December 19, 2011
Vol. 18, No. 9
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Commencement Legacies

elevator pitch crowd
A family of legacies: Bob Van Dyke '78, Andy Van Dyke '11, Karin Van Dyke '77, and Wendall Buckland '53.

It’s always great to see the generations converge at graduation, even more so when there are alumni from two or more generations gathering. Such was the case at Midyear Commencement, when we caught up to a couple of families.

Andy Van Dyke was getting his bachelor’s in forestry and had plenty of family supporting him. Grandfather Wendell Buckland ’53 was a civil engineering grad who worked with various concerns, retiring from Upjohn in Kalamazoo.

Mom Karin Van Dyke ’78 was also a twig , as was dad Bob Van Dyke ’77, who says he and Andy have swapped Tech stories, but not all of them. Over lunch at the Memorial Union, they were all proud that Andy would be working as a consulting forester with Prentiss and Carlisle in northern Wisconsin and the UP.

Another legacy was able to remain in the area after graduating. Tonina Clements (left) will be an assistant manager at Walmart in Houghton. The business administration grad was happy to remain in the Keweenaw and dad, John '86 was up from Alpena with the family to celebrate the day. John's degree was in industrial management back in the day.

Finally, Elizabeth Daavettila received her biomedical engineering degree, and proud dad John Daavettila '75 '84 (above, in slide show) were in academic garb, too. He was participating as the faculty representative for the School of Technology, as he teaches construction management at Tech. John received a couple of civil engineering degrees and has taught in the School for many years. His father, Paul, is a Class of 1952 civil alum, and his uncle, Don '56, is the keeper of the clock at the MacInnes Student Ice Arena and a former physics professor, many of you will recall.

At commencement, we thought about our legacies, too. The classes of '92, '05, '09, and '11 are represented at our house, and we all hang our Tech diplomas with pride.


News Alert—TechAlum is moving to Tuesdays, beginning with the 1/3/12 edition.

We will have more time to gather information from our busy weekends, and you'll still have TechAlum in your email boxes around 11:00 a.m. Eastern time.

Think of Tuesday as Newsday!

Snowfall Totals (at KRC, airport)
Total to date: 36"
On the ground: 4"
In last week: 3.5"

Total last year: 54"
On the ground: 26"

At Tech

DENSO Student Design Center Expands Horizons of Tech Students

Dallas Smolarek
When Dallas Smolarek started working in the DENSO Design Center at the Keweenaw Research Center, she was afraid to use a wrench. Sixteen months later, the mechanical engineering major is comfortable not only holding, but using just about any tool. “I can even fix my own snowmobile,” she reports. More

Board of Control Approves New Degree Programs

student in lab
At its regular meeting on December 9, Michigan Tech’s Board of Control approved two new master’s degree programs, two new bachelor’s programs and a new PhD program. The new degrees—in medical informatics, biomedical engineering, biochemistry and molecular biology, physics and physics for high school teachers—now must go to the academic affairs officers of the Presidents’ Council, State Universities of Michigan, for review and approval. More

Board Extends President Mroz's Contract

Glenn Mroz
At its regular meeting on December 9, Michigan Tech’s Board of Control voted unanimously to extend the contract of President Glenn D. Mroz for two years. The contract will run to June 30, 2016.The action followed a formal review of Mroz’s performance, which the board conducts on an annual basis. His performance is measured against specific criteria and measures tied to the university’s strategic plan and to the overall management of the institution. More

Last Lecture for Pat Joyce

Pat Joyce

The irony of his last lecture topic wasn’t lost on professor of economics Pat Joyce. On a bitterly cold December morning, thirty-eight years after he started teaching at Tech, he spoke on Social Security. He explained the vagaries of the often-maligned government entitlement program in language the students could understand and challenged them to think broadly about it. More

Alumni Around the World

400 New Alumni!


After the Midyear Commencement ceremony on Saturday, December 10, Alumni Relations hosted a graduate reception in the multi-purpose room of the SDC. Hundreds of excited new graduates, friends, and family, and even Blizzard T. Husky enjoyed hot chocolate and cupcakes while congratulating one another on their accomplishments.

Photo areas were set up around the room to capture the moment, and graduates signed a class banner which will be displayed at their ten-year reunion in 2021. Congratulations to the class of 2011 and welcome to the alumni family!


Columbus Get-together (left)

Twelve alumni came together for a great evening of networking and Michigan Tech Hockey. A big thanks Columbus, Ohio, Chapter Leader, John McDermott '92 for organizing the Hockey Game Watch at Buffalo Wild Wings!

KAC Social

Michigan Tech alumni, staff and friends gathered at the Mineshaft in Houghton for the Keweenaw Alumni Chapter Holiday Social. It was a festive evening filled with friends, food, reminiscing about the good old days at Tech, and great conversation of what the new year may bring! Many thanks to volunteers Carrie Richards '84 and Mike Drewyor '72/'74 for hosting the event.

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

Remember Tech at the End of the Year!

As we approach the end of the 2011 calendar year, we want to take a moment to remind our alumni and friends that there is still time to make an annual contribution in support of Michigan Tech – and receive a 2011 tax deduction on your federal tax return (if you itemize.)

*Of special note to Michigan residents: The Michigan Tax Credit for charitable contributions will be eliminated beginning January 1, 2012, so if you want to take advantage of this credit on your state tax return you must make your gift in 2011. Currently, state income tax credits carry these maximum amounts for Michigan residents:

• $100 for an individual filing singly (for a $200 donation)
• $200 for a married couple filing jointly (for a $400 donation)

You can phone the Michigan Tech Fund 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 a credit card gift via Michigan Tech’s secure online gift page by going to These online gifts can be made up until 11:55 (EST) on December 31.

The Michigan Tech Fund offices will be closed on December 26, 27 and 29, but will be open on Wednesday, December 28 from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm and on Friday, December 30 from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm (EST).

Fill in the Blanks

commencement 2006

Midyear Commencement 2006. Lots of engineers. This one is clickable. Can you find yourself? Email me.

Library in 1965

phi Tau House


This was the newly constructed library, according to the archives. It was back when the road still wrapped around the library. What was the name of that street. Was it College Avenue?

Email me.

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Tech Sports

Student-Athletes Receive Degrees

Lisa Staehlin, women's basketball team

Michigan Tech recently had over 400 students, including a number of student-athletes, receive degrees during Winter Commencement. “I am so proud of our graduates who are also student-athletes,” said Michigan Tech Faculty Athletic Representative Bill Sproule. “They have done an amazing job of juggling their classes, assignments, projects, and studying with all of their training and preparation, games, and travel. Every one has been a great ambassador for Michigan Tech.” More

Slow First Period Dooms Huskies in 4-1 Loss at NMU

Northern Michigan jumped out to a 2-0 first period lead en route to a 4-1 non-conference hockey victory over Michigan Tech tonight at the Berry Events Center. The Huskies (9-9-1) pulled within 2-1 in the second period before the Wildcats (9-7-3) scored twice in the third period including an empty netter with 1:10 remaining. More

Football's Storm Earns All-America Honors

Michigan Tech football player Todd Storm (Calumet, Mich.) has earned a spot on two different All-America teams released this week. The senior defensive end earned All-America honors from the America Football Coaches Association and All-America Second Team accolades from Daktronics, which is selected by the nation's sports information directors. More

Recent Results | Complete Schedule

Around the Keweenaw

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

From the Email Bag

Pat Paulson's Wine: the Bidding Continues

Bob Carnahan has offered up his bottle of vintage Pat Paulsen Wine from 1982 (yes, that Pat Paulsen).

Tom Arbuckle '75 has bid $82.

Anyone can bid. Just send an email to, and they'll record your amount.

You can let TechAlum know, too, so our alumni can follow along.


Revisiting Ore Boats

The Saturday before the Edmund Fitzgerald sank the MTU Football Team played Ferris State down in Big Rapids. It was the final game for many of us and we graduating seniors on the team coerced the MTU team bus driver to take us to a bar in Mackinac City that night where we toasted our football legacy up until closing time. As we made an ill-fated attempt to quietly return to the motel the driver backed the bus into the corner of the building breaking out the rear window.

Sunday morning dawned cold and blustery at the foot of the Mackinac Bridge and the coaches made us seniors sit in the back of the bus for the short ride to the restaurant where the team had breakfast. Even in our disheveled state of consciousness we realized that this would not work for the 6+ hour drive back to Houghton. We made good use of duct tape and a plastic tarp we scrounged to jury-rig a replacement for the glass. Then, in the best spirit of teamwork and camaraderie, we made the freshmen sit in the back for the ride home! That Monday several of us seniors showed up at the bus garage to plead for leniency for the driver. We took up a collection to replace the window and the driver kept his job, as we made it clear that he was operating under the direct influence of several MTU Football players who were much bigger and physically intimidating than he.

After that visit to the bus garage several of us decided to pile into my car and drive up to Copper Harbor to see the massive waves that were resulting from the storm howling across the Keewenaw. As we crested the hill just before Copper Harbor we had a commanding view of Lake Superior in full rage. We could just make out a large ore freighter out on the lake steaming eastbound. Using the USArmy issued binoculars that I had “borrowed” from the ROTC department I was just able to make out part of the name…Edmund, but not the entire name as the waves , wind, and snow were obscuring the view. We all wondered why this ship was out on the big lake and why she hadn’t gone in the ship canal. The next day we and the rest of the world tragically learned the full name of this ship, the Edmund Fitzgerald!

John M. Helge


Dennis - I have been enjoying the comments regarding the passage of ore boats through the Portage Lake system. They rang a bell for me that may not put me in the best light but here goes.

It was sometime in 1961 or 62. Must have been in the fall when the big storms occurred. Bill Falkenstein was renting a pretty nice house out on Portage Lake towards Chassell. As luck would have it, myself and several friends were invited out there for a party. Of course, beer was involved. Well, an ore boat came into the big part of Portage Lake and anchored. We decided to have a beer on the boat so we all had a beer. Then another boat arrived, and another and another............... Lots of reasons to have a couple of more beers. When I woke up in the morning (I think I was still at Falkenstein's place), I counted 16 or 17 ore boats in the lake! My head hurt pretty much too. I think we must have had a beer on all those boats as they arrived. It sometimes amazes me that I ever got my degree from Tech.

Keep up the good work. I really enjoy your newsletters.

Bill Deephouse, B.S Chem. Eng. 1964

Lack of Snow, Heikki Luntta to the Rescue!

Yes Dennis … there is a Finnish Snow God so please be careful about waking his wintery wrath upon “Da Tech Toots” my friend.

Bruce Kuffer

Bruce: We got a winter blast, more cold than snow, recently. And the snow guns ran on Mont Ripley, so it worked!

Alums Succeeding in Milwaukee

I hope things are going well. Your doing a great job with the newsletter, I love seeing every edition!

I've attached a link to an article from the Milwaukee Journal. Around late 2006, 2 of my brothers, Andy (MTU class of 2005?) and Mike, another gentleman and myself, started a video interviewing company called Expressume. My brother Mike had been an engineering recruiter for about 15 years and basically saw a lot of inefficiencies in the hiring process. We really couldn't find any platforms specifically made for talent acquisition so we decided to build our own site.

We were incredibly ignorant about some things, knew a little bit about others, but generally kept learning and adapting and improving incrementally. Around 2008 we got our first customer and actually had a product that was attracting some talented people. Kurt Heikkinen is referenced in the article, and ironically he also has many family ties to the Copper Country (so he couldn't be a bad guy, right?!). Kurt came on as an advisor in 2008, and was hired as our CEO in early 2010. Since then the company has blossomed.

Although I'm no longer involved in the day to day operations, I really wanted a chance to brag about Andy. He joined the company with not even a promise of a salary, has worked every role in the company from customer service to sales to most recently, site development and architecture. He has just done a great job.

So although the company hasn't really "made it" just yet, I think they have a pretty good shot...

Keep up the good work!

Tim Bonk

Tim: I remember the Bonks on the football team! You guys keep up the good work, too!

Small World . . . Mystery Solved!

Through a facebook post, a younger alum / fraternity brother of mine shared the section of the newsletter showing the pictures of my Dodge Grand Caravan at Shoshone Falls in Twin Falls, ID. It was not until we parked the van and got out that we noticed the Tech stickers on the back of Harold's truck. After seeing the stickers, we looked around and asked many people where they were from and if that was their truck. Oddly enough, we did not see Harold and his MTU T-Shirt! However, we did see the very kind note Harold left under our wiper before he left.

What took us to Shoshone Falls? We traveled to Seattle, WA and were coming back to Michigan with stops planned for sightseeing including the Perrine Bridge (also at Twin Falls, ID), Yellowstone, Devil's Tower, Mount Rushmore, and others.

As for the plate, I have had this plate since the MTU Plates were issued by the State of Michigan Secretary of State. I could not get "AKPSI" (my plate reads "AKPS1"), as it belongs to someone else, but I have had "AKPSI 1" on a standard Michigan plate.

I am glad Harold took photos and shared them with you and the Newsletter!

Frank H. Guerin 1995

Flying through the Grand Canyon

Thanks to Bob Brown for this one:

Jet flight through the Grand Canyon! This is awesome!

Relay for Life

My name is Amanda and I am the President of the Relay for Life Organization here on campus. This year we are trying to get everyone possible involved in this year’s relay to make it the best year ever! Whether it is creating a team to raise the most money or just donating on someone’s behalf! Every little bit counts in the fight to create more birthdays! Check out our website or email me at if you have any questions! There are endless opportunities to get involved with relay so please help in this year’s fight back against cancer.

Thank you,
Amanda Carlson

Cougar Sightings

Any new cougar sightings?

Mark Garver

Mark: I haven't heard anymore recently. I want to know how he crossed the Portage!

1936 Chevy

From Frank Shoffner:

Wow! 75 years ago...

The 1936 Chevy Being Built

Notice every man had a neat haircut.

Excellent footage. More automation in 1936 than I thought.

Would be neat to have one of those old beauties in new condition.

Frank: And it's a great-looking car!

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Join today and you'll have access to the online directory to find that lost classmate, register for alumni events, and post class notes. You can sign up to become a mentor, update your contact info, share photos of big events in your life, and more!   It's where Michigan Tech alumni are getting and staying connected! Visit

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Facebook Become a fan of the Michigan Tech Alumni Association Facebook page and get up-to-the-minute news and events in your news feed. Check out the Regional Alumni Chapter page for your area too!

Michigan Tech Gear

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Job Opportunities

On Campus

Strategic Faculty Hiring Initiative: Positions in Water and Transportation

Professor of Practice in Construction Management and Surveying Engineering, Nontenure track position, School of Technology

Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering Technology, Tenure track position

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.