Alumni Engagement

From Alumni Engagement

PCA inducts the 20th class of leaders.

PCA Induction, Honored Alumni and Friends, Executive Committee, Silver Medal, and Celebrating Connections

PCA Inducts 20th Class of Leaders

Nine of the twelve new PCA members pose with the husky statue on campus.
Twelve members joined the PCA in September 2016.


Twenty years ago, Michigan Tech established the Presidential Council of Alumnae (PCA) with two goals in mind: honor some of Tech’s most successful female alumnae and reengage them with the University.

PCA members are recognized for personal and professional achievements in all facets of life, including education, career excellence, community involvement, and volunteerism as a Michigan Tech student or alumna.

Many of the members were and continue to be pioneers in the fields of science, engineering, education, technology, forestry, entrepreneurship, and business. Many chose to enter fields in which women remain underrepresented

The first induction event took place in the spring of 1996 with 17 inaugural members. Since then, more than 180 alumnae have been selected, and in September, 12 new members were inducted bringing the membership to 195.

Members meet annually on campus to participate in activities that support the University’s strategic plan and specifically focus on engaging the campus community to educate, influence, and inspire the women of Michigan Tech.

These alumnae enhance the University’s outreach on and off campus in countless ways, including:

  • Establishing a scholarship fund for female students
  • Hosting Career Success sessions for students
  • Mentoring female students by developing leadership and professional skills
  • Encouraging female students, faculty, and alumnae to understand, communicate, and accomplish their career and life choices
  • Enhancing diverse support for Michigan Tech through interaction by council members

The 12 members who joined the Council in September 2016 include:

Denise L. Blankinship ’84
BS Business Administration
VP, Business Analysis/Application Support, Church Pension Group

Christine M. (Gustafson) Cowell ’00
BS Chemical Engineering
Research and Engineering Director, Kimberly-Clark Corporation

Deborah A. DeManno ’78
BS Medical Technology
Scientific Director, Global Research and Development, Takeda Pharmaceuticals U.S.A. Inc.

Smriti Gandhi Dhanjal ’92
MS Electrical Engineering
Dealer Systems Portfolio Manager, Marketing Sales and Service, Ford Motor Company

Joan M. Heil ’83
BS Mechanical Engineering
Vice President—Micon Consulting, The Micon Group

Britta A. (Vande Hei) Jost ’02 ’04
BS Mathematical Sciences
MS Mechanical Engineering
Engineering Project Team Leader, Caterpillar Inc.

Terre A. Lane ’82
BS Mining Engineering
Principal Mining Engineer, Partner, Global Resource Engineering

Heather J. Lewandowski ’97
BS Physics
Assistant Professor/Associate Fellow of JILA, University of Colorado

Jan A. Miner ‘88
BS Scientific and Technical Communication
Lawyer—Bay County, Michigan, Public Defender’s Office

Leanne M. (Homberg) Panduren ’93
BS Civil Engineering
President—Rowe Professional Services

Dorothy A. (Eisch) Proux ’86
BS Business Administration
Partner/State and Local Tax Services—Ernst & Young LLP (retired)

Lynne M. Shetron-Rama ’91
BS Medical Technology
Associate Professor, Program Director—Eastern Michigan University

More information on the Presidential Council of Alumnae and a complete list of current members can be found on the Alumni Engagement website.

Alumni and Friends Honored at Reunion

The following alumni and friends were recognized by the Alumni Board of Directors:

Outstanding Young Alumni Awards

Benjamin Almquist ’04
Materials Science and Engineering
London, England
lecturer and researcher at Imperial College London

Dr. Johnathon Aho ’08
Mathematical Sciences/Biological Sciences
Rochester, Minnesota
Mayo Clinic surgery resident, Clinician Investigator, and Gold Quality Fellow

Outstanding Service Award

Joshua ’03 and Jana Fogarty ’05
Materials Science and Engineering
Plymouth, Wisconsin
long-time hosts of an annual alumni broomball tournament

Distinguished Alumni Award

William Bernard Jr. ’69
Metallurgical and Materials Engineering
Perrysburg, Ohio
CEO and Chairman of Surface Combustion, Inc.

Humanitarian Award

James Tanis ’57 ‘58 and Janet Tanis
Geological Engineering/Geophysics
Sedona, Arizona
founders of the Biwindi Community Program which brings hope to vulnerable children in Biwindi, Uganda, through the power of education

The Honorary Alumni Award

John Patton
former Professor of Chemical Engineering 1968-77
El Paso, Texas

See more details about these individuals.

Nominations for the 2017 Awards are open until December 1. For additional information, please contact the Alumni House at

Michigan Tech Alumni Board of Directors represents over 70,000 members.

Mission Statement: Celebrating Traditions. Creating Connections.

Vision: We are passionate champions of Michigan Tech’s unique traditions and we continuously strengthen our alumni community.

Russell Gronevelt
Russell Gronevelt


Russell Gronevelt '69 was the recipient of the 2016 Board of Control Silver Medal. Presented at the Alumni Reunion Dinner in August, this award recognizes Russ for his long service to the University and his noteworthy personal and professional achievements. He is an outstanding example to our students and alumni.

Alumni Board of Directors Executive Committee


Robert G. Wojcik ’91

Past President

Edwin F. Eiswerth ’77

Vice President

Daniel S. Batten ’88 ’90


Joseph A. Azzarello ’78


Kerry A. Irons ’72

Executive Director

Brenda M. Rudiger, Alumni Engagement


Braeton Ardell, Undergraduate Student Government Representative

Chad Arney ’99

Andrew J. Burton ’97, Faculty Representative

Derek S. Chapel ’05

Joseph M. Gallo ’11

Rebecca J. Gatzke ’98

Courtney Harris, Michigan Tech Student Foundation Representative

SherAaron N. Hurt ’09

Jenna M. Joestgen ’10

Kristin J. Kolodge ’95

Will Lytle ’12, Graduate Student Government Representative

Emily C. McDonald ’12

Michael D. Peterson ’85

Dennis M. Sage ’86

Denise A. Slattery ’94

Ashwin K. Vekaria ’12

Upcoming meeting: February 9-10, 2017

If you have a question or suggestion, please contact the Alumni House at 877-688-2586 or

Michigan Technological University is a public research university founded in 1885 in Houghton, Michigan, and is home to more than 7,000 students from 55 countries around the world. Consistently ranked among the best universities in the country for return on investment, Michigan’s flagship technological university offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering, computing, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, social sciences, and the arts. The rural campus is situated just miles from Lake Superior in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, offering year-round opportunities for outdoor adventure.