Professor Emerita Gladys Dawson Dies

Professor Emerita Gladys Dawson passed away Jan. 3 at the age of 93. She taught in Tech's Chemistry department from 1963 until her retirement in 1985. 

The New Jersey native received her bachelor's (1946) and PhD (1951) in chemistry from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana. In 1963 she and her husband, the late Donald Dawson, a mathematics professor and researcher, accepted positions at Tech. The spousal hire, may or may not have been the first at Michigan Tech, but nonetheless, was unusual for the time.

Dawson's son Tim recalls, "Dad was hired as a full professor and mom as an associate despite similar credentials. Mom was granted full professor status, but many years later."

Tim Dawson says his mother was a pioneer of sorts. "My mom was very unique as a woman in a hard science at a time when it was pretty rare."

Carrie Richards, Michigan Tech's manager of Partner Engagement, was a student of Dawson's in Freshman Chemistry. "She was very smart; a good role model and mentor. I really admired her. Later she became a friend and neighbor," Richards says. "Through her actions, she taught me about community involvement and the rewards of volunteering locally."

Another former student shared an inspirational story as the 2011 Midyear Commencement speaker. Chang K. Park '73, told of how as a first-year student from South Korea still learning English, he failed Myron "Doc" Berry's legendary introductory chemistry class. Park told the commencement audience triumph came in the form of another professor ... Gladys Dawson. 

"She made it so interesting and easy. Some people said it was because I was taking it a second time, and I’d say ‘Not true, I didn’t learn anything the first time.’" Park said.   

Tim Dawson says his mother did not give out "free grades," but unlike her late husband, who passed away in December, 2015 at the age of 90, she wasn't "feared" either. 

"She was fair, and I remember many a night with her processing exams in the basement of the MEEM and her subsequently doing analysis of questions to ensure the tests were both fair and not confusing and to ferret out any cheating."

In addition to fairness and clarity, her exams became memorable for other reasons. "One of the other things she did in later years was to show up to give an exam in a witch's costume," Tim said. "I think the Lode ran a commentary along the lines of, 'We suspected it all along.'"

Dawson was a member of the American Chemical Society and the Alpha Gamma Delta Sorority. She was also very active in the Pine Mountain Music Festival for many years.

In 2011 the Dawsons established the Dr. Gladys Q. Dawson and Dr. Donald E. Dawson Endowed Scholarship. The purpose of the scholarship is to provide financial assistance to students who have achieved at least sophomore status and are majoring in science, technology, engineering or math (STEM).

A memorial service will be held a 3 p.m. tomorrow (Jan. 11) in the ballroom of the Bluffs in Houghton. There will be no visitation. The O'Neill-Dennis Funeral Home is assisting with the arrangements and online condolences can be left on their website.

Memorials in lieu of flowers may be directed to Little Brothers~Friends of the Elderly, 527 Hancock Ave., Hancock, MI 49930 or to the Pine Mountain Music Festival in the name of Gladys Dawson.

Michigan Tech Employee Lean Courses

The Office of Continuous Improvement is offering Lean courses to Michgan Tech Employees. The course dates and times are:

• Finding the Source of the Problem: Root Cause Analysis and Decision-Making Tools: 9 a.m.-noon Friday, Jan. 26
• Collecting and Visualizing Metrics to Support Improvement: 1 p.m.–4 p.m. Monday, Feb. 19
• Countermeasures: Solving Common Problems using Lean Methods and Tools: 9 a.m.–noon Tuesday, March 6
• Evidence Based Problem-Solving Methods: 1 p.m.–4 p.m. Wednesday, April 11
• Combining Lean and Safety: A Powerful 1-2 Punch: 9 a.m.–11 a.m. Tuesday, May 15

To register for the courses, complete this brief form by entering your information and selecting the course(s) you would like to take. Once registered, we'll add you to a calendar event for the course. The training will be held in the Memorial Union Building. There is no cost for these courses.

Lean is a systematic, intentional model for creating and sustaining an environment where continuous improvement is the norm. Since 2008, Michigan Tech has been experiencing a Lean transformation, learning to increase customer value by eliminating waste and optimizing operations.

Green Film Series to Show "This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. Climate"

The 2018 Green Film Series continues with "This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. Climate." The 2015 film will be shown at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 18 in Forestry G002 Hesterberg Hall. 

A facilitated discussion will take place, following the film. Refreshments will be provided by the Sustainable Futures Institute and Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative. While there is no admission a three dollar donation is suggested.

Based on the book of the same name by Naomi Klein, the film presents seven powerful portraits of communities on the front lines, from Montana’s Powder River Basin to the Alberta Tar Sands, from the coast of South India to Beijing and beyond. Interwoven with these stories of struggle is the author's narration, connecting the carbon in the air with the economic system that put it there.

Throughout the film, Klein builds to her most controversial and exciting idea: that we can seize the existential crisis of climate change to transform our failed economic system into something radically better. Read more.

Discussion Facilitator Angie Carter (SS) whose areas of expertise include environmental sociology, community-based and participatory research and social movements and social change. Her research interests span environmental inequality and justice to energy systems sustainability and environmental and natural resource policy.

Cosponsored by Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative, Michigan Tech Great Lakes Research Center, the Keweenaw Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, Keweenaw Land Trust, Sustainable Futures Institute, Mich Tech Department of Social Sciences and Keweenaw Climate Community.

The complete schedule of monthly green films will be posted online.  

Items Available

The Center for Diversity and Inclusion has a large two-section couch available to give away to another department on a first-come, first-served basis.

Contact Dee Ressler or 7-2920 if interested or to view.

As always, university property may only be transferred to other university departments. It may not be given or sold to individuals.

Job Posting

Job Posting for Wednesday, January 10, 2018 

Staff and faculty job description are available in the Human Resources Department. For more information regarding staff positions call 7-2280 or email For more information regarding faculty positions contact the academic department in which the position is posted.

Administrative Aide 8, Mechanical Engineering - Engineering Mechanics. UAW Posting 01/10/2018 – 01/16/2018. External applications will be reviewed after internal applications.

Apply online. 

Michigan Technological University is an Equal Opportunity Education Institution/Equal Opportunity Employer, which includes providing equal opportunity for protected veterans and individuals with disabilities.  


Making a Difference Award Ceremony Today

Everyone is invited to a reception honoring the nominees for the 2017 Making a Difference Award Ceremony. The reception is scheduled for 2 to 3:30 p.m. today (Jan. 10) in the Memorial Union Ballroom. The recipients for each category will be announced at the reception.

A total of 47 Michigan Tech staff members have been nominated for 2017 Making a Difference Awards. Read the previous Tech Today story

On the Road

Mark Kulie (GMES) is attending the 98th American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting in Austin, Texas. Kulie is presenting a talk entitled "Profiling Radar and Snow Microphysical Properties from Extended Ground Observations in the Upper Great Lakes" in the 19th Symposium on Meteorological Observations and Instrumentation.

In Print

L. Syd M Johnson (HU) was interviewed by Futurism about a Black Mirror episode featuring neural implants.

In the News

UpperMichiganSource (Channel 6) ran a story about STEM innovation initiatives in the UP and the marketing concept of Innovation Shore. The article quoted Ian Repp (UMC).