Month: September 2023

Paying It Forward: Seel Gives Back Through Time & Talent

After retirement, Tom Seel is entering his next chapter through mentorship and meaningful connections.

Graduating from Michigan Tech in 1985 with a BS in Mechanical Engineering, Tom Seel spent 35 years dedicated to a successful career in the automotive industry. Seeking a way to share his expertise and prepare current students for the evolving worlds of industry and academia, he found the perfect avenue to fulfill this purpose through the Time & Talent (T&T) initiative at Michigan Tech.

Tom Seel
Tom Seel ’85

“My career was completely rewarding and absorbing. Upon retirement, I realized that I now had time and relevant knowledge,” Seel said. “From my perspective, that time and knowledge came with a responsibility to share. Tech started my career with a well-rounded pragmatic engineering education. Logically the place to share is where it started. The mission of the Time & Talent initiative was a perfect match.”

The impact of alumni involvement in higher education extends beyond the classroom, especially at Michigan Tech. T&T creates opportunities for alumni engagement by connecting talented Michigan Tech alumni to current students, faculty, and staff through guest lectures, presentations, and learning opportunities.

Efforts from T&T volunteers like Dan Green ‘83 and Jenny Johnson help unlock the potential of a program like Time & Talent. Leveraging alumni networks for student success, Johnson reconnected with Seel to discuss his interest—the timing couldn’t have been better.

“As an alumni, Time & Talent is about building relationships with students and professors. I can honestly say I gained new insights from the students with each guest lecture I gave,” Seel said. “Thank you is due to the professors who were willing to give up some of the valuable class time with students. It was clear to me that these professors understood the value of adding some industrial perspectives into the classroom. Tech is a special place and it is great to see and contribute to programs like Time & Talent.”

Seel’s sentiments continued to express appreciation for the faculty involved, including Ruth Archer, Laura Connolly, James DeClerck, Darrell L. Robinette, and Manish Srivastava, representing Michigan Tech’s Enterprise Program, College of Business, Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics, and Department of Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineering Technology.

For economics professor Laura Connolly, Seel’s wealth of experience afforded the ability to connect what students learn in the classroom to their future careers, emphasizing how cross-disciplinary knowledge enhanced his career success by understanding both business and engineering aspects. Connolly saw firsthand the potential of alumni-student programming.

The Time & Talent program has the potential to create a lasting impact on many students. The program not only directly connects alumni with current students, but it also illustrates to students the benefits of giving back as they progress in their careers.

Laura Connolly

In the words of Joseph Kodwo Awuni, a graduate student studying mechanical engineering, the Time & Talent initiative creates practical benefits for students seeking guidance and preparation for their future careers.

“It really helps, definitely. Now that we are going into the field, we need some form of experience and then some form of guidance. Alumni are already exposed to some of these things,” Awuni said. “So, when they come around we are able to listen to their experiences. We are taught about current trends in the industry and it helps and prepares us to also think for ourselves as young engineers who are now entering the field.”

After a distinguished career, the Time & Talent initiative at Michigan Tech allowed Tom Seel an opportunity to share decades of experience with students and faculty. Through guest lectures and volunteer connections, the program not only bridges the gap between academia and industry but also highlights the importance of giving back.

A Message from President Koubek

Last week heralded a new beginning for nearly 1600 students starting their academic journey at Michigan Tech. Here are a few facts about this year’s entering class:

  • Applications for undergraduate and graduate education were both at all time highs with over 22,000 undergraduate applications and over 33,000 graduate applications.
  • Michigan Tech enrolled a freshmen class on par with the last two years, making these last three classes the largest since the early 1980s.
  • Female enrollment continues to grow, positioned to be the largest number of women in Michigan Tech’s history. This also holds true for domestic ethnicity/racially underrepresented students.
  • New undergraduate students come from 35 states with the largest out of state class Michigan Tech has ever seen. Illinois is now our second largest out of state population after Wisconsin. This is followed by Minnesota and Texas.
  • Academic credentials of this class are aligned with the last two years making these three classes the most academically talented in institutional history (as measured by GPA).

It’s no surprise that our excellent academic programs are driving unprecedented interest from our students at a rate outpacing national trends. This is certainly boosted by the latest Wall Street Journal rankings, which named Michigan Tech 16th overall among U.S. public universities on the WSJ’s list of Best U.S. Colleges 2024.

As our student population grows, so does our campus infrastructure. The H-STEM Engineering and Health Technologies Complex is nearing completion. Renovated space will be used as classrooms and learning labs. The addition will house high-tech, flexible laboratory spaces, teaching labs, offices, and common areas that will meet current industry standards for safe operation and the training of students.

And, soon we will break ground on a new 512 bed residential building located on the east side of campus. This is in addition to several renovation projects underway including classroom and teaching lab renovations, new gym equipment in the Student Development Center, and elevator replacements. We are also delighted to announce the addition of Alumni Way, thanks to the generosity of one of our donors.

Our corporate partners have also embraced this growth, proven by the unprecedented 391 companies that are registered to participate in Michigan Tech’s career fair later this month, and another 18 companies on the waiting list.

As companies look to make excellent hires at Michigan Tech, I have the honor of working with two excellent individual student leaders worthy of an introduction. Mason Krause serves as the 2023-24 undergraduate student body president and Karlee Westrem was elected to serve as the graduate student body president. I met them both and am excited to support their efforts this year.

I am delighted to work with them and the many other faculty, staff, alumni and donors who share the same passion for Michigan Tech. It’s through our shared commitment that we are able to achieve such remarkable results. Thank you for your support of our fine institution.


Rick Koubek

Celebrating the Parade of Nations

Fall semester brings back many important traditions. On September 16, the 34th annual Parade of Nations and Multicultural Food Festival returns to Houghton. Since 1989, the local communities and campus groups have been celebrating the rich cultural diversity of the Keweenaw. The Parade of Nations is a cherished way to not only find common ground but also appreciate our differences. What is your favorite part of the celebration? Let us know in the comments or share a Parade of Nations memory!