October 8, 2013
Vol. 20, No.3
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Football Alums Come Home

Chinese students
Alex Kowalski '01 escapes vs. Mercyhurst in 2000.

Homecoming and football. Like PB and J, love and marriage, Tech and snowbanks: some things just belong together.

The recent Homecoming also coincided with a football reunion, so we caught up with a few of the pigskin veterans who were on campus.

Alex Kowalski '01 had a great time, especially with the golf scramble Friday and the football victory.

"We birdied the Verdie Cox hole!" he said of the toughest hole on the course."We enjoyed the Saturday tailgate and VIP pavilion, which just keeps getting bigger. And so do the crowds. They're much larger than back when I played."

Back in the day, he recalled the great Keweenaw summers and favorite teachers Julia King (Chem Engg) and Dana Johnson (Business). He was a dual major.

Kowalski was the quarterback when current head coach Tom Kearly first came to Tech as offensive coordinator.

"We became close, and he even stood in my wedding," Kowalski said. "I use some of his teachings in my business, too. Tom said, 'Treat each player differently,' and I use that all the time with my employees."

His business is Performance Welding out of Little Chute, Wisconsin, with former teammate Rob Shield '00 as his director of operations. The two families came to the reunion together.

Kowalski recalled another tidbit about the reunion. "We've all gotten a lot better as we get older. There were a lot more all-Americans at the reunion!"

John Donald

John Donald '50 (left) said he had a great weekend, although many of his teammates have passed away. He enjoyed the VIP tent and the fifth-quarter get-together.

He played under coach Rex Benoit and survived the first road trip, to Eau Claire State, where he had a good game in spite of only knowing half the plays due to a late start and missing spring ball.

He started the next week vs. Detroit Tech and every game thereafter for four years. Road trips consisted of private cars, no buses, and $5 meal money from Coach Benoit.

"I played offensive guard and linebacker, a sixty-minute man," Donald said. "After one game, I was so tired, I fell asleep on a little wall outside of DHH and slept until 10:30 or 11:00, missing the party at the KD house on College Avenue."

Donald captained the '48 team, the first undefeated team in Tech history, and spearheaded a 60th reunion in 2008.

"I drove a Model A Ford all through school and back and forth to Ashland, Wisconsin, 155 miles each way," he says. He fondly recalled teachers Tom Vichich and Gilly Boyd.

Donald had a successful career with Sargent and Lundy, the largest architecture and engineering firm in the nation. He lives in Lake Bluff, Illinois.

Paul SharkeyFinally, defensive back and kick returner Paul Sharkey '72 enjoyed running into former players—including Duke Williams and Jay Dishnow—and coaches Ted Kearly and Bill Lucier.

"It was great to reminisce with the good old boys, and I was able to enjoy some freshly caught salmon at Duke's camp," he said.

During his playing days, Sharkey went "from the worst to the best, 0-7-1 to back-to-back 7-1 teams, including the '71 team that was one of the best." That team's only loss was 6-0 to Moorhead.

Off the field, he recalled business professor Jim Gale as a favorite, and he played basketball with him in the NBA (Noon Basketball Association), which is still operating.

Sharkey added a master's in engineering after his business degree from Tech. He is living in St. Louis, where he is currently director of facilities for the police department, after a career in the military.

The feelings of the alums were unanimous: Homecoming is great; Homecoming with a football reunion is even better.

Dennis '92 '09

P. S. Watch for the new TechAlum coming soon!



"The rain and wind really knocked down some great color."

A ride on the back roads almost looked peak.

"I think we've got a couple of weekends yet."

Ski hill rides this weekend will be nice.

"Great view from up there."

Any fond memories from your Tech days?

"I didn't ski, but we walked up it and ran down it more than once."

Any wipeouts?

"Plenty. And, oh yeah, we are at 73 percent."

At Tech

Tech Collaborates on $4 Million Department of Energy Project

Michigan Tech is one of three colleges and universities that will collaborate with the biotech-based alternative fuels and chemical company LanzaTech on a $4 million research project. They will work to find ways to convert waste methane into low-carbon fuels and chemicals. More

Michigan Tech Students Develop Phone Apps for Citizen Scientists

cellphone app
The world is a vast place with a deep history. Scientists try to capture it all, but they cannot identify all the details. That is where you, the citizen, comes in. A group of students and faculty from Michigan Tech are trying to bridge the gap between citizens and scientists with multiple smartphone applications, especially the EthnoApp. More

To the Moon: Alumnus Contributes to Lunar Mission

Lunar probe
Aboard a spacecraft orbiting the moon is a little bit of Brandon Dilworth '09. His body is comfortably here on Earth. But for the last several years, Dilworth has poured all his professional skill and passion into a game-changing scientific project that is now hitching a ride on the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer. More

Alumni Around the World

Green Bay Alumni Chapter

Green Bay
Want to get connected with your fellow Michigan Tech alumni and friends in Green Bay? Mark your calendar—6:00 p.m. on the fourth Thursday of every month the Green Bay Alumni Chapter will get together at the Keweenaw Pub in DePere.

Thanks to everyone who game out for the September Pub Night!
Like the Green Bay Alumni Chapter Facebook page and be the first to hear about future events!

Michigan Tech vs. GSVU Tailgate

Over 130 alumni, friends and family from the West Michigan Alumni Chapter gathered for a Tailgate on Saturday, October 5 (bottom photo, clickable). The group enjoyed beer from Schmohz Brewery and pasties from Marie Catrib's restaurant. Although the Huskies fought hard, GVSU dominated the game with a 49-3 victory against Michigan Tech.

A signed Husky football helmet was auctioned off at the tailgate with the high bid from Mark Bratschi ‘83 for his son Zach ’13 (left) with the proceeds going to the West Michigan Alumni Chapter Scholarship.

For more event photos check out the West Michigan Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/MTUWM


Grand Valley game

Meet the Coaches

Joel Isaacson
On Thursday, October 3, the Michigan Tech Blue Line Club, Michigan Tech Athletics and the Keweenaw Chapter of Alumni and Friends sponsored a "Meet the Coaches" event on campus. Michigan Tech head hockey coach Mel Pearson '81 and assistant hockey coaches spoke with alumni and friends and the group also had the opportunity to tour the Locker Room, Weight Room, new Media Room and Video Scoreboard, and Ice Making Plant.

Tech Alums Adopt a Highway

Tiffin tailgate
Troy Strieter ’97, an engineering manager at Halla Mechatronics in Bay City, MI has teamed up with fellow ME-EM grads from Nexteer Automotive to “adopt” a stretch of highway near Saginaw on behalf of Michigan Tech Alumni.

Here is a photo of the team at their first highway clean up day taken by Troy Strieter ‘97.

Mike Suchomski ’10, Jeff Lauman ’09, Dale Wawrzyniec ’11, Bret Schulte ’12 and Mike Engesath‘11

Frank Townsend '51 Visits Campus

Frank Townsend stopped in to say hi. The civil engineering grad was with his wife and daughter and was on campus for the Civil Engineering Academy dinner that weekend. Frank recalled his dad was in the Class of 31 with Ernie Townsend, no relations, who went on to become Tech's comptroller for many years. Ernie's his name was given to the street were Tech is located, also known as US 41.

WCHA Final Five Held in Grand Rapids next March

The 2013-14 WCHA Final Five will be held in Grand Rapid's Van Andel Arena next March. There are ticket packages available, and we know alums will be excited to see the "new" league celebrate its championship.

More information is available at wcha.com and vanandelarena.com

Make a Difference on October 26

Make a Difference 2012
The Twin Cities Rake-a-thon Team from 2012.

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?


Poll Results

What was your favorite part of Homecoming?

Parade 39.66%
Football Game24.02%
Contests 6.15%
Cardboard Boat Race 5.59%
King and Queen Competition 2.79%
Other Sports 1.68%
Pep Rally .56%
Other 19.55%

Some Others: hobo mixer, didn't pay much attention, another excuse to have a few brews, dressing up like a hobo, excitement on campus and wonderful weather, most years!, classes cancelled, skits (I think it was about '94), stunt night, root beer chug race, partying at the frat house, girl coming up and spending the weekend.

Fill in the Blanks

2005 Make a Difference Day

2006 Make a Difference Day.

Cleaning up the Nara Trails and spending some time with the animals in the animal shelter.

Recognize anyone?

It's clickable.

Email me.


1968 Vets Homecoming Floats

Vets Club Float

I wonder when floats went away. Any ideas?

Email me.




View more sports >

Tech Sports

Hockey Huskies Open 2013-14 with 3-2 Win over Laurentian

Alex Petan scored a hat trick to lead Michigan Tech past Laurentian 3-2 in preseason hockey tonight at the John MacInnes Student Ice Arena. The Huskies peppered Voyageurs' goaltender Alain Valiquette with 59 shots, but needed Petan's tally with 2:23 remaining to get the win. "We did a lot of good things to create quality scoring chances," said third-year head coach Mel Pearson. "I didn't like how we finished around the net. We need to really bear down. More

Football Huskies Fall at No. 25 Grand Valley State 49-3

No. 25 Grand Valley State defeated Michigan Tech 49-3 in GLIAC football tonight at Lubbers Stadium. The Huskies totaled 338 yards of total offense, but gave up 507 yards and several big plays on special teams in the loss. The game started well enough for the Black and Gold as DeShawn Nelson intercepted the Lakers' first play from scrimmage, and the drove inside the GVSU 10-yard line. More

Soccer Completes 2-0 Weekend with 3-2 Win Over Tiffin

Michigan Tech overcame a pair of one-goal deficits to earn a 3-2 victory at Tiffin today in women's soccer. Lexi Herrewig scored twice and Alyssa Hynnek tallied the game-winner off a corner kick in the 70th minute to help the Huskies improve to 6-2-1 overall and 3-0-1 in GLIAC play. Playing less than 24 hours after the conclusion of their previous game (at Findlay), the Black and Gold were up to the challenge. They took 30 shots including 22 that were on target. More

Around the Keweenaw

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

From the Email Bag

The Motorcycle Mystery Man

Ray Smith and Mrs. Honda
Mrs. Honda picks the lucky name,
1974 Spring Commencement.

Hi Dennis,
I feel privileged to have been authorized by the progenitor to reveal the answer to a 39 year old campus mystery. It seems that during the '74 spring quarter prior to Commencement, the neighborhoods in and around campus were disturbed nightly by an unidentified rider zooming around on a motorcycle. The police were unsuccessful in ever apprehending the culprit.

The commencement ceremony that year included the invitation of none other than the Honorable Soichiro Honda who was awarded an Honorary Doctorate. To celebrate his appearance a decision had been made to purchase a Honda 90, Trail bike that would be presented to a graduate based on a lottery drawing. Mr. Honda resisted that model in favor of donating a full scale road model more appropriate to his inventions. Only four persons were party to arrangements to secretly deliver it to a hiding place on campus, no less than the garage of the President's residence. The head of Campus Security Rick Ricard, VP of Operations Ed Koepel, Secretary of the Board Bill Lucier, and the unnamed rider were the four behind the plan.

Sitting in his garage, the motorcycle presented an irresistible invitation to take it out for a spin or two, or multiples for frequent late night rides. Needless to say efforts by campus and local police to catch the rider were unsuccessful inasmuch as he carried a remote control garage door opener and after losing his pursuers he'd simply open the door, ride in and close it, and then retire to his late evening pursuits. This was related to me by the inimitable Ray Smith in a recent conversation and he readily agreed to my giving it a brief recounting during the recent Alumni Awards banquet. He asked only that I confirm the details with his former assistant long since retired.

Soichira Honda and Michael ComstockSoichiro Honda with Michael Comstock, winner of the motorcycle.

On the day of commencement the entire audience became electrified with excitement when it was announced that President Honda would present the bike to a graduate. During the presentation on the grounds near the old cemetery, President Honda chose to climb on and demonstrate the bike before giving the keys to the lucky Forestry major whose name had been drawn. Try as he might he could not get the bike to start, so President Ray Smith came to the rescue, he was unusually familiar with the controls. Honda disappeared for what seemed like an hour.

There were undoubtedly rumors concerning the night rider but the arithmetic was evidently too advanced, no existing equation for 2 + 2? Surprising to me in the process of getting the full story I found that the wife of Ray's assistant had been unaware of the story until my inquiry. With time perhaps we may learn even more to add to the legacy of this Beloved Emeritus President.

Bob Carnahan, '53

Bob: Great stuff, and Ray Smith replies: "I would laugh all the way home. The President's House was the current Alumni House, and there was a garage there, with an electric door, which was rare at the time. My wife, Bea, was quite upset with me. At commencement, I apologized for not introducing Mrs. Honda, and Bea brought her to the stage. We had her pick out the name of the lucky student, and she had no idea that was coming, either."

Powder Puff Team Identified

2006 Powderpuff
I can identify some of these people.

From left to right:
Dallas Smolarek
Erin Tucker
Jill Garrity
Mary Robare (upper yellow)
Mairi Fogle (Bulldogs Shirt)

Have a great day!

Dan Madrid ‘10


Hi Dennis,

In your fill in the blank section, you have a photo of the West End Girls house and our powder puff football team.

Down in front: Chantelle Washington
Standing front row from left to right: Dallas Smolarek, Erin Tucker, Jill Garrity, Mary Robare, Mairi Fogle, Sarah Rush, Elise Savoie, & Anne
Back row left to right: Annie Lothschutz, Amanda Kelmer

I was the RA of this wonderful group. Many of these women have kept in touch and are still close friends.

Mairi Smith-Risk
P. S. Erin Tucker sent me a note saying she still has that football, which we all signed after the game. :)

Board of Trade and Professor Funkenbush

How many alums remember when the precursor of the LIBRARY BAR on the hill was known as the BOARD OF TRADE owned and operated by Lucy and her daughter Sharon circa 1963? Oh, what memories!

I “fondly” recall those hours of Freshman Math 101 and Calculus 1 classes spent in Hubbell Hall when Professor Funkenbush would enter the classroom holding his textbook against his chest with his left arm, peek behind the door and, finding no one there, proceed to chalk talk his lecture, frequently turning his back to the blackboard while roaming along the board to speak to the class thereby erasing a sizable portion of the equations with the back of his suitcoat while we frosh frantically tried to take notes before his work was obliterated. Oh, what memories!

Does anyone remember those “good” times?

Bruce Gall

Pyramid Identified

1983 Homecoming
Hi Dennis,
This was 1977. I was an incoming freshman and hardly knew any of the older girls in our dorm at the time which I think comprised most of this pyramid. We were from Coed and this was the first time our house, “One on One”, made a public showing (Newly named, I was told because this one corner of West Coed was women on floor one…hence one on one.) In facing the girls, I am the bottom left and our RA, Pat is next to me.

Marie Cleveland

Theta Taus Break Ground

Theta Tau
Congratulations to the Beta Chapter of Theta Tau as we begin construction of our 705 Fairview Street - MTU Beta Chapter House. Several MTU staff,including President Glen Mroz, took part in the 09-21-13 Groundbreaking Event. About 60 were in attendance, including the 25 actives in the photo.

More on A. B. Boggs

I was in a math class taught by A. B. Boggs in about 1966 or '67. He struck me as a quiet, gentle man. Not surprised to hear he grew flowers as a hobby.

Two things I remember. He had a gold crown on a front tooth and bit on it repeatedly. And he always leaned back against the blackboard with his hands on the chalk tray. So, his suits were covered in chalk dust; I'll bet the dry cleaners loved him.

Warren Noble 1970


I can hardly forget Prof. Boggs even after all this time. After receiving A's in the first two terms of calculus taught by Tom Vichich, the best I could manage with the Boggs style of teaching was a C- in differential equations during the Spring term.

-Al Robertson, '54


Hi Dennis,
I had A. B. Boggs for Differential Equations in the Spring (quarter) 1973… I remember he was a no nonsense instructor that didn’t like to be challenged… He and a Math major got into a bit of a ‘tiff’ in class when the student suggested another way to do a problem…When the student said “I’d bet my whole grade on it” Boggs took another look at what he was saying and admitted he was correct… I had to ask Boggs for permission to take my final early as I had to make it down state for my sister’s wedding… he did it but I still think to this day my final was a little tougher than everyone else’s !!!

I noticed the photo of the ‘bed races’ during homecoming… We were in I believe the first year it was held when I was in Beta Sigs (1974-75?)… I remember the rules were you had to incorporate a full size bed frame, and accordingly most ‘racers’ were on casters… that didn’t work well, especially in the turns… I remember the race started behind the MU, turned and went up hill by the admin bldg and turned left and went straight to the finish line about where the Presidents house is… Our racer had a rope and pulley system for steering so we did well in the turns… too slow in the straightaways though… a lot of fun!

Pat Parker, BSME- ‘75

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Whether you purchase a regular plate or collector plate, a portion of the purchase fee is given to the University.
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Michigan Tech Gear—Show Your Michigan Tech Pride!

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Official Class Rings and Diploma Frames
Michigan Tech License Plates
Michigan Tech Collector Blanket
University Images—Michigan Tech Clothing and Giftware

More Alumni Benefits, Services and Discount program information 

Job Opportunities

On Campus

Lecturer, Economics, School of Business and Economics

Assistant Professor, Cognitive and Learning Sciences
http://www.jobs.mtu.edu/postings/1205 .

Assistant Professor, Rhetoric and Composition, Humanities

Assistant Research Scientist, Geospatial Research Assistant, Michigan Tech Research Institute (MTRI)

Complete Descriptions are available on the Human Resources website.

Off Campus

Check out the Linked in group exclusively for Michigan Tech Alumni.

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