All posts by baweathe

Supporter. Donor. Michigan Tech Huskies Fan.

IMG_5414Jim Sarazin has donated every year for almost 40 years to Michigan Technological University and the last 20 of those years have been a member of the President Club.

He’s been a fitness member at the Student Development Center since the doors opened in 1979.

And, for nearly 40 years he and his wife Linda have been season ticket holders to Michigan Tech hockey games and are “avid Tech hockey fans.”

Supporting Michigan Tech in many ways is a part of Sarazin’s life.

His eyes were opened to giving and making an impact during a conversation with Professor Bert Whitten who was Sarazin’s biology teacher and advisor at Michigan Tech.

“He was starting a medical alumni scholarship and he asked me to donate,” Sarazin says.

And, so began his giving to Michigan Tech. And, he has consistently supported the University especially the medical alumni scholarship, the Huskies Club, and the Rozsa Center.

“A moderate amount of giving over time makes a difference,” he says. “I feel good about supporting Michigan Tech, and I believe in it. It’s been a large part of our lives. Michigan Tech means everything to the community. Tech is all around us. It got me where I am.”

Sarazin is the fourth generation from the Keweenaw. His great-grandfather traversed Canada to settle in the Bootjack area in the 1800s. There the Sarazin family built what is now the Dreamland Restaurant and Bar where two of Sarazin’s siblings operate it today.

He says the Keweenaw and Michigan Tech are entwined in his life. “My family is here. My life is here. My work is here. Michigan Tech is here. It’s just a part of me.”

Sarazin is a dentist in Hancock and has served the community for almost 42 years. He is married to his wife Linda of 45 years. Their son, Tyler ’07, is a dentist and is working with his dad at their practice, Sarazin Dental in downtown Hancock. And, son Ryan is a history teacher and hockey coach in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. The couple enjoy spending time with their three grandchildren.

Sarazin credits Michigan Tech with helping him become a dentist. The couple both graduated from Lake Linden High School. After graduation, Sarazin enrolled in pre-medicine at Michigan Tech, taking the pre-med/pre-dental curriculum with an emphasis on the chemistry and biology courses, before attending the University of Michigan to complete dental school.

“It was a no-brainer to come to Michigan Tech,” says Sarazin. “I have a deep appreciation for the start of my education at Tech. Education is so important.”

After completing dental school, the Sarazins returned to the Keweenaw where he opened his practice in Hancock.

And, Sarazin traded in his University of Michigan apparel for Michigan Tech clothing. He says they continue to meet Michigan Tech graduates at chance encounters across the country from Hawaii to Florida.

“You’re always two to three people away from a Michigan Tech alum,” says. “Tech is deeper and reaches out farther than you know. It’s a respected institution.”

Giving back. Supporting the community. Making a difference.

Gray07222013004Dick and Stasi Gray do that every day.

The couple, who both graduated from Michigan Tech in 1982, like to help Michigan Tech students by supporting scholarships and student activities and organizations.

“We like to give back,” Dick says. “We are investing in the future.”

Dick, who has a bachelor’s in geological engineering, spent 23 years in the oil and gas industry; 16 of those with Amoco, living and working throughout the western United States and later as the president of a privately held oil and gas company called Presco Western LLC.

When Dick and Stasi were starting out and raising their three children, they remember receiving calls about giving back to Michigan Tech. “At the very beginning when they called us, we’d give $25 or $50,” Dick says.

After returning to Houghton, Michigan in 2005 to open the Keweenaw Brewing Company, also known as the KBC, they began to employ college students at the brewery taproom, many whom attended Michigan Tech.

The couple credits the success of the taproom to support from Michigan Tech students, staff, faculty, alumni, and friends.

“The KBC has become more than just a brew pub. It’s a community gathering place,” Stasi says. “It’s like a coffee shop that serves beer. We are entwined with Michigan Tech. Our business is entwined. We wouldn’t be here if not for our educations at Tech.”

That connection led them to give to students through the Dr. William J. Gregg Endowed Scholarship and the Bill Rose Geoscience Student Travel Endowment, in addition to Blue Key, Pep Band, and other student organizations.

“It’s a nice way to provide support and we want the money to get to the students for scholarships,” Dick says. “We want to benefit the students. We don’t need a building, a park, a wing, but we do like helping the students.”

For Stasi, returning to Houghton and supporting Michigan Tech has become a family legacy. Her father, brother, and sister-in-law are alumni as are the couples’ children Ryan ’07 and Dana ’07.

“My dad always talked about this place with such fondness,” Stasi says. “There is something about this place that we fell in love with. It’s a family thing for us.”

Besides the brew pub, the Grays own and operate a 25,000-square-foot wholesale brewery located in South Range, Michigan. KBC beers are sold across Michigan, northern Wisconsin, and eastern Minnesota.

Dick and Stasi say they want to support Michigan Tech and encourage others to do the same.

“You have to have the sense that you can make a difference in the future of someone,” Dick says. “You care about the university for what it’s done for you and you want it to succeed in the future and you want students to reap the benefits that you did.”

Inventor. Investor. Donor. Legacy Creator.

dick_liz_henesRichard “Dick” Henes made transformational contributions to help create the future for students and faculty at Michigan
Technological University.

He and his wife, Elizabeth, invested their resources to help the world, something the couple did for many years. “What we are doing is small compared to what Michigan Tech can do for the world,” Henes said when donating to the University.

On January 30, 2017, Dick Henes passed away surrounded by his family. He was 89 years old. His wife, Liz, passed away June 4, 2013. The couple were married for 66 years and lived in Arizona. The couple have three children, four grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren.

Their legacy continues at Michigan Tech.

“Dick and Liz were simply amazing people,” says Michigan Tech President Glenn Mroz. “They accomplished much in business and in their personal lives. Gail and I were honored to know them as both mentors and friends. Michigan Tech students will benefit for decades to come as Dick always remembered his U.P. and Michigan Tech roots.”

Through their generosity, Dick and Liz donated $2 million to the Department of Mechanical Engineeering-Engineering Mechanics. Department Chair Bill Predebon says their gifts through the years have been used to attract and retain outstanding faculty with endowed professorships, to recruit top students with endowed scholarships, and to support faculty and student professional development.

Most recently, he says some of the funds were used to recruit an international recognized leader in wave energy conversion and to provide him with a Henes endowed professorship at Michigan Tech.

Predebon says he and his family visited the Heneses many times. “Over time Dick became for me more than a supporter, he had become a very dear friend and advisor. It is hard to find a more generous donor and long-time supporter of ME-EM and Michigan Tech.”

The couple also supported Michigan Tech with a $2 million gift to establish the Elizabeth and Richard Henes Center for Quantum Phenomena.

Jacek Borysow is physics professor at Michigan Tech and director of the Center, which provides an interdisciplinary opportunity for scientists to foster new research ideas in quantum science from particle astrophysics to material science.

Borysow recalls his visit with the Heneses 11 years ago to talk about the connection between quantum physics and medicine. The discussion led to the creation of the Center and improved research facilities that allows faculty to compete for new research grants. Borysow says he is pursuing a patent to use a small laser chip to monitor blood sugar levels by breath analysis. This would be used for people who suffer from diabetes.

“None of these experiments would have seen daylight without the Heneses,” Borysow says. “Their gift changed our physics laboratories and made things start to happen. This will always be remembered.”

The Heneses generosity also included $1 million to endow the Richard and Elizabeth Henes Professorship in Mathematical Sciences. The couple established the Henes Endowed Scholarship for students in mechanical, computer, electrical, and chemical engineering; and the Henes Chair in the Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics.

When the couple created the professorship in Mathematical Sciences, Dick said he credited Michigan Tech with stimulating his interest in mechanical engineering and his determination to excel at whatever he did. He continued that interest in mathematics as well and said he and his wife were committed to helping the University hire and keep top-notch faculty and prepare the next generation to compete in a demanding technological world.

Heneses giving to Michigan Tech started with a $2 gift to the Michigan Tech Annual Fund in December 1956, says Eric Halonen, assistant vice president of advancement, who first met with Dick and Liz in 2000.

“Dick had strong passions in many different areas and those led him to make a significant difference,” he said. “While Dick and Liz’s leadership was quiet and modest, their support to the University was strategic and transformational.”

Henes graduated from Michigan Tech in 1948 with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering, followed by a law degree from the University of Michigan. He worked as an engineer and lawyer, moving to Arizona in 1958.

He founded the Henes Manufacturing Company, Henes Products, and Henes Stamping and became a successful real estate investor in Phoenix, Arizona.

Henes’ companies made electronic instruments, semiconductor parts, aircraft components, exercise equipment, a gas generator, and a cover for pickup truck beds.

In 2015, Dick Henes received the Melvin Calvin Medal of Distinction. He also received the Michigan Tech Alumni Association’s highest honor, the Distinguished Alumni Award. He and Elizabeth also were members of Michigan Tech’s Douglass Houghton Society for their lifetime giving and the McNair Society for estate gift commitments. Dick was a member of the ME-EM Academy, the Michigan Tech Fund’s Campaign Committee, and Michigan Tech’s Generations of Discovery Campaign Committee.


Join the #GivingTuesday Celebration on Campus this Week

What is #GivingTuesday? We have a day for giving thanks (Thanksgiving). We have two for getting deals (Black Friday and Cyber Monday). Now, we have #GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to giving back.

Today charities, families, businesses, community centers and students around the world come together for one common purpose: to celebrate generosity and to give.

The Michigan Tech Annual Fund and the Student Philanthropy Council invite all to join them in celebrating #GivingTuesday this week (Nov. 29 – Dec. 3) by participating in the third annual Pennies for Change initiative on campus.

Anyone making a purchase at any on-campus merchant location (Campus Store, MUB food court, Library Café, etc.) is asked to consider “rounding up” to the next dollar with the proceeds designated to the Michigan Tech Annual Fund scholarship initiative.

Last year 1,564 transactions brought in more than $700 for scholarship support. It adds up. Your change can help change a student’s life.

For more information, contact Jenn Biekkola in Michigan Tech’s Annual Giving office.

Because of Ron

Students who have received scholarships funded by Ron Pasquinelli.This retired civil engineer is still building—for the future.

“Seven graduated. All have jobs. Two are going right into PhD studies. One into a master’s.” Bill Roberts, associate vice president for advancement and alumni engagement, reels off the latest student progress report to Ronald J. Pasquinelli ’59.

Continue reading

Walking Down the Same Halls: Lina Taskovich

Written by The Graduate School at Michigan Tech

Filling out financial aid paperwork before the first year of college can be stressful. Thankfully, a number of aid options are available to most students, including grants and scholarships. This support is made possible through the generosity and foresight of a great number of donors.

For students in graduate school, the options are much fewer. Last year, around 87 percent of master’s students at Michigan Tech were self- funded without University financial aid, mirroring nearly identical numbers seen around the country. While loans are available to help cover expenses, a helping hand is most welcome for those in advanced study.

Lina Taskovich, a 1952 Tech graduate, established the Natale and Maria Luisa Tormen Endowed Scholarship to benefit students from Ecuador or Italy, the two nations making up her heritage. Without a significant student population hailing from either Ecuador or Italy in the undergraduate ranks, financial aid staff and the Graduate School were informed by John Gierke of the Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences about a graduate student who would benefit greatly from Lina’s generosity.

Teresa Munoz is pursuing an advanced degree in geological sciences, hails from Ecuador, and happens to have attended the exact same high school as Lina. “I used to work at the Public Metropolitan Enterprise of Water Supply and Sanitation of Quito (EPMAPS),” she says, “which is interested in proper management of water resources over the basins that are used for water supplies.”

Teresa was awarded the Tormen Scholarship, enabling her to focus on her research. “My topic is on the contributions of glacier meltwater to recharging groundwater systems in the headwaters of Ecuador’s Pita River Watershed,” she explains. “Most of my work uses geochemistry to quantify the contributions of melting glaciers on Cotopaxi to the river ows and groundwater supplies.”

Lina’s gift isn’t only benefiting Teresa, but is also helping contribute to the body of knowledge in geological sciences and the scientific understanding of the hydrological processes in Ecuador. “After I graduate, I will go back to my country and work for EPMAPS and contribute to their objectives for more sustainable management of water resources,” says Teresa. “I am very grateful to have received the Natale and Maria Tormen Endowed Scholarship and Lina’s generosity means so much to me.”

The two had the chance to meet last December in California, one generation of Tech researcher benefiting from another. Asked why she endowed this scholarship, Lina said it was to help others get “the same excellent education I had.” Taskovich graduated in 1952 with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, the only female graduate in the discipline. She came to Tech intending to stay a year; she stayed the course and, in fact, encouraged two brothers and friends to attend, too.

Lina remains grateful that her parents encouraged her to enter science; she has named her endowed scholarship after them— Natale and Maria Luisa Tormen—and their encouragement those decades ago is making more research, more scholarship possible in 2015.

Would you like to make that kind of difference? The Graduate School’s growth has doubled in the last five years and the University’s goal is to double that again—even with the self-funding model. There are many ways to give, and your generosity continues groundbreaking research, innovative ideas, and discoveries to make a difference in the lives of all of us.

Scholarships Honor Alumna, Provide Opportunity for Women in Business

Born in the small Upper Peninsula community of Wallace, few might have predicted Joyce Caylor Lyth’s success as a business pioneer. She is remembered for her commitment to mentoring others and her steadfast ethical values. Today, recipients of the Joyce Caylor Lyth Memorial Endowed Scholarship are a lot like Joyce was: first-generation female college students and Upper Peninsula natives studying accounting.

Joyce moved to Houghton in 1968 to study accounting at Michigan Tech, where she met her husband and 1973 Tech alumnus David Lyth. After graduation, David went on to earn his master’s from Western Michigan and a PhD from Michigan State, pursuing an education-centered career that focused on student success.

Joyce found her calling in accounting and entrepreneurial endeavors. She served as chief accountant at Stryker, controller of two firms, and
ran her own business.

The impact of their Michigan Tech educations inspired the Lyths to designate a large portion of their estate to their alma mater. Joyce’s diagnosis of brain cancer in 2009 provided a sense of urgency to finalize their giving plans. With David by her side, Joyce fought valiantly for five years before her battle ended in March 2014. Today, David makes scholarship gifts in her memory until the endowment is fully funded through their bequest.

Former SBE dean Gene Klippel partnered with David to create more opportunities for women at Michigan Tech through scholarship growth. The result is the Pioneering Women in Business program. It offers mentoring to women by successful SBE alumnae, along with financial support. David and the School provided initial funding for a Pioneering Women in Business Annual Scholarship. Anyone is welcome to contribute—and crowdfunding may soon become an option.

The Joyce Caylor Lyth Memorial Endowed Scholarship is the first named fund under this umbrella, included as a model for other donors who want to honor a loved one for excellence in business while supporting future businesswomen.

David returned to campus in the fall of 2015. He met with six future pioneering women in business over lunch. “It’s almost as though the scholarship recipients are our daughters. It’s like growing our own family.”

David hopes the new fund engages more donors—including alumni—and reaches more students. “I had a chance to meet one of the scholarship recipients on her graduation day. She thanked me and said, ‘It made a huge difference.’”

Huskies Take the Leap

Since 2016 is a Leap Year with 29 days in the month of February, the Michigan Tech Annual Fund has launched an initiative that capitalizes on this once-every-four-year occurrence.

All alumni of the past twenty-nine years (classes 1987 to 2015) are invited to participate in the first-ever Leap Year Challenge by making a gift during the month of February.

These gifts can be any amount and designated to any University department, program or area.

The Leap Year Challenge is also a great way for qualifying employees to participate in the annual Campus Campaign. If you’re an alum from 1987-2015 and currently employed at Michigan Tech, a gift made this month will benefit both annual giving initiatives.

The Leap Year Challenge goal is to obtain 841 (29 x 29) gifts during the twenty-nine day period.  If the goal is achieved, an alumni donor has committed $29,000 to the Annual Fund this year.

So, whether you’ve made a gift this year or not, please consider a contribution during the month of February and take the leap for Huskies!

Pennies for Change Initiative

What is #GivingTuesday? We have a day for giving thanks (Thanksgiving). We have two for getting deals (Black Friday and Cyber Monday). Now, we have #GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to giving back.

Tomorrow, charities, families businesses, community centers and students around the world will come together for a common purpose: to celebrate generosity and to give.

On campus, the Michigan Tech Annual Fund and the Student Philanthropy Council, invite all to join them in celebrating #GivingTuesday this week by participating in their second annual Pennies for Change initiative.

Anyone making a purchase at any on-campus merchant location (Campus Store, MUB food court, Library Café, etc.) is asked to consider “rounding up” to the next dollar with the proceeds being designated to the Michigan Tech Annual Fund scholarship initiative.

Last year 672 transactions brought in more than $900 for scholarship support. Your change can help change a student’s life. For more information, contact Paula Nutini in the Annual Giving Office at

We Are Michigan Tech!

The annual Campus Campaign got underway recently with employee envelopes being delivered through campus mail. Michigan Tech’s Annual Giving office asks the campus community to be sure to check their mailboxes for the communication simply titled “I am Michigan Tech.”

Campus Campaign continues to be an opportunity for Michigan Tech faculty and staff to provide their personal support for any department, program, activity or initiative at the University. The most important aspects of Campus Campaign have remained the same throughout the years: contribute at the level that works best for you, direct your gift to the area/fund that means the most to you, and choose the giving option that appeals to you most – payroll deduction, credit/debit card or check. It’s up to you.

Support of the Campus Campaign is a way for employees to put their seal of approval on the great work taking place at our University and the great educational experience our students are continuing to receive. Plus, it demonstrates to others that those closest to the University believe in its current mission and vision.

If you have any questions regarding Campus Campaign, contact Paula Nutini, director of Annual Giving, at or 7-3609.