Former Students Establish Scholarship in Memory of Bill Gregg

by Marcia Goodrich, senior writer

Two of Bill Gregg's former students have established a scholarship fund in his memory.

Seth and Shannon (Bair) Lemke both graduated from Michigan Tech in 2000, Shannon with a BS in Geological Engineering and Seth with a dual major in geological engineering and geophysics.

The couple has provided an initial gift for the William J. Gregg Annual Scholarship, which honors the memory of the former faculty member in the Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences. Gregg died Dec. 6 in an accidental fall down the Quincy Mine Hoist No. 2 Shaft, in Quincy Township.

The annual award amount will be $1,000 or 10 percent of in-state tuition, whichever is greater. The scholarship is limited to juniors or seniors majoring in a program within the Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences. They must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0 and possess a love for geology.

Seth Lemke explained how he came to appreciate Gregg's devotion to his craft.

"Bill was first and foremost a good guy," said Lemke. "He loved geology, and he loved teaching geology. One of the things you could count on in the department was that Bill would give his first test in Structural Geology twice. He'd always give it the first time, grade it, and decide that the students just didn't have a grasp on it. Then he'd go over it again in class and test them again, and they'd always do better.

"When I went through it myself, I thought it was a bit silly," Lemke said. "Later on I was a TA for that class, and I jokingly asked him if he was just going to let them all fail some year. He smiled and said that he would if it was just about the grades, but the material was really, really important. The students needed this to really get what was happening in the world around them.

"That's when what Bill did really clicked for me, and I gained a tremendous amount of respect for him that day. I hope the scholarship does some good," Lemke concluded.

Department Chair Wayne Pennington expressed appreciation for the gift on behalf of both the department and Gregg's family.

"We are delighted that former students have stepped forward to establish this scholarship in his honor and memory," he said. "Dr. Gregg was well-known as a teaching professor and was clearly considered to be the best teacher most of our students experienced. We miss him, but we are glad that his memory lives on, fittingly, as a scholarship for dedicated students."

The Lemkes are challenging Gregg's friends and former students to contribute, in hopes of establishing an endowed scholarship.

"What better way could there be to honor our best teacher than with a prominent scholarship for the best of our students?" Pennington said.

Donations can be made by credit card or check payable to the Michigan Tech Fund. To donate online, visit .

Mama Yeye Connects Cultures Through Song, Dance and Stories

by John Gagnon, promotional writer

Mama Yeye, who had a devil of a time getting to campus because of the weather along the East Coast, talked to a theater class Wednesday morning. She was at once spirited and spiritual; given to song and dance and drums; at times speaking and singing in a language that the audience didn't understand but which sounded beautiful in any event.

Raised in an African family in Philadelphia, Mama Yeye described herself as "an artist" and said, "I do whatever I can to be a child of light--to protect the children. I love to teach children." At age 52, she is a mother of three, a grandmother of eight, and says, "I am a daughter of two worlds"--America and Africa--"and I love and respect both."

She now lives in Atlanta and is a dancer, choreographer, playwright and teacher, and she presented workshops on African dance, storytelling and drum building Wednesday. She teaches the arts of Africa at colleges, universities and theater conferences nationwide.

Mama Yeye wore a long colorful dress and a striking scarf. Two thick braids trailed down her back. She is of a people called Yoruba. "We are a very proud people. We are from the southwest region of Nigeria, but you'll find us all over the world."

In Yoruba there are Muslims, Christians, traditionalists and Buddhists. "We're a people, not a religion," she said.

The Yoruba have a strong story-telling tradition that transcends differences and that guides youth, builds character and strengthens the family and community, Mama Yeye said. Her own story for the Tech students who were her audience Wednesday was simple: "All people need to preserve their culture--no matter who they are, no matter where they are, no matter what their background. If we do not hold onto the beauty of different cultures that we have in this world, we lose so much of the artistry that God created in the first place. To preserve that means you have a better way of understanding each other and communicating. If we can't communicate, then how are we going to get along? If you can’t get along, you'll go back to war, famine and all the other negatives."

"Why is there so much violence in Africa?" she was asked after her workshop.

"Why is there so much violence in our own neighborhoods and all our cities?" she responded, then she answered her own question: "It's human nature: not being happy with who we are and what we have. People are always not satisfied. We tend to want more than what belongs to us."

Mama Yeye was otherworldly and talked about spirits, good and bad; seventh heaven ("There is such a thing"); "our eyes for this earth suit"; and a larger purpose--"It is never a coincidence," she said. Indeed, she added, we choose our parents and our journey in life to reconnect with each other.

Amid all the etheral notions, she immediately related to the students. "I did everything you do and maybe a little more," she said.

Mama Yeye is both a Christian in western culture and a priestess in her native culture. Tradition tends to be supplanted by progress, and she urged students not to let technology change their character. "The world is changing and moving fast," she said. "But it should not change who we are"--"singular" people with different traditions but much in common, in particular the quest for good character, strong families and vibrant culture. It's also a small world, she added. "You never know anymore. You could be my cousin."

She spoke many African words, each one a song, and urged students on: "Come on. Talk to me." She pranced around the room like a child. She was irrepressible and given to laughter.

"Be well and satisfied," she admonished her audience, who were in Debra Bruch's theater class. Bruch, herself a minister and a storyteller, summed up Mama Yeye's presentation in a word: "Amazing."

Mama Yeye’s visit was sponsored by the Visiting Women and Minority Scholar Series, Institutional Diversity and Visual and Performing Arts.

Reminder: Deadlines for Late Drops Approaching

The last day to drop full-term spring semester classes is Friday, Mar. 6, by 5 p.m. All drops must be done in person in the Office of Student Records and Registration. Drops cannot be done via the web.

Also, please note:

The last day to drop track B classes (those classes that begin on March 2) with a refund is today, Thursday, March 5.

The last day to drop track B classes with no grade is Wednesday, March 18.

The last day to drop track B classes with a "W" grade is Friday, April 3.

According to the University policy on late drops, "After the eighth week of the semester, a student may request a late drop from the Office of Student Affairs, which will consider those requests that involve circumstances beyond the student's control."

Extenuating circumstances considered are prolonged illness, serious accidents and death in the immediate family or of a close friend, or similar situations beyond the student's control.

All requests must be made in writing. Instructions for late drops are available in the COMPASS Office (Wads G28) or the Office of Student Affairs (Admin 170). No late drops will be granted to avoid poor grades.

Again, only extenuating circumstances will be considered for granting a late drop.

Tech Hosts Web Conference on Winter Road Maintenance

Last week, the University Transportation Center for Materials in Sustainable Transportation Infrastructure (UTC-MiSTI), the Michigan Tech Transportation Institute (MTTI) and Michigan's Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP) collaborated to broadcast a national web conference, "Deicing Best Practices and Recent Research Results," from Houghton.

The broadcast involved seven remote presenters from five different locations in Michigan. More than 500 people participated from 191 locations in 19 states.

The event was facilitated through the Federal Highway Administration's Office of Corporate and Professional Development in Washington, DC.

UTC-MiSTI, MTTI and LTAP are planning additional web conferences that will be of interest to the transportation community. If you would like more information, call the Michigan LTAP office at 487-2102.

Call for Nominations: 2009 Faculty Distinguished Service Award

submitted by Gerard Caneba, chair, Distinguished Faculty Service Award Committee

Nominations for the 2009 Faculty Distinguished Service Award will be accepted following spring break. The award recognizes faculty whose service to the University community has significantly improved the quality of some aspect of campus life. The work could have resulted, in part, from compensated efforts, but it must distinguish itself from the normal execution of those tasks. A cash prize of $2,500 accompanies the award.

Anyone--faculty, students or staff--can nominate a faculty member for this honor. Please consider recognizing the efforts of a faculty member who you know is making Michigan Tech a better place for all of us. After spring break, nomination forms will be available online at .

Reminder: Family Fun Day Pre-Registration Ends Friday

The deadline for Family Fun Day pre-registration is Friday, March 6.

Pre-registration enters you in a special drawing for your choice of an executive office chair donated by The Office Shop or recreational packages at the SDC, the Gates Tennis Center, Mont Ripley or Portage Lake Golf Course.

To register, visit . You can also send the bottom portion of the Family Fun Day flyer to Family Fun Day c/o Mail Services (for delivery by Monday) or return your slip directly to Allyson Jabusch in Rekhi 221 by Friday.

Donations for Fun Day prizes are still welcomed. If your department has items to donate, such as T-shirts, coffee mugs, note pads, etc., or if you would like to make a personal donation, contact Diane Garrow at or 487-3458 to arrange a pickup.

Family Fun Day, set for Saturday, March 14, is sponsored by Staff Council, the SDC and the Memorial Union. For more information, contact the Family Fun Day Committee at .

Guest Artist Residency Lecture-Demonstrations March 19-22 to Feature Annie Morgan

submitted by Visual and Performing Arts

Michigan watercolor and collage artist Annie Morgan will present Michigan Tech's Annual Guest Artist Residency March 19-22 in McArdle Theatre. The event is coordinated by Professor Mary Ann Beckwith (Visual and Performing Arts).

Morgan, a signature member of the National Watercolor Society and the International Society of Experimental Artists, will give four free public lecture-demonstrations on Thursday and Friday, March 19 and 20, all aimed at a general audience. The demonstrations will begin at 2 and 7 p.m. on Thursday, and on Friday, at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

In addition to the public lecture-demonstrations, Morgan will teach a two-day workshop March 21-22 for artists, "Stretching the Limits with Painting and Collage." The workshop is open to the first 20 paid registrants, with a fee of $180. Registration forms and information are available from Visual and Performing Arts, 487-2067, and online at .

"The Guest Artist Residency brings gifted artists to the Copper Country to share their energy and their insights with all of us--Michigan Tech's students and staff, and the community," Beckwith says. "We invite everyone to take advantage of this opportunity to see a renowned Michigan artist in action."

Morgan's current work involves innovative techniques combining watercolor and collage. Originally a professional metalsmith and jewelry designer, Morgan has studied at Kendall College of Art and Design and the Art Institute of Chicago-Oxbow. Her work has been exhibited in museums and galleries throughout North America and Europe, most recently in the traveling show of the National Watercolor Society. She won the coveted "Gracie Award" for best of show from the International Society of Experimental Artists.

Morgan's work is at once simple and complicated, modern and historical. A well-known teacher of other artists, Morgan presents workshops in her studio in Grand Haven and throughout the US.

In the News

An article in the biweekly magazine Science News, "For Kids: Getting the Dirt on Carbon" by Susan Gaidos, cites the Terra Preta Working Group, part of the Professional Communication Arts Enterprise in the Department of Humanities, which is leading a community effort to return carbon to the soil.

To read the article, which features a photo of the 55-gallon drum used by the group to produce biochar, click here.

Job Postings

Staff job descriptions are available in Human Resources or at . For more information regarding staff positions, call 487-2280 or email .

Faculty job descriptions can be found at . For more information regarding faculty positions, contact the academic department in which the position is posted.

Faculty Positions

Tenure-Track Assistant or Associate Professor
Industrial Archaeology, Industrial History and/or History of Technology

Social Sciences

Tenure-Track Assistant or Associate Professor
Historic Preservation, Architectural History or Public History

Social Sciences

Michigan Technological University is an equal opportunity educational institution/equal opportunity employer.