March 27, 2012
Vol. 18, No. 16
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The Comeback Year

Tech Goalie
Goaltender Josh Robinson had a great season, posting three shutouts.

To say the hockey Huskies had a good year is an understatement.

They defeated then-No. 3 Denver, No. 2 Minnesota, and No. 1 Minnesota Duluth. They increased their point total by twenty over the previous year. They won four times as many games as the year before and more games than the previous three years combined. They scored one more goal per game and gave up 1.5 fewer per game. They advanced to the WCHA Final Five and lost in overtime to Denver, who went on to the NCAA tournament. And they did this all with essentially the same players.

But the head coach was different.

Mel Pearson ’81 was awarded the WCHA Coach of the Year, and his players couldn’t agree more. We caught up with a couple of seniors: Brett Olson and Josh Robinson.

“Right when we met him, when he was interviewing, we could tell he was interested in the program,” said Olson, the senior captain from Superior, Wisconsin. “We could tell he had faith in the guys in the locker room. He’s easy to talk to, and he’s personable.”

Robinson, the senior goaltender, agreed, “When we came to the rink we could be loose and have a good time, but when we stepped onto the ice, he expected nothing less than 100 percent effort and concentration for the time we are out there. He places a large emphasis on team defense but wants everyone to skate and be able to transition to offense and create chances.”

Olson appreciated the increased tempo of the game.

“Coach emphasized skating and picking up the pace while controlling the puck,” Olson said. “And we had no limits to our offensive creativity, if we had rock-solid defense, too. If we made sure of the D, the offense would take care of itself.”

The biggest surprise?

“All of the guys in the lineup chipping in,” he said. “The overall quality of games the guys had. We realized how good we could be, when we beat Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Denver. We played with confidence, we expected to win games.”

The seniors say goodbye by kissing the ice

Pearson’s goal was to change the culture of staff and the team, Olson said. That was key.

“This season even when we got down a goal or two, we were always confident that we were going to win,” Robinson added. “It’s a huge change when everyone believes and has the confidence we are going to win.”

Olson and Robinson shared a personal highlight: tying and shutting out Duluth on the road. Olson grew up next door. “I had a lot of friends and family there.”

“And beating Wisconsin is always nice,” he added. “Growing up in Wisconsin, you always want to beat the bigger schools.”

As for the future, Olson is trying to catch on with an AHL/NHL organization, but he must wait for the signing of players to shake out.

He’ll have a degree in exercise science, psych minor, and coaching certificate, too, after April 28, and some possibilities in orthopedic sales also exist.

“After I go home for a bit, I’m going to Minneapolis to train,” he said. It sounded like that included some golf, too.

Robinson will be training in Minneapolis, too, with goalie coach Steve Shields. The business administration major wants to extend his playing time, also, and his golf game needs improvement, he said.

I told them that we won't forget the team that turned it around.


Snowfall Totals
Total to date: 130.5"
On the ground: 0"
In the last week: 0" (Is it over?)

At Tech

What Should Be Done About the Disappearing Wolves of Isle Royale?

The number of wolves at Isle Royale National Park has dipped to nine—the lowest number seen since Michigan Tech’s wolf-moose predator-prey study began 54 years ago. What should be done if this furry icon of wilderness culture dies out altogether? More

Chemical Engineering Students Place First and Third in Competition

Mel Pearson
Two graduate students from Michigan Tech, Brett Spigarelli and Howard Haselhuhn, took first and third place in the Minerals and Metallurgical Processing Journal Student Poster Contest, held Feb. 22 in Seattle. Both are PhD candidates in chemical engineering. More

Getting the Lead Out

About 250,000 children in the United States have high levels of lead in their systems, say the Centers for Disease Control. Children under the age of 6 are especially vulnerable to lead poisoning, which can severely affect mental and physical development. At very high levels, lead poisoning can be fatal. More

Alumni Around the World

Alumni Jazz Lab Band Rocks the Rozsa!

alumni jazz band
The Rozsa Center was filled with great jazz and a large crowd Saturday night, in celebration of 45 years of jazz at Tech. It was also the 12 Annual Don Keranen Memorial Concert.

The R&D Big Band started the show, then the Alumni Jazz Lab Band took over. (It is clickable with names and class years.)

They hit the mark on their tunes, and the crowd responded.

Then they got to sit back and enjoy this year's edition of the Jazz Lab Band, who brought the house down with "Sing, Sing, Sing" and "MacArthur Park."

We can't wait to see them all in 2017!

MindTrekkers in DC

Friday through Sunday, April 27-29, Michigan Tech Mind Trekkers will be attending the 2nd USA Science & Engineering Festival. With 8 booths run by 20 university students and personnel, thousands of people will have the chance to get their geek on. Additionally, we're excited to note that USASEF has approved the last minute inclusion of the Michigan Tech Mobile Hybrid Electric Vehicle Lab. Huskies will be rocking the house!

For more on Mind Trekkers: For more on the HEV lab:

As a Titanium Level sponsor of the festival, Mind Trekkers wants to help spread the word. Please consider passing this along to any colleagues you may have around the Washington, DC area, along with any STEM education advocates who might also be interested. In 2010 the USASEF saw upwards of 1,000,000 visitors over two days, and we'd love to push that number even higher.

Finally, when you get a moment, check out this article on the status of domestic STEM education:

Dramatic change might not come over night, but events like the USASEF can inspire students to look at the world differently. We're excited to play a part in that inspiration.

Fill in the Blanks

79-80 band

1979-80 version of the Jazz Lab Band. It's clickable.


Email me.

2005 Recording Class

1994 band

Maybe you did some sound recordings with Christopher Plummer in the Department of Visual and Performing Arts?

Email me.

View more sports >

Tech Sports

Haidar Earns Honors From Basketball Times

Michigan Tech junior Ali Haidar was recently named to the Basketball Times NCAA Division II All-America Third Team. Haidar, who was named the GLIAC Player of the Year, ranked third in the league in scoring, averaging 19.1 points per game, and ranks second in rebounds, averaging 9.0 per game. More

Hoyt Earns All-America Honorable Mention Honors

Alice Flanders
Michigan Tech junior Sam Hoyt was named to the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association Division II Coaches All-America Honorable Mention Team Friday (March 20). Hoyt earned first-team All-GLIAC honors and was named to the GLIAC All-Defensive Team. More

Recent Results | Complete Schedule

Around the Keweenaw

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

From the Email Bag

School Closing in 1972

1972 snowstorm
I was the photographer who took the photo of the school closing in 1972. It was most definitely staged. I intended to create a photograph that told the story, so I grabbed a couple of "models", found some snowshoes, made the note and took the photo.

I was proud of it and shocked at the controversy. News photos are actually staged all the time (ever try to cash one of those giant checks?)

I was quite active with the Lode and Winter Carnival Magazine staff that year. By spring quarter I was the Lode News and Photo Editor, so I though the controversy had subsided. It was brought up again as one of the reasons my application to be editor of the Lode the following year was rejected. The other was that I'd been out of school for a couple of years. (I'd been drafted.)

Ted Egan


I remember having the day off when school was closed due to the weather. I worked part time at the Copper Crown Motel in Hancock so I plowed snow that day using an old tractor they had. It didn’t have a cab and I got pretty cold. By the time I got the parking lot cleared it was time to start all over again. Maybe that was one of the reasons I moved to Tennessee when I got out of school.

Bill Haire


With respect to the ‘da Tech’ having been closed due to weather (this topic seems to get revisited every few years), the one that I experienced was in November, 1966 (my sophomore year). Now classes were canceled on the Monday after Thanksgiving break, not because the campus was snowed-in but because so many students were not able to make it back to Houghton on that Sunday. The problem was that the Eastern part of the U.P. and the Northern part of L.P. were hit really hard with a very heavy and fast moving snow storm which ended-up closing most of the roads West of the bridge. I was lucky as I was riding with someone who decided to leave a bit earlier than we originally planned and it turned out that that 30 minutes made all the difference in the world.

We hit the heavy snow at the bridge and once onto US-2, rather than going all the way down to M-77 and turning North through Germfask to get to M-28, we turned North at Engadine and took M-117. On M-28, the snow really started to come down but the guy I was riding with was driving what was already a Classic Corvette (a 1953 or 54, the one with a 6 cylinder engine and wire mesh over the headlights) and it had really good traction so we kept going, however we did notice that we were virtually the only ones the road. In fact, we never saw a single vehicle along the entire Seney-to-Shingleton stretch and were actually ‘breaking trail’ as the road was unplowed but the ‘snowplow markers’ along the side of the road kept us on the ‘straight & narrow’.

As we got further West the snow started to let up and by the time we reached Marquette it was nearly clear. We stopped at the Big Boy there on M-28 and when we asked about where everyone was, we were told that all the roads had been closed back near the bridge (I can’t recall, but it’s possible the bridge had been closed as well). Anyway, we finally made it to school after about 10 hours on the road (the normal drive time from Gaylord was usually 6 hours or so).

When I mentioned that leaving 30 minutes early made all the difference I was referring to my brother (a freshman) who left 30 minutes after we did with his ride and they didn’t get to Houghton until Wednesday. They stayed on US -2 all the way to M-77 and got stuck somewhere south of Germfask when a bus or big-rig skidded and blocked the road. The snowplows couldn’t clear the road while the storm was still blowing so everyone had to find local shelter. He and his car-mates ended up sleeping in some restaurant/bar near where they had gotten stopped and they had to wait a couple of days before the road was cleared.

As I recall, about an hour or so after classes would normally have started on that Monday, a notice went out that classes were canceled and that they would resume on Wednesday, or something like that. Anyway, I think a few classes may have met but it was pretty quiet around there until the laggards started to straggle in. I was an R. A. in Wadsworth that year so I was sort of keeping an eye out for ‘my people’ as they ‘checked-in’.

John R. Baker, ‘71
Irvine, CA


The note about the Blizzard of '72 brought back memories. I was on the ski patrol at Mont Ripley and was the last patroller on the hill the evening before school closed. It was snowing so hard that you had fresh tracks every run, and that was when you could load the T-bar at the mid-point so
the runs were really short. No way you could see your tracks from the previous run. By the time I did sweep and put my skis away, the parking lot was empty and things were looking bad for thumbing a ride back to campus. Luckily Coach Fred Lonsdorf had stayed a little longer at the hill and came along in is orange VW beetle and gave me a ride. I've only seen it snow that hard in the Colorado and Utah mountains. School was closed the next day but chemical engineering professor Davis Hubbard rode his bicycle from Hancock!

The clip on Sauna beer reminded me that it was for sale at $0.99 for a six pack. I wasn't a beer drinker but the running joke was that Sauna beer was "brewed from genuine sauna run-off water."

Kerry Irons '72


You might note that some faculty skied to work on that day, while students in DHH , Coed and Wads couldn't figure out how to get to class in Fisher. Must have been too far to go!!

Pat Joyce


winter 72

This photo from winter 71-72 looks like it could be that storm. It's another Jim Blevins '72 photo.

Was a freshman living on the third floor of West Wadsworth Hall (Keystone House) at the time and can still remember how hard it snowed, how cold it was (well below zero as I recall), and how the wind blew. At times, it was nearly impossible to see the street lights in front of Wadsworth Hall from the third floor windows and they were only a few yards away at close to eye level! Also, many commuter students were trapped on campus, some of whom had to stay with us in the dorms. I didn’t think it possible to snow so hard for that length of time with wind that strong at temperatures so far below zero until experiencing that particular storm.

Class of 1973 – AAS EET
Class of 1975 – BS Business Administration

Steve Benesh


Tech closed for ½ day in the winter of 1978 due to snow. I believe the 1978 snowfall ~ 370”. I was there.

Stay warm.

Scot Lachowicz
Chemical Eng ‘81

Scot: Would you believe I spent the winter of 78-79 in Detroit? I missed the "best" ever. It was 380 inches. We just drove by the snow thermometer Sunday. Pretty slow up north still: it's between snowmobiling and spring tourist seasons.


Oh, Gosh. I was a freshman living in “East Co-ed Hall” (hardly sexist) during the winter of ’72. I vividly remember the blizzard because the parking lot lights 30’ from our window disappeared from view for all the sideways snow. WHCU (or whatever the local radio station was) immediately began calling themselves “Snow Control Central” and answered incoming calls live on the air. We didn’t normally listen because of the selection of “music” but that night it was hilarious because of the many call-ins. The next day it was -20 or colder with a 25 mph wind still blowing. We went out to see the drifts and watched some poor cabin-fevered goofball run from the end door of East Wads through the snow to the West Wads end door – in his undershorts !!!

So many fond memories!!!

Dave Plumeau


I was a sophomore at MTU in ’81-’82 and they closed one day during that winter because of snow. I’m sure it was reported in the local rag, but I can’t give you the date. After all, that’s 30 years ago!

Darryl Johnson


Hi Dennis,
I made the trip from the Detroit area to Tech in the early 70s in as little as 9-1/2 hours up to as long as (as I recall) about 34 hours depending on weather and assorted other issues…..Other issues included, dropping the gas tank outside Christmas; blown water pump in Midland, and hitting s snow drift across 41 just North of Baraga…

But crossing the bridge was usually OK except one occasion where we weren’t sure the Bridge authority would let us cross due to the wind and poor visibility…but they did, and as we started we almost turned around…as you say it was a white knuckler!

We’re in Texas now and it’s hard to explain the UP down here…this past summer we had over 60 days over 100F!

I was wondering about the ‘traditional’ snow ball fight between Wads and DHH on the first snowfall…when did it start and how? I remember my first snowball fight (and my last) I got murdered!

Pat Parker ‘75

Pat: I'd love to hear about the snowball fight, too. We've never been able to figure out when and why it ended. Any alums recall?


Hi: By the way, there was over 300 inches of snow recorded during the winter of 1949-1950. Remember as a kid the 1938 storm in Ramsay Mich. Nothing moved for a week. Underground mines were shut down.



Yes, the MEEM building did look like that! I was there in 1972 and believe that the photo is NOT staged. I lived on Shelden right where the road becomes one way. I remember the snow coming down at the rate of 1 inch per hour for at least 24 hours. The snow plows could not even keep Shelden plowed. I did make my way the mile down to campus and found that the snow covered the entrances to the MEEM building where I worked in the Biology department. No work, or classes, that day!

Linda (Kemler) Toth
Class of 1974

Schmidt's Corner

Schmidt's Corner
When I was a student back in the early 60s, Schmidt's Corner Bar,
located at a junction heading toward Redridge, was quite modest compared to today's relative "magnificence." In those days, the actual road junction was located on the Portage Waterway side of the bar.

I used to stop in occasionally for a beer, especially during
springtime when I had been fishing the Salmon Trout near Redridge. I remember well Eppie Ruohonen, the barkeep, very much boss in the place. He could not speak, but that did not keep him from making lots of vocal racket - yammering? - when he needed to assert his

I also recall, at certain times, the big crock pot of beaver "boo-ya" at the far end of the bar. Patrons would come in, buy their beer, then fill a provided bowl with the beaver tail stew - gratis. It was
most tasty and quite thick; the meat broke down into individual fibers.

Yet another of the particular "wonders" of da' Copper Country which I was fortunate to experience - I can't believe it - fifty years past!

Da' curmudgeon, Frank '62

Frank: Eppie is pictured far left in the photo above. It is clickable and provides a nice description of the last keg of Bosch.


Hey Dennis, as always love the newsletter!

You mention Eppie Ruohonen – by any chance do you know what Eppie is short for?


Natalie Dimitruck

Natalie: Looks like his name was Edwin.

Alum "Joins" the Band!

snow statue
This is at Thursday's (3/15) WCHA hockey tournament game in St. Paul, Minnesota. Yes, I am in my assigned seat. As far as I know, this is the only shot that TV got of the band, but they didn't get nearly the entire band. They took up about 5 full rows - two in front of me and two behind. A fun time was had by all, even though Tech lost the game in overtime.

Tom Boyd

Pat Paulsen's Wine: We Need New Bids!

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

The Bid History

Tom Arbuckle '75 $82.00
Jeff Paulson '93 $99.00
Jim Blevins '72 $200
Jeff Paulson '80 $225


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.

Future Alum

Sauna beer
Hi Dennis,
Thanks for putting together your alumni news letter, I look forward to every issue. Both my wife and I are MTU alumni (Myself an ME in ’08 and my wife Beth an EE/ECE in ’08) and we just welcomed our daughter Erin Elizabeth Bejcek into the world on March 11, 2012!

Thank you,
Brian Bejcek

Brian: Congrats! So, is she an EE or an ME?

Alum is Aerial Photographer of the Year

The Professional Aerial Photographers Association International (PAPA) is pleased to announce that Jim Wark '54 (geology and mining) of Pueblo, Col., has been selected to receive the 2012 EPSON Aerial Photographer of the Year award.

Each year, this award is presented to one PAPA member who has demonstrated an outstanding contribution to aerial photography, based on the following criteria:

  • Continuous excellence in aerial photography
  • In the public eye via books, exhibits, lectures, publications
  • Long term service to PAPA and its members

“Jim was the outstanding candidate for the award,” said Chuck Boyle, president of PAPA. “In addition to his extraordinary body of aerial photography work in the public eye, he is also a generous contributor of guidance and inspiration to the membership of PAPA.”

"On behalf of the PAPA membership and the entire PAPA Board of Directors, we congratulate Jim on this award."

This year Jim has published his 9th book of his aerial photography, Leave No Trace, The Vanishing North American Wilderness. Additionally, five of his aerial images were selected for the new United States Postal Service “forever” postage stamps scheduled to be released in October of this year.

“My life’s work has been in aviation and earth sciences,” said Jim. “Combining these interests with an inherited instinct for photography has fulfilled my deepest ambition.”

“I am forever grateful to my wife, Judy, who gave me the unconditional support to wander the sky at will and to PAPA for providing the inspiration, assistance and camaraderie to get the job done. This award and the EPSON award of 2006 are among my most cherished achievements.”

This is the second time Jim has been honored for his work by PAPA with this award having been named the Aerial Photographer of the year in 2006, the first year it was awarded. He was also honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award by PAPA in 2005.

Jim Wark owns Airphoto ( ) in Pueblo, CO.

Featured Alumni Benefits

Michigan Tech Group Insurance

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.

New Job Search Video Service for Students and Alumni

• Fast, informative, engaging web videos
• Conveniently available 24-7 online
• Expert advice from leading employers

Looking for job searching tips? Check out these straight forward, compelling videos that clearly illustrate what job seekers and career changers need to know before, during and after the job interview. Each CareerSpots video is under four minutes in length and features a genuine recruiter, career director, student or recent graduate.

Michigan Tech Gear

Show your Michigan Tech Pride!

More Alumni Benefits, Services and Discount program information

Job Opportunities

On Campus

Strategic Faculty Hiring Initiative: Positions in Water and Transportation

Associate Director, Housing and Residential Life

Assistant Women's Basketball Coach, General Athletics

Application Programmer, Administrative Information Services

Lecturer of Economics, School of Business and Economics

Management Tenure-Track Position (2), School of Business and Economics

Marketing Tenure-Track Position (2), School of Business and Economics

Apply using the 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.