September 10, 2013
Vol. 20, No. 1
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Volume 20, Number 1

Bash at the Big House
Bash at the Big House: I almost felt sorry for the Grand Valley band. Almost.

Beginning a twentieth year of anything is pretty impressive, and TechAlum is no exception.

We thought this was a good chance to celebrate TechAlum's history and also tell you that we are changing it a bit. It won't be so drastic that you won't recognize it, but we will make it easier to read, top to bottom, and the new look is really attractive, in my humble opinion.

That's coming later this fall, but this new number gives us a great chance to look back.

indoor k-dayWe had an indoor K-Day once.

Of course, we must credit Dean Woodbeck '78 for starting TechAlum. He even created a verb, "Woodbecking" for some interesting developments, and his Husqi tails were great snippets of Keweenaw and Tech life.

Dean was nice enough to reminisce: the first edition was May 9, 1994, pre-web, and it was sent to thirty alumni whose emails we had. It was also posted on Gopher (remember?). It was the second of its kind in the nation, after Trinity University in San Antonio.

There was a sports edition of TechAlum for awhile, and in 1997 Tech received the Grand Gold Award from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, their highest award, with TechAlum as the foundation for alumni communications.

"Tuesday mornings became even more fun, because that was when I'd read the responses and stories from our very articulate and witty alumni," he writes. "Putting together the opening column that became the signature of TechAlum was very satisfying, . . . provided a written record of my kids growing up . . . and documents ten years of my life in the Copper Country. I'm still grateful that Michigan Tech gave me the opportunity to experiment with that newfangled idea and that I actually got paid for doing something that was so much fun."

I'm in total agreement.

Looking back randomly over the years, I see that Dean Meese passed away in December 2003. It's hard to believe it's been that long. Beloved phy ed teacher, department chair, and coach Cheryl DePuydt passed away in 2005. I'm glad I got to know them, and I'll throw Doc Berry and Verdie Cox in with those gone but never forgotten.

theatreOur theatre productions have been outstanding.

Our Concrete Canoe teams are one constant: they've placed really well in regionals and nationals over the years.

The Pep Band has had a couple of successful fundraisers. New bibs were the focus of at least one such event. New instruments have been supported recently.

The Clean Snowmobile Challenge has grown to become a big, annual event. Jay Meldrum and the gang at KRC are doing great.

The APMP team has done well in national investment competitions, winning their category three times and representing Tech in good fashion every year.

Healthy ski seasons were more or less the norm, as mother nature and snow guns kept Mont Ripley quite busy.

The wolves and moose study on Isle Royale really showed population fluctuations, some tied to warming trends, they believe. Sometimes there would be half as many moose over two years; many more wolf pups and adults in other years.

Michigan Tech closing for weather has been a nearly constant topic of discussion in the Email Bag.

WadsRooms in Wads and elsewhere are modular now. No more lofts!

The living history program at Fort Wilkins was fondly recalled, with many students playing roles up there.

The Parade of Nations became a new fall tradition that continues today. Next year is their 25th anniversary.

Carnival, of course, has always been the favorite tradition, and one year we even added three Guinness World Records to our winter fun: largest snowball, largest snowball fight, and most snow angels. Participants, it was an event we'll never forget.

Speaking of Sherman Field, where we broke the records, the football highlights are many, but finally beating Northern and seeing football alums from the 50s getting choked up is near the top. Beating No. 1 Grand Valley at home in heart-stopping fashion is right there, too.

Winning GLI last year (yes!) and going to Missouri with the women's basketball team and their national runners-up finish were two more "keepers." Okay, Bash at the Big House, too.

Also great were/are the many examples of our students giving back: Make a Difference Day (in which alumni now participate), First Robotics and Lego Competitions with local schools are but a few examples.

And the TechAlum audience has grown from that original thirty (I'd love to hear from you) to 34,000 today!

Can I say, "What a long, strange (and great) trip it's been?" And having you along has made the journey completely enjoyable.

Thank you.

Dennis '92 '09



I think you overshot your last percentage.

"So, are you the expert now?"

I just don't think it was 5-7 percent.

"There goes my perfect game."

It might be getting close to that amount now.

"I think so. Lots of dry, green leaves on the ground. That's new over the past couple of years."

Even after all the rain.

"Strange is the new normal."

At Tech

Immunization Beads Take Top Prize in 3D Printers for Peace Contest

3D beads
A brightly colored innovation to help families and doctors keep track of childhood vaccine records in the developing world has won the 3D Printers for Peace Contest. The contest was organized last spring by Michigan Tech’s Joshua Pearce, who had become alarmed that 3D printing was known primarily as a technology for making homemade guns. More

New Satellite Maps Track Harmful Algal Blooms in Great Lakes

algal blooms
Satellites orbit our lives in so many ways. They beam our favorite TV shows to our living rooms, predict tomorrow's weather, and tell us how to get where we want to go. Now scientists from the Michigan Tech Research Institute (MTRI) are using satellite data to determine where harmful algal blooms (HABs) are proliferating in the Great Lakes and what threats they may pose to water quality and public health. More

New Remote-Sensing Development Could Aid Disaster Relief

When earthquakes hit, emergency responders need to know quickly where to send their resources. A Michigan Technological University researcher and his graduate students believe they can help. Thomas Oommen, assistant professor in the Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences, is using remote sensing in a new way, to assess the damage quickly and more accurately. His tool: crowdsourcing, or what he calls the “power of the volunteer crowd. More

Alumni Around the World

Twin Cities Chapter Gathers

Fitzgerald Theatre
On Saturday, September 7 alumni and friends from the Twin Cities chapter gathered for an evening out on the town. The group started at the Great Waters Brewery for a social then headed over to the Historic Fitzgerald Theatre for the comedy show Happily Ever Laughter. Thanks to Carl Craven ‘89 for hosting the event!

Make a Difference on October 26

Make a Difference 2012
The Keweenaw Chapter works on a cold Make a Difference Day last year.

October 26 is Make a Difference Day—a national day to give back to your community, and a great way to connect with other alumni in your area! 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?

Fill in the Blanks

2005 K-Day

2005 K-Day.

Are you there?

It's clickable.

Email me.


1970 K-Day

1970 K-Day

Recognize this couple on Brockway Mountain?

Email me.

And the origins of K-Day always escaped me. If the clipping below is true, it was in 1951, and it was an official event.

I was told long ago that it was an unofficial event that was organized by the students.

Anyway, enjoy the story, below.



1951 KDay

View more sports >

Tech Sports

Volleyball Splits Day Two, Closes with Win Over Winona

The Michigan Tech volleyball team split its two matches at the Winona State Tournament today. The Huskies lost to St. Joseph's 3-0 in their morning match but finished off the weekend on a positive note by beating tournament host Winona State 3-1 this afternoon. More

Soccer Falls at UW-Parkside


The Michigan Tech women's soccer team suffered its first loss of the season with a 5-1 decision at Wisconsin-Parkside today. The host Rangers scored four goals before a nearly 90-minute lightning delay. The teams played even at 1-all for the final 26 minutes. More

Around the Keweenaw

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

From the Email Bag

K-Day 1969 IDs

1969 K-Day
Sure, lower left is Bob Kraus, above him is Bill French, and on right top is Bill Bawn w/ guitar. I recognize everyone else, just can't recall their names.

Dave Gothard, '71


The guitar player on the left (with glasses) looks like Bill French, Forester '70.
Lou Best
Forester '70


Spent many hours over the brief time we were together singing with those musicians. On the far left is Bill French, the guitarist in the center is Bill Bawn, and Jim Quinlan is on the far right. They were our group from St. Al's. Jim and I were roommates there from the fall of '69 through spring of '71. In addition to the music provided for Masses, our weekend activities often involved those guys among others playing their guitars in the church basement with a group of us singing along. They were good times and bring back some great memories. Sorry, but I don't recognize any of the others in the picture.

Greg Switek


In the subject photo of 1969 K-Day, Bill French (forestry 1970) is the guitar player on the left, my roommate, Leon Hanson (??) is in the center and the guitar player on the right is me, Bill Bawn (EE 1971) - Bill

Classic Rube Goldberg

From Frank Shoffner '62

This is really cool.

Two Good Ideas

license plate
First, let's keep those Tech plates coming in! From President Glenn Mroz '74 '77.

Husky logo

And, let's report where we've seen the Huskies logo, sort of like Where's Waldo, from Vice President of Student Affairs and Advancement Les Cook.

Tom Drummer Passes Away

Thomas David Drummer, age 59, of Chassell, Michigan, passed away on August 13, 2013 in his home. He was born May 30, 1954 in Bowling Green, Ohio. Tom was a professor at Michigan Tech where he has taught since 1985. He joined the university's math faculty after completing an MS in Applied Statistics from Bowling Green State University and a PhD in Statistics from the University of Wyoming. He loved teaching at Michigan Tech. Tom was respected as a teacher, counselor, and mentor to his students. He was also a trusted colleague who had a tremendous influence on the professional careers of younger faculty members. Full online obituary.

2006 Move-in Crew Identified

Move-in Crew

Hi! I know 5 of the faces...

The ladies(L to R): Esther Johnson, Meghan Martin (Burr), Katrina Sanders, Erika Johnson, and Anna Bradfish (Stenvig)

I don't recall the name of the guy on the left.

This was from my 3rd year as an OTL. How ever did you choose this photo?

Best regards,

Meghan: I do it purely by chance and choose one that is easy to view. (Still clickable.)



Second from the left is Esther Johnson. She works in my office at the Detroit District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Gail Monds


Hey Dennis,

Esther Johnson is second from the left. Hope this helps!

Dan Madrid ’10


Yet More on the Greenhouse

greenhouseHi Dennis,
In 1972-73 I was manager of the greenhouse for the Biology Dept. My work-study job was to grow, prepare and maintain plant materials for introductory biology and botany classes. Fred Erbisch also had some plant experiments which I watched over but was not directly involved with. The best part about the job was its flexibility. If I had an hour here or there between classes, I could attend to the greenhouse.

Even though the engineers though it was odd, the greenhouse provided a warm, but rarely sunny place to work in the winter. I only remember once or twice that I had to get help opening the door. Since it was in the ‘wind tunnel’ on the mall, snow was usually blown around enough to get in and out with little trouble. Getting plants into labs on the top floors of ME-EM was another story!

And speaking of stories, I do remember a typical cold snowy winter break. A friend from Wads asked if he could put his new seedlings in the greenhouse for the break. Being a generous person, I said yes. About 10 plants soon arrived in pots and they were properly cared for during the break. Later in the spring, my friend invited me over to his room in Wads to see how his plants were growing. They had grown large enough to be properly identified – MARIJUANA!

Alice J. Jones
Biology ‘75



Hi Dennis,

I took this photo of the dome when it was first built. My recollection was the year 1967 and it just appeared next to Hubbell Hall on return to school that fall.

Jerry Goodwin
Elect. E., '68


I think the alums will enjoy the other the photo you sent, too, which I've included below.




Hubbell Hall


Foresters One More Time

Douglass House
Ok, since Glenn is prominent in the photo, I’ll assume the others are Twigs….. the young lady between Glenn and the bearded guy looks a lot like Linda Kunkle who was in the Forestry program around the same time as I was ’74 – ’79… the blond haired guy second from right in the photo might be Mark(?) Evon(?)

Tom Fisher ‘79

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