November 21, 2011
Vol. 18, No. 7
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Pitching an Idea

elevator pitch crowd
Fisher 139 was packed for the competition.

At the Bob Mark Memorial Elevator Pitch Competition last Monday, students had three minutes to sell their next great business idea to a panel of judges. The pitches were as wide-ranging as they were clever.

Placing first--and winning the $1,000 top prize--was AsfalisMed, the creation of Travis Beaulieu and Joel Florek. Beaulieu is an applied physics major with a concentration in entrepreneurship and a minor in mathematics. Florek is a first-year engineering student and a member of the Pavlis Institute for Global Technological Leadership. Their business uses a secure online database and mobile application for access to medical information via QR codes on drivers licenses and student IDs. More

Dennis '92, '09

At Tech

Tech Team Earns Top Ten Finish in "Battle of the Brains"

Battle of BrainsA team from Michigan Tech has finished among the top 10 in its region following the first round of the ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest. Based on preliminary results, Team Magenta now has a chance to go to the world finals, said David Poplawski, associate professor of computer science and the team coach. More

Carbon Foam: The Key Ingredient of a Better Battery?

green battery
A lighter, greener, cheaper, longer-lasting battery. Who wouldn’t want that? Researchers at Michigan Tech are working on it. Actually, their design is a twist on what’s called an asymmetric capacitor, a new type of electrical storage device that’s half capacitor, half battery. It may be a marriage made in heaven. More

How Old is the Earth’s Inner Core?

inner core
Another discovery by a Michigan Tech researcher could send shockwaves across the world of earth science. Aleksey Smirnov, assistant professor of geophysics, with colleagues from the University of Rochester and Yale University, has discovered that the earth’s inner core could actually be at least 1.2 billion years older than previously thought. More

Alumni Around the World

Alaska Alumni Gather

More than forty alumni and friends gathered at the Sullivan Arena in Anchorage Alaska before the Huskies vs. UAA Seawolves hockey game to enjoy some great Moose’s Tooth pizza and share their Tech memories. Coach Mel Pearson ’81 stopped in and talked about how well the team was shaping up. It was very exciting for the very vocal Tech group watch their Huskies win the game 5-0.

Neil Christensen ’02 ‘05 (shown here with wife, Renee, and son) led the group in the Fight Song after each goal.

Our Copper Country Snowfall Contest is Back!

snowy campus

Predict the total amount of snow to fall in the Keweenaw this winter for a chance to win a stay at the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge and a Michigan Tech Winter Survival Kit.

Last winter, more than one thousand alumni and friends responded with guesses ranging from a low of 100 inches to a high of 385!

Ron Streib, a 1969 Metallurgical Engineering alumnus, prediction of 178.3 inches was the closest to the Keweenaw Research Center snowfall record of 178.5 for the season. Ron and his wife, Shirley, stopped into the Alumni House this fall to let us know how much they enjoyed their stay at the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge and the assortment of Michigan Tech winter gear.

Enter your snowfall prediction for the 2011-12 season at

But be kind…. we have to shovel it all!

Help Recognize Outstanding Alumni and Friends

Know a great alumnus/a or friend of the University? Here's a chance to help get them the recognition they deserve.

The Alumni Association is seeking nominations for the 2012 alumni awards. They are:

* Outstanding Young Alumni
* Outstanding Service
* Distinguished Alumni
* Honorary Alumni
* Humanitarian

These recognitions are presented each August at the Alumni Reunion.

Award descriptions and nomination forms are available at Alumni Awards.

The deadline to nominate is Dec. 1.

For more information, contact Director Brenda Rudiger (Alumni Relations) at .

Mont Ripley Alumni Deal

mt. ripley
Check out the “new” Mont Ripley and save 50 percent on lift tickets.

In the past decade we have invested about three million dollars to add snowmaking over the whole hill, a new chairlift on the East side, several new trails , more lights and grooming, more than terrain park features and many new programs.

Mont Ripley has many great “learn to ski and snowboard” programs but we are best known for our steeper slopes with many powder bowls and glades so you can rip up all the fresh powder you’ll find. For the younger knees, the Mont Ripley terrain park is second to none with over thirty features, including rails, slider boxes, and big jumps.

Here’s the DEAL : Make a trip back to Michigan Tech’s Mont Ripley this winter. Just print this page and as an alumnus/a, you and your family will each receive a lift ticket for only $25, (that’s a 50% savings). Also rental equipment will be available for $20 and can include a free group lesson.

We hope to see you on the slopes this season at Mont Ripley!

For more information check the Mont Ripley Website.

SYP Enrollment Open Now

Enrollment for the 2012 Summer Youth Programs is now open! Check out our exciting new offerings at Register your student early, since many of our 50 explorations fill up quickly. As a benefit only available to our alumni, a $50 discount is redeemable for all children and grandchildren of alumni. 2012 Applications and Exploration information are now available on our web site.

Summer Youth Program begins July 8. Weekly sessions run through August 4.

Competitive Scholarship programs are also available: Women in Engineering will run June 24-June 30; Engineering Scholars Program and Rail and Intermodal run July 8-14; and National Summer Transportation Institute is a two week program available July 15-28.

We can’t wait to see your student on the Michigan Tech campus this summer!

Fill in the Blanks

kday 1951 kday clipping

The beginnings of K-Day in 1951, according to the Keweenawan. The caption says: "Keweenaw Day. Faculty-Student baseball game: Burney Bennett, catcher; Bill Kaarlela at bat; and Bob Monglat, umpire." Can anyone verify that this was the first? Email me.

YES Expo! 2006

YES ExpoWhere you part of the YES Expo in Ford Field? Email me.
View more sports >

Tech Sports

Robinson, Huskies Blank Seawolves 5-0

Josh Robinson made 23 saves in his second shutout of the season as the Michigan Tech hockey team defeated Alaska Anchorage 5-0 tonight at Sullivan Arena. The Huskies (7-4-1, 5-4-1 WCHA) got goals from five different players to earn the series split with the Seawolves (4-7-1, 1-7-0 WCHA). "It was a total team effort tonight," said head coach Mel Pearson. "I liked our team from the get go. We were so much better than last night. More

Basketball Collects First Win of Season

men's basketball
The Michigan Tech men’s basketball team overcame a slow start to post a 74-63 win over Minnesota State for its first win of the season Saturday (Nov. 19). The Huskies (1-1) missed their first seven shots of the game before freshman Ben Stelzer made a jumper seven minutes into the half. “I don’t know what our problem was at the beginning,” said head coach Kevin Luke. “We switched players, and we were able to get things going." More

Women's Basketball Drops First Road Game

women's basketball
Indianapolis had four players score in double figures in a 79-52 win over No. 3 Michigan Tech Saturday (Nov. 19). The Greyhounds (1-2) shot 55-percent (27-49) in the contest, while the Huskies (2-1) shot just 35-percent (19-55). Indianapolis used a series of small runs, including a 12-4 run at the end of the half, to take a 38-22 lead into halftime. More

Recent Results | Complete Schedule

Around the Keweenaw

Daily Mining Gazette | WLUC TV-6 | Marquette Mining Journal

From the Email Bag

Ore Boats Plying the Keweenaw Waterway

I saw your photo about "Ore Boats on the Waterway." It reminded me of the time I saw a large ship passing by from the 8th floor DOW atrium in November 2004. From my notes I remembered it was the S. S. Buckeye. As I was watching it go by slowly it ran aground, revved the bow thrusters along with the propeller at full blast but remained perfectly still. After about 15 minutes of churning mud and water they finally started to slowly move down the canal once more. A blast from the horn signaled that the ship was ready to go under the lift bridge. I moved to the MEEM to watch from the 11th floor as they went under the bridge on their way.

Darren Schaaf (EE, 2006)

Darren: Great story! I recall an autumn day in the early 1970s when a series of freighters came through, six or seven I believe, because of bad waves on Superior. Anyone else remember this?

Snowfall Totals

snow thermometer


I seem to remember that the snowfall total was about 305 inches for the winter of 74-75. Obviously I am in error but is the airport the only official site for snowfall measurements for the MTU area?

Bill Haire

Bill: Good timing! The Alumni Association is starting their Snowfall Total Contest again. And, I've made the famous snow thermometer (left) clickable.

The Alumni Relations snowfall page.

And another snow website here.

There is a big difference, of course, between the airport and Painesdale or Calumet area.


Smith House, and More, from the Late 1960s

smith house Fischer Hall
wedding Les
I only had a Brownie camera back in the 60’s, but here is a picture developed in May of 1969 showing the destruction of Smith House. You had a “nice” picture of it in the 11/7 newsletter, but here is one of its demise. There was a slate (not just painted or veneered slate) 12 foot long blackboard in the house that I had gotten permission to take before the destruction. When I found out how heavy it was and my concerns for how I was to store it, I gave it up. I regret that to this day. It got pulverized with the rest of the house.

Also attached is a picture of the side entrance to Fischer Hall showing typical snow accumulation. The picture was developed in Feb of 1968. A bunch of that lived in Arctic Attic on the 5th floor of WWH used to go out after snow storms and photograph the snow piles.

A third and fourth picture shows my later to be wife, Leslie, standing at the back steps of my apartment at 225 Hubbell Street when I was a senior. That was the year that we got 90 inches of snow in January alone with a measured accumulation every day of the month. Our alley backed up the back yard of MacInnes. We lived in the attic of the house (4 of us...Ken Matthews, John Jazdzyk, Ralph Noyes, and myself). The picture was taken during at Winter Carnival of 1971. Yup....still married over 40 years now. The last picture was taken at Halloween in 1970 when Les came up from UW to visit for the Halloween weekend. Before the party, my roommate John (priest) and his later to be spouse, Sue, married us as gypsies. Party was a wapatoli party. Let me know if you need an explanation of what that is.

Again, sorry for the picture quality....scanned Brownie plastic camera pics.

Dan Schmidt
Class of 1971


Another Mystery Queen Candidate Identified

queen candidates
I'm pretty sure the fourth candidate from the left is Kathy Bourdage, now known as Kathy Coon.

Bill Coon '71


Hi, Dennis-
The discussion of the Mystery Queen Candidates has been most fascinating. There is the guy who thought he remembered dating two of the young women in the photo, placing it around 1965. The Chemical Sciences and Engineering Building was supposedly completed in 1969, although I seem to remember an earlier date on its cornerstone, so the photo should be at least a couple of years older than 1965. A 1969 grad, though, said that the building had not yet been built during his time. A woman in the picture remembers it as Homecoming, 1968. On the other hand, another guy said that the older building in the background was demolished in the summer of 1968, placing a Homecoming photo at 1967 or earlier. I hope you’re not getting tired of this, because I am really curious to see how it settles out. My wife says that I forget things that happened, and I counter that she remembers things that didn’t happen. Memory sure is a funny thing.

-Fran Hanchek, ’76, ‘81

Fran: And I've been accused of "selective memory" by the better-half!

Paulson Wine up for Auction: Tech Will Benefit

Hi Dennis,
Many will remember Pat Paulson and his dry pan humor from the Smother's Brothers TV show and his historic write in campaign for President, it now appears that his son may reignite the tradition. His motto was "I've upped my standard, now up yours!" and "If I'm elected, I'll win!" In 1985 while on business traveling in N. California I encountered signs along the highway for Paulsen Vineyards and luckily stopped to check it out. In the tasting room stood a lifesize image of Pat holding a bottle of wine and sign that read "My wines are served in the White House even if I'm not". I sampled an '82 vintage Cabernet, a gold medal winner, that was being retired for a later '80s reintroduction.

It was remarkable and I've always regretted not buying more but chose to save one bottle still sitting in my wine cellar and about to become 30 years old. I'm willing to make the supreme sacrifice by offering this Priceless Vintage Cabernet Sauvignon to the highest bidder and to donate the proceeds of the winning bid to the Generations of Discovery campaign, I'll periodically ask Dennis to post current bids and also the bid closing date.

Perhaps this idea might inspire other Alumni to offer rare memorabilia and/or similar collectables via the newsletter, an unofficial Blind Auction, for the same purpose. I'm looking forward to a veritable flood of bids, Go Huskies.

Bob Carnahan '53

Another Answer to the Hockey Question

Question. When a player was awarded a penalty shot and missed it; was his team then given a two-minute power play? I could swear, and would almost bet, that was the rule then but can find no one else who remembers that.

Dick Kuenzer EE '63 & '67


That was never the case. The purpose of the penalty shot has always been to restore a clear scoring opportunity that has been lost because of illegal actions by the opposition team. The shot is that opportunity and the only penalty. The first penalty shots, though, were taken from a spot in front of the net, similar to soccer.

Always ask a Canadian a hockey question ;)

Rick, PhD ('89)

Rick: Good answer! I didn't know about the first penalty shots!

The Waves of November 2005

lake superior
My brother and a friend and I drove up to Eagle Harbor that night, checking out the waves along the way. I remember the huge swells and roiling water, but we didn’t find a good spot to see them crashing over anything. On the way back we heard on the radio something about the anniversary of the Edmund Fitzgerald (I think the 2005 storm was the 8th or 9th of November). It was a night that really stuck with me—seeing the power of the lake and then thinking of those who were lost on the Edmund Fitzgerald. It’s an amazing lake! I have to tell people about shipwrecks and “you can’t see across it” when they think it’s just a lake!

Aimee Rathbun (Dec. 05)

Aimee: Of course we know it as the "Third Coast!"

Fixing a Clock!

clock clock

One of life's little pleasures. Turning a "worthless" U of M wall clock into a thing of beauty.


Bob Spencer '79

Bob: Priceless, I'd say!

Featured Alumni Benefits

Michigan Tech Group Insurance

liberty mutual
Liberty Mutual and the Alumni Association
As a Michigan Tech graduate, you qualify for a special group rate on your auto, home, and renters insurance through Liberty Mutual. For a free, no-obligation quote, contact your Liberty Mutual Representative today!

Eastern  Michigan: Renee Kurowski (989.832.4865)
Western Michigan & the UP: Chris Napolillo (800-865-1870 ext. 56821)
 Outside of Michigan: Call 1-800-981-2372 or visit the Liberty Mutual website –

Liberty Mutual provides funds to the Michigan Tech Alumni Association as part of this collaboration. Agreements like this help support a wide range of programs and services for alumni and students.

Michigan Tech Gear

Show your Michigan Tech Pride!
Official Class Rings
Diploma Frames
Michigan Tech License Plates
Michigan Tech Collector Blanket
University Images—Michigan Tech Clothing and Giftware

Job Opportunities

On Campus

Strategic Faculty Hiring Initiative: Positions in Water and Transportation

Processing Archivist, J. R. Van Pelt and John and Ruanne Opie Library

Senior Project Archivist, J. R. Van Pelt and John and Ruanne Opie Library

Web Content Specialist and Developer, University Marketing and Communications

Apply using new online system at

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.