July 17, 2012
Vol. 18, No. 24
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Tomorrow's Software Engineers

video game
The last level (so far) of "Void," a video game created by a pre-college student.

I shouldn't have been surprised. Ducking into a dark, air-conditioned lab Friday in Kanwal and Ann Rekhi Hall, I discovered a pre-college class hunkered over their keyboards.

The class was Introductory Video Game Programming, and about twenty sixth through eighth graders were busy crunching code and creating some impressive interfaces.

Instructors John Earnest, a PhD student in CS, and Benjamin Fedorka, a master's student in math, were helping the young code warriors create their own video games.

"We've got them working with code like Flash," Earnest said. "And they are creating their own graphics, with a program similar to Paint."

The instruction was paying off. The computer screens were filled with various games, some incredibly complex, and the room was full of electronic action.

Fedorka and Earnest brought me to one example, "Void," with many different features. Beginning in a maze-like building, players had to negotiate through a few levels, avoiding the deadly skeletons. They next advanced to a forest, where more skeletons awaited them, as the players had to continue building their way up the screen, eliminating skeletons along the way.

Finally, the players would confront many skeletons in the last level (above). Good luck with that!

"We can train them in this coding that really prepares them for high school computer programming and beyond," Fedorka said.

And that "beyond" might just include Michigan Tech, a couple of the middle-schoolers were glad to tell me.

Dennis '92 '09

At Tech

Tech Partners With Central to Offer Doctorate in Physical Therapy

Steve Hicks

Michigan Tech and Central Michigan University are partnering to offer CMU’s doctorate of physical therapy program at Michigan Tech, to help meet a critical need for additional physical therapists in the Upper Peninsula. “This partnership between CMU and Michigan Tech provides an innovative learning environment for physical therapy,” said Jason Carter, chair of Michigan Tech’s kinesiology and integrative physiology program. More

Michigan Tech and the Green Racing Initiative

baja team
When you think of environmentally friendly sports, auto racing probably doesn’t spring immediately to mind. But the Green Racing Initiative aims to change that. “Our directive is to bring green technologies to the motor sports industry,” says research scientist Jeremy Worm, who leads Michigan Tech’s involvement in the initiative. “For the racing community to embrace this idea, we have to show them that you can reduce your carbon footprint and go faster.” More

Dean of Engineering Named to ASME Board of Governors

new book
William Worek, Michigan Tech’s dean of engineering, has accepted an appointment to serve on the Board of Governors of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.His three-year term begins in June 2013. The Board of Governors provides ASME with professional leadership and direction in support of the organization’s mission, vision and strategic initiatives, and it establishes the society’s policies and procedures. More

Alumni Around the World

There's Still Time!

golfKayaking on the Portage will be a new adventure at Reunion. And you can see the new Great Lakes Research Center (background), too.

Don't forget to register for Alumni Reunion (August 2-4)! Special Women of Tech t-shirts have been designed (logo below), and shirt orders placed before July 19 will be available for pick up at the Reunion registration table. Head to the website to view the full schedule, register, and to purchase t-shirts.

Women of TechThe 2012 Reunion will also be the first ever to celebrate the women of Michigan Tech. All female graduates, former students, faculty and staff are invited to a number of special events during Reunion including an all Greek social and a Saturday evening “Girls Night Out” hosted by the Presidential Council of Alumnae.

There will also be special events in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Department of Biological Sciences, the 85th anniversary of the Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics department, and the 35th anniversary of the Michigan Tech Student Foundation.

Can’t make it up to the Copper Country this year? You can still participate by sharing your Tech memories and letting your classmates know what’s happening in your life. Visit www.mtu.edu/reunion for details.

More Fun Facts

  • In 1963, the Tech Wives Club was one of the largest organization on campus with nearly 100 members.
  • A 1970 publication stated: "The women at Michigan Tech . . . are offered an excellent educational opportunity in a variety of fields, and because of their above-average capabilities, they perform very well."—Julie V. Cade, Counselor. There were two sororities on campus then: Phi Lambda Beta and Theta Chi Epsilon, as well as the Associated Woman Students.

Cherry Festival Parade and Picnic

SAE float
A great turnout for the parade in TC (it's clickable).

On Saturday, July 14, an enthusiastic group of alumni, family and
friends ranging in age four to seventy-four, joined Blizzard T. Husky, the Michigan Tech pep band, and a variety of Tech Society of Automotive Engineering students to spread the Michigan Tech spirit to the masses in the 2012 Cherry Royale Parade!

Tech's entry was led by the bright yellow Michigan Tech car followed by a semi trailer loaded with SAE Baja, Formula SAE, Clean Snowmobile and Supermilage competition vehicles.

Blizzard brought smiles to faces of all ages, and with their usual gusto,the Pep Band chanted and played their way through the historic downtown Traverse City while students and alumni handed out candy and Tech pom poms along the route.

After the parade everyone gathered at Twin Lakes park for lunch featuring a few Traverse City delicacies: Oelson's Buffalo Burgers and Moomers Ice cream.

A big thank you to all of our volunteers from the Northwest Michigan Alumni Chapter without your time and talents, this wonderful display of Michigan Tech pride would not have been possible. A special thank you to the Northwest Michigan Chapter Leaders Linda Wittbrodt '83, Gary Wittbrodt '83 and Tim Wolf '05 for organizing the event and to Gary Holcombe ’72 who loaded the vehicles and drove the semi which was provided by of Elmer’s Crane and Dozer.

This could get ugly.

Concrete Canoe Team Hosting North Central Regional in 2013

Dear Alumni,
Michigan Tech has the honor of hosting the 2013 Concrete Canoe North Central Regional Competition on April 6 and 7. With this, we would love to invite all of our Concrete Canoe alumni to come back to support our team. This year will be another great year for the team and as we move forward we really enjoy looking back and to try to learn more from our past. We have been able to find pictures, papers, and memos from past years, but we think it would be better to hear the stories in person. We would love to hear about everything from the competition’s past regulations to the team’s traditions.

We have made great strides over the years, but we think we can improve even more with your help! Unfortunately, we were only able to get alumni lists back to 1995. So if you know any other alumni please pass on the invitation to join us this coming April. If you cannot make it up to Michigan Tech please feel free to contact us with any stories or questions you might have. We hope to hear from you!

Check out our website.

Katherine Gauthier '14

Fill in the Blanks

woman drafting


This old drafting photo has no identifying info.

Got a clue?

Email me.


2006 Walk Against Violence

Phi Tau house

Maybe you were in this Walk Against Violence in July 2006.

It is clickable.

Email me.

View more sports >

Tech Sports

Six with Huskies Hockey Ties Get NHL Camp Invites

Huskies logo
Six current and former Michigan Tech hockey players were invited to NHL Development Camps this summer. Each of the six is with a different organization. Recently graduated seniors Brett Olson (Superior, Wis.) and Josh Robinson (Frankenmuth, Mich.) are working out this week. More

Recent Results | Complete Schedule

Around the Keweenaw

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

From the Email Bag

2005 Phi Tau Slide Mystery Solved!

Phi Tau house
Yup, was definitely sliding that day. Mohawk and all. That was a fun summer.

Going down the slide with Katie Stewart. It was funny, because the photographer was on his way to Hancock Beach to take pictures, saw the bunch of us. Turns around and stops in. Thought we looked more interesting and having a great time.

Andrew Davidson


Heat UP north

Hi Dennis,
Here's an amusing column in the Saginaw online news about the heat in the UP. Thankfully, we have central air now since we moved "up north." Didn't have it when we lived in the Milwaukee area.

Gail Richter '61

Gail: It's been a hot one. 90 degrees as I type this, and this was the kiosk on campus at 9:00 a.m. Friday.

Tech's Fastpitch Softball Team

fast pitch softball
Hello Dennis:
The attachments provide some additional information on Tech fast-pitch softball from the early 1960's.

Roger Weidelman '62

Roger: This is great. I recall the incredible Air Force team (they had a radar station up in the Keweenaw). I wonder if they were playing back then.


Pep Band Photo from 1993

Pep Band
Hi Dennis,
I'm going to take a guess that the Pep Band photo from 1993 was taken on the West side of Wadsworth Hall. That window in the picture looks like the Window of the first floor apartments that used to be Campus Safety. Just a guess!

JD Hill

JD: I think you are correct. That hill slants up from the highway to the back of Wads.

More on the MacInnes Student Ice Arena

Ice Arena
It was great to see Bill Coon remind us of the commitment to hockey by the Michigan Tech students to fund the new arena.

I was involved with some of the events leading up to the push for the new arena. When I arrived on campus the fall of 1966 my friends advised me I needed to get a season hockey ticket. I did and became a Tech hockey fan for the rest of my life.

I cannot remember the specific game, however, the Dee was packed with not only reserved seat tickets but a lot of general admission. The upper walkways were full and two or three deep behind the goals. One of the newspaper sports writers made a comment that the fire marshal must have been looking the other way. Well the clipping service for the Michigan State Police picked up the comment and we suddenly had a specific occupancy limit of I believe 1443 people for a hockey game.

I thought there must be something we could do and spoke to President Smith walking on campus one day. He said I should talk with Gordon Helman, head of the Physical Plant, so I called and made an appointment. Gordon and some of his staff gave me the news, the fire code had specific seating space requirements and we were at the best limit we could get for the Dee. I reported the situation to the student council. I never dreamed we could get a new arena and finance it with a student funding commitment.

So forgive me when I attend a hockey game and get into it cheering for our Huskies. Forgive me when I seem to be so proud of the way the building and facilities are maintained. Also please forgive me when I do not understand why every seat is not filled for a home game. Yes the huskies won a lot of hockey games in my time at Tech, however, I learned to appreciate a good game regardless of the winning team.

I voted for the fee.

Eric G. Peterson 1970

Eric: Our attendance increased dramatically last year, our skybox suites are sold out, and the future looks great!


Just adding my memories to those of Bill Coon. I remember the added fee being ten dollars per quarter and it was assessed to build the entire athletic complex of which the ice area was the first phase. It also left a bit of a sore spot among those of us who knew it was unlikely we would ever set foot in the building. Not only did that ten dollars buy a lot of beer then, it would buy enough gas to get from Houghton to Grand Rapids with Copper Country prices at the outrageous sum of around thirty five cents per gallon.

Gregory Switek

Construction in 1969

Attached are a couple of press items from 1969 (The Mining Gazette).

I came across them as I was cleaning out some old files and thought that perhaps you guys might enjoy them.

John R. Baker ‘71
Irvine, CA

John: Thanks. These are great, with some old names to recall, too. They are both clickable.

The Latest on the Pat Paulsen Wine

Pat Paulsen wine
Marilyn and I had a great visit with Monty [Paulsen, Paul's son] and Gigi yesterday in Oakland. He signed the vintage Pat Paulsen Cabernet and some photos were taken to celebrate the occasion. I'll tell you more about it next month, at any rate he will ship the bottle to Houghton on Monday.

Ciao, Bob Carnahan

Editor's Note: Monty Paulsen has signed the bottle for the raffle. The bottle will be at the Alumni Reunion.


The last bid was $225, and we have this additional info:

Rating: 85/100 - As reviewed by Wine Spectator on 03/01/85. Based on collections of Presidential Candidate memorabilia, a 20-34 year old uncorked bottle of his wine should go for $850. Based on current availability, likeability, and popularity. Just the bottle may bring as much as $300. And for those lucky enough to have a signed bottle...$1,600! [That's signed by Pat Paulsen.]

Kyle Austin
Class of ‘91


Anyone can bid. Just send an email to alumni@mtu.edu, and they'll record your amount.You can let TechAlum know, too, so our alumni can follow along.

Old Issues of TechAlum

Hey Dennis,
Great job, as usual. I saw that the 19 June edition came along with the 3 July edition. I tried to follow the "More" link to read about the "Astute Toot" Twig who caught the Cornus canadensis error and every time I tried to read the 19 June stuff, it went immediately to the 3 July material. Any way you could send me the 19th edition separately?

Thanks a lot.

Lou Best
Twig, '70

Lou: We automatically update to the latest edition. Our archives are here (and linked up above, right-hand side).

Concrete/Cement and Alumni Everywhere

Thanks for the 10 seconds of fame in the news today. First I miss the so-called thimbleberry plants a few weeks ago, then I skim over the concrete vs. cement thing! I learned that quickly, too, at my first job at the American Concrete Institute. I gotta start paying closer attention!

Amazingly, the e-mail bag item after mine is from my across-the-street neighbor Bill Coon! While he and I have talked often of our Copper Country roots, until a few months ago we did not realize we had each attended Tech also.

Ellen Kehoe

Ellen: Giving you 10 more seconds, as the story about you and Bill Coon is just too good!


Hi Dennis,
Fun MTU newsletter again!

There was mention in the email bag about the Lode/Lewd. It seems to me the Lode issue for April 1st of each year was called the Lewd rather than the Lode and was filled with fun, ridiculous articles about the campus and area! A lot of fun articles in it each year!

Connie Julien, 3 time MTU grad
Chassell, Mi

Connie: Thanks for the nice note. The Lewd was resurrected this year, and the Lode got most-improved student org!

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