A view of campus in the fall from across the Keweenaw Waterway.

Alumni Engagement

Our alumni are not only crazy smart, they’re also crazy generous.

Catch up with fellow crazy smart Michigan Tech alumni—celebrate a space mission, the snowfall contest winner, and a successful broomball invitational. Meet the 2019 Alumni Award winners and honor the lives of Huskies we lost this year.

2019 Alumni Awards

These eight alumni have earned recognition from the Michigan Technological University Alumni Board of Directors. They will be honored at the annual Alumni Reunion Dinner and Awards Ceremony on Friday, August 2, 2019. These are their stories:

Humanitarian Award

Christine (Blood) ʼ81 and Karl LaPeer ʼ81

Throughout their lives and particularly in the last decade, Christine and Karl LaPeer have made it their mission to help people around the world: India, Nepal, Nicaragua, Peru, Ghana, Ethiopia, Canada, and the US.

Karl and Christine LaPeer

Christine (Blood) and Karl LaPeer

Christine earned a BS in Medical Technology while Karl graduated with a BS in Mechanical Engineering. After earning an MBA from the University of Michigan, Karl helped found Peninsula Capital Partners, which began with $20 million in capital and has grown to $1.6 billion over 23 years.

“We pour resources (time, talent, and treasure) into people, organizations, and situations that are doing good things around the world,” Karl says. “We’re convinced that life isn’t really about accumulating wealth, but about using that wealth to touch lives now.”

What does touching lives look like for the LaPeers? Building orphanages for children and homes for rescued victims of human trafficking. Providing freshwater wells. Distributing meals and medical supplies. Empowering students and business leaders. Funding scholarships and education opportunities.

Honorary Alumni Award

Tom Kearly

Tom Kearly
Tom Kearly

Tom Kearly was arguably the most influential coach in Michigan Tech football history with a 70-44 record in 11 seasons on the sideline. What’s more was his leadership for hundreds of student-athletes and his overall commitment to growing the University football program.

Kearly’s arrival at Tech in 2000 coincided with the program’s rise into the upper echelon of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC). Tech won its second-ever GLIAC title in 2012 and earned its second-ever trip to the NCAA Division II playoffs in 2014. He was also instrumental in facilities improvements, including the installation of synthetic turf in 2008 as well as the moving forward of the new stadium project.

Perhaps the best summation came from then-president Glenn Mroz upon Kearly’s retirement in 2016: “Tom surely has built a team and a program, but more importantly, he has built
a culture of high expectations and accountability among the student-athletes both on and off the field. We’re euphoric when they win a game and cry with them if they lose. But they always win academically, and the character that’s forged along the way is Tom’s legacy. It’s more than being a coach, it’s leading a family. We are grateful.”

David Nielsen

David Nielsen
David Nielsen

David Nielsen has worked with Michigan Tech since 1997, when he was first engaged to present intensive weekend seminars on estate planning for alumni and friends of Michigan Tech.

Recognized as one of the foremost estate planning counselors in the Midwest, Nielsen has presented a total of 27 weekend seminars, touching the lives of hundreds of Tech alumni and their families. The University offers these annual estate planning seminars to alumni and friends who have indicated interest in supporting Michigan Tech at a significant gift level.

Nielsen always includes a motivating session on reasons and ways to support Michigan Tech and other charitable organizations. Those attending the seminars have praised Nielsen for his integrity, down-to-earth manner, rare ability to clearly explain the complexities of estate planning, and his homespun humor spiced with occasional magic tricks to keep his audience engaged. A total of 158 couples/singles have participated in Michigan Tech’s weekend estate planning seminars to date.

Nielsen has shared both his talent and his treasure in support of Michigan Tech’s mission, having been quietly assimilated through more than 20 years as a “volunteer alumnus.” It is appropriate that Nielsen’s status be made official by recognizing him with the 2019 Honorary Alumnus Award.

Outstanding Service Award

Lou Anne (Szewczyk) ʼ81 and Fred Koerschner ʼ81

Fred and Lou Anne Koerschner
Lou Anne (Szawczyk) and Fred Koerschner

The Koerschners have a long history of volunteering and supporting Michigan Tech.

“The analytical and critical thinking skills I developed at Tech served me well throughout my career. As a marketer at a technical company like 3M, it was especially helpful to be able to work with a technical team and ‘speak their language,’” says Lou Anne.

Fred also expressed appreciation for his education. “Not only did Michigan Tech provide the necessary curriculum to do my job, but it also taught me how to think and put me in challenging situations.”

Lou Anne spent 25 years at 3M and also worked at Cargill.

She has connected Michigan Tech and 3M through the Advanced MotorSport Enterprise and Senior Design, and was a member Michigan Tech’s Corporate Advisory Board for Institutional Diversity.

Fred had a 35-year career at 3M, beginning as project manager and numerous other roles, including technical, marketing, and business management positions. He served as president of the Michigan Tech Alumni Association from 1998 to 2000.

The Tech twosome helped with construction of a new bocce ball court on campus in 2018 and hosted President Rick Koubek for a reception last year.

Distinguished Alumni Award

Iver Anderson '75

Iver Anderson
Iver Anderson

Iver Anderson is senior metallurgist at Ames Laboratory (US Department of Energy) and adjunct professor in the materials science and engineering department at Iowa State University. He is also a fellow of the American Powder Metallurgy Institute and the National Academy of Inventors, as well as a member of the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

His research subjects include powder metallurgy, rapid solidification and its implementation into new and innovative magnetic materials, structural components, and lightweight and porous materials. Another focus has been metallurgical joining—in electronic assembly, brazing, and welding—as well as ceramic joining. These contributions and innovations have led to over 265 publications and 45 patents.

As a notable example, Anderson led a team that invented a successful lead-free solder alloy, a revolutionary tin, silver, and copper alternative to traditional tin/lead solder that has reduced environmental hazards. Nearly 20,000 tons of lead are no longer being released into the environment worldwide. Low-wage recyclers in developing countries will no longer be exposed to large concentrations of this toxic material, and it will no longer leach from landfills into drinking water supplies.

“Michigan Tech gave me permission to innovate in my career direction and choice of areas to explore!”

Outstanding Young Alumni Award

Andrew Baker ʼ11 ʼ14

Andrew Baker
Andrew Baker

It was a well-timed phone call from a trusted advisor that brought Andrew Baker to Michigan Tech. “I had an offer to go work for Boeing Rotorcraft in Pennsylvania,” says Baker. However, he was contacted by his undergraduate advisor, Steve Kampe, who had moved to Tech. Kampe asked Baker to join him and help set up a lab. The reply: “Count me in!”

Baker went on to earn both an MS and PhD in Materials Science and Engineering. After graduation, Andrew accepted a position as a principal investigator at Boeing and his role and influence has expanded rapidly at the company and across the international aerospace industry. Just six months into his tenure, he took over as program manager and principal investigator for a $10 million DARPA program on additive manufacturing that was far behind schedule and on the verge of being cut, something he entirely turned around.

Andrew is active in his professional organization, The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society, and received that organization’s Structural Materials Division Young Leaders Professional Development Award in 2019. The St. Louis Academy of Science recognized Andrew’s exceptional potential for future accomplishments in science or engineering with their 2019 Innovation Award, which is presented to an individual under the age of 40.

“Michigan Tech really taught me how to strip away unimportant peripheral characteristics of something—whether that be an idea, a thing, an activity, a place,” he says. “Michigan Tech and the Copper Country are places that have, over time, distilled down to pure forms of their core values—hard work, perseverance, community, and an appreciation of aesthetic beauty, both natural and artisanal.”

Amberlee Haselhuhn ʼ11 ʼ16

Amberlee Haselhuhn
Amberlee Haselhuhn

Amberlee Haselhuhn considers the time she spent in Michigan Tech’s foundry in the materials science and engineering department as key to her success. In fact, Haselhuhn spent time there as both an undergraduate and graduate student.

“I was able to design my own metal alloys, melt and pour them in the foundry, machine and process them into usable parts, and to test my alloy properties all in one facility,” she says. “What a great resource for students!”

Haselhuhn earned bachelor’s degrees in materials science and engineering and biomedical engineering in 2011. She went on to gain a PhD in Materials Science and Engineering in 2016. After graduation, she joined General Motors’ Manufacturing Systems Research lab as a researcher where she employed fundamentals of materials science and engineering to the welding and joining of dissimilar metals for automotive body light-weighting. Recently, Haselhuhn was promoted to a senior researcher role at GM where she leads projects to develop technical solutions for dissimilar metal joining.

Haselhuhn’s career success was recognized with GM’s prestigious Boss Kettering Award in 2017 for outstanding innovation related to dissimilar metal joining work. In 2018 she was honored with the 30 Under 30 Award by Manufacturing Engineering magazine, in part for her technical achievements and STEM-outreach activities with local youth.

When asked how well Michigan Tech prepared her for her career, Haselhuhn says, “I was provided with an excellent hands-on, laboratory-based engineering curriculum that prepared me to hit the ground running in my first job.”

Dick Temple '58 Recounts His Part of Apollo 13 Rescue Mission

Dick Temple
Dick Temple

When Apollo 13 was launched on April 11, 1970, America watched as the seventh manned mission rocketed into space.

Dick Temple, a Michigan Tech 1958 alumnus and an employee at General Motors, Delco Electronics Division, was also watching that launch, but he didn’t know he would soon find himself participating in the mission.

“My work on Apollo 13 was part of a much larger team effort across the country for sure, but I realized then how important it was to the overall rescue effort,” Temple says.

While Apollo 13 initially intended to land on the Moon, the lunar landing was aborted after an oxygen tank exploded two days after launch. The crew faced great hardship caused by limited power, loss of cabin heat, shortage of water, and the need to make repairs to the carbon dioxide removal system. 

Temple set up an Apollo Inertial Measurement Unit in a vacuum chamber to simulate the actual spacecraft conditions in order to determine when the astronauts would have to turn on the power. “We called Houston when the temperature reached 32 degrees. The system performance would have degraded below 30 degrees.”

The astronauts returned safely to Earth on April 17, 1970. Temple says working on the Apollo program was an amazing experience. “We were doing something that had never been done before. I did repair work on a Lunar Module at Grumman and also component upgrades on guidance assemblies at North American Rockwell in Downey, California.” Also, at Cape Canaveral, Florida, Temple was asked to replace a gyroscope on one of the early Apollo systems, something that had never been attempted there before.

Apollo 13 shuttle waiting to launch.
Apollo 13 was intended to be NASA's third moon-landing mission. Photo: NASA

Prior to his time with the Apollo program, Temple enrolled at Michigan Tech because “it offered an engineering degree and it was close to home.” He chose mechanical engineering since he had a good academic background from his high school in Norway, Michigan.

But Tech was not easy for Temple. “My time there made me work hard to pass and in the end, gave me a good understanding of mechanical engineering. Later at work, my effort at Tech taught me to keep working until the job was done correctly and completely.”

After working on Apollo, Temple was transferred to the Titan II, III, and IV (TII, etc.) programs where he supported the build and test of the inertial guidance systems for all of those programs. “TII and TIII were military-directed programs, but TIV was used to put many satellites in orbit, including 24 satellites for the military, and then for general use by everyone.”

He was promoted to supervisor of the mechanical engineering group and later to department manager. He retired in 1999 after working at General Motors for 41 years.

“Supporting Michigan Tech is an important part of giving back to the very group that meant so much to my career. Michigan Tech is small enough to allow one to feel part of a very special school offering a great education and sound experience.”

Pat O'Malley, Jack Lousma, and Dick Temple.
Delco engineer Pat O'Malley, astronaut Jack Lousma, and Temple

Dick and his wife, Bernadette, who passed away a few years ago, were married 54 years and raised six children (but none went to engineering school, he jokes).

“We all have the potential to be contributors to our communities and country. We only need to find that niche where we can help make a difference.”

2019 Alumni-Student Broomball

Broomball team with medals and trophy.
Broomball Invitational champs Pirate Sheep.

Twelve teams and well over 100 alumni and friends made the journey to campus over Winter Carnival to participate in the 10th annual Alumni-Student Broomball Invitational. Alumni team Pirate Sheep claimed their fourth consecutive championship. Want to join in the fun next year? Mark your calendar for February 8, 2020!

Snowfall Contest Winner

Every Husky has a story about snow, and every year our snowfall contests give people a chance to put their extensive snow knowledge to the test. This year, Kailee Kovach, a class of 2020 medical laboratory science major, took home the prize in the annual snowfall contest with her guess of 192.25 inches. The 2018-19 snow total was 192.38 inches, measured at Michigan Tech’s Keweenaw Research Center (our standard for every contest).

Get in on our monthly and annual snow contests in 2019-20 next fall.

In Memoriam

1938

  • James E. Gibson
  • Herbert F. Krohn

1943

  • Chester J. Taylor

1947

  • Carl R. Kukka 

1948

  • John P. Neu
  • Richard E. Smith
  • James C. Vandertill

1949

  • Paul W. Kauppila
  • Shirley M. Lund
  • Robert R. Mead
  • James A. Mickelsen
  • Calvin L. Sleeman

1950

  • John J. Bodi
  • Alfons J. DeRidder
  • John A. Dobb
  • John A. Donald PE
  • Earl J. Harrington
  • John L. Walter
  • Charles R. Young

1951

  • Dr. Domenic A. Canonico
  • Arthur L. Jarvela
  • Gilbert R. Johnson
  • Calvin E. Ojanen
  • Frank L. Suber

1952

  • George Stencel
  • Jack A. Zollner

1953

  • James R. Lizenby
  • Dr. Dennis E. Teeguarden

1954

  • John W. Burlingame
  • Norma J. O'Brien
  • Leslie C. Talo
  • Thomas R. Thornton
  • John H. Volpel

1955

  • Harold J. Lawson PE
  • Maxwell J. Sobolewski
  • Bruce E. Valine

1956

  • Frederick W. Ahola
  • Max V. Coburn PE
  • Leo W. Fallstrom
  • Allen D. Mellstead

1957

  • George W. Fish
  • F. Harold Forburger
  • Patrick J. Gallagher
  • Bernard E. Niehoff
  • Clifford J. Purdy Jr.

1958

  • Jack Parker
  • Thomas N. Rushton

1959

  • Bruce E. Douglas
  • Gerald J. Ziarno

1961

  • Godfrey A. Holmstrom Jr.
  • Dr. Gary L. Jewett
  • Thomas A. Powers

1962

  • Clarence J. Kalmer
  • Donald E. Lutz
  • Paulus B. Moore PhD
  • Lawrence N. Witte PE

1963

  • John J. Arneth Jr.
  • Thaddeus M. Koziol
  • Ronald L. Magnus

1964

  • Robert J. Oswald PE
  • James L. Smith
  • Clinton H. Sundstrom

1965

  • Gary L. Humphreys

1966

  • Richard A. Miller
  • Joseph C. Palermo
  • Dr. Edward P. Simonen
  • Frederick V. Slocum
  • James R. Williams

1967

  • James C. Aumer
  • Thomas H. Brodine
  • Maria D. Mustonen

1968

  • Kenneth J. Girard

1970

  • James I. Hatala
  • Robert W. Herrman
  • Roy H. Isaacson
  • Theodore Klemp III

1971

  • Paul M. King
  • Roger A. Wenk

1972

  • Thomas R. Duvendack
  • Frederick H. Hillard Jr.
  • Anthony P. Landini
  • Ahmed E. Meligi

1974

  • Linda G. Schmitt
  • Robert L. Whipple

1975

  • Gerald C. Anderson
  • Fredrick L. Cook

1978

  • Mark L. McClannahan

1980

  • Joan E. Allen

1981

  • Robert L. Farrell

1982

  • Brian L. Slater PE

1983

  • Brian A. Fojtik
  • Eleanor A. Johnson

1984

  • Michael R. Johnston
  • M. Keith Kaufman

1985

  • Matt J. Banovetz

1986

  • Nancy M. Rothe

1987

  • Michael R. Griffin
  • Christopher L. Hautau
  • Lynn M. Isaacson

1988

  • Dr. John W. Hilgers

2006

  • Erik A. Scheffler

Michigan Technological University is a public research university, home to more than 7,000 students from 54 countries. Founded in 1885, the University offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, and social sciences. Our campus in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula overlooks the Keweenaw Waterway and is just a few miles from Lake Superior.