Alumni Gateway Arch Dedicated During Commencement Weekend

Alumni Gateway Arch Ribbon Cutting
Alumni Gateway Arch Ribbon Cutting
University leaders and lead donor Mike Trewhella ’78 cut the ribbon on the Alumni Gateway Arch. From left: Bill Roberts, vice president for advancement and alumni engagement; President Rick Koubek; Trewhella; Steve Tomaszewski, Michigan Tech Board of Trustees chair; and Emily McDonald, Alumni Board of Directors president.

Michigan Tech has a new landmark welcoming students and visitors from the west. The Alumni Gateway Arch is the fourth piece of the University’s Alumni Way campus beautification project.

A new fixture has created a tradition at Michigan Technological University. The Alumni Gateway Arch on the west end of campus was dedicated with an April 26 ribbon-cutting ceremony during commencement weekend. Afterward, students gathered for photos under the gateway in their commencement regalia.

Donations made the Alumni Gateway Arch possible. The lead donor was Mike Trewhella ’78. “It was beautiful to see students lined up with their friends and family to take photos,” he said. “That really validated the meaning of this project.”

Trewhella family poses under arch
Mike Trewhella ’78 and his family stand under the Alumni Gateway Arch. Trewhella made the lead gift for the gateway and dedicated it to his family.

The gateway greets campus visitors with the University’s name in copper lettering on a steel arch spanning two columns. The base of the columns is Copper Harbor conglomerate stone obtained locally. The main body of the columns is Jacobsville sandstone salvaged from the original Central Heating Plant campus building, demolished in 2018 after more than a century of use.

“I am grateful to the engineers and staff who allowed me to be a part of the design process, and I’m thrilled with how it turned out,” said Trewhella. “This gift is dedicated to my family.”

The Alumni Gateway Arch is the latest addition to Alumni Way, a campus mall beautification project that includes the Husky Statue Plaza in the heart of campus, John Rovano Plaza adjacent to the Van Pelt and Opie Library, and the William J. Bernard Jr. Family Clock Tower located between the Memorial Union and R. L. Smith buildings.

“I initially heard about the Alumni Way project about 10 years ago,” said Trewhella. “Because of the great education and experience I received from Michigan Tech, I wanted to give back to the University and be able to see the difference it made.”

In addition to its eye-catching looks, the gateway project increased safety for pedestrians entering campus. The one-way road through campus that previously ended at the intersection of Townsend Drive (US Highway 41) and Cliff Drive was rerouted, allowing students and visitors a wider crosswalk and less traffic.

“Gone is the old ’Do Not Enter’ sign that once greeted those coming to campus,” said Steve Tomaszewski, chair of Michigan Tech’s Board of Trustees, during the ribbon-cutting ceremony. “In its place, we now have a symbol of warm invitation. It is a representation of what we’ve always been — a welcoming environment for all who pass through these gates.”

The Alumni Gateway Arch was one of two ribbon-cutting ceremonies on April 26; the University unveiled its new H-STEM Engineering and Health Technologies Complex as well.

Harju family poses behind copper boulder

Members of the James Harju ’85 family gather around the float copper boulder they donated to Michigan Tech in memory of James. Harju found the boulder on his farm in Paynesville, Michigan, located in Ontonagon County.

“We’re so grateful to Mr. Trewhella for his generous lead gift, which built this welcoming gateway to our campus,” said Bill Roberts, vice president of advancement and alumni engagement. “Thanks to Mike and our many other donors who helped to make this project a reality. I’d also like to acknowledge the James Harju family for donating the copper boulder which enhances the gateway area.”

Pedestrians pass by the float copper boulder shortly after entering campus through the gateway. It was found in Ontonagon County by James M. Harju ’85 and donated to Tech in his memory.

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.