MTS Systems Corp. Makes Million Dollar Donation to DSL

The Dynamic Systems Laboratory (DSL) in Michigan Technological University’s Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics, has received a $1,000,000 endowment.

The endowment from MTS Systems Corp. honors Jim and Bob Lally, founders of PCB Piezotronics, a high-technology sensor company headquartered in the Buffalo suburb of Depew, New York. The company was recently acquired by MTS Systems, a Minnesota-based supplier of test systems and industrial position sensors.

At a brief presentation recently, Jeff Graves, president and CEO of MTS, said both companies had enjoyed a long relationship with Michigan Tech. He said when MTS acquired PCB Piezotronics, the two companies wanted to make a significant contribution to higher education.

“Initially we were going to split the million dollars among several institutions, but in the end we decided to pick one, and we picked Michigan Tech,” Graves said.

He said he wants to see the relationship with Michigan Tech continue to grow. “We respect the research carried out at Michigan Tech; we hire your graduates, and we want to hire more of your students. We want to be involved in training through internships, co-ops and other programs that will help prepare your students for their future with industrial companies like MTS.”

At the presentation, Jim Lally spoke of the merging of the two companies. “It made sense to join with MTS as our history and cultural values are very similar. Our biggest strength is manufacturing self-sufficiency.”

The MTS Jim and Bob Lally Endowment allows the Dynamic Systems Laboratory at Michigan Tech to provide financial support for graduate-student fellowships, for travel to conferences to present technical papers and for the purchase of special lab equipment when other funding is not available.

Tech’s DSL conducts research and produces graduate students in the area of acoustics, vibration, NVH (noise, vibration and harshness), structural dynamics, noise control and signal processing.

Read the full story.

Chem Stores Closed

Chemstores will be closed for the last week of June (26-30). Chemstore will re-open on Monday, July 3.

Crane lift affects ME-EM and Chem Sci Buildings June 15

Tomorrow (Thursday, June 15) a crane will be set up in Parking Lot 3 to remove and replace the cooling tower on the Chemistry Science and Engineering Building. 
To ensure the safety of students, staff, faculty and visitors to our campus, we will be restricting access to the court yard area between Chem Sci and ME-EM. In addition, the basement exits in ME-EM will be restricted.  Access restrictions will begin at 8 a.m. and should be complete by noon.  If weather is an issue on Thursday, we will reschedule the lift to Friday.

First-Time Supermileage Driver Makes Tech Shine

Michigan Tech's Supermileage Systems Enterprise, part of Tech's Advanced Motorsports, took first place for innovation solutions at SAE International's Collegiate Design Supermileage Competition in Marshall, Michigan. The $1,000 award was sponsored by Top 1 Oil.

Michigan Tech's team was one of 23 teams from the US and Canada who participated in the competition and one of 14 who passed the technical inspection. The Tech team placed 5th overall based their design report, presentation and fuel economy results, winning another $500 prize. They also won awards for best design execution and best overall team attitude, adding another $400 to their winnings.

But the hero of the day was Claire Sullivan, who was driving in her first Supermileage competition. Rick Berkey, Enterprise director, said: "I am giving our driver Claire Sullivan the 'Coolest Driver under Pressure' Award for her on-track performance."

Berkey explained. "We were the last team on the track, and our final run was going very well. All this changed on lap 5 of 6, when the chain came off. We thought we were done and even stopped timing our laps. BUT, our driver Claire exited the vehicle (which is allowed) and got the chain back on without assistance.

"Here is where the excitement comes in," Berkey continued. "In order to post a successful run and comply with the minimum and maximum speed constraints, we needed to complete the final lap somewhere between 3:50 and about 4:10 minutes—only a 20-second window to hit and about 2 minutes faster than our optimal lap times, all without any feedback on speed/time.

"As Claire accelerated, the engine cover blew off; it is normally secured by tape. Then, the cockpit cover blew off. It is not really designed for the driver to reinstall unassisted while sitting (or rather lying) in the car.

"To make matters worse, the cover bumped one of the kill switches in the process and shut the car off. Claire figured this out and reached up to turn the switch to the run position (all while strapped in a six-point safety harness).

"At this point we literally told Claire over the radio to 'trust her gut.' And she did. Her final lap was 3:57--not too fast, not too slow, but just right. The timing judges were impressed; we were in awe, and Claire was clearly our hero of the day."

Pine Mountain Music Festival Begins This Weekend

Michigan Tech is well represented in the 2017 Pine Mountain Music Festival which gets underway this weekend. Events are scheduled for Houghton, Iron Mt. and Marquette. 

The Pine Mountain Music Festival presents a variety of musical genres from classical to opera to folk to jazz. Joel Neves (VPA), the festival's artistic director says  "I am very excited about the professional artists we're bringing to the festival, including nationally renowned folk singer-songwriter Joshua Davis and the Bergonzi String Quartet, which premieres their new play, 'The Beethoven Project.'" Mark Wilcox, news writer in University Marketing and Communications will play the title role.

Visual and Performing Arts faculty members Mike Irish and Mike Christianson make up part of the Lake Effect Quintet. This groundbreaking instrumental ensemble presents an innovative array of modern music—from jazz to rock classics to popular tunes.

Finally, Michigan Tech student Ricky Vermeulen is on the bill of UPstarts! This popular concert features incredibly talented young musicians who are Upper Peninsula natives. 

Tickets are available at Michigan Tech Ticketing Services. For more information visit

MiCUP Poster Presentation Thursday

Join the Center for Diversity and Inclusion from 3 to 5 p.m. tomorrow (June 15), MUB Ballroom A, where students from Delta College, Grand Rapids Community College and Wayne County Community College who have been participating in the MiCUP Residential Summer Research Program will present posters.

Join in a celebration of their accomplishments. This event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served. 

For more information email Kellie Raffaelli

Register for the Second Summer Session of Youth Aikido

The second summer session of Youth Aikido will begin July 14.

Register today for:
Level 1 (ages 7 and under) - Friday, 6:30-7:00 p.m. 
Level 2 (ages 8-10) - Friday, 6:30-7:30 p.m. 
Level 3 (ages 11+) - Friday, 6:30-8 p.m.

MTEFCU members show proof of membership and receive a $10 discount. Employees may also use their dependent TechFit benefit. For more information, visit Youth Aikido.

Alumni Reunion is Coming

Summer is here, which means the annual Alumni Reunion is coming up Thursday Aug. 3 through Saturday Aug. 5.

There's something for everyone at Reunion, so bring the family to create a plush husky, try the high ropes course or tour a Coast Guard vessel.

Featured groups include the Golden M's (those who graduated 50 plus years ago) and the classes of '67, '77, '87, '92, '97 and '07.

Other special alumni group reunions are being planned for the Women of Tech, Pep Band, MTSF, Men's Basketball, the Chemistry Learning Center and the School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science.

See the full schedule of events and register here. If a departmental account number is being used to purchase tickets, choose "Charge University Account" and include the index number, or call the Alumni House at 7-2400 to register.

Event tickets may be picked up at the Alumni Reunion welcome area on the first floor of the Memorial Union Building from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 2 through Friday, Aug. 4.

Tom Smith Named Nordic Ski Coach

Tom Smith has been named the head coach of the Michigan Tech men's and women's Nordic ski teams athletic director Dr. Suzanne Sanregret announced yesterday. Smith brings 14 years of coaching and competition experience that will enable him to continue to build what is already a nationally-competitive program.

"We are excited that Tom is joining our staff and excited for him to continue to build what is an already strong Nordic Ski program," Sanregret said. "He brings a wealth of experience with him to Michigan Tech as both a coach and student-athlete at the collegiate level. He understands our mission at Tech and is committed to developing our student-athletes both athletically and academically."

"I am incredibly thankful to Michigan Tech for this opportunity to lead the Nordic ski team," Smith said. "Every aspect of this coaching opportunity spoke to me. I want to foster a strong team dynamic and love for the sport that I believe will bring academic and athletic success for the student-athletes and continue to draw the brightest and best skiers to our team. I want to develop a lasting relationship between the program and the university community as whole in order to increase the visibility and engagement with the team throughout the Copper Country. It will help ensure the vitality of our program as a competitive, community, and cultural staple of Michigan Tech."

Smith, a native of Bend, Oregon, comes to Houghton after serving as the Head Coach of the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation in Ketchum, Idaho. Read the full story and find out more about Michigan Tech sports at

In the News

 Kemin Fena, a recent graduate of Michigan Tech's Pavlis Honors College, was interviewed about her oral history project on radio stations WCCY/WOLV in Houghton. The project, called "Your Story: The Upper Peninsula Digital History Initiative," was featured in a 5-part radio series.