May 7, 2013
Vol. 19, No. 18
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Essence and Passion

Katie Price
Katie Price '13 spoke from her heart.

"Spring" Commencement (42 degrees amid the snowbanks) was blessed by two great speakers this year: one from the Class of 2013; one from IBM.

Katie Price, graduating with an environmental engineering degree, boiled down the essence of a Michigan Tech education: walking across campus and seeing at least five people you know, the delight of a Friday night with the hockey team, the top of Brockway Mountain on a fall day, the last five minutes of the nine-hour car drive to get here, and learning the meaning of work and gaining that work ethic. "Then you are Husky," she said.

She challenged her classmates to describe the Tech essence to someone they meet on a plane, a friend, a neighbor, and with luck, they will have a similar experience.

David Barnes, program director of strategy and emerging Internet technologies for IBM, told the students to find their passion, "the big tingle," and touch the sky, in the words of Kanye West. "Make it go viral," he said. "You are the first generation born on the web, it's a natural extension of your arms."

Use the connections on the other side of the world to create an organ to change a child's life, grow tall timber in the desert, make steel so hard Wolverine would want it, he said.

David Barnes"These are the good old days," he added, quoting Carly Simon.

David Barnes was inspiring and funny.

We surveyed a few grads to get their future plans and find their favorite Tech memory.

Brendan Lukkari from Mass City was getting his bachelor's in forestry and starting his own consulting business. The veteran fondly recalled his capstone project: doing a management plan for all of Tech's property.

Keith Jurak, with a BS in CS, was going to law school at U-M and wants to go into patent law, focusing on software and property rights. From West Bloomfield, his fondest memory was playing King of the Hill on the snow mounds this winter ("twenty feet up").

He was proudly wearing the Order of Omega on his robe, given to the top 3 percent of Greeks in the categories of scholarship, service, and leadership. He also had ribbons for Greek (red), Blue Key (blue), and summa cum laude (gold). "They are kind of rubbing my neck," he said.

Yidan Lou was headed to China in August to work with highway paving machinery. The ME was going to miss Huskies hockey games the most.

Ben Hohnstatdt, an EE from Shelby Township will be moving to Minneapolis to work with OSI, monitoring power grids. His favorite memory was biking around the UP in six days.

Nearby, Rachel List, also an EE, was going to work with Dematic in Grand Rapids, doing logistics for conveyer systems. Her biggest thrill was jumping thirty feet into Canyon Falls.

Ali Haider, our incredible basketball star, is going to play for his native Lebanon's national team while his agent finds him a professional team in Lebanon. His EE degree was his "back up plan." He'll miss all the nice people at Tech.

ME Matt Verbiscus was heading to Maine and Pratt and Whitney, where he'll be a design engineer. The South Lyon native will always recall the great friends he made at Tech.

As the crowd filed out and stopped for more photos with the family and friends, I knew many of them would stay in touch as they recalled the good old days and lived the many good days to come.

David Barnes' Commencement Speech.

Dennis '92 '09


Snowfall Totals

At Tech

Alumni Gifts Fund Two Major Learning Initiatives at Michigan Tech

Campus Mall
Michigan Tech is launching two major initiatives aimed at improving student success and providing faculty with new tools for enhancing student learning. Both efforts are made possible through generous gifts from alumni. An $876,000 bequest from the estate of Waino Wahtera, who earned a BS in Chemistry from Michigan Tech in 1942, will fund the Wahtera Center for Student Success. The William G. Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning is supported by an outright gift of $1 million. The president of CableAmerica, William G. Jackson graduated from Michigan Tech in 1958 with a BS in Electrical Engineering. More

Michigan Tech Board of Control Approves Budget, Tuition Rates

Glenn Mroz
At its regular meeting in Houghton today, Michigan Tech’s Board of Control passed a balanced budget for fiscal year 2014 of $172.5 million. Major sources of revenue include $43.8 in state appropriations and $114.7 million in tuition and fees.Next year’s budget is $7 million higher than the current year’s and includes an additional $1 million for financial aid, $500,000 for maintenance and a 3 percent merit adjustment for employees, effective in January. More

The Last Class: Beth Flynn, Humanities

Beth Flynn
Beth Flynn had trouble with all three of her vehicles one recent morning. A wrecker call wasn’t the way she thought she’d begin her last day of teaching. The humanities professor did made it to campus to teach Literary Theory and Criticism, a small seminar designed for advanced English majors, and she clearly had left her last class with lessons learned. More

Commencement 2013: The Last Day, the First Day

blizz hand
Twice a year we celebrate all of the wisdom developed behind closed doors and in lecture halls and in the field. But because it happens twice a year doesn’t mean it’s ordinary, uneventful. It brings together hundreds of lives, thousands of accomplishments, millions of thoughts and ideas. Commencement is a celebration of what is possible. More

Alumni Around the World

Frank and Frank, Thanks for Stopping by

Frank Agosti
We had a nice chat with Frank Agosti '58 recently, with Randy Heinonen from our advancement staff.

Frank dropped off a treasure trove of photos from 1956 to 1958, and the shots of the Mackinac Bridge under construction, local scenes, and campus are priceless. I'll be passing them on to our archives after I scan some.

Frank recalled Gilly Boyd, metallurgy legend, from back in the day. "Mr. Boyd" was the proper way to address them, he says. Also Robert Papworth, who taught a Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday class, and enlisted a little help (with food and beverage enticements) to do construction out at his farm.

Frank went on to become a senior vice president for power supply at Detroit Edison and still lives in the Detroit area. He's been honored with the Board of Control Silver Medal and has served the University through the National Advisory Board and College of Engineering Industrial Advisory Board. He was in town as part of the Academy of Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Mechanics ceremonies. Frank's a member of that group, too, from the first class of inductees. He retired in 1997.

Frank ShoffnerFrank Shoffner '62 also stopped in during his nearly annual steelhead fishing expedition. No luck, yet, he said, too much ice on the banks. He had tried the Tobacco River near Gay and the Salmon Trout River near Redridge.

He recalled the good old days and said that he and some classmates make a pilgrimage to the South Range cemetery to pay tribute to "No Pay George," the Hancock food vendor who "donated" hot dogs to Tech students back in the day.

They also gather in Armando's in downtown Houghton for breakfast each year. They visit with classmate Kiril Spiroff Jr. in Chassell, too. Frank recalled Spiroff's dad, who taught at Tech, as a "brilliant character."

He also gave up a President Emeritus Ray Smith tidbit: he could waterski barefoot.

Save the Date for Alumni Reunion 2013, August 1–3!

2012 Pasty Picnic
Make plans to catch up with fellow alumni and rediscover campus during Alumni Reunion 2013. The featured groups for Reunion 2013 include the Class of 1963, 1973, 1983, 1988, 1993, 2003, the Golden M's (those who graduated fifty-plus years ago), and the Women of Michigan Tech.

A variety of activities for all ages will be offered including family activities, campus tours, seminars, pasty picnics, and much more!

For a preliminary schedule, lodging information, and to RSVP, please visit

Fill in the Blanks

2006 Spring Commencement


In May 2006, a crowd waited to move into the MacInnes Student Ice Arena.

Recognize anyone?

It is clickable.

Email me.


1980 Commencement

President Smith and son


President Emeritus Ray Smith handed his son, Martin, his mining degree in 1980. Dean of Students Harold Meese looked on.

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Tech Sports

Parnell Finishes Third Twice at GLIAC Championships

Quinn Parnell led the Michigan Tech track and field teams with a pair of third place finishes in the 100 and 200 at the GLIAC Championships Friday (May 3). Parnell ran a time of 10.64 in the 100, the eighth fastest time in school history, and a time of 21.36 in the 200, the fourth fastest mark all-time by a Tech runner. More

Strong Start at GLIAC Championships

track and field
The Michigan Tech track and field teams are off to a strong start at the 2013 GLIAC Track and Field Championships in Ashland, Ohio. Both teams have 11 points, with the women in eighth place and the men tied for ninth. "We are off to a strong start," said head coach Joe Haggenmiller. "Our multis crew did a good job, and Mel (Hoffman) had a great throw in the javelin. We had a number of people advance to the finals which is great to see against such strong competition in the GLIAC." More

Around the Keweenaw

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

From the Email Bag

Remember More Alumni Who Died in Vietnam

yellow rose
These were left for each of the alumni we identified, by Allan Pedersen and Richard Horton.

Thank you and Joel Wagenaar for remembering Tom Pakula being on the Vietnam Traveling Wall. Tom was a great person and a good friend. We graduated from Stambaugh High School in the spring of ‘64 and were roommates in DHH for our first two years at MTU. As best my memory serves me, Tom graduated in the spring of 1968.

He and many other great individuals gave their lives so that we can be free. God Bless them all and protect our troops doing the same thing today.

Thanks again.

Deward Beeler, 1968 winter term forestry graduate.


Here is another name of an alum who died during the Viet Nam era, Norman Johnson, 62, forestry. Norm was a very good friend and roommate. He was serving in the Navy as a navigator on a PBY when it went down. I do not know if it was the result of hostile action.

Ron Lewis 62


Hi Dennis,
In reference to the Tech students killed in Vietnam, A Delt Sig frat brother of mine who graduated in '65 or '66, Dan Currey, was killed in Vietnam. I don't know any of the details but his brother, Robert, graduated in '67. He would know more of what happened.

Thomas Trefzer '67


Dennis - You sure did get a lot of feedback recently regarding Tech alums whose names were on the Wall. I have a friend from my early days at Tech who had his name placed on the Wall after the fact, as he was MIA until 1973. I didn't notice his name mentioned in the letters to you and wanted to make note of Bill Tromp.

Bill was from Fennville, Michigan. According to information I received when I visited the moving Wall when it was down on Keweenaw Bay, his name can be found on Panel 06E and Line 120. He was a pilot in the Naval Reserve and his plane crashed in North Vietnam. He was captured and died in prison there. My information indicates that his tour date was 4-17-66 and casualty date was 10-24-73. His name is on a panel inserted into the wall after it had been completed to list those in his situation (MIA).

He and I were residents of DHH, 3rd Floor West in 1959. I recall he was a good guy who took part in all the usual shenanigans that went on in the residence halls. After I graduated, I lost track of Bill like many of my other acquaintances. Then, when I joined the DNR in 1971, was shocked to see his photo in a restaurant in Fennville our crew was having lunch at. At the time, he was still listed as MIA. That still bothers me, learning something like that while i was sitting there having lunch.

Bill Deephouse


Just to let you know for all our alums who are south/southwest, the National Vietnam War Museum is being built in Mineral Wells, Texas. So far they have several of the gardens open as well as a Camp Holloway Wall replica and a permanent Vietnam War Memorial Wall. Next time I go there I'll have to leave something for Charles Baldwin's memory. I was his date to the military ball in 1966-67 school year. He was second in command and I was a Senior in the Silver Stars.

Keep those newsletter's coming.

Sanna Messinger Roling, '67

More Plates

license plate

Dennis, here is another one. We are allowed only 7 letters so I had to make a choice as where to put the "H". So far I've had one person from Detroit who talked to me who recognized the plate and knew it was Michigan Tech. Undoubtedly others on the road must recognize the plate and school.

Tom Cieslinski, Forestry 1963


California plate
In this newsletter you asked for other Michigan Tech license plates. Please find a picture of mine attached. (The graduation year gives away my age-oops.) I can’t believe it has been 30 years...

Thanks for putting out this newsletter. I look forward to it and enjoy reading every issue. Great Job!!!

Don Kolehmainen

Florida plate

Michigan plate


Hi Dennis

Enjoy your issues. I didn't enjoy the February blizzard when I was there for the Career Fair LOL!!

Kurt Wicklund - '74;
Treasure Island, FL






My Husky pride is evident wherever I travel in SW Michigan and well beyond!

J. B. Hoyt, Class of 1974


World's First Website

. . .
and it’s only 20 years old:

John Baker

Alums find themselves in California Photo

Dear Dennis,
I hope all is well in the U.P.! What a winter you have had since January.

My wife and I (Pictured in back row behind Coaches wife in the hat. My wife Kristy to my left.) went to the Dorothy Alice Vinyard for the afternoon of wine tasting and reminiscing. I think a great time was had by all who attended. The setting at their vinyard was beautiful and the weather was perfect. We sat on their back patio and thoroughly enjoyed our time with fellow alumni.

Many thanks to our hosts for the afternoon, Walt '63 and Nancy Hurtienne. The hors d’oeuvres they paired with the wines were excellent. I hope this becomes a tradition!

Don Kolehmainen

That Great Memorial Union Gravy

We often read things in the TechAlum Newsletter that relate to someone’s past and their memories of Da Tech.

I have a very vivid memory of pasty lunches at the faculty dining room that sported some of the best mushroom gravy around.

I have searched the Internet high and low, and I have found recipes for the pasty but never for the gravy. I do remember it was a kind of a speckled light brown, with the speckles being slightly darker. I also remember that I got the recipe once while at Tech and it had “Tamari” sauce which ultimately I found at the co-op in Hancock. Unfortunately, I did not archive the recipe well and it has escaped me. Does anyone have the recipe for that gravy? It was what made the pasty so good.

Buried in tamales in New Mexico,
Dan Rossbach ‘84

More on "Woodmar"

As I mentioned in my earlier note, I am familiar with the green temporary(?) post WW-II/Korean War housing at the eastern end of the campus. I lived on the ground floor, eastern end of DHH (room 172) during the '54-'55 academic year. That location provided me with a very good, frequent view of that housing.

The point of my previous note was to say I never, ever heard it referred to as "Vetsville!" As I mentioned, I believe it was called "Woodmar," or something similar. Also, I do recall at least one non-veteran who lived there with his wife, so that housing certainly was not exclusively for veterans!

I wonder if the other similar housing "up the hill" that you mentioned might have been put in place in '57, or after, since I never heard of there being another "Vetsville" while I attended MCMT. My attendance at Tech ended after the Winter term -- Feb/Mar '57.

Art Wildblood '59
St. Augustine, FL

Art: Vetsville might have been what the locals called it. "Woodmar" seems to be the actual name.


Hi Dennis,
It was fascinating to read the latest describing life on the Portage Canal row of the Vet's housing during the '49 to '50 academic year. The gate shown in the fence surrounding the Sherman field led right onto the cinder track. Ironically, last week on April 17, I made a valiant try to fly in for the Enterprise Expo only to learn that CMX had closed in route and my flight from Chicago had been cancelled. Needless to say the cancellations continued so I reversed routes. The kicker to my story is that on April 17, 1950, my freshman year as a distance runner, I was eagerly looking forward to Tech's annual invitational only to experience it's cancellation due to 17" of snow on this track. Here it is 63 years later, as I look forward to my 60th Golden M reunion in August, that getting in an out of the Copper Country continues to produce unforgettable adventures.

Bob Carnahan '53

Appleton/Milwaukee Alums Looking to do Business

Hi Dennis - my wife and I are '84 Tech grads, and now business owners. I'm interested in networking with other Tech alumni who are business leaders/owners.....are you aware of any groups or events we could participate in? We live in Appleton, Wisconsin and have an office in Milwaukee as well.

Great job on the brought back warm memories!

Thanks for any ideas you can provide.

Jim Perras

Note: I sent Jim's note over to the Alumni Relations folks for input.

Another Brewery by an Alum

Rockford Brewing Company

Hi Dennis.
Great article. I've been meaning to reach out to MTU and let them know my story.

I graduated in 98 with a Business Admin degree and MIS option... both of which I extensively use.

I am one of 3 founders and owners of Rockford Brewing Company, we just opened late last year and it's going great!!

Seth Rivard


Hey Dennis,

You've missed another alum who has just opened a brewery in Rockford, Michigan. Seth Rivard, class of '98 (I think) built Rockford Brewing Company. Check him out at: It would be great if you could do a story on him! It's been quite a journey!

Michelle Chenail VanLangevelde '98

Great Old Photo

This picture was sent to me as part of a large collection of old B&W photos. I can't vouch for the accuracy of the caption or photo, but it sure caught my eye. Hand loading of ships was probably common in 1905.

Bruce Oliver '63

Bruce: That looks like the old Van Orden's crane in the background. It is clickable.

Featured Alumni Benefits

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This collaboration also provides revenue to support a wide range of Alumni Association programs for students and alumni.

Michigan Tech Gear—Show Your Michigan Tech Pride!

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Official Class Rings and Diploma Frames
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University Images—Michigan Tech Clothing and Giftware

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Job Opportunities

On Campus

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