Katie Price '13 spoke from her heart.
"Spring" Commencement (42 degrees amid the snowbanks) was blessed by two great speakers this year: one from the Class of 2013; one from IBM.
Katie Price, graduating with an environmental engineering degree, boiled down the essence of a Michigan Tech education: walking across campus and seeing at least five people you know, the delight of a Friday night with the hockey team, the top of Brockway Mountain on a fall day, the last five minutes of the nine-hour car drive to get here, and learning the meaning of work and gaining that work ethic. "Then you are Husky," she said.
She challenged her classmates to describe the Tech essence to someone they meet on a plane, a friend, a neighbor, and with luck, they will have a similar experience.
David Barnes, program director of strategy and emerging Internet technologies for IBM, told the students to find their passion, "the big tingle," and touch the sky, in the words of Kanye West. "Make it go viral," he said. "You are the first generation born on the web, it's a natural extension of your arms."
Use the connections on the other side of the world to create an organ to change a child's life, grow tall timber in the desert, make steel so hard Wolverine would want it, he said.
"These are the good old days," he added, quoting Carly Simon.
David Barnes was inspiring and funny.
We surveyed a few grads to get their future plans and find their favorite Tech memory.
Brendan Lukkari from Mass City was getting his bachelor's in forestry and starting his own consulting business. The veteran fondly recalled his capstone project: doing a management plan for all of Tech's property.
Keith Jurak, with a BS in CS, was going to law school at U-M and wants to go into patent law, focusing on software and property rights. From West Bloomfield, his fondest memory was playing King of the Hill on the snow mounds this winter ("twenty feet up").
He was proudly wearing the Order of Omega on his robe, given to the top 3 percent of Greeks in the categories of scholarship, service, and leadership. He also had ribbons for Greek (red), Blue Key (blue), and summa cum laude (gold). "They are kind of rubbing my neck," he said.
Yidan Lou was headed to China in August to work with highway paving machinery. The ME was going to miss Huskies hockey games the most.
Ben Hohnstatdt, an EE from Shelby Township will be moving to Minneapolis to work with OSI, monitoring power grids. His favorite memory was biking around the UP in six days.
Nearby, Rachel List, also an EE, was going to work with Dematic in Grand Rapids, doing logistics for conveyer systems. Her biggest thrill was jumping thirty feet into Canyon Falls.
Ali Haider, our incredible basketball star, is going to play for his native Lebanon's national team while his agent finds him a professional team in Lebanon. His EE degree was his "back up plan." He'll miss all the nice people at Tech.
ME Matt Verbiscus was heading to Maine and Pratt and Whitney, where he'll be a design engineer. The South Lyon native will always recall the great friends he made at Tech.
As the crowd filed out and stopped for more photos with the family and friends, I knew many of them would stay in touch as they recalled the good old days and lived the many good days to come.
Dennis '92 '09