May 23, 2011
Vol. 17, No. 20
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All Those Hoods

PhD candidates
Just some of the many graduate degrees conferred at Commencement.

Family and friends at this Spring Commencement ceremony noticed something interesting: many PhD and MS candidates were receiving their degrees and hoods.

It's not by chance.

The Graduate School has been showing steady growth and has exceeded targets for enrollment, according to Dean Jackie Huntoon.

"Across campus, faculty and departments are on board with the Strategic Plan, and we are moving forward with increased graduate education and research," she says.

The differences between Michigan Tech’s graduate education and other universities are myriad and include completion rate: 62 percent of Tech PhD students finish what they start here, compared to 50 percent nationally. Seventy-five percent of Tech’s master's students also complete their degrees. More

Dennis '92, '09

At Tech

Murthy Receives Distinguished Service Award

Pushpa Murthy
Michigan Tech adopted a paid maternity leave policy in January 2010, due in great part to Pushpalatha Murthy. For her efforts, Murthy will receive the 2011 Distinguished Service Award, which carries a prize of $2,500. Murthy, a professor of chemistry and director of the Women in Science and Engineering group, was nominated for the honor by Faith Morrison, an associate professor of chemical engineering. More

SAE Honors Johnson for Legacy of Powertrain Engineering Research

John Johnson
The Society of Automotive Engineers presented the Franz F. Pischinger Powertrain Innovation Award to John Johnson April 12 at the SAE World Congress. The Pischinger Award was established in 2008 by FEV Inc. to recognize exceptional innovation and competence in powertrain design and development. Johnson, a presidential professor emeritus of the mechanical engineering–engineering mechanics department at Michigan Technological University, is a pioneer in the field of diesel emissions. The bronze plaque he received is engraved with the words “For outstanding innovation and lifetime achievement in the field of powertrain research, design and development.”. More

If You Have a Tech Degree, Bhakta Rath Knows You Can do the Job

Luckily for Michigan Tech--and generations of graduate students and researchers here--Bhakta Rath never did get the hang of speaking German. "After finishing my bachelor's degree in India, I got a full scholarship to study in Germany," Rath recalls. "But after six months trying to learn German, when all I could say was hello, good-bye and where is the bathroom, I realized that this was not the way to get a graduate education." More

Alumni Around the World

South Carolina Get-together

We had our first alumni gathering/event in the Greer/Greenville, South Carolina, area on Friday, May 13. There was a nice gathering of alums, some retired, some still working: they covered all ages. It was hosted by Russ Wagner '71 at his home. ME-EM Department Chair Bill Predebon gave a presentation for the group.

south carolinaMr. and Mrs. Pete Haskell '71 (left) are shown with Russ Wagner (host) as they reminisced about being on the Michigan Tech swim team together.

south carolinaConnie Scott, Development Officer, visits with Bob Monahan '54, "Oldest living All-American Hockey Player for Tech."

Alumni Association Begins Traditions Fellowships and Scholarships

As the Generations of Discovery Campaign progresses, important initiatives are arising. An excellent example is the new Traditions of Giving Fellowship and Scholarships for incoming and current Michigan Tech students. Sponsored by the Alumni Association, this fund will distribute $90,000 beginning this fall.

Scholarships and fellowships have long enabled students to attend Michigan Tech, including those who might not otherwise be able to enroll.

“I am a foster youth, transitioning to adulthood, and I am on my own when it comes to funding,” said psychology major Angela Hoffman. “So, that scholarship is essential to me being here. While I’m at Tech, I want to learn how to help other people.”

Troy Bouman, a mechanical engineering student, echoed Angela’s thoughts on funding. “If it wasn’t for my scholarships, I could not have come here.”

The fellowships and scholarships are funded by the investment earnings income generated from an endowed fund of the Michigan Tech Alumni Association. This endowment was created through the generosity of alumni and friends who have supported the Alumni Association over the years.

The Alumni Association will provide $30,000 per year for three years, beginning this fall: $10,000 for graduate fellowships and $20,000 for undergraduate scholarships each year. The awards will be $1,000 per student, with the following guidelines:

  • Awardees must contribute to the goals of the Michigan Tech Plan.
  • Awards will be used for incoming and current students in need as defined by Michigan Tech’s Financial Aid Office and Graduate School.

In addition, the Alumni Association Board of Directors will welcome each student to the University, tell them how the fellowship or scholarship was created, and encourage them to connect to the alumni network and get involved in alumni events.

If you would like to help support the Traditions of Giving Fellowship and Scholarships, please contact Alumni Relations at 906-487-2400 or email

HuskyLink: Celebrating Four Years of Creating Connections

Since its launch in February 2007, HuskyLink has registered over 14,600 members and has attracted over 109,000 unique visits from 142 countries around the world. HuskyLink's exclusive alumni features complement Michigan Tech’s presence on today’s mainstream social networks such as Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter.

HuskyLink is the only resource where you can access the entire Michigan Tech alumni family through its versatile online directory, which averages over 50,000 hits per year. Alumni and students can network with others by searching standard directory fields, or class year, major, and employer.

Other unique features include our professional mentoring program, which allows students to connect with alumni for career guidance.

To celebrate the success of HuskyLink and its new makeover, new and current members have an opportunity to win some exciting prizes.

Simply enter the drawing by:

* Updating Your Information
* Submitting a Class Note
* Using the Directory (Send Member an Email)
* note: only one entry per action for max of three entries per member

Prizes include:

* 1st - New Husky Themed iPad
* 2nd - Reunion 2011 Ticket Package and Lodging for Two
* 3rd - $200 Campus Store Gift Card
* 4th - $100 Campus Store Gift Card
* 5th - $50 Campus Store Gift Card

So checkout HuskyLink today and explore your network.

Fill in the Blanks


This infamous sign was erected, for awhile, in 1985. Remember? Email me.

Our First Bowling Alley

bowling alleyWe assume this was in the basement of the old Gym/Clubhouse (current ROTC building). Do you recall? Email me.
View more sports >

Tech Sports

Men's Basketball Holding Mini-Camp May 23-26

hoops camp
The Michigan Tech men's basketball team is holding a mini-camp next week (May 23-26) for boys in grades 3-8. The camp will run each evening Monday through Thursday. Grades 3-5 will meet from 4-6 p.m. while boys in grades 6-8 will meet from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Campers will be instructed in ball handling, shooting, defense, team play, hard work and discipline. More

Around the Keweenaw

Rallying for Early Childhood Education

Local residents joined statewide demonstrations of support for early childhood education Thursday night. About 160 parents and children walked from the Ramada Inn in Hancock to the Ray Kestner Waterfront Park in Houghton, where they played and enjoyed ice cream. "The little guys came a long way," said Emilie Krznarich, director of the Copper Country Great Start Collaborative. More

Commissioners Hear Concerns About Lodge

A concerned resident attended the regular meeting of the Keweenaw County Board of Commissioners Wednesday to raise issues about the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge. Fred Gaabo told the board he worked with the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge from 1991 to 2002 when it was profitable. "We never borrowed money from the county or any place else," he said. More

Houghton City Council Mulls Budget Decrease

The Houghton City Council met Wednesday night to discuss its proposed budget for the 2012 fiscal year. The $3,057,900 budget marks a 1 percent drop from last year's adjusted budget. MacInnes said the proposed budget contains significant guesses, particularly in revenue sharing from the state. More

From the Email Bag

Varsity Singers

varsity singers

It's still clickable.

Oh my gosh Dennis! Does that picture of Varsity Singers bring back memories! I was a member from 1970 through 1972. I looked up my scrapbook, thinking I had the snow statue picture labeled, but it's the picture from 70/71, with the singers posed in a field, overlooking campus
and the Houghton bridge from the north, that has names attached.

Here's the names I have in that photo (clickable, below): Annette (?), Rick Fisher, Kris Johnson (now Van Eyck), Tom Kokkonen, Cheryl Kohler, Bill Velner, Mary Ann (?), Doug Sherwood, Dan Britton, Paul Sonneman, Jerry Blackburn, Pete Catalino, Mark Plichta, Jeff Barnes, Scot V (?), Al Coyner, Linda Dodge, Scott McConnel, Judy Kemp, Tom Lang, singersHeather Dorman, Linda Emsley (me/Roleson), Bill Hartley, Sue Michaelson, Sue (?), Henry Weins (the terrific piano player), Dave Huebner, Cathy Williams, Sue Bellanger. Another name in the 71/72 photo, Mary Beth Laird (now Hartrick).

From an article in a Kiwanis Krier, spring '72, add: Jim Schultz, Bob MacDonald, Dan McIsaac (drums), Jim Gourd (bass). The article specifically pointed out that "the Varsity Singers were composed of both young men and young women and we found that the women were majoring in science, mathematics bio-chemistry, etc." So I'm forced to remember that in the 70s, women in an engineering school were not the norm!

singersI remember also that John Clark, was really thrilled to find interested and some very talented musicians at Michigan Tech.

Mike Irish, tho' not in Varsity Singers, was studying at Tech during these years, and may remember other members names that I've missed.

Hope you hear from more of us. I look forward to more info on a reunion!

Thanks for the memories.

Linda Roleson, '74

Linda: The information for that reunion will be coming in the mail shortly, and Stephen Brown '81 or Lisa Lange '82 are your contacts.


Hi Dennis,
As far as the trumpet players go, we have Pat (Loch) Ness on the left, then Jim Tavener, then Bruce (GB) Peterson. Not sure about the guy furthest to the right as this photo was a year before my time. Bruce got his nickname by checking into a motel once under the alias, "Granston Bonaparte". Probably shouldn't print the last sentence - there may still be warrants out...

Mark Mitchell '77

Mark: I checked with the local authorities, and GB is in the clear!


From Milt Olsson: Varsity Singers Alums Plan Reunion

Former members and alumni of Michigan Tech's Varsity Singers/Jazz Singers are planning to gather as part of the Michigan Technological University 2011 Alumni Reunion August 4-6. Stephen Brown and Lisa Pekrul Lange are spearheading the planning, working with retired director Milton Olsson, and with Brenda Rudiger and her Michigan Tech Alumni Relations staff. Together, they have compiled a not-quite-complete list of names of past Singers, but the list keeps expanding as word about the Singers Reunion spreads. Contact Doc at to update your contact info and to advise about other Singers that you know. So far, there are over 175 names on the list.

Singers Reunion activities will begin on Thursday, August 4, at 6 PM (after the Pasty Picnic), when all past Singers and their families will meet in McArdle Theatre (the Black Box on the second floor of Walker Arts and Humanities Center). After getting re-acquainted, we plan to sing. We'll have a piano, drum set, amps and a sound system provided by the Department of Visual and Performing Arts (Fine Arts). VPA department chair Roger Held has offered McArdle Theatre and the equipment for use throughout the Alumni Reunion, so there will be organized and informal rehearsals, including small groups and solos. Singers Reunion activities will culminate with an "Open Mic" performance for family and friends in McArdle at 5 PM on August 6.

The founder of Varsity Singers, John Clark and former director Prof Grover Wilkins III have been invited to take part in the Singers Reunion, and some of the original Varsity Singers are expected to attend.

Have a favorite song? Any ideas for Reunion Activities? Contact Doc and go to Varsity Singers on Facebook.


I'm so glad Thom brought up Varsity Singers. I was involved for four fun years. Here are two color pictures of the gang. The one from the yearbook (on the snow statue) is from 1971-72 and the other (at the breakers) is from 1973-74.

Jill Nyman Botz ('75)


Oh my goodness – that’s me in the chorus picture - 2nd from left in the upper row of women chorus members (white blouses). I’m also very proud to say that I was one of the original members of the Varsity Singers which John Clarke (“JC Superstar”) put together. And yes, I remember when that picture of the Varsity Singers was taken in front of the ice statue – not sure but I might be in the front left.

Sue Michaelson, Assistant Dean
Director, Engineering Co-op Program
College of Engineering, Marquette University

Northwestern Michigan Scholarships Announced

The Northwestern Michigan-Michigan Tech Alumni Scholarship Committee (NW-MTAS) has awarded four scholarships to local students who will be attending Michigan Tech this fall. These students are: Joseph Johnson, Clayton Beyers, Meagan Eby and Christopher Blessing. All four of these students attended high school in Grand Traverse and Leelanau Counties.

Joseph Johnson is the son of Erik Johnson of Interlochen. He is a graduate of Traverse City West High School. In high school, Joe has been active in Key Club, varsity wrestling and the Grand Traverse Yacht Club. He is an Honor Roll student who has volunteered for clean-ups at the State Park.

Clayton Beyers is the son of Alice Beyers of Lake Leelanau. He is a graduate of Leland High School. Clay served as captain of the varsity soccer team as well as being involved in National Honor Society and Student Council. He is an Honor Roll student and a recipient of the Presidential Award for Educational Excellence.

Meagan Eby is the daughter of Joseph Eby of Traverse City. She is a graduate of Traverse City West High School. While attending High School, Meagan was a track and field athlete and a member of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Clean-up Team. She is an academic letter winner and was awarded 2nd place in the 2010 TCAPS Library Poetry Competition.

Christopher Blessing is the son of Rob and Julie Blessing of Suttons Bay. He is a graduate of Northport High School. Chris served as vice president of both his senior class and National Honor Society. He was a member of the all-district soccer team and a member of the Northport Economic Development Committee.

The NW-MTAS would like to congratulate the recipients of this year’s awards, but also Cori Kahler (Maple City) and Maria Frick (Williamsburg), who by their academic success at Tech have earned renewals of the Scholarships awarded to them last year.

NW-MTAS looks forward to providing assistance to local students for many years to come. Thank you, also, to all the Michigan Tech alumni who, through their generosity, have made this scholarship possible. If you are an alumnus or friend of Michigan Tech and would like to find out how you can support local students who will be attending Tech, please e-mail Terry Paquet: PaquetJT @

Coach Pearson

Mel Pearson

Congratulations on the committee's choice for the HUSKIES head coach. Mel, has a great reputation and his experience with Red Berenson will go along way to putting us in a stronger recruiting position. His experience at a small school and a large school will become a real sales tool.

Gerry Fabbro,Class of '61.

Classes of 1984 and 2011!

father and son
I never thought my picture would ever grace the fine "pages" of the MTU Alumni news letter.

I love the graduation ceremony and am always particularly touched with the military recognition. Someone behind me whispered "I've got chills" and I thought it was just me. Then having the Pep Band lead the graduates out was a wonderful way to conclude. Perhaps MTU can think of some way for the Pep Band grads to join them next time.

My wife, Suzanne, and I made our way to the reception area and found Benjamin. We passed the Alumni table to pick up some freebies and found the temporary tattoo. I commented that it would have to go some place without much hair. Benjamin picked the most logical place!

I proudly wore it the rest of the day. It was fun catching people staring at me when they thought I wasn't looking.

BTW; that picture is now my facebook profile picture.

Thomas Fedorka
1984 BSME

The Old Blue Duck

Herman is rolling in his grave..... He was NEVER a Goose, He was a Mallard duck!

"...the final brand image featured a duck in front of a circle. The mallard symbolized the frequent and quick flights Wisconsin (North) Central's aircraft would perform silhouetted against the sun by day and the moon at night...."

Scott D Hartz


RE: aircraft at Calumet airport. I had the privilege of flying on Convair 580s with NC Airlines (the Ruptured Duck?) in the mid-70s south on interview trips. As the pilot pushed the throttles to the wall during our turn from the taxiway onto the runway at Escanaba (during the turn, not after) I thought about how much fun it must be flying the puddle-jumpers on those 12 to 20 minute hops. Houghton to Iron Mountain, to Escanaba, to Green Bay, and then back again. Much more fun the 2 hour “auto-pilot” jet flights.

I remember taking my girlfriend (now my wife) to the airport for a mid-winter interview trip. The pilot shoveled the path to the stairway, then loaded the luggage, then climbed aboard to fly the plane. The plane taxied out and disappeared in the swirling snow. A few minutes later it came roaring out of the blowing snow and lifted off into the overcast – gone from sight!!!

Dave Plumeau....

Vets Reunion Planned

MTU Vets,
Here is the latest information on the Reunion. Beer Bob and his lovely daughter Andra sent an invite to the Facebook members and there has been quite a bit of discussion on the page. If you have seen this on Facebook, never mind. To summarize for everyone else:

The weekend is set for July 22-24. Vets, spouses and family are all invited. The Dollar Bay Fire Hall will be Vets Central on Friday night. Stop by the Fire Hall to meet other Vets, have a Ginger Ale (bring your own; Richie's Market is right next door) and find out the schedule of events. At this time it looks like on Saturday there will be a tour (Pub Crawl) in the Keweenaw to include Brockway, Copper Harbor, Gay Bar and ending at the Dodge Lodge in Eagle River for a swim in the Lake (well, maybe) and a sauna. A tour of the campus is also being planned; details will be coming. Sometime during the weekend we will meet at Tom Rozich's fine establishment, the Copper Island Beach Club in Hancock, for a drink.

A golf outing was suggested. If you are interested in golfing, let it be known on the Facebook page. If you are not on Facebook, let me know and I will post it for you.

If you are planning on attending please reply and let us know how many people will be coming. If you cannot attend please let us know that also.

The Vets who have said they will attend or try very hard to make it.

Don Ahola
Bob Aittama
Ed Baillargeon
Dave Bergman
Dan Bessinger
R. P. Bowen
Ron Buck
Chuck Dietzel
John Dodge
Steve Gasper
Pete Gibaud
Jim Hanttula
Jim Heim
Fred Hoehn
Paul Horn
Don Horton
Jim (Chip) Houle
Chuck Jack
Dave Kennedy
Ferdinand Lundberg
Bruce MichaelsonTed Morrison
Ray Olson
Dave Ouillette
Steve Palac
Dick Parker
Paul Rhodea
George Ritter

Tom Rozich
Rick Rozman
Joel Schlukebir
Dave Schumann
Donna Slining
Larry Stimac
Steve Stube
Jack Swift
Dale Sweetlips Voice
Phil Walker
Le Roy Warner
Beer Bob Ziemnick

The Vets that we are still trying to contact. If you are in touch with any of these guys, please let send us contact info. If you know of someone that is not on any of the lists, let us know. Thanks for the help.

Ken Aulich
Jeff Barstow
Richard Berg
Charles Blake
Andy Blystra
Gary Brazo
Paul Brewer
John Cantwell
Joe DeMerse
Max Dietz
Bill Dowsett
John Dufour
Ed Dzarnowski
Mike Fitzpatrick
Dick Good
Dennis Hacker
Bill Herzog
John Holmes

Dave Inman
Fred Jenness
Bruce Jones
Jim Kerr
Jim Koenigsknecht
Andy Kunos
Robert (Kip) Linklater
Randy Lorenz
John McDaniels
Willy Merrill
Dave Nelson
Ed Newman
Dick Nigh
Tom O'Connor
Ed Olson
Dick Prince
Al Purins
Eero Ranta
Ted Reed
Paul Rezin
Frank Rice
Glen Richter
Chuck Saari
Bob Savela
Paul Schuer
Francis (Lee) Scollon
Dave Soncrant
Ron Sorensen
Richard Sorensen
Rich Stringer
Ken Sweet
Fred Taylor
Rob Voss
Greg Walter
Blaine Warner
Willy Wassberg
Ken White
Bob Woody

The Vets Club was an outstanding, one-of-a-kind organization back in the late 60's and early 70's. Many of us made it through school because we had the support and friendship of the Club members. We hope you can make it back up to the Copper Country this summer to continue the tradition of fun filled Vets Club Reunions.

Don't forget to RSVP and I hope to see you this summer.(Just click on the name.)
-- John Dodge

More on the Admissions Office

I would like to add my congratulations and thanks to the Admissions office for their outstanding campus visit program. My husband and I are both alums and we brought our younger two boys plus a friend to check out Tech last month. As a result, my middle son has decided to definitely attend MTU this fall. The Tech students who conducted the tours were friendly, enthusiastic, and extremely informative. We were able to meet with several departments to discuss their programs with our boys. Since our high school senior is unsure about his major next year it was reassuring to him to get his questions answered by the right people and to gain an understanding of how MTU can help him develop his path. The whole visit felt very personal. I was very proud of my alma mater - it was the most impressive campus visit we attended!

I am curious about one thing after reading all of the comments regarding when the last graduation was at the Dee. Jim Botz stated that his class of '74 graduated at the SDC. When I attended my first campus visit to Tech in March of 1981, I thought they told me the SDC had just opened that school year. Perhaps the hockey arena was built first then the rest of the SDC opened in 1980???

Lynda Kuisell '85

More on Ed Vandette

Love the newsletter.

I had the great pleasure of taking many (actually all!) of Dr. Vandette's courses, including his last shortly before he passed. The previous year, he was able to tour Russia as the guest of a friend of his (The U.S. Ambassador to Norway if I recall). He recommended that one should definitely travel as the guest of an Ambassador if at all possible!

He spent several lectures talking about his travels, the delight showing on his face as he described the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, and the lavish State Dinner he was able to attend. His lecture style was unique and took some getting used to. I still have the reams of notes I took during his classes. He was truly one of the great ones.

Matt Staron, P.E. '94


Hi Dennis,
I also missed the write up on one of Tech's greats, Ed Vandette. I met Ed through my fraternity, Sigma Rho. Ed was an incorporate member active in the 1970's-1980's. I was in the house in the early 90's but made a point to get to know Ed at the suggestion of a few of the brothers in the house. I took the Russian History courses (as most of us Sigs did) and enjoyed the aforementioned current news discussions & rapid fire "class material" sessions. Ed's office was a small place and he was a pretty heavy smoker. One thing I will always remember about my many visits to his office…walking in was like entering a burning building, with an ashtray usually full to the top. In Ed's honor I had a display paddle made up where it rests in the chapter room at our fraternity house in Chassell, next to mine. Ed was a great guy and it was an honor to know him.

Phil Agius
Alpena, Michigan

Any Alums in Scotland?

G'Day Dennis!
Since graduating in '06, I have worked as an oilfield engineer in Vietnam and Thailand for both Schlumberger & Weatherford. In '10 my husband took a role in Australia, and now we are on the brink of moving to Aberdeen, Scotland. I've been a LONG way from Tech, but my heart remains in pined woods and icy stone shores of da UP. Can you post a "shout-out" to see what other Techies live in Scotland?

Casey (Behles) Martel
Chemical Engineer '06
Alpha Xi Zeta

Tech Makes Automobile Website

I don't know if you saw this "Tech in the news" article.
From Automobile magazine:

Steve Misenheimer
Class of '81

Featured Alumni Benefits

Career Tools

Michigan Tech alumni exploring new employment opportunities can take advantage of a wide range of career services including:

  • Post your resume, search for jobs online using NACElink.
  • Attend resume and interviewing seminars, Michigan Tech Career fairs, company information meetings, and career networking events.
  • Join the exclusive Michigan Tech Alumni Linkedin group.
  • Use the video and career planning library.

Visit contact the Career Center (906) 487-2313 for more information.


Show your Michigan Tech Pride with Tech Gear

Job Opportunities

On Campus

Assistant Director, Alumni Relations
Financial Aid Advisor (two positions), Office of Financial Aid

Complete Descriptions are available on the Human Resources website.

Off Campus

Keweenaw opportunities:

Other employment opportunities: Check out the Linked in group exclusively for Michigan Tech Alumni.

Also, visit the Career Tools webpage for more options.