Alumni Association Notes

Homecoming 2009

By the time you read this, Michigan Tech Homecoming 2009 will be just around the corner. I hope you can be there.

I graduated from Michigan Tech in 1977 and didn’t return for sixteen years. When I came back for a visit in 1993, I found a place that had changed—but not too much. I wasn’t startled by a cityscape I no longer recognized. I could still find my way to familiar haunts. The places where I’d lived were still standing. Since that first return, things have changed, but much remains as it was when I drove south on US 41 after graduating that day in the late Seventies.

Change is exciting, but too much change can be disorienting. When you return to campus and see a beautiful structure like Rekhi Hall, you are excited about the future of Michigan Tech. When you see a building like Douglass Houghton Hall, you are connected to the past in a real and palpable way. It’s just one of the reasons returning to the Copper Country felt like coming home to me after so many years away.

This mix of old and new is a powerful combination, one that connects alumni to the history of Michigan Tech, while at the same time demonstrating that the campus and the community are moving forward. We (usually) remember with fondness the places where we grew up before coming to Houghton, but we also recall our time in the Keweenaw, because very often this is where we were on our own for the first time. So the memories created on campus and in the surrounding countryside remain with us the rest of our lives. That’s what makes trips back to the Copper Country so fun and meaningful to alumni.

At the Alumni Association, we realize Tech Homecoming is a time for students, but we also see it as a time when alumni may want to return to campus and enjoy the crisp fall weather, the beauty of the changing colors, and the excitement of Tech sports. At the time I’m writing this, in July, the Alumni Association is planning to sponsor alumni events at Homecoming 2009. There will be a cookout and young alumni participation in the annual Cardboard Boat Race on the Portage Canal. For the first time ever, we will put on a broomball tournament at the MacInness Student Ice Arena. Add Husky football, hockey, tailgating, and the friends you bring with you, and I think it will be a great time. I hope you can be there.

Mark Mitchell ’77
President, Michigan Tech Alumni Association

For up-to-date listings of regional alumni events visit

Presidential Council of Alumnae

The members of the Michigan Technological University Presidential Council of Alumnae (PCA) are recognized for educational excellence, professional accomplishment, past student service, current community services, University support, and other personal success.

The PCA advises the president on campus climate issues and provides suggestions for enhancing the University’s environment for students, especially women. Members identify activities and programs that will benefit Michigan Tech students and work with Institutional Diversity, Advancement, and academic departments to implement their ideas.

2009 Inductees

  • Marilyn M. (Metsa) Clark ’73 Mathematics/’76 Business Administration; Business Consultant, Hancock, Michigan
  • Elizabeth J. Marshall ’85 Applied Geophysics; President, Marshall and Associates Inc., Olympia, Washington
  • Kristin Raisanen Schourek ’03 Applied Science Education; Teacher, Hancock Public Schools, Hancock, Michigan
  • Christine R. (Przybysz) Roberts ’91 Mechanical Engineering; Senior Director Asia Product Operations, Motorola Inc., Libertyville, Illinois
  • Karen A. Wallace ’88 Chemical Engineering; Assistant Treasurer, Aramark Corp., Philadelphia
  • Jessica A. Turino ’94 Forestry; Forestry Services Specialist, Weyerhaeuser Co., Grayling, Michigan
  • Paula Feira Zenner ’87 Mechanical Engineering/’93 MS Operations Management; Director of Operations and Finance, Department of Mechanical Engineering–Engineering Mechanics, Michigan Technological University

For more about the PCA, visit

New products and services from your Alumni Association

Husky Blend Coffee
Four rich, aromatic coffees.
Four great ways to indulge yourself.

GradMed short-term health insurance
Need coverage while job hunting? GradMed can protect you and your family.

VIP discounts at Office Max
You can be part of Michigan Tech’s exclusive partnership and get discounts on all kinds of OfficeMax products. Your free membership with Group Purchasing Solutions (valued at $19.95 a month) qualifies you for big savings. Join GPS today at VIP code: 1066

Save at Sherwin-Williams, Help Tech Athletics
Get 20 percent off regular price items and 5 percent off sale items at any Sherwin-Williams store. Just sign up for the Neighborhood Preferred Customer
Program using this code: 9061-5260-8. You get a deal on great products, and Sherwin-Williams donates 3 percent of your purchase to Tech Athletics.

Michigan Tech’s Online Community

Reconnect with the Alumni Directory
Personalize your profile
Post class notes
Join groups
Register for events
Share photos
Update your info
Get an email account
And much more!
Join today!

Get involved! Serve on the Alumni Association Board of Directors

The Michigan Tech Alumni Association is calling for nominations for exceptional individuals to serve on its Board of Directors.

As the policy-making body for the Michigan Tech Alumni Association, the Board of Directors establishes programs, sets priorities for the association, and works with the director of alumni relations to engage alumni with the University.

The deadline for nominations is December 1. More information about the responsibilities and expectations of Alumni Association Board members, as well as the nomination form, can be found at or by contacting the Office of Alumni Relations at or toll free at 877-688-2586.

Help us recognize outstanding alumni and friends

Know a great alum or friend of the University? Here’s a chance to help get them the recognition they deserve.

The Alumni Association is seeking nominations for the 2010 Outstanding Young Alumni Award, the Outstanding Service Award, the Distinguished Alumni Award, and the Honorary Alumni Award. These awards are presented each August at the Alumni Reunion.

Award descriptions and nomination forms are available at or by contacting the Office of Alumni Relations, 877-688-2586, The deadline to nominate is December 1.

2009 Reunion: Back to school

Alumni packed Fisher 139 to hear veteran professor Rolf Peterson’s insights into a deceptively simple system: the predator-prey relationship of the wolves and moose on Isle Royale. Here, he demonstrates how browsing pressure from moose affects the growth of the Lake Superior island’s balsam fir, using a cross section taken from a tree trunk. In years with abundant moose, the tree’s growth rings are narrower.

For more on Alumni Reunion 2009, visit

Mostly Michigan wins total victory

For those among us still mourning the Red Wings’ stumble en route to the NHL Championship, take heart. Another team has brought nationwide hockey glory to the motor state.

Mostly Michigan, a team featuring two Tech alumni, triumphed over the odds and emerged victorious at the Labatt USA Hockey National Championship Recreational Division for Women Over 50.

Neither alum was a hockey great in college. Coach Dennis Bienkowski ’69 played as a freshman but was sidelined by a knee injury sustained in his other sport, football. Cynthia (Manninen) Kring ’78, a forward on the team, didn’t take up hockey until about ten years ago, at an age when most players have long abandoned the ice.

“Most of the gals were from Michigan,” said Kring, explaining the team’s name choice. They weren’t from the same part of the state, however, and some were from as far away as Florida and California. Thus, they didn’t get a chance to play as a group until the championship series began, on April 24 in Ellenton, Florida.

“We just showed up and played,” said Kring. “It’s a testament to the coach that he took all these women who had never played together and did so well.”

Mostly Michigan defeated teams from Chicago and Massachusetts before their final victory over a team from (pay attention, Mike Babcock) Pennsylvania. Bienkowski credits “great chemistry” among the players. In particular, he gave high marks to the goalie, who allowed only one goal in the entire tournament. “It’s easier to win if you don’t have to score a lot,” he noted.

Sponsor Labatt Beer gave the team a cart full of loot, including a team trophy, hats, and fleeces. Best of all were the hockey bags, replete with the Labatt logo. “Apparently this is a much sought after item among young men,” said Kring.

Bienkowski, a longtime coach, says he likes working with females. “They don’t have the ‘I know it’ attitude,” he said. “The boys, no matter what age, do what they wanna do. The girls try to do what you tell them.”
If anything, the women can be too self-effacing. “They passed too much” at the nationals, said Bienkowski, “just like the Wings. It’s frustrating. I tell them, ‘Next time, take the shot.’”