New Memorial Wall Honors Fallen Michigan Tech Veterans

The new War Memorial Wall in the Memorial Union Building.
The new War Memorial Wall in the Memorial Union Building.

Michigan Technological University has had a War Memorial Wall ever since its Memorial Union Building was dedicated in May 1952, but it only named those lost during both world wars and the Korean conflict.  

Vietnam veteran and 1963 Michigan Tech graduate Charles Matrosic didn’t think that was right.  He felt the wall should be updated to include alumni who gave their lives during the Vietnam War and subsequent conflicts.

He approached Brenda Rudiger, executive director of alumni relations, with a proposal for updating the memorial.  Then the hunt began for the names of Michigan Tech casualties. Volunteers had to compare US Department of Defense casualty lists to Tech’s student and alumni records.

But finally, on Veterans’ Day 2014, a new, companion wall was dedicated, listing 13 Michigan Tech students and alumni lost in Vietnam and Afghanistan.   And in case any names were missed, an inscription reads: “In memory of the men and women who served our country in war and in peace and later died as a result of their service. We honor and remember their sacrifice.”

Michigan Tech’s Army and Air Force ROTC,  the Student Veterans Association, American Legion Chaplain Paul Nelson, and Matrosic himself, a retired Army lieutenant colonel, participated in the ceremonies.

“President Glenn Mroz fully supported the project and helped raise the funds to bring it to fruition,” said Rudiger.  “I am very proud to have been a part the group from across campus who worked on this important initiative, and I hope we never have to add another name to the wall."

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.