MTU’s Winter Carnival Century Celebration Starts With a Look Back

Fireworks fill the sky above Mont Ripley Ski Hill in 2016 during Michigan Tech Winter CarnivaL
Fireworks fill the sky above Mont Ripley Ski Hill in 2016 during Michigan Tech Winter CarnivaL
Students in snow gear build snow statues with scaffolding and lights in the background on the Michigan Tech College Campus
Students on an ice rink prepare to fling a student on a saucer as a human bowling ball as other students watch in the background during a winter carnival competition.
Fireworks fill the sky above Mont Ripley Ski Hill during Michigan Tech Winter Carnival 2016.

One hundred years of snow statues, winter games and the spirited Huskies who make Michigan Technological University’s Winter Carnival spectacular is a lot of ground to cover. University history keepers are up to the task.

A special Husky Bites presentation livestreamed at 6 p.m. Monday, Jan. 24, features Lindsay Hiltunen of the Michigan Tech Archives with a pictorial look back through the University’s most iconic event. MTU Wikipedian in Residence Cynthia Hodges will also be there to talk about the Winter Carnival Wikipedia Edit-a-thon she’s organizing at the Van Pelt and Opie Library on Saturday, Jan. 29. Students and alumni are invited to learn how to correctly research and submit updates to Wikipedia entries, specifically focusing on Winter Carnival.

This year's Carnival takes place Feb. 9-12 with the theme of "Come One, Come All To Our 100th Carnival."

Watch the Show, Join the Conversation

Get details on how to register for the free, virtual, family-friendly event on Zoom or watch the livestream on the College of Engineering's Facebook page. Find a post-event recording and browse all the webinars in the Husky Bites collection.

Hiltunen’s Winter Carnival memories begin long before she became Michigan Tech's university archivist. Raised in the Copper Country, she grew up looking forward to the event every year. “I remember when my Grandpa Dave was a statue judge,” says the alumna and current doctoral student, noting how Winter Carnival continues to connect campus, community and the Michigan Tech alumni who do so much to keep the tradition vibrant.

“Over the past 100 years, we Michigan Tech alums have had many traditions,” said Hodges. “I’m looking forward to learning how we’ve celebrated over the years.”

Learn more about Hiltunen, Hodges and Michigan Tech Winter Carnival history in the latest Husky Bites Q&A on the College of Engineering Blog.

Lindsay Hiltunen: Winter Carnival—One Hundred Years

What are you doing for supper at 6 p.m. Monday night? Grab a bite with College of Engineering Dean Janet Callahan and University Archivist Lindsay Hiltunen. Hiltunen is a Michigan Tech alumna and current doctoral student with two master’s degrees in library science and United States history. She’s a trustee to the Historical Society of Michigan's Board of Directors, chair of the Society of American Archivists Oral History Section, and vice president and president-elect of the Michigan Archival Association (she’ll become MAA president in June 2022).

During Husky Bites, Hiltunen will share the history of Winter Carnival, one of Michigan Tech’s most beloved traditions across the decades, through rich images of fun and festivities via the Michigan Tech Archives — from queens to cookouts, snow statues to snowballs, skating reviews to dog sled races and more.

Joining in will be mechanical engineering alumna Cynthia Hodges, who serves as a Wikipedian in residence for Michigan Tech. To celebrate the 100th anniversary, Hodges is organizing a Winter Carnival Wikipedia edit-a-thon, and alumni and students are welcome to help. Hodges is also a member of Michigan Tech’s Presidential Council of Alumnae.

This year’s Winter Carnival theme is "Come One, Come All To Our 100th Carnival." Be sure to bring your Winter Carnival questions to Husky Bites. Hiltunen and Hodges look forward to the Q&A!

A smiling woman with tall file cabinets and framed certificates behind her.
Lindsay Hiltunen and the Michigan Tech Archives team will be sharing blogs, photos and other Carnival artifacts. Watch for their posts on the Michigan Tech Archives website and social media platforms.

Q: Lindsay, how did you get involved in library science? What sparked your interest?

LH: I’ve had an interest in libraries and history since a young age. My grandfather was a history professor at Michigan Tech and the first lay president at what is now Finlandia University. The sunroom at my grandparents’ house on Summit Street was my favorite place; one wall of windows and three walls of history books from floor to ceiling. Anytime I was there to visit, I would steal away to the sunroom and read and dream for hours. It wasn’t until I attended Michigan Tech as an undergrad and obtained student employment in the archives (then on the third floor of the library) that I knew what an archivist did. I credit my grandpa for the spark and former University Archivist Erik Nordberg for showing me the path to library school.

My library career fully began at the District of Columbia Public Library as a library technician. I became an archivist at Michigan Tech in 2014, and university archivist in May 2016. As a side note, I’m proud to say I’m now the steward of my Grandpa Dave’s impressive book collection.

Q: Hometown and family?

LH: I grew up in Tamarack City and graduated from Dollar Bay High School. My mom was an avid artist and my dad is the former director of a local social services coordinating agency. I have two brothers and one sister; all but one of us are Huskies. (The one who didn’t go to Michigan Tech has two husky dogs as pets, so that counts for something.)

We grew up playing every sport under the sun. Those sports we didn’t play, we were spectators of, took books and stats, or ran the clock. In the SDC ice rink and Dee Stadium, I was a competitive figure skater (ice dancing and synchronized skating) and coach. Off-ice practice was just as good because we got to watch the MTU hockey players practice, then attend games with Dad and Grandpa. I even competed at the nationals for Michigan Tech’s synchro skating team in 2001 (we placed eighth in our national debut).

I’m also proud to note that my husband of 17 years, Tom, is a Michigan Tech alum, too. He graduated with a degree in electrical engineering in 2005, and now works as a primary patent examiner for the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

Q: What do you like to do in your spare time?

LH: My vinyl collection has been a passion since I was a teenager. I have over 5,000 LPs and I’m on the lookout for new records all the time. I love to read for my Ph.D. program and also for fun, so nine times out of 10 there is a book within an arm’s reach. Painting and drawing bring me a lot of peace. 

As for sports, I’m still an avid hockey fan. I love to blog and write about hockey, and was recently published in the 2021 Legends magazine, the official publication of the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto. And although I’m not on ice as a skater anymore, I am still involved in the sport. I’m a fledgling trial judge, pursuing dance test judge status through U.S. Figure Skating. 

I have three pets: A blue point Siamese cat, Little Nero, and two Weimaraners, Otto and Frankenstein. Our home on Keweenaw Bay also has many resident critters, including Swift the fox who runs by nightly, a few bald eagles that troll the shoreline, and many chickadees, finches, jays and cardinals at our garden feeders. I consider them all friends!

Four women with a background of gold and black balloons at a reception indoors stand talking. Two have their backs to the camera, in daylight.
Cynthia Hodges, third from left, at a Great Lake Research Center alumni reception in 2018, helps students and alumni create connections and memories across campus.

Q: Cynthia, how did you get involved in engineering? What sparked your interest? 

CH: I received a scholarship to attend Women In Engineering at Michigan Tech in the summer of 1981 when I was a junior in high school. At that time, it was one of the few programs of its kind to encourage women to study engineering. 

After graduating with my B.S. and M.S. in mechanical engineering, I began work at Ford Motor Company as a product test engineer in their durability engineering laboratory. I spent much of my 32-year career at Ford involved in chassis engineering, designing fuel and steering systems, suspension, tires, wheels and brakes for many Ford cars and trucks. 

Q: Family and hometown?

CH: My hometown is Warren, Michigan. My husband, Andrew Hodges, earned a B.S. in civil engineering at Michigan Tech in 1989. My son, Edward, is also an alum — he earned his B.S. in forestry in 2019. My daughter, Jane, is a graphic designer. We tried to convince her to go to Michigan Tech as well, but there is no Bachelor of Fine Arts program. She went to Eastern Michigan University.

Q: What do you like to do in your spare time?

CH: I love to cook, sew, read and sing, and enjoy the outdoors in the Keweenaw — especially skiing, mountain biking and hiking. 

Q: How did you and Lindsay become friends?

CH: That is interesting! We started out as Facebook friends, because we have a lot of friends in common. I only met her in real life recently, but have admired her work for a long time. I really like history and enjoy visiting the Michigan Tech Archives to research old recipes for my food blog,

And a few years ago, Lindsay did an excellent presentation about the history of women at Michigan Tech for the Presidential Council of Alumnae. So I am happy to count her as a friend and excited to work on projects with her, too. I’m organizing an effort to improve Wikipedia, serving as a Wikipedian in residence for MTU. To celebrate the 100th anniversary of Winter Carnival, we will be improving Michigan Tech Winter Carnival information on Wikipedia. Alumni and students are welcome to help. If you are interested, please contact me at

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.