Author: Morgan Laajala

Remembering Professor, Dean, and Provost Max Seel

Max Seel, a professor emeritus of the physics department at Michigan Technological University, died on September 14, 2022, surrounded by his loving family after a brief illness.

He was born on October 12, 1949, in Koesching, Germany, son of Andreas and Walburga Seel.

Max Seel

After receiving a Master’s Degree in Physics from the Technical University of Munich, Germany, and a PhD from the University of Erlangen-Nuernberg in Germany, he worked as a postdoctoral fellow with IBM Research in San Jose, California, and then as privatdozent at the University of Erlangen-Nuernberg. Seel joined the Michigan Tech faculty as an associate professor of physics in 1986. He served as interim head of the Department of Computer Science in 1988 and was promoted to full professor of physics in 1989. In January 1990, he was named interim dean, and from 1991 to 2008 he was the dean of the College of Sciences and Arts. Seel was appointed interim provost in 2009 and provost and vice president of academic affairs in 2010. He returned to Physics in 2015 and retired in 2016.

Seel was a member of the American Physical Society, Sigma Pi Sigma, and Sigma Xi. He is the author of ninety publications and has been an invited speaker at universities, conferences, and industry laboratories in the US and Europe. His research areas were computational solid-state Physics and Quantum Chemistry.

For thirty years, he went with his boat Bavaria to Isle Royale. He played cello with the Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra, read many books, worked with digital photography, and from time to time did oil and acrylic paintings. In his retirement, he also rediscovered building and flying remote-controlled airplanes.

Preceding him in death are his parents and brother Gerhard Seel. He is survived by his wife Mary Ann Seel, his daughter Natalie (Jeremy) Lankford of Houston, TX, and Son Max (Elena) Seel of Guilford, CT, who are his children with his first wife Ingrid, grandchildren Kai, Max, and Astrid, stepson Cole Berryman of Appleton, WI, brother Andreas Seel, and four nephews Sebastian, Florentin, Benedikt, and Jonathan Seel in Germany, brother-in-law and sister-in-law Dave and Kathy Manderfield and nephews Adam, Jared, and David Manderfield and niece Megan Manderfield.

Excellence Begets Excellence

By Rick Koubek, President

It’s always a delight to watch campus spring back into action as new students move in, faculty return, and classes resume. As I talk with our new students and meet with new faculty each year at this time, I am all the more cognizant of the excellence that this institution attracts and creates.

Rick Koubek
Rick Koubek, President

Over the past four years, Michigan Tech has pursued a path of excellence to become a premier national university positioned to lead the US in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Evidence suggests we are on the right track. The University has experienced unprecedented demand from prospective students, federal research agencies, employers, and the community at large.

In fall 2022, our incoming first-year student class is on track to be the second largest since 1984 and is on par for the most academically proficient on record (back to 1991) measured by high school GPA and SAT. And, thanks to the efforts of faculty researchers like Raymond Shaw, who received over $3.5 million in grants from the National Science Foundation and the US Department of Energy, the University’s research expenditures hit a historic high. Accomplishments like this punctuate the need for growth.

The Vision 2035 Campus Plan, which was completed in early 2022, ensures that Michigan Tech remains equipped for the academic and research demands of tomorrow. In April, the University broke ground on our new H-STEM Complex, which will support integrated educational and research programs in health-related technological innovations. Future capital projects include the Center for Convergence and Innovation, renovations to our academic spaces, and new on-campus residential housing, along with others.

But, Michigan Tech’s reach extends beyond teaching and research in the Keweenaw. In fall 2021, we met demand from our community partners by opening a satellite office in Traverse City. These efforts complement Michigan Tech’s existing partnerships with Northwestern Michigan College and collaborations with Traverse City’s K-12 educational system, to better meet the economic development needs of the region.

This is on top of employers’ growing demand for Michigan Tech graduates. Job placement rates six months post-graduation average 94 percent. Payscale reports midcareer earnings of $120,900 annually for Michigan Tech graduates. And hiring managers say many of their brightest engineers are from MTU.

Our graduates go on to become the world’s leading CEOs and business leaders. In 2021-22, our supporters graciously donated a near all-time high of $47.01 million—6.87 percent more than last year’s impressive total of $43.98 million and the second-largest fundraising year in MTU history. Their vote of confidence in our programs, students, and research supports our move into an era of growth for Michigan Tech.

As a result, our community and state will enjoy innovations that make life better through our Tech Forward research. Our campus community will enjoy the modern conveniences of updated facilities, classrooms, and technologies. Our students and faculty will reap the benefits of donor support through scholarships, professorships, endowed chairs, and other forms of philanthropy. And finally, we will all be part of a more inclusive and diverse community by growing our student and teaching populations.

The state of Michigan, our region, and our country should demand nothing less.

Thank you for your continued support of Michigan Tech.

Remember Lecturer Robert K. Snortland

Robert K. Snortland, 87, passed away Thursday, August 18, 2022, at Portage Pointe in Hancock, MI.

He was born a twin on April 6, 1935, in Sharon, ND, son of the late Olaus E. and Ethel (Kloster). He was raised in Sharon and then graduated from the University of North Dakota. He moved to California to begin his life-long passion for teaching. He also worked as a design draftsman in the Aerospace Industry in California.

Robert K. Snortland
Robert K. Snortland, Lecturer, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

In 1960, he was united in marriage to Edith Mellor. They moved to North Dakota, where Bob received his Master’s Degree from UND. He had an illustrious career as an educator, winning awards, chairing a national committee, and completing two sabbaticals. His career took him to Michigan Technological University as a lecturer, where he retired in 1997.

Bob was passionate about life, not letting a single moment pass him by. His zest overflowed to everyone he met, as he brought a smile to all. Bob led by example, modeling compassion, love, and tolerance to all. He enjoyed woodworking, leather crafting, vegetable gardening, games, pets, music/dancing, snowshoeing, and friends. Bob was a man of deep faith, teaching Sunday School and serving as grandparents (with Edith) at Fortune Lake Bible Camp. Throughout his life, Bob was a member of the Masons, Eastern Star, Sons of Norway, ASEE, and many other organizations.

Bob is survived by his wife: Edith; daughter: Karin (Donna) and son Karl; His grandsons: Chad (Haley), Eric, and twin, Richard.

Google Drive Changes for MTU Alumni Effective January 1, 2023

As a reminder, Google has made some changes regarding storage that will affect Michigan Tech Alumni. On January 1, 2023, Michigan Tech alumni will no longer have access to Google Drive and Google Photos. Starting January 1, 2023, any files stored in Drive or Photos under your @mtu.edu account will be marked for deletion.

This does not affect your @mtu.edu email address. Your email account will continue to work as it does today.

Between now and January 1, 2023, there are several options for moving your content, whether it’s by downloading or transferring to another Google account.

If you have any questions about these changes or need assistance, we can help. Contact IT at it-help@mtu.edu or call 906-487-1111.

Scholarship In Memory of Rachel Wussow

On May 27, 2021, Michigan Tech’s beloved Student Affairs colleague, mentor, and friend of so many, Rachel Wussow, passed away after spending over half her life fighting the effects of cancer. Rachel worked at Michigan Tech from 2006-2014 in housing and student activities. For all that knew Rachel, she was a bright light who loved the students she worked with and supervised.

Jen Julien from Houghton, MI, wrote on May 28, 2021
Rachel touched so many lives during her leadership roles at Michigan Tech. Many of us were influenced so heavily by her spunky personality, “get it done” attitude, and genuine care for student success. So many lives are better served by having been influenced by her.

A scholarship fund has been set up for students who best demonstrate their ability to participate in leadership development programs and community service, two areas of campus that Rachel cared deeply about. This is just one more way for the legacy of Rachel Wussow to continue to support the students she loved.

To make a gift to The Rachel Wussow Memorial Scholarship, please make a gift to fund 5619, or use the pre-populated giving form here.