.

Tech alumni and students walked the Cherry Royale parade route in Traverse City for the first time. Tech’s entry included 22 members of the Pep Band, Blizzard T. Husky, and a semi trailer loaded with five SAE competition vehicles, led by two bright yellow Tech SUVs.

Along the parade route, Sigma Kappa Upsilon Mu (SKUM) brothers gathered to sing Tech’s Fight Song and cheer on Michigan Tech.

Marchers ranged from alumnus Dean ’58 and his wife, Joan, Archer to incoming student Maria Frick, who received a scholarship from the Northwest Michigan Alumni Chapter to attend Tech this fall.

Blizzard was a big hit with the kids and the Pep Band blew folks away, as expected. The students accompanying the Baja, Formula, Clean Snowmobile, Super Mileage, and the EcoCAR design competition vehicles garnered much interest.

This wonderful display of Michigan Tech pride would not have been possible without the dedicated volunteers from the Northwest Michigan Alumni Chapter who helped plan the many details, housed students, and marched in the parade. Special thanks to Linda ‘83, Gary ‘83 & Ben ’12 Wittbrodt and the generous folks at Elmer’s Crane and Dozer including Gary Holcombe ’72 and Jason Horton '99 who help load and drive the semi.

Save the Date for Alumni Reunion 2010— August 5, 6, & 7

reunionFeatured classes will be the Golden Ms (those who graduated 50 plus years ago), the classes of ’60, ’70, ’80, ’85, ’90 and ’00. Other special alumni group reunions being planned are Huskies Hockey, Air Force ROTC, Chemistry, several engineering departments, Alpha Delta Alpha, Delta Zeta, Lambda Chi Alpha, Sigma Phi Epsilon, Sigma Rho Lawn Party 2010, 10th Anniversary Celebration of the Pavement Design, Construction and Materials Enterprise and the Thompson Scholars Program and more.

Request a Reunion Registration Packet to be mailed to your home or view online!

Register ONLINE or print the 2010 TICKET FORM.

Don't forget! Share your alumni stories. Login to HuskyLink, click on My Class Notes, choose the category Alumni Stories and share your favorite memories from Tech. Remember to include pictures!

Fill in the Blanks

syp 2006Maybe you were in the SYP Health Exploration in July 2006 or have any other SYP memories? Email me.

Residence Hall Back in the Day

We don't have a date for this. 1970s? Any residence hall memories? Email me.
View more sports >

Tech Sports

Tech Selected to Host 2011 and 2012 Hockey Regionals

kim cameron
Tech Selected to Host 2011 and 2012 Hockey Regionals
The NCAA recently announced the hosts and sites of the 2012 Division I Men’s Ice Hockey Regionals, and Michigan Technological University has been given the Midwest Regional to host at the Resch Center in Green Bay, Wis. More

Hockey Skyboxes for Rent Beginning July 12

Michigan Tech athletics announced today that the private skyboxes in the John MacInnes Ice Arena will be available for rental for the 2010-11 hockey season starting on Monday, July 12. Ten brand new private center suites and two larger skyboxes were constructed during summer 2009 through a generous donation by Ruanne and John Opie. This summer, the Huskies also plan to complete a smaller renovation that will add a third skybox which will fill the need for a mid-sized private space at hockey games. More

Around the Keweenaw

Blueprint Plan Pays Dividends for Houghton

houghton For the city of Houghton, a $25,000 investment in the HyettPalma downtown blueprint plan in 2005 ended up being just the right piece of the puzzle needed to secure millions of dollars of grants to completely rejuvenate a once-dying downtown area. More

Lesatz Named Strawberry Queen

A spur-of-the-moment decision led Ellie Lesatz to enter the Strawberry Queen competition. And it paid off, as she beat out 12 other contestants to become Strawberry Festival Queen in Chassell Friday night. More

Local Concerts Keeping Summer Cool

For several local communities, Thursday nights mean music. Houghton, Laurium and L'Anse each offer free concerts on Thursdays during the summer. Houghton added its summer concert series last year during the construction project on Shelden Avenue - "providing an opportunity to bring people together, and so they could see the progress we were making," said organizer Susie Landers. More

From the Email Bag

That Special Place

the river
I'll betcha your secret spot is on the Pilgrim River.

During my days at da Tech, I had my own "secret spot" down on the Otter River. I can close my eyes and visit it still, even after 53 years.

Here's an excerpt from a book I wrote several years ago describing it:

The Otter River is best described as a happy little stream. Its rapids didn’t roar, they cheerfully chortled. It didn’t resonate with power; it just hummed a pleasant tune. No need for mountain leveling heroics here, the Otter fit comfortably on the land. A little sun-warmed gravel bar here, a cool, shady stretch through the tag alders, a long, melodious riffle where it carved around the base of a Balsam covered ridge.

Then there was the color of the water. The beer commercials would have you believe that Upper Michigan was part of the “land of sky-blue waters”. The Otter River was not blue. In the slower, deeper pools, it was the color of the clearest, finest tea you could imagine. Indeed, it was tea, steeped in the countless bogs that were the source of its waters. But it had clarity, without any trace of opacity. On the shallow riffles, where the water was tossed and aerated, it took on a distinct golden hue.

The Otter was almost a textbook trout stream. It had deep runs that held Brook trout. There were deep, still pools with lots of woody debris where the big Brown trout lay. The riffles held lively Rainbow that rocketed skyward as soon as they felt the sting of the hook.

One weekend I looked ahead to where a sandbar stood high and dry, part way across the river. Even from a distance, it was obvious there were boot tracks crossing the bar. My heart sank; there was a trespasser in Eden. As I waded up to the bar, I cursed the gods for allowing this injustice. When I got there, I was pleasantly surprised. The tread pattern of the boots that made the tracks was clearly visible in a few locations, and I realized the tracks were mine made the week before. The world was right once more.

Ron Sadler
Forestry '57

Ron: If I tell you, then it's not a secret place anymore!

One More Parade Photo

south range Dennis,
Thought you might enjoy this pic of the jugglers entertaining the Husky Pep Band during the South Range parade on the 4th.

Pete Cattelino

Think Snow

Hi Dennis,
Since you're always looking for stories, here's one you're not likely to hear anywhere else. It took place on Mont Ripley about 60 years ago, back in the rope tow days. The rope tow could be a bit difficult to handle since the rope wanted to go straight from the bottom of the upper hill to the top. Well, OK, the rope wanted to go straight from bottom to top on the bunny hill, too, but so did the hill, so there was no disagreement there. Anyway, holding the rope down at the knee of the upper hill took a fair amount of force and could tip a person over if he wasn't careful.

One day I was resting just below the knee watching people whiz by on the tow. One guy lost it right at the knee and fell off the rope right in the middle of the track. Since the rope was always in a hurry to get back where it started, another guy came along very quickly. With the middle of the track blocked, he thought he'd swing past on the right. He almost made it, but couldn't persuade the rope to move quite far enough to clear the first guy. So he clipped the first guy and fell. That made two.

The third guy was then faced with blockage in the middle and right so he tried, and failed, to pull the rope far enough to the left. Then there were three in the pile. Next came along a little kid. Kids couldn't hold the rope down under the best of conditions, so he decided to let the rope carry him over the obstructionists. He would have made it if he had kept his ski tips up, but he didn't, so he didn't. That made four. Up to that point, the different strategies to get past the increasing pile made sense. I'm still wondering what the fifth guy was thinking. He didn't try to avoid the mess; he just plowed straight into the tangle.

At that point others coming along got the hint and dropped off the rope before adding to the mayhem. Fortunately, no one was damaged. They sorted themselves out, got out of the way, and traffic resumed. That Keystone Kops demonstration would have made a great You Tube video. Instead, it exists only in my mind's eye.

Don Wacker PE '52

More on Forestry Photo

ForestryHi Dennis,
I have to agree with Bill Kincaide about this being a group of forestry students. Not only do I recognize Tom Smith, but the person in the lower left with the blond butch haircut looking towards the saw has got to be Bruce Whitmarsh, another forestry student who graduated either in '57 or '58.

At the time, I lived in the basement of the old McGinty house a couple houses west of the College Motel, and several foresters, including Whitmarsh, lived in the top floor. We all were buddies with Tom Smith. Most of us in the house were Korean War vets of legal age, so periodically we would gather up some Bosch Beer jumbos and head for Tom's trailer up in the trailer park and proceed to turn the jumbos into empties, much to the barely-disguised chagrin of Tom's wife.

I visited Tom in Munising in 1959 briefly when he was working as a government forester, and then lost track of him. I wonder if Bill Kincaide can bring me up to date?

See you at the reunion, Dennis,
Raymond Roe, Geol. Eng. '57, Eng. Ad. '58


If that is Tom Smith of Newberry in the photo, I can't tell; he and I and a couple of others from Newberry were at the "Soo Branch" in 1954 and 55. I don't remember him at the Houghton campus. We were all busy and he may have lived in the trailers, as was mentioned. I boarded with the Harold Meese family, which was great, and ate down the hill with the ladies from England.

I was in the nuclear energy field for about 50 years after tech. MTU gave me a very good background for that career.

Tom McLean '57 Eng. Physics.

Fill in the Blanks: Summer 2006

Dillman Lab
From you fill in the blanks picture, I believe that is Josh Taggart with the tigers had in the center of the picture. Hmm summer of 2006 he should have been starting his Junior year yet he is still in the freshmen lab in Dilman what does that tell ya. I'm just kidding, he was a good friend. By the way do you have a high resolution picture of the lift bridge with the fireworks going off on the left side of the pic, its the 6th one scrolling at the top of your e-mail, it's a great picture.

Kevin Kusiak
Class of 2007


Is that my ratty looking son with the long hair and baseball cap? My husband forwarded this to me and he thinks it is! His name is Zach Drake and graduated in Dec. 2006. We forwarded this to him to see what he thinks!


Lynn Drake, proud momma of Zach

Lynn: We await the verdict!


The guy in the white T-shirt at the first table with his hat on backwards and arms crossed was Josh Taggart. He is a fellow member of the Delta Sigma Phi fraternity. Hope this helps.

Shawn Martin

Snowfalls, Snowbanks

Jim Carroll's "Snowfall Record" letter set me to recalling the snowbanks that built up along streets during the winter, which often were much higher than cars. Approaching intersections could be a
problem, from the standpoint of not being able to see other cars.

Such visibility limitations could be at least partially mitigated, in those days, by extending car radio aerials fully, with a bright-colored ping-pong size ball at the top, which could be seen above the snowbanks. Bright orange balls were a favorite.

Now that so few automobiles have extendable aerials, how do Copper Country drivers handle this sort of visibility problem?

Frank Shoffner '62

Frank: We buy SUVs!


You know what? I'm becoming addicted to your newsletters, this last one really a flood of memories. It's become a guilty pleasure.
You've done wonders with it.


Joe Kirkish

Joe: It's great to hear from a legend. Thank you.

Mining Trophy Found!

Looking at the frisbee trophy brought to mind another trophy. It used to be in the Mining Engineering Department with Rudy Gruer (?). It was won by the MTU Ladies mining team (of which I was a part) at the National Mining Competition in Elko, NV. I wonder if it is still around as the department no longer seems to exist. It was a large oak affair that my husband built with a piece of 'as mined' copper on top. Let me know if it is still around and being displayed. Thanks

Jocelyn (Burrows) Buchman '87

Editor's Note: The Geo/Mining folks were able to find the old trophy and it is on its way to Jocelyn.

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