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!


Turning the College Dream into a Reality—Barbara and Paul Horton

photo of Barbara and Paul Horton
Barbara and Paul Horton

Calumet native Barb (Herveat) Horton has always dreamed of helping children, especially children who can’t imagine a college education in their future.

She made her dream a reality by creating Lighthouse Learners, an active program for children in the Public Schools of Calumet, Laurium, and Keweenaw. Starting in middle school, the program will give children role models, mentors, and after-school and summer activities to motivate them to pursue a higher education. These activities include spiritual and character development and service projects. Full scholarships to Michigan Tech eliminate the financial hurdle standing between Lighthouse Learners and college.

To ensure the program’s longevity, Barb established a Michigan Tech endowment and provided for its base funding through her trust. Wanting to see Lighthouse Learners in action, she and her husband, Paul, an electrical engineering graduate of Michigan Tech, are funding the program annually and invite others to help support its growth and success.

“There are a lot of children who have the ability to go to college but don’t have the opportunity,” she says. “I want to give these kids the vision that they can do it.”

Horton lived out such a vision herself. She worked her way through college and enjoyed a successful career at D&N Savings Bank, culminating as senior vice president for operations. After leaving the bank, she started a consulting firm and was then hired by one of her client companies, which was later purchased by biomedical engineering giant Medtronic.

After retiring, she created the Lighthouse Learners™ Scholarship Program with help from Paul and the University’s development team.

“You can’t help but be impressed with what Michigan Tech is doing,” she says. “I chose Tech because of its programs and long history of graduates who do great things.”

Thanks to the Hortons’ endowment, far into the future there will be more Tech graduates doing great things they never imagined.


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 pjnutini@mtu.edu.


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 pjnutini@mtu.edu or 7-3609.


906 Callers

Tech Line callers

Who’s on the other end of those Michigan Tech phone calls? The answer may surprise you. (Hint: it’s not just about updating records and collecting money.)

Read more about the students who will tell you about what’s happening on campus, want to learn what you’ve been up to since you graduated, and can help you help Michigan Tech.


Transforming the Student Learning Experience—William Jackson

photo of William Jackson
William Jackson
Paradise Valley, Arizona
Eagle Harbor, Michigan

Gift Designation
Endowed Professorship
University-wide

Type of Gift
Cash Gifts

The generosity of William G. Jackson has made it possible for Michigan Tech to transform the learning experience for students across campus. His recent outright gift of $1 million will fund the William G. Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning. The center will bring together a full suite of technological tools to upgrade teaching, learning, learning assessment, and student assessment of teaching.

Plans include $435,000 for classroom technologies that will allow faculty to easily bring more content into the classroom and record classes for later student review. A secure testing center for standardized tests will also be installed at a cost of $170,000. An additional $395,000 will be devoted to meeting faculty needs.

The founder and president of CableAmerica, Bill has a long-standing affinity with Michigan Tech, which is evident in the guidance, resources, and support he has extended to the University over the years. He and his late wife, Gloria, established the William and Gloria Jackson Endowed Professorship in 2007, as well as an endowed scholarship in 1999.

A native of Laurium, Michigan, Bill graduated from Michigan Tech in 1958 with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering. He is a member of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering’s Academy and has received the Board of Trustees Silver Medal and Michigan Tech’s Distinguished Alumni Award.

For more information on the wide range of options to support Michigan Tech, contact the Office of Gift Planning.


Updating Tech’s Athletic Facilities—John and Ruanne Opie

John and Ruanne Opie
John and Ruanne Opie
Weston, Connecticut

Gift Designation
Student Ice Arena

Type of Gift
Cash Gifts/Pledge

John and Ruanne Opie have demonstrated their commitment to Michigan Tech’s facilities and academics time and time again through their generous gifts.

Most recently, the Opies made a significant contribution toward the purchase of a $615,000 video scoreboard for the John J. MacInnes Student Ice Arena. The scoreboard offers Huskies fans an enhanced viewing experience with game replays, highlights, and information displays.

“Ruanne and I are pleased to join with other alumni and supporters of the hockey program by matching their donations to the project,” said John, a member of the Michigan Tech Sports Hall of Fame. “The video scoreboard will be an important addition to the arena.”

John graduated from Michigan Tech with a bachelor’s degree in Metallurgical Engineering in 1961. He delivered Tech’s commencement address in 1987 and again in 2001, receiving Honorary Doctorates in Engineering and Business. He spent most of his career with General Electric, retiring in 2000 as vice chairman/executive director.

The Opies previously gave $1 million for the construction of 10 skybox suites in the John J. MacInnes Student Ice Arena. Along with supporting Michigan Tech’s athletic programs, they have funded a 54,000-square-foot addition to the J. R. Van Pelt and John and Ruanne Opie Library and established an endowment to support the Department of Materials Science and Engineering.

For more information on the wide range of options to support Michigan Tech, contact the Office of Gift Planning.


Advancing Sustainability through Endowed Chairs—Richard and Bonnie Robbins

Photo of Richard and Bonnie Robbins
Richard and Bonnie Robbins
Seattle, Washington

Gift Designation
Endowed Chairs
Sustainability

Type of Gift
Charitable Remainder Trust
Appreciated Securities

Richard and Bonnie Robbins created the Robbins Chairs of Sustainability, which include a Chair in Sustainable Manufacturing and Design, a Chair in Sustainable Use of Materials, and a Chair in Sustainable Management of the Environment.

A total of $6 million has been committed through their charitable remainder trust that will ultimately come to Michigan Tech to fund the primary endowment for the chairs. In the interim, they are supporting the three chairs with a yearly $60,000 payment to be provided through their existing $700,000 Robbins Fund at the Michigan Tech Fund.

Richard graduated from Michigan Tech in 1956 with a BS in Mechanical Engineering. In 1958, he joined the Robbins Company and assumed leadership of the firm when his father died three months later. The company’s string of records in tunnel-boring technology includes the boring of the “chunnel,” the three huge tunnels under the English Channel.

Establishing the Robbins Chairs in Sustainability was a natural fit, Richard said. “My wife and I both consider ourselves environmentalists, and we also support sustainability.”

For more information on the wide range of options to support Michigan Tech, contact the Office of Gift Planning.


Supporting Mechanical Engineering Students—Rudolph and Judy Shunta

photo of Rudolph and Judy Shunta
Rudolph and Judy Shunta
Muskegon, Michigan

Gift Designation
Endowed scholarships
for ME-EM students
Mechanical Engineering

Type of Gift
Appreciated Securities

“Normally, Judy and I prefer to keep our charitable activities, if not anonymous, certainly low key,” says Rudy Shunta. “We like to help out where we can, but the magnitude of our donations certainly doesn’t put us at the philanthropist level.” Nevertheless, the Shuntas agreed to “go public” to encourage others. “We wanted to share our belief that it is everyone’s responsibility to pass along their good fortune to those who follow them,” he says.

Rudy paid his way through Michigan Tech in a multitude of ways. His parents helped, his uncle arranged for a summer job, and he received several minor scholarships. “I also had a fellowship as well as a teaching assistantship and a counselor assignment in Wadsworth Hall,” he says.

With this help, Rudy earned a BS in Mechanical Engineering in 1962, followed by an MS in Engineering Mechanics a year later. Those degrees contributed to a successful career at General Motors and later at Dana Corporation’s Perfect Circle Sealed Power Division, where he was vice president/general manager.

After Rudy retired, he and his wife began donating appreciated securities to fund the Rudy and Judy Shunta Endowed Scholarship, which supports undergraduate mechanical engineering students.

“I’ve always been interested in investing, and over the years, I’ve bought stock that has appreciated quite a bit,” Rudy says. “By giving it to Michigan Tech, you don’t have to pay capital gains, and the University receives the full value.

“We are hoping that those who benefit from this scholarship will someday feel the responsibility to do the same as we have done. Good fortune is only a loan. Pass it on.”

For more information on the wide range of options to support Michigan Tech, contact the Office of Gift Planning.


Promoting Student Success with a Bequest—Waino Wahtera

Photo of Waino Wahtera
Waino Wahtera
Marquette, Michigan

Gift Designation
Waino Wahtera Center for Student Success

Type of Gift
Will Bequest

A generous bequest of approximately $875,000 from the estate of Waino Wahtera is funding the new Wahtera Center for Student Success at Michigan Tech.

Waino earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Michigan Tech in 1942. His degree contributed to a successful career at Eastman Kodak Company in Rochester, New York, from which he retired in 1977 as senior air pollution control engineer. Waino passed away in June 2012 at the age of 93.

After discussions with Waino’s nephew, Michigan Tech decided to use his undesignated bequest to coordinate an array of initiatives to help students complete their degrees. His gift will help the University to provide additional funding to the learning centers, develop workshops and hire peer coaches, initiate an academic recovery program for suspended upper-level students, increase cooperation with academic advisors, and remodel the Office of the Dean of Students to bring staff together.

The concept behind the Wahtera Center for Student Success arose over a year ago, said Dean of Students Bonnie Gorman. “We wanted to bring the academic student support services together, so we could create better programs for our students. Then we received the bequest from the Wahtera estate, and that has enabled us to move more quickly. We are very grateful to the Wahtera family for making this possible.”

For more information on the wide range of options to support Michigan Tech, contact the Office of Gift Planning.