Alumnus Donates 47-Foot Catamaran to Michigan Tech


Boaters on the Keweenaw Waterway and those passing by the north side of campus may notice a new vessel moored at the Great Lakes Research Center (GLRC).

Gary Hagstrom ’72 donated his 47-foot catamaran, previously named Crackerjack, to Michigan Technological University. This newest vessel to join the University’s fleet will be renamed Lupine and will enhance research capabilities for students and researchers on the Great Lakes.

Hagstrom, a professional engineer who retired from Chevron Corporation after a 35-year international and domestic career in engineering and project management, earned a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Michigan Tech. He was inducted into the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering Academy in 2017.

“Tech’s education quality, its reputation amongst employers of engineers and the competence of its placement department were all instrumental in my initial selection of an employer and my long-term career success,” he said. “As a regular annual donor to Tech for several decades and utilizing the matching gifts program offered by Chevron, it was only natural to ask Tech if they had any use for the Crackerjack once I decided that it was time for me to find a new home for the boat.

“As a donor to Michigan Tech, I have appreciated how important philanthropy is to the University. I am pleased that Michigan Tech and the Great Lakes Research Center can use the vessel for continued research and community outreach on the Great Lakes. Giving to Michigan Tech provides the University with resources to create exceptional student experiences. In this case, donating my boat was also helpful to me for tax purposes.”

The Lupine, built in 2009 in Bremen, Maine, is a fiberglass-hulled vessel with an 18-foot beam and twin diesel engines. Its ability to house crew overnight, overall available workspace, and handling characteristics are far superior to current GLRC assets.

Other vessels in Michigan Tech’s fleet include the RV Agassiz, a 36-foot aluminum-hulled boat owned and utilized by MTU since 2002; the 24-foot SV Osprey; and the 22-foot SV Polar.

The Lupine’s extended range and ability to accommodate multiday research trips will open up many opportunities for additional research on the Great Lakes.

Tim Havens ’99 ’00, the director of the GLRC, is excited by the possibilities the Lupine provides for research. “The GLRC is so very grateful for Mr. Hagstrom’s generosity, and we very much appreciate that he thought of us in donating the Lupine. Because of its catamaran style and modern diesel engines, it is especially fuel-efficient for its size, which is consistent with our objectives. This vessel will significantly buoy our mission to be a leader in aquatic sciences and engineering, and we look forward to welcoming researchers and students on board very soon.”

Possible near-future projects for the Lupine include small buoy deployments in the Marquette, Munising, Isle Royale and Duluth areas and use as a monitoring platform for autonomous vehicles, especially during long-duration missions. 

Future plans of expanding the GLRC’s reach include partnerships with Northwest Michigan College, including the Great Lakes Water Studies Institute and the Great Lakes Maritime Academy in Traverse City.

The Lupine brings opportunities to expand the GLRC and MTU’s presence in Lake Michigan by working with the only maritime academy on the Great Lakes. It also provides the GLRC with the capability to house a boat in Traverse City during select periods of the year while still maintaining capabilities in Houghton.

“We are incredibly grateful for Gary’s ongoing generosity, partnership and commitment to Michigan Tech,” said Eric Halonen, Michigan Tech’s assistant vice president for principal giving. “His support extends across our campus, from the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering to the GLRC.”

The Lupine was sailed from Ashland, Wisconsin, to Houghton on Saturday, and will be put into service for Michigan Tech within the month.