Michigan Tech Magazine, December 2004
Printable Version (PDF)
August 5, 2011
News
1. Board of Control Approves Great Lakes Research Center Construction Agreement

2. Paul and Susan Williams Center for Computer Systems Research Dedicated

3. New Seaman Mineral Museum Dedicated

4. Class of '41 Remembers

5. General Motors to Present Chevy Volt to Michigan Tech Saturday

6. Detroit, Baraga Teens Explore Their Future

7. Student Affairs Summer Newsletter Now Online

Regular Features
8. New Funding

9. Giveaways

1. Board of Control Approves Great Lakes Research Center Construction Agreement
At its regular meeting on Thursday, Aug. 4, the Board of Control approved a construction agreement, lease and conveyance of property for the Great Lakes Research Center, a $25.3 million building under construction on the waterfront.

The Board also heard a report that the ongoing $200 million capital campaign, "Generations of Discovery," has reached $147, 464,533.

In other business, the Board:

* Appointed Board member Stephen Hicks and former members David Brule and Russell Gronevelt as its representatives to the Michigan Tech Fund Board of Trustees.

* Recognized seven longtime employees for 35 to 40 years of service. They are Charles Nelson (40 years), David Bezotte (39 years), Mary Laitinen (37 years), Rodney Guilbault (35 years), Phillip Huber (35 years), Cynthia MacDonald (35 years) and Mary Witting (35 years).

* Granted emeritus rank to seven retired professors: Bernard D. Alkire (CEE), Eunice Carlson (biological sciences); Jimmy Diehl (GMES), Suzanne Beske-Diehl (GMES), Ronald Gratz (biological sciences), Robert Keen (biological sciences), and Marshall W. Logue (chemistry).

2. Paul and Susan Williams Center for Computer Systems Research Dedicated
The air was charged and the people were expectant on the fifth floor of the EERC Thursday, where the facilities for a high-performance computing center were dedicated.

The center will be one of just a few in the nation that brings together three disciplines--electrical engineering, computer engineering and computer science.

"It's time to be at the cutting edge of computing," said Chair Daniel Fuhrmann (ECE).

Paul Williams was the major benefactor for the facility. He's an engaging, plain-talking man with a sense of humor as pronounced as his generosity. He stepped up to the podium and to applause. There were few chairs, and about 30 people milled about. "It's nice to get a standing ovation," he said.

Williams, a native of Negaunee, earned a BS in electrical engineering in 1961. The first in his family to attend college, he worked most of his career at Hughes Aircraft. He was successful and is grateful yet. "I'm thankful I had Michigan Tech," he said. "It changed my life. Had Tech not been here and affordable, who knows where I would be . . . maybe having a miserable life somewhere." Instead, he had "a good life" and adds, "I made a few coins besides."

Then, basking in retirement, he realized that Uncle Sam was watching over his shoulder, peeking into his pocketbook, and thinking, "This guy has some money we haven't taxed yet." So Williams thought he would give some of it away. He had no "philanthropic dreams." But he wanted to do something, and he worked with Eric Halonen and Karla Aho in Advancement to work out the details for supporting the research center. "I didn't plan to do this much," Williams admits. "Eric is a very expensive guy to know."

What started out as plans for a deferred gift changed to a gift in his lifetime.

Halonen says it's rewarding and fun to work with people like Williams. Aho said, "He's a fantastic guy. A humble man. Very modest." His "heart," she said, "not taxes," led to his gift.

What he outfitted was described by Chair Marty Richardson (Board of Control) as "fabulous, remarkable."

Provost Max Seel said that interdisciplinary collaboration is the touchstone of research and education these days. "The center," he said, "means we have a place to create synergies, break down silos, and get researchers together."

Tech is already doing that in spades. Vice President Dave Reed (Research) said the center is the newest of 21 interdisciplinary research centers at the University.

Professor Saeid Nooshabadi will direct this computing center. He's been here a year and was hired as part of the Strategic Faculty Hiring Initiative that brought him to campus just for this duty. He envisions interdisciplinary teams addressing new problems, sharing a camaraderie and a purpose, and engaging in a "cross-pollination" of ideas. His focus: "make it practical and useful."

Additional funding for the center came from the James Fugere Foundation, the Dave House Family Foundation, and countless alumni.

There's simply no way to recognize all the people who contribute to successes like these. Glen Archer (ECE), then, thanked a lot of people for "guidance, added guidance, and further guidance."

3. New Seaman Mineral Museum Dedicated
Let's be crystal-clear: the new Seaman Mineral Museum is handsome, classy, and suitable—a fortune that houses a fortune.

The building, on Sharon Ave., was dedicated Thursday. A hundred people gathered on a hot afternoon, across from the ATDC, and attested to a milestone more than a century in the making: a permanent home for the official Mineral Museum of Michigan.

The gift shop and two of a planned 14 galleries opened on July 5; already the museum is on pace to double the number of people who visit a year. The reason: instead of being tucked away in the EERC, it's now prominent and accessible, with convenient parking.

"We couldn't be in a better location," said Darlene Comfort, manager. "It's perfect. People are looking for us and they're coming. And everyone who comes through the door say they'll be back to see the museum in its full glory."

The gift shop is inviting, and a gallery called "The Beauty of Minerals" is anchored by a piece of sheet copper, roughly eight feet square, that weighs 800 pounds--an imposing spectacle indeed. It's complemented by a life-size portrait of Douglass Houghton, the man who started it all.

Curator George Robinson calls the museum "a giant leap forward." He said the collection started as a teaching tool for geology and mining courses in the late 1800s. It was reconfigured as a museum in 1902. Seaman became the curator in 1928. He died in 1937.

"It's good for us. It's good for Tech," Robinson said of the new facility. The museum has 25,000 specimens. Who knows what the future may hold? "The room to show what we have is only limited by time and money," he said.

Tom Shaffner '57 pledged $1 million for the facility. He was unable to attend the dedication. Paul and Janet Clifford and other friends—Director Ted Bornhorst calls them "fervent supporters"--made gifts totaling several hundred thousand dollars. "Thanks to everybody," Bornhorst said.

Appropriately, for a museum noted for its copper collection, the structure sits on an old mine shaft and the parking lot sits over a stope. "You're on the top of Copper Country history," Bornhorst told the crowd.

Jeanne Seaman Farnum, granddaughter of A.E. Seaman, born in Houghton, now of Phoenix, attended the dedication. "It's a beginning," she said.

She recalls her grandfather as a fun-loving, genial man who wrote all his thoughts and ideas in poetic verses. She has gathered them in two books of poems that are on sale at the museum.

One line reads: "Old Nature gives birth to the New." That's what played out Thursday on the hill, as the old gave way to the new.

4. Class of '41 Remembers
by Dennis Walikainen, senior editor

Emil Szten '41 remembers one thing above all others from his tenure at Tech.

"The snow!"

That, and the natural ice surface at Dee Stadium, where the hockey Huskies played.

"They had to wait for it to get cold enough before they could play."

Before the days of ice plants and even residence halls, Szten made his way through the Michigan College of Mining and Technology, getting his bachelor's degree in civil engineering before joining the Navy in the war effort.

"I worked on the battleship Wisconsin in Philadelphia," he said, before the alumni breakfast Thursday. The oldest alum in attendance, age 94, was chatting with the newest alum at the reunion, Nick Laurila '10, a 23-year-old business grad.

A couple of careers for Szten ensued after the war, as an industrial manager in New Orleans, working for Borg Warner, and finally retiring in 1980, before some work as a consultant.

He was on campus with his second wife, Joyce, and grandchildren and was anticipating "showing the young people what the rough country was like!"

Back in his day, hockey was the big game on campus, but he also made time for deer hunting during Thanksgiving break.

"One of our foursome got a deer, and we invited our girlfriends to come and eat it with us," he said. "I had a pony keg of Bosch beer, too, to go with the deer."

They couldn't finish all the Bosch, so Szten brought it back to the only dorm that was built then, DHH, at 4:30 in the morning.

"I was a counselor then, and I woke up the freshmen to have some," he recalled. "The president of the school found out, and as he ran in one door, I ran out the other with the keg. And I never even got the deposit!"

Szten wanted to bring his old roommate, "before the dorms," Bob Rost '40, but Rost wasn't able to join him. Both men were from Muskegon, originally, and Emil calls Vienna, Va., and Homestead, Fla., home now.

His fondest academic memory was his structural engineering classes that spurred him on to that line of work.

Walking around the Memorial Union Building, he recalled returning to Tech many years ago, when the MUB was being built.

"I talked to the guys who were laying the brick," he said, speaking of structural engineering.

The MUB endures, of course, as does this alum's fond memories of his college days: a member of the greatest generation recalling some of his greatest years.

The Alumni Reunion runs through Saturday.

For the full schedule, see Reunion.

5. General Motors to Present Chevy Volt to Michigan Tech Saturday
by Marcia Goodrich, senior writer

General Motors will present a new Chevy Volt electric drive vehicle to the Advanced Power Systems Research Center at 11 a.m., Saturday, Aug. 6. The event will be held next to the Memorial Union.

Matt Spruit will provide the keys to the Volt on behalf of GM. Spruit is the company's assistant engineering manager, global program management for full-sized trucks.

"This Chevy Volt bolsters Michigan Tech's certificate program in hybrid electric and electric vehicle engineering by giving students experience on a vehicle that represents the latest advances in automotive technology," said Jeremy Worm, a research engineer at the center. "These discovery-based learning opportunities will be invaluable."

Receiving the vehicle will be President Glenn Mroz and Associate Professor Jeff Naber (ME-EM). Naber is the director of the center, which focuses on clean, efficient and sustainable power systems.

In the event of rain, the event will be held at the Advanced Technology Development Complex, at the corner of Sharon Avenue and Garnet Street.

6. Detroit, Baraga Teens Explore Their Future
by Jennifer Donovan, director of public relations

It's like the best of summer camp and school rolled into one. Hundreds of high school students spent a week or more exploring dozens of different fields of study at Michigan Tech over the summer. They lived in residence halls, took classes and enjoyed the unique recreational opportunities in the UP.

Michigan Tech's Summer Youth Programs and Scholarship Programs, which end this week, had something for just about everyone--from sixth through 12th grade. Seven categories of explorations included business, computing, engineering, humanities and social sciences, leadership, outdoor and environmental studies, and science and technology. Classes ranged from the predictable to the astounding: the wide world of chemistry, computer graphics, motor sports, molten metals and plastics, and blacksmithing, to name a few.

Marsalis Turéll Fowlkes, 17, an 11th grader at University High in Ferndale, stayed four weeks on campus. He studied "Bridges, Dams and Skyscrapers: Building Big" in week one; "Engineering the Human Body" in week two; and the National Summer Transportation Institute in weeks three and four.

Fowlkes and a fellow student designed and built a model trestle bridge made of balsa wood. "I love projects like this where we get to put our heads together and solve a problem," he said. "Balsa wood is very light, and we had to figure out how to make it carry more weight than it weighs itself."

Fowlkes wants to be an engineer. "But I want to be creative too," he said, "and that's what this summer program encouraged me to do."

This summer was Detroiter Alana Crawford's second at Michigan Tech. The 13-year-old, who wants to be a doctor, took a popular course called "Forensics and CSI," where she learned how forensic scientists solve crimes though analysis of DNA, blood typing and splatter, hair and fibers and facial reconstruction. She and her classmates examined bones and tooth impressions and worked in teams to investigate and solve a mock crime scene. "I thought it was going to be a lot of work, but it was a lot of fun," Crawford said. She is an eighth grader at St. Clare of Montefalco Catholic School. "The things we do here are so different from what we do in school," she said. "Everything is so hands-on."

Fowlkes agreed. "It's not like school, but it's not a typical camp either," he said. "We had to learn to get up and get to class on time, to find our way around, to take responsibility for ourselves. That really prepares you for college."

Bethanne Cadeau, 17, a 12th grader at Baraga High School, signed up for "General Engineering." Her father does engineering work, and she wanted to find out more about what he does.

What she found out is that she doesn't want to study engineering. That's a good outcome, says Director Steve Patchin (Youth Programs). "Discovering what you don't want to do is just as important as finding out what you do want to do with your life," he said.

Cadeau also learned that she doesn't want to go to a school as big as Michigan Tech. She has visited several and said smaller schools suit her better. Even though engineering did not turn out to be her career choice, Cadeau loved her week at Summer Youth. "The best part," she said, "was meeting so many new people--and learning so many new card games."

Treasure Roberts, 15, who is a sophomore at Renaissance High School in Detroit, also attended the National Summer Transportation Institute for two weeks. The institute is a partnership of Youth Programs and the Transportation Center (MiSTI).

Roberts came to campus "to brighten my horizons." She has been building things since she was a child and wants to be an engineer. She especially enjoyed meeting new people and the practical aspect of the program. She recommends the experience. "You absolutely have to do this," she would advise another youngster. "It's a great experience and it'll help you to learn what you want to do."

In part, Roberts' class visited three bridges: Mackinac Bridge, the International Bridge at Sault Ste. Marie, and the Portage Lake Lift Bridge.

Roberts especially liked going into part of the structure of the Mackinac Bridge to see an anchor pier. "Mind-blowing," she said. "We were so important, they stopped a lane of traffic on the bridge." She recalls "wiggling down a manhole and ladder leading to a great open space that could be part of a scary movie--dark, water dripping, echo-echo-echo."

"Were you scared?" she was asked.

"I'm not really scared of anything," she said.

7. Student Affairs Summer Newsletter Now Online
The summer issue of the Student Affairs newsletter, "Instant
Messages--Notes and News from Student Affairs," can be viewed at
Summer.

8. New Funding
Professor Andrew Storer (SFRES) has received $56,000 from the USDA, Forest Service, for a two-year project, "Evaluation and Monitoring of Ash Trees Tolerant to Long-Term Exposure to Emerald Ash Borer: Year 1."

9. Giveaways
Various Departments have the following:

* Lateral file cabinet
* (2) Piece modular desk
* Metal Desk
* Small dorm room refrigerator
* Assortment of chairs
* U-shaped modular desk unit, maroon

If interested, contact Traci Bishop at 487-2252 or trbishop@mtu.edu .

Public Safety and Police Services has the following:

* HP Color Laserjet 5550DN printer

If interested, contact Brian Cadwell at 487-2216 or bjcadwel@mtu.edu .


University property may only be transferred between departments. It may not be given or sold to individuals.

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