October 9, 2012
Vol. 19, No. 2
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Talking with Joe

Joe Kirkish
Professor Emeritus Joe Kirkish.

It was more than a bit daunting to shoot a photo of the old photography teacher.

"How about in front of the cookbooks?" he asks, and of course he's right. After "42 or 43" years of teaching, Joe Kirkish would know how to stage a photo.

At age 87, Joe remains an active member of the community. He still reads aloud twice a week to senior citizens (many younger than him) at a local senior housing complex, "including a girl I went to school with."

"I started reading to my mother when she was in a home, and I thought others might want to hear," he says. "We got up to fifteen or more listening at one time."

He says he also made a point of seeing each of the seniors, "even for just ten seconds, and their faces lit up."

He recalled taking a Chinese student to the nursing home, and he befriended a senior immediately and started pushing him around the floor in his wheelchair.

Joe has become a friend of the Tech students in his neighborhood, too, taking them up to his camp near Copper Harbor so they can see the sights, especially in the fall.

He brings Phi Taus up north, too, as he remains an advisor to them and the Mu Beta Psi music fraternity. "There are more women than men in Mu Beta Psi now," he laughs.

He shows some fall photos on his computer, it holds some 12,000, and many feature Phi Taus or Indian students. "I brought the Indian students to the Devil's Washtub," he says, "and they had so much fun I couldn't get them out of the water."

As he scrolls through his fall photos, most of the Keweenaw is covered: Pelkie, Covered Drive, Mont Ripley, Paradise Road, Brockway Mountain Drive. (Some of his photos appear in the slide show above.)

"Lighting is so important," he says. "Back lighting here. I forget about all these photos until I see them again." The journey continues: Boston Location, Quincy Hill, Salo.

"Look at this," he shows a fog-laden fall photo on a country road. "You never know what will make a good picture."

In addition to photography, the class he started at Tech, Joe taught film class ("I had to convince the dean it was worth it.") and five sections of Freshman English.

His love of film continues, as he chooses the movies for Club Indigo at the Calumet Theatre: monthly showings of classics and other worthy offerings.

"We try to combine a movie and a dinner, Italian food with an Italian film," he says.

They get as many as 200 people to turn out, some from as far away as Sault Ste. Marie, to see the quality films, "not like some of that Hollywood trash."

He still writes a weekly column for the Gazette, on cultural matters. He also has a word of the day listserv to which he subscribed me.

His community involvement is legend, and leaving Joe's house this cold, windy, rainy October day, we passed by a wall of awards: school board, community foundation, medical care facility, "Golden Role Model" ("I don't know who it's from."), child development board, Salvation Army, Calumet Theatre, Phi Kappa Tau, Claire M. Donovan.

"I don't know why they all give me these awards," he says.

We do, Joe.

Dennis '92 '09


The Colorologist

Getting hammered by the winds, the future didn't look bright. He was hunkered down in a local watering hole.

"Getting blown away," he said.

There are still some leaves hanging on at the ski hill.

"I hear the chairlift is running next weekend."

You can't beat the view, either way.

"We are near or at peak, depending on your location. Covered Drive was great, all yellows."

Hope it all slows down for Homecoming.

"I know I've slowed down for Homecoming."

At Tech

The Science Behind those Eye-Popping Northern Lights

Northern Lights
Northern night skies have recently been alive with light. Those shimmering curtains get their start about 93 million miles away, on the sun. An aurora borealis (aurora australis in the Southern Hemisphere) is precipitated by explosions on the surface of the sun, sometimes starting as solar flares, said Robert Nemiroff, an astrophysicist at Michigan Technological University and coauthor of NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day website. More

Michigan Tech, Portage Health Team up on Sleep Studies

Sleep Study
In a new collaboration, researchers from Michigan Tech and Portage Health are working together to study sleep disorders, focusing on sleep apnea. Based in Portage Health’s Sleep Disorders Center in Hancock, Jason Carter and Dr. Carl Smoot are trying to assess what causes sleep apnea, what makes it worse, and how to stop it and its negative side effects. More

Boulders Rock and Roll in New Mining Garden

A rock garden of a different kind is taking shape at Michigan Technological University. The new Mining Boulder Garden will highlight the Upper Peninsula's mining heritage and Michigan Tech's role in the industry. It comes at a time when interest in mining is on the rise and Michigan Tech is reviving its mining degree program. More

Alumni Around the World

Still Time for Homecoming and Make a Difference Day

cardboard boat
Taking on water, this cardboard boat is doomed.

Homecoming 2012

There are many unique traditions at Michigan Tech and Homecoming is one of the best! Scheduled for October 12-13, some of the festivities you don't want to miss are the cardboard boat races, the VIP football tailgate, the hockey suite and of course the Alumni-Student Broomball Tournament! To learn more and to register, visit the HuskyLink Homecoming site.

Make a Difference Day

October 27th is Make a Difference Day- a national day to give back to your community. Use the link below to submit a project in your city and we'll take care of spreading the word to local alumni and friends!

What will you be doing to make a difference?

Gathering in Marquette for Miner's Cup

Pep Band

On Saturday, October 6, Michigan Tech alumni, friends and family
gathered for the Miner's Cup Tailgate in Marquette. It was a cold and blustery day, however the sleet, snow, wind and rain the didn't
stop the Pep Band from spreading the Husky Spirit!


Cincinnati Alumni Gather

On Thursday, September 27, close to twenty alumni in the Cincinnati area gathered for some good seafood, a University update, and a chance to catch up with alumni in their area. The event attracted a good mix of alumni (graduation years ranged from 1970 to 2010), and everyone had a great time expanding their networks and sharing stories from their time at Michigan Tech!

Huskies in the House

Don and Betty Weiss
We had a nice visit with Don '51 and Betty Weiss. Don is a football alum who attended Tech with help from the GI Bill. Their son, Brian '84 is an EE grad, and they have had two grandsons attend: Kevin Thompson '05 EE and current student Scott Thompson, studying exercise science.

Don came to Houghton from the Sault campus back in the day and was a member of the KDs. Football Coach Al Bovard convinced Don to return to Tech after a year off to earn some college funds.

Don and Betty also had a chance to chat with Athletic Director Suzanne Sanregret and Head Football Coach Tom Kearly.

Career Fair a Huge Success


ArcelorMittal representatives with Tech faculty and staff at the Career Fair.

Michigan Tech's fall Career Fair last week attracted 888 recruiters representing 280 companies. They conducted 4,186 interviews for jobs, internships and co-ops.

The Career Fair was the third largest in the history of career fairs at Michigan Tech. "But the factor that made this fair unique was how hungry the employers were for our students," said Jim Turnquist, director of career services. Prior to the Fair, many companies held special recruitment programs to attract students. Kohler sponsored a picnic on the lawn outside of the Memorial Union. Mercury Marine offered boat rides on Portage Lake, hosting more than 200 students. General Motors and Chrysler conducted "Ride and Drives," offering students an opportunity to drive a 2013 Camaro, Corvette, Cadillac or other GM or Chrysler vehicle.

The day of the fair, students packed both the basketball gym and the multipurpose room of the SDC. Turnquist estimated that more than 3,000 students turned out, dressed in their best and with hands full of resumes, to meet potential employers.

"Many of the employers mentioned that Michigan Tech students were some of the best prepared students they have met at any job fair," Turnquist said. "Usually, they said, they see students dressed in jeans, shorts and T-shirts, but not at Michigan Tech. Our students acted and dressed professionally. The employers even commented on how well most of the first-year students were prepared for the Career Fair."

"Is the excellent turnout at our Career Fair a sign that the economy is turning around?" Turnquist added. "Maybe. Or it is a sign that Michigan Tech students offer the skills the companies want and need?"

Alumni Poll!


Homecoming Results

What's your favorite memory of Homecoming?

The parade, 46%
Football game, 17%
Hockey game, 9%
Challenges, 6%
Cardboard Boat Races, 3%
Alumni-student broomball game, 1%
King and queen competition, 1%
Other, 19%

Some of Your "Others": hobo week, building the float, beer chugging contest and pyramid building, Homecoming dance, clever themes, walking through the leaves over to Hancock to buy my first calculator, cooking beans in a can under the bridge in my same hobo clothes three years in a row, I was homecoming queen in 1980, the concerts, skits, shopping at St. Vinnies, the hobo parade, dance and Greek games from the late 80s.

Fill in the Blanks

Muck Run


2007 pyramid for Homecoming.

Recognize anyone?

Email me.


Homecoming 1983

1969 Homecoming

We think this was 1983.

Know anybody here? It's clickable.

Email me.

View more sports >

Tech Sports

Rookie Petan Nets Hat Trick as Tech Rolls Brock 6-2

Freshman Alex Petan netted a hat trick in his collegiate debut to help Michigan Tech defeat Brock 6-2 in exhibition play at the John MacInnes Student Ice Arena tonight. The rookie posted one goal in each period. Freshmen (four goals) and sophomores (two) contributed all the scoring for the Huskies. More

Huskies Defeat Wildcats 41-17 for Miner's Cup

The Miner's Cup will return to Houghton after Michigan Tech defeated Northern Michigan 41-17 in GLIAC football today at the Superior Dome. The Huskies (4-1 overall and 4-1 in the GLIAC) scored the first 34 points of the game and held off a second-half surge by the Wildcats (1-5 overall, 0-5 GLIAC) to claim the rivalry trophy for the eighth time in its 11-year existence. More

Malone Defeats Volleyball Team

volleyballMalone finished with a .353 attack percentage to defeat Michigan Tech 3-0 in league play Saturday (Oct. 6). The Huskies, who fall to 5-12 overall and 2-7 in league play, finished with an attack percentage of .129. More

Sports Roundup

Campus will be buzzing with activity this week as Michigan Tech celebrates Homecoming. The Huskies’ hockey, football and soccer teams will all play home games in addition to many student activities happening across campus. Some of the events include the Homecoming parade, pep rally and cardboard boat races on Friday afternoon.

The Michigan Tech Sports Hall of Fame will enshrine six individuals and—for the first time—a team at an induction ceremony on Friday (Oct. 12). Allison Bailey (Bottoms), Kurt Coduti, Paul Kerrtu, Sandy Johnson, Robert Peterson and Bill Steele are the individuals. The team is Tech’s first national championship team—the 1961-62 hockey squad. Many members from that team will be on hand for the induction and reunion for the 50th anniversary of their NCAA title.

Recent Results | Complete Schedule

Around the Keweenaw

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

From the Email Bag

More on the Rock(s)


When I was at Tech ( 1947-1950 ) there was a very large piece of float copper on the campus. It is now located ( at least it was in September 2010 ) on the Island @ Marquette, MI. There is a plaque identifying it reading, " World's Largest Glacial Float Copper" in Honor of Fred Rydholm.

W. Lee Johnson Cml. Eng. 1950

copperEditor's Note: It's odd that the sign doesn't mention Michigan Tech. Any information would be appreciated.


This wonderful and nostalgic video confirms the mass copper was displayed in front of Hotchkiss Hall.

Mike Bahrman
EE 1970

Mike: This is fantastic. The copper is shown at 3:10 in. Now we need to know if it's the one in Marquette or the one still on campus.

More on Doc Berry

Doc Berry
I first got to know Doc Berry well when Dave Cowan and I moved into an apartment at 504 Houghton Ave. beginning the '60-'61 winter term. Doc and Betty Berry lived a half block away at 300 Isle Royale with their three young sons.

For whatever reason, Doc and I hit it off well. Every year, Doc seemed to "adopt" several students, and I became one of those fortunates, even though I was not a chemistry major. Thus began a close and enduring friendship which lasted until 2006, when Doc passed on.

When I first arrived (at MCM&T) in the fall of '57, Dr. Roy Heath was the lecturer for Freshman Chemistry. If I remember correctly, he did so during '58-'59 as well, before leaving da' Tech for a department head position at Northern Michigan. So, Doc Berry took over as Freshman Chemistry lecturer in the fall of '59, I believe - and, "the rest is history."

The aforementioned apartment at 504 Houghton had a characteristic "Copper Country" story attached to it, as well. You may find it interesting.

The landlord, Bill Voght, had three or four old houses in Houghton that he had converted into apartments. Bill was an undertaker, as well. Previously, I had lived in a house of his on Montezuma Street.

Anyway, the reason this apartment became available in midyear was because the old lady who had lived there had expired. Dave and I had bunk beds in the old lady's bedroom, and of course we would occasionally try to gross out each other. When we would mention our landlord, we might say something like, "I gotta' go pick up a body." Well! What would you expect?

When it was time to pay the rent, I would go to Bill Voght's home. He would invite me into his kitchen, and we would sit down and talk for a half hour, at the same time consuming a small portion of Bill's homemade - and decidedly potent! - chokecherry wine.

How fortunate I was, as a fuzzy-cheeked student at da' Tech, to have a landlord who would provide me a great buzz whenever I paid my rent!

Between da' Tech and da' Copper Country, many friends, many memories, many blessings! How fortunate I was - and am! I'll keep coming back, as long as I am able.


Frank Shoffner

Frank: All the more reasons to keep coming back!


Dear Dennis,
I remember Doc Berry as a very intelligent, caring prof. Besides his role teaching freshman chemistry, he also was the coach responsible for Tech's excellent performance on the GE College Bowl television contest in the 1967/68 school year, which required a deep background in the liberal arts in addition to the scientific and engineering disciplines stressed at Tech. He had exactly what it took to succeed at this.

He was also an avid mineral collector with an intimate knowledge of the Copper Country. He, Jeff Nuttall, and I went out collecting north of Copper Harbor one fall day and made it out to Keweenaw Point. On the way back, our collecting trip was cut short by sighting a mother black bear with two cubs, necessitating a rapid retreat to our car.

Neil Foreman '67

Editor's Note: I got another call for Doc's obit from 2006: PDF. We don't forget the great ones.

Late Alum Published Book; His Son Carries On

seven rivers
From Bill, Jr.:

Hi Dennis – Sadly, my Dad passed last month. This at least allowed me to stroll MTU campus. Quite the changes. Here by the way is the link on the book. Folks truly seem to dig it. Perhaps I can keep the ball rolling. Stay well. Thanks. Bill


Briefly, City of Seven Rivers is historical fiction set in 1995 about a Marin County junior high student who suspects that Myron Hunter, the 74-year-old recluse next door is in fact Arden Hennessey, former bombardier on the Enola Gay. The boy's suspicions counter the widely held belief that Hennessey, whose postwar success as a painter would nearly be undone by unrelenting guilt over the death and destruction he himself unleashed upon Hiroshima, leaped off the Golden Gate Bridge on the 10-year anniversary of the bombing.

The Finns are Coming!

Hello Dennis,
Hopefully you already know that FinnFest USA is coming to the Keweenaw next June 19-23, 2013. Many people are predicting this festival to be the biggest event EVER in the area!

Michigan Tech will be a major player in the event as the SDC will be the center of activities. The "tori" marketplace, opening ceremony and registration plus other events will be located there. In addition, we are planning a business forum to be either at the Great Lakes Research Center or the Memorial Union. We are hoping to bring some big players from Finland for this event. Smart Zone and others are assisting us in this regard. It will be a great chance to highlight Michigan Tech, Finlandia, and our community to Finland, Canada, and the rest of the USA.

Here is our website. Under the ABOUT menu you will see a tab entitled ENTREPRENEURS AND EDUCATORS which features our education and business development related institutes.


Kevin Manninen - MTU '87

The Lode Lives

Hi Dennis,
I probably should know this already but is the Lode still being published, in print or electronically, or is it another victim of social media? The reason I ask is I was going through some old “junque” and ran across a copy from April, 1965 that has the headline “TECH WINS NCAA PLAYOFFS”. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a copy of the Lode and almost as long since Tech has won all the hockey marbles.

Doug Davies ‘69, ‘72

Doug: They are alive and well, in print, and so is our hockey team, on the ice!

More on the Class Rings

Hi Dennis,
Here's a little forgotten history on the class ring, you can no doubt research it in the microfiche files for the Lode circa 51' to 53'. I had the privilege of serving on the Student Council during my Soph. and Jr. years 50-51 and 51-52 and broached the issue of the then unpopular class ring purchased by a small % of graduates. That ring, more typical of High School class rings, was supplied under a 5 year renewable contract by Terryberry. Ironically the contract, signed by the President of the Student Council typically a graduating senior, was binding for the next 5 years.

The SC and my committee unanimously wanted a more contemporary and distinguished ring design. We proceeded to invite Terryberry and others to submit competitive designs for a sanctioned student body balloted vote. Balfour won the competition hands down submitting several different designs all superior to it's competitors. There was a somewhat disturbing fallout involving Terryberry when upset with losing a sweetheart contract they threatened a lawsuit naming me and the Student Council as correspondents.

It went all the way to the Board of Control and Legal Counsel who were satisfied with our correspondence file. Terryberry withdrew the threat and an open ended agreement was established with Balfour to provide the new class ring. The photo in the current Alumni news is similar to mine for the class of '53 except for a blue faceted jewel. Over the years I outgrew the ring and have somehow misplaced it but I'm still able to find my Winter Carnival Snowshoe racing medals. Tech will always remain MCM&T in my still growing bank of memories.

Bob Carnahan '53

Twelve New Websites Launched

With the final technical touches put in place recently, it was all systems go for the launch of 12 new Michigan Tech websites, as part of a comprehensive effort to streamline the University's web presence.

Introducing new designs for:

Feedback can be sent here.

Probably Not . . .

Not to belabor the topic of Michigan Tech's pedigree, but Larry's note about MCM&T, MCS&T, and MTU brought back another memory of our school's name. On the bulletin board in the Admin building (or maybe Hubbell Hall) was a letter from a high school senior requesting admission to the Michigan Collage of Minds. He was quite sure he qualified.

Steve Pribish
Class of 1964

The Legendary Snowball Fight

I know the big snowball fight celebrating the first snow fall still took place my freshman year, 1986. And I’m sure that Wads won.

I also remember “traying” down the walk on the west end of Wads…careful to avoid the traffic of course. It’s hard to explain to people who have never experienced a winter in the UP, but we sure did make the most of it and come up with some crazy ways to have a good time.

Sharon (Russman) Denney

Alums and the Space Program

space shuttle
Hello Dennis:
Seeing this issue's picture of the Space Shuttle Endeavor final flyover made me ponder just how many Tech grads were involved in the Shuttle program (or for that matter, the entire manned program including Mercury, Gemini and Apollo.) I was fortunate to have played a small roll in 1975 as a summer student at Sundstrand Aviation working on the hydraulic servo controls for the rudder-speed brake.

It was following the 1960s NASA programs that played no small role in convincing and inspiring me to imagine myself one day as an electrical engineer.

Best regards,
Don Afman '76
Moline, IL

Don: I can name you an alum from the Class of 2011 who is at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in DC, working in IT!

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) renee.kurowski@libertymutual.com
Western Michigan & the UP: Chris Napolillo (800-865-1870 ext. 56821) christopher.napolillo@libertymutual.com
Outside of Michigan: Call 1-800-981-2372 or visit the Liberty Mutual website –   http://www.libertymutual.com/mtech
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!

More Alumni Benefits, Services and Discount program information

Job Opportunities

On Campus

Strategic Faculty Hiring Initiatives in Water and Transportation

• Assistant/Associate/Full Professor, Physical Oceanography and Hydrodynamic Modeling

• Assistant/Associate/Full Professor, Concrete Materials

• Assistant/Associate/Full Professor, Transportation Policy and/or Economics; or Multimodal Systems Analysis (with an emphasis in Rail Transportation in both)

• Assistant/Associate/Full Professor, Engineered Water Systems


Other jobs on campus

Business Systems and Data Analyst, Office of Development

Department Chair, Visual and Performing Arts

Research Engineer/Scientist II--Advanced Geospatial Analyst, Michigan Tech Research Institute (MTRI)

Tenure Track Assistant Professor of Art, Visual and Performing Arts

Assistant/Associate Professor--Biomechanics
Assistant/Associate Professor--Integrative Physiology
Department of Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology

Apply using the new online system at http://jobs.mtu.edu.

Complete Descriptions are available on the Human Resources website.

Off Campus

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

Also, visit the Career Tools web page for more options.