Board of Trustees Welcomes New Chair, Confers Degrees

The Dow Environmental Sciences and Engineering Building with budding trees
The Dow Environmental Sciences and Engineering Building with budding trees
The Michigan Technological University Board of Trustees welcomed Brenda Ryan as its new chair at its August 2 meeting.

At its regular meeting on August 2, the Michigan Tech Board of Trustees welcomed its new chair, conferred degrees and recognized long-serving faculty and staff.

Today marked the start of a new chapter for Michigan Technological University’s Board of Trustees, as Brenda Ryan officially took her position as chair. Ryan, who joined the Board in 2015 and served for two years as its vice chair, was elected to her new position at the Board’s last regular meeting on May 4, 2018. 

“I am honored for the support and confidence of the Board of Trustees in selecting me as chair,” Ryan said. “It has been my pleasure to serve as vice chair for the past two years and to have served with our distinguished outgoing chair, Terry Woychowski. The Board has worked tirelessly over the past year on our presidential search, and we are looking forward to working with Michigan Tech’s new president, Richard Koubek. Bill Johnson led a successful search as chair of the Presidential Search Committee and I am excited that he will now serve as vice chair of the Board. It will be a privilege to work with such a fervent Board and president. Michigan Tech is positioned to ascend to new levels locally, nationally and globally. I am elated to be a part of it.”

A woman and a man standing side-by-side in commencement ceremony regalia.
Brenda Ryan, pictured with U.S. Sen. Gary Peters at the Michigan Tech spring 2018 commencement ceremony, has been elected chair of the Board of Trustees.

Ryan is the president and owner of Ryan Industries Inc., Ryan Properties LLC in Wixom, Michigan, and Alliance Industries LLC in Springfield, Missouri. She earned a bachelor's degree in metallurgical engineering from Michigan Tech and a master's degree in material science engineering from the University of Virginia. While a graduate student, Ryan served as a Michigan Tech Board of Trustees member, spending a year as its chair in 1984.

The meeting was also the first for Michigan Tech’s new president, Richard Koubek, who began his duties on July 1. In his comments to the Board, Koubek described his impressions of the community and outlined his initial vision for the University.

“The university has a solid strategic plan to help guide us, and it does a fine job of describing who we are and what we aspire to look like with regard to size, research, student composition and the like,” Koubek said at the close of his remarks. “But over the next year, I am asking the campus to take the next step and define not just what we want to look like, but also what we want to do. What impact do we want to have? What is it that Michigan Tech is uniquely positioned to achieve and that few others can pursue?”

Following Koubek’s comments, the Board voted to grant degrees to the list of students certified by the registrar. It also adopted resolutions of appreciation for Michigan Tech employees Ricky Anderson for 39 years of service and David Nordstrom for 36 years of service. It then granted professor emeritus status to Michael Irish, previously an associate professor in visual and performing arts.

In other business, the Board:

  • Received a report that a total of $37.39 million was raised for the University from July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018, which is 104 percent of the fundraising goal ($36.0 million) for fiscal year 2018;
  • Approved a resolution to comply with new state mandates in Michigan Public Act 265 of 2018, also known as the Education Omnibus Appropriation Act;
  • Received an update on University response efforts related to the Father’s Day Flood; and
  • Endorsed a proposal from the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts, for submission to the Michigan Council for the Arts and Cultural Affairs to support costs associated with artist fees for the Rozsa Center’s annual Presenting Series and to partially support various productions during the 2018-19 academic year.

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.