In 1976 four “almost” geophysicists decided that we should attend the SEG(Society of Exploration Geophysics) convention in Houston….but like most Tech Grads, we had NO money!
So the rest of them sent ME to Ray Smiths office to ask him to pay for our way.
He was a great negotiator….and he did end up giving all of us enough grant money to fly from Chicago to Houston and back and for us to share the cheapest hotel rooms we could get. Lloyal Bacon, our Geophysical Advisor, also went to the convention, and made sure all of us met all the oil companies that were there… to tell them that we were graduating as well as to make sure that we all were taken out to dinner every night….
We traveled to Chicago in the winter in the back of a non-heated camper pickup….I told Ray all of this a few years back at a Husky Hockey Game and thanked him as it launched all of our Oil Careers!! He remembered me and we had a good laugh. Ray Smith was very influential on my career success, which continues to this day!! Ray Smith…RIP…and thanks!
Patricia Henderson ‘77
His son, Martin, was a graduate of Michigan Tech and both he and I were on the faculty of the Univ. of Idaho. The image is when Ray and his wife visited us c. 1995. Shown in the photo are: left to right: Alison Sturgul (my wife), Ray’s granddaughter, his son Martin, Ray and his wife.
Prof John R Sturgul ’61
School of Civil, Environmental and Mining Engineering
The University of Adelaide, Australia
President Ray told us to ALWAYS put you name tag on your right shoulder so when meeting someone they have a clear view of your name when shaking hands!
This is from 1960, it has always stuck with me, and has served well through the years.
Thank you –
Dick Walrath ‘64
My wife’s parents, Holly and Gerald Caspary (Prof. of Civil Engineering and 1st Dean of MTU’s School of Technology) had a cottage on Half Moon Beach next to Ray and Bea Smith’s summer home. During many summers, Ray taught Holly, my wife Dona, and my daughter Cecily how to water ski. I fondly recall watching Ray ski with 5-yr old Cecily on his shoulders. We will miss his brilliance and humor.
Tom Gould (’63 & ’64)
I was a transfer student to Michigan Tech’s Metallurgical Engineering Dept. in 1962. My first day on campus I met with Dr. Ray Smith in his office. Needless to say I was a bit nervous meeting the department head expecting him to quiz me on my academic knowledge. Instead he was very welcoming and right away I knew I had made the right decision coming to Tech.
Years later at the 25th anniversary since graduating, I met Dr. Smith once again at a dinner. He immediately knew me and related a couple stories from my time at Tech. He was a wonderful instructor, mentor and human being. I’m sure he will be missed by friends and family.
Terry Hardie BS Eng’g ’64; MS Bus Admin. ‘67
My wife and I were fortunate to attend Ray’s 100th birthday party. We had reacquainted with him a few years earlier here in Arizona and had kept in touch. I marveled at the array of books on display that he had authored on subjects far removed from his academic field. Ray was a brilliant man, and I was truly privileged to know him.
Jim Cote. BSEE 1962
Ray was a remarkable combination of using his creative side with his logical side. He approached me one day with a beautiful bust of an elderly lighthouse keeper & wondered if I could photograph it for him. It was a snap. It was so realistic, all I had to do was find the most appropriate lighting & angle, and there it was.
Sometime later, he gave me an impressive book of original essays and poems by him, including poetic comments with regard to the keeper – and on the cover of the book was my photograph! That gesture of thanks remains with me yet, and each time I leaf through the book again I’m impressed with the perceptive, sensitive person hidden within him.
Some time later, he decided he wanted to surprise his son who had a summer job working underground in one of the remaining mines still in operation. He picked me up around 6pm, said he’d just had breakfast with his son, said goodbye to him, then headed up to the mineshaft with a handful of us – me with my camera. We had the thrill of being dropped to the 27th stope into the strange world of strange noises and even stranger lighting. Ray found his son in busy occupation, tapped him on the shoulder, & when the fellow turned in shocked surprise, I luckily captured the moment – the surprised son and the chuckling father. Ray was like that, possessed an amazingly human touch in so much of what he did.
I learned that he also water-skied barefoot and was able to prove it one day at his place on Half Moon Bay. Like a trouper, he got behind a motorboat wearing skis, then at top speed let them fall off and took a series of what I’d consider death defying twists & turns for about 10 minutes before returning with that characteristic mix of smug satisfaction and pure nonchalance. I have photos to prove it.
Remembering Tech’s President Ray Smith–It was the middle sixties and the era of James Bond and his famous Aston Martin DB5. Tech gets a new president, Ray Smith, and he is driving an Aston Martin! That gave me an inspirational lift to keep keep pushing forward through the winter gloom to finish that Tech degree so I could aspire someday to get a car like that.
Al Stevens 1966
Dr. Smith was my graduate school advisor in 1963 and 64. He was the best professor and leader I have had the pleasure of knowing. He was a busy man transitioning from advisor and department head to Univ. President, but always had time to help me thru Grad school.
When I entered Tech in 1960, I attended a seminar hosted by Dr. Smith. He was recruiting for the Metallurgical Engineering school and I joined the program after hearing his discussion about what kind of career one might expect in that discipline.
He was right on target. I left Tech with a BS and MS in metallurgical Engineering and had a very successful career ending up in middle management for IBM.
I will always be thankful for his help and guidance and consider it an honor to have known him.
Mel Gardner (63)
As a freshman in 1968, I remember the last line from President Smith’s welcoming speech. He apparently loved his car and he told us that, when we see him driving around campus, it is not an “Austin” Martin. It is an “Aston” Martin!
Jim Accetta ‘73
Dr Smith officiated at my graduation in 1979, Ray Meese gave me my diploma. I am so proud to have in the presence of these 2 men, MTU is one of the highlights of my life, Dr Smith was a HUGE influence on this University.
My deepest condolence to his family, he was a great influence at MTU and thank them for their support of the system.
RIP Dr Smith
Hilary Dussing ‘79
I was there from ’73 to ’76. He was a constant presence on the campus at that time. We always referred to him as Yukon Ray for some unknown reason. This was a time of building and positive image of the university, and a lot of it was attributed to his hard work and promotion at the time. A class act, and sorry to hear of his passing.
Mike Brandt ‘76, 356 WWH.
I am saddened to hear of the passing of former MTU President Raymond Smith, who was President when I was an undergraduate at MTU from 1975-1980. I remember he was always visible at various sporting events and other functions.
Linda M. Hensel (Wieczorek) Geol. Eng., Go To Consulting LLC
Ray was an icon in the business and educational arena. He was a strong believer in the principles of life while being a dynamic and natural leader. Ray was appointed to our Board of Directors while I was an officer of Lake Shore Inc during the 1980’s. He was always inquisitive and looking for solutions thereby actively and effectively participating in the Company’s success and development. A great person who was loved and respected by all those that knew him.
Bruce R. Clark 1969 BSME
When I was the manager of the combined computer center after we moved to the Ad building I was riding up in the elevator with Ray when we stopped at the first floor and a student got on with us. After the doors closed Ray turned to the student and said “so, why did you call this meeting”? The student turned ash white and looked like he was going to die. Ray had a great sense of humor and we often talked about aviation, both being pilots.
Ray Smith was my Metallurgical Engineering instructor the first year I spent at the Houghton Campus. I was impressed with his dog sledding stories at the university of Alaska as well as his teaching abilities, of course, but mostly, I was impressed with the fact that he knew me and every one else in our class and made it a point to know all 40 of us by the end of our first week. He eventually became my graduate school Advisor as well, which offered even more opportunities to learn from him. Yes, he was a great President, but that was after I graduated.
George M. Goodrich
Class of ’63 & ’65
I have a couple memories of Dr. Smith from my days at Tech. The first involves his installation ceremony, which was a grand affair held along with a banquet in the Wadsworth Hall dining hall. I was manager of the student employees at the time as was responsible for setting up the room and organizing the student staff involved with serving the food and clearing and washing the dishes. The event was on a Friday. The high muckity muck organizers wanted to have only one entre to keep it simple, and they wanted it to be roast beef. The complication was that at that time, Roman Catholics were not allowed to eat meat on Fridays. A call to the Bishop in Marquette resulted in a “dispensation” from the rule for those attending the ceremony, and it all went off without a hitch.
My other memory involved Dr. Smith’s approach to decision-making. In 1966-ish the Auditor General of Michigan recommended changing our method for allocating funds to student activities such as The Lode, the yearbook and many others. Dr. Smith could easily have just ordered the change. He didn’t. He recognized that the change might be controversial, and that broader input might result in more commitment to the change and a smoother implementation process. Thus, he created a blue-ribbon committee comprised of the Comptroller and other administrators, and student leaders of which I was one.
After much info gathering and discussions with affected parties, we agreed with the change, and we had a plan for implementing it that was broadly satisfactory.
While attending the Alumni Reunion in 2007 I was able to chat with Dr. Smith and told him how his approach was a lesson for me that I used many times over the years to good effect. He was very pleased to receive this feedback; and I was pleased to be able to tell him, for seldom do we get or make the opportunity to do so.
Don Ingersoll ‘67
Thanks for the opportunity to express my appreciation for the influence Dr. Dr. Smith had on my career.
Dr. Smith was one of the three most influential people in my life. As a 17 year old 1959 graduate of Republic High School, 5th in a class of 16, my older brother Kenny, a graduate of Tech, convinced me to apply for admission, and to study metallurgy. Dr. Smith had just become Head of the Department. During the Fall term of my sophomore year, I took my first metallurgy class, taught by Dr. Smith. It was a course in extractive metallurgy, which I didn’t find very interesting and wasn’t doing well. On an early exam, he wrote a note, “Come to my office, you should be doing better than this”. I went to his office not knowing what to expect. He said that based on my high school records, I should be doing better. It impressed me that he would even consider teaching a sophomore level course, let alone review high school records of sophomores. I told him the class wasn’t very interesting and if this is what metallurgy is all about, I would consider transferring into nuclear engineering. He said do me a favor, hang in there for two more terms, and if you still want to transfer, I’ll personally walk with you to the nuclear department and help you transfer. That inspired me to work much harder, and eventually earned an A grade, and then took my first class in physical metallurgy, and was hooked.
After graduation, he selected me as one of five students to stay on as a graduate student in the M.S. program (Tech had not yet offered a PhD). I eventually earned a PhD in Metallurgy at the University of Illinois, and after graduation I accepted a position as an Assistant Professor at Arizona State University, responsible for developing a Materials Science degree program. I met Dr. Smith several times in Arizona over the years and appreciate those memories.
I know my life would have taken a much different turn without his advice and his sincere interest in the success of his students.
Lester E. Hendrickson, Ph.D.
Fulton College of Engineering
Arizona State University
Two strong memories: Ray was straightforward. Of Michigan Technological University he said, we will be Michigan Tech. For me in Humanities, I understood him to say that the Humanities program would be one suited to Michigan Tech, unique in the state, recognizable in the nation. That was direction enough.
And a three or four day retreat, Department Heads, Deans, Ray and Dean Stebbins, at a lake in Canada. Work in the morning, fishing in late afternoon or after dark. He led us one afternoon by boat to a second lake, a sort of portage across sandbars and through reeds between the two lakes, too shallow for our boats to cross. Ray was the first one out of a boat into the water to drag a boat across a bar. The season was late fall, Canada, the water cold and colder.
Someone else will remember better than I do the story of Ray opening a state appropriations hearing by doing magic tricks — the only way to manage a proposed appropriation.
The last time I saw Ray was a Saturday morning, 1999 or 2000. I was in my office doing some work. Ray came in. He’d come over from Metallurgy. Seeing who was up to what. A rare treat. A remarkable man.
Innovators and entrepreneurs from across the country will gather at Michigan Tech to share their views about the Fourth Industrial Revolution and discuss how they think it will change our work, communities, organizations, and economy. They also will share how they best believe Michigan Tech can prepare graduates to lead and be successful in this era.
A panel discussion with these leaders will take place at 2 p.m. Tuesday, October 16 at the Rozsa Center. This is the fourth conversation in the Tech Forward series as innovators and entrepreneurs come to campus to share their insights on the disruptive forces driving the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
“Innovation is rapidly changing the world around us. As such, the university must be cognizant of the disruptive forces that will revolutionize how we educate students and then plan accordingly.” said Rick Koubek, President. “As we map out the future of Michigan Tech, we are honored to host such an esteemed panel of entrepreneurs, innovators and leaders to help inform and guide us through this process.”
The speakers are Michigan Tech alumni who are part of the 14 Floors program, which focuses on fostering entrepreneurism and high-tech innovation in the context of global culture and economy. Fourteen Floors is designed to be—an infinitely expandable structure analogous to the floors of a building, with something different happening on every floor, providing virtual suites of experiences for Huskies that connect them to innovators, entrepreneurs, mentors, and potential employers. The 14 Floors program also includes bi-annual visits to campus by alumni and week-long immersive student trips to places like Silicon Valley.
“Companies, people and communities all need dramatically different skills and capabilities to succeed in the 4.0 world,” says Jim Fish ’90, who is an innovation consultant, and technology evangelist with roles at Wayne State University, New Hammer LLC, Lemur, and Innovatrium. “The changes required are increasing and accelerating. The lifespan of a public company continues to shrink as 4.0 technology enables disruption at unprecedented speeds. At Michigan Tech, we’ve succeeded by changing; the Quincy Mine is an inspiring monument to our successful adaptation of the past–and we are now faced with another opportunity to embrace our best days that lie ahead.”
Dave House ’65, who worked at Intel for 23 years, retiring as a senior vice president and general manager, said the change we are seeing is happening globally, regionally, locally and personally.
“It will impact everyone,” he says. “Michigan, the UP, the Copper Country, Houghton, each family and each individual will feel this impact. There is no question that Michigan’s largest and most important industry—the automotive industry, is facing disruption—from Tesla, Google, Apple, Uber, etc. Those we see lead the change are rewarded; those who don’t are at serious risk. There is an opportunity for the city, county, and state in which we live. Michigan Tech needs to lead this change.”
David Shull ’15, an entrepreneur and Handshake university partnerships team lead, says technology will change everything from the nature of our work to how we move. “Self-driving cars will let students go to sleep in lower Michigan and wake up on Michigan Tech’s campus. The next generation of Tech students will never know the eight hour drive I loved to hate during my time there.”
“Automation, artificial intelligence, and virtual reality are poised to challenge every industry and job function,” Shull says. “Michigan Tech, with its student talent and history in preparing students for industry, is uniquely positioned to define the model of how higher education prepares students for the industrial revolution we’re already in.”
Innovator and Entrepreneur Speakers for October 16 event
- Jim Fish ’90 is an innovation consultant, and technology evangelist with roles at Wayne State Univ, New Hammer LLC, Lemur, and Innovatrium.
- Paul Fulton ’84 is a visionary entrepreneur and CEO – currently leading Nwave, a smart-parking pioneer. Formerly with startups Zentri and Cloudsona, Fulton was also an executive who has worked at Cisco, HP, and 3Com.
- Dave House ’65 worked at Intel for 23 years, retiring as a senior vice president and general manager, before leading Bay Networks, Nortel, and Allegro – then eventually becoming the chairman of the board for Brocade Communications.
- Nicholas Lumsden ’02 is the vice president for product strategy and technology at Online Tech and focuses on hybrid cloud management products and services.
- Kanwal Rekhi ’69 has a passion to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship. He co-founded Inventus Capital Partners to build a leading Indo-US venture franchise.
- John Rockwell ’79 is a venture capitalist and consultant and has served as the leader of five technology companies. He is currently CEO of Accelergy Corporation.
- John Soyring ’76 ’06 worked for 36 years for IBM and was involved in business leadership for the company during that time. He currently is the owner of Sisukas Consulting LLC.
The 14 Floors Campus Visit is a mini-conference set of activities on Michigan Tech’s campus in the spring and fall semesters. The visit is comprised primarily of Michigan Tech alumni who have leadership positions in, and rich history with high-tech innovation and entrepreneurship. Currently led by Dave House ’65, the group spends nearly four days on campus helping lead discussions, mentor students and faculty, and participate in a variety of activities following 14 Floors’ two primary tracks; entrepreneurship and high-tech innovation. These activities include:
- campus and community networking events
- broad-topic discussions with centers and programs
- focused, topical lectures to the campus community
- entrepreneurial business plan pitch events
- one-on-one sessions with campus leadership
- undergraduate, capstone and enterprise project judging
• advisory board meetings
The fall visit takes place October 16 to 18. Michigan Tech will host more than a dozen innovators and entrepreneurs from California’s Bay Area and southeast Michigan. Notable activities during their stay will be a Tech Forward discussion at 2 p.m. Tuesday, October 16 in the Rozsa where some of the group will share their insights on the disruptive forces driving the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The group also will be key to the Idea Pitch Competition at 7 p.m. Wednesday, October 17 in M&M, Room U113. Students will have two minutes to pitch their favorite innovative and disruptive idea in an interactive community setting.
By Emily Riippa and Allison Neely | University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections
What parent wouldn’t be impressed with a Tech child’s newfound studiousness after yet another story of long hours spent at the Library? How often did a distant girlfriend call Wadsworth Hall or Douglass Houghton Hall in the 1970s, only to hear that her boyfriend was at the Library yet again? To graduates of other schools, it was a place one went for books. For Tech alums, it was a hot spot for good food and better brews. The Library Restaurant and Brew Pub holds a storied place in university lore and culture.
You might be surprised to learn that space that The Library now occupies has a long history as a place to dine. In November 1899, the adjacent Shelden-Dee Block first played host to a restaurant named “Board of Trade,” which largely catered to rail passengers at the nearby depot. The Board of Trade offered two private dining rooms and a spacious “Palm Garden Room.” Imagine Venetian marble, gold trimmings, green velvet, and rich red wainscoting–the works. With its reputation for opulence and a wine cellar that would please the most discriminating of sommeliers, it quickly became known as one of “the most exclusive eating establishments of the area.” Over time, however, the splendor of the Board of Trade faded.
The first iteration of the Library, soon to be beloved of Michigan Tech students, opened in 1967 under the ownership of Jon Davis. The little pub on Isle Royale Street in downtown Houghton began as a place to hang out and enjoy favorite beverages. The Daily Mining Gazette in 1972 went so far as to say that the Library boasted the largest selection of fresh cold draft beer in the Copper Country at that time. A Sunday pizza buffet also proved a smashing success. By 1978, Davis had added a spiral staircase of barnwood that led to an upstairs dining room with red carpeting and drapes that subtly hearkened back to the Board of Trade’s bold style. Custom stained glass windows added another elegant touch. At roofed tables and a circular bar in the upstairs room, dubbed “the Homonym,” diners enjoyed a wide range of dishes, including escargot, beef tartare, and Jon’s own famous chili.
The business evolved over the decades that followed but remained popular with the student body. In 1989, James (“Jim”) Cortwright, Linda Beeckman, and Jerry Mostek assumed ownership of the business; in 1995, they secured a loan to purchase new brewing equipment and transform the cozy bar into a thriving brew pub. On September 5, 1995, however, disaster struck. The operator of the Portage Lake Lift Bridge spotted smoke billowing from the Library shortly before 5am and quickly called the fire department. The fire, which is believed to have ignited in the kitchen area, quickly spread throughout the cherished building, collapsing ceilings and threatening the adjacent block. Through more than twelve hours of concerted effort, firefighters managed to spare nearby businesses and apartments from the worst of the fire, although smoke and water damage proved extensive. The Library, on the other hand, was a total loss.
In some places, this might have been the end, but this is the Copper Country, where sisu abounds. A little over two years later, the Library reopened, and it has remained as much a staple in the community as ever. The old brick walls and famous sign continue to greet patrons daily.
What memory does the Library bring back for you? What was the best item on the menu? Did your friends and family fall for the old “I’m at the Library” line?
By Emily Riippa | University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections
In almost any circumstances, a person would have serious second thoughts about getting in a boat made of cardboard. These aren’t just any circumstances, however, and these are no ordinary cardboard boats.
Those who may have missed this part of homecoming tradition should know that cardboard boat races–dare we call them regattas?–have been a part of Michigan Tech’s homecoming activities for well over a decade. The intrepid crafts seem to have first joined the Friday night fun in 2005, when students gathered at what is now Kestner Waterfront Park in Houghton for the big launch. A pep rally got Huskies fired up about getting wet before, in caulked and duct-taped cardboard splendor, teams of students took to the Portage Canal and hoped to stay afloat. Unfortunately, the record of which team took first place honors in this inaugural race does not seem to have been preserved.
By 2006, the cardboard boat race had been thoroughly embraced by the student body, and organizers had codified the rules for competition. An article in the Michigan Tech Lode that year explained that at least eight team members had to be in the boat for the entry to be legal. Judges awarded points on the basis of design qualities and speed in completing the race–or, in the event of “large variety of things that go entirely wrong,” portion of the course completed.
Over the years, cardboard boating at homecoming has seen some tweaks and the introduction of new elements. A 2007 race saw teams, in the words of the Lode, “man-power[ing] their way through a watery obstacle course.” Spectators that year witnessed a thrilling four-way tie as Sigma Tau Gamma, Healthy Living House, Midnight Express, and Shangri-La all secured the grand prize. The location of the cardboard boat races has also jumped around, from Houghton to Hancock and back to Houghton.
What’s remained constant? Husky spirit and ingenuity, for one. It isn’t every school that could manage to fashion cardboard and home supplies into a craft that actually floats, but Michigan Tech students do it year after year. The sheer audacity of the competition is another pillar: It takes a certain kind of guts to be willing to sail a cardboard boat on a lake not known for being warm and gentle. Last but not least of all, the fun never changes. As long as there’s cardboard to be had and Upper Peninsula water to launch it into, Huskies will be grabbing their friends and racing their way toward the finish line, sparking laughter and creating memories that will endure long after graduation day.
In September, 13 new members were inducted into the Council. They are:
- Jessica S. Chlopek ’06 BS Business Administration
- Kristina M. Fields ’96 BS Civil Engineering,’98 MS Civil Engineering;’06 PhD Civil Engineering
- Raine L. Gardner ’05 BS Civil Engineering
- Joan M. Heil ’83 BS Mechanical Engineering
- Caryn L. Heldt ’01 BS Chemical Engineering
- Mary A. Herrmann-Foley ’83 BS Geological Engineering
- Loree K. Kalliainen ’87 BS Biological Sciences
- Emily C. McDonald ’12 BS Environmental Engineering
- Brenda M. Moyer ’84 BS Mechanical Engineering
- Heidi A. Mueller ’83 BS Mechanical Engineering
- Danielle K. Rickert ’04 BS Materials Science and Engineering
- Jennifer J. Shute ’96 BS Mechanical Engineering
- Linda S. Vanasupa ’85 BS Metallurgical and Materials Engineering
From the Inbox
“I recently visited the 40-acre site near Gratiot Lake where a classmate and I viewed the area where we planted red pine seedlings with a planting machine in 1958. The seedlings we planted then were three logs high and measured about 10 inches diameter breast high.” -Larry Golin ’58 Forestry
“I’m starting a new job thanks to a connection with a fellow MTU alum who works there. Totally random connection too, she saw me wearing a Michigan Tech hoodie waiting for lunch at a food truck and said hi. She was working for another mining consulting firm at the time and we stayed in touch ever since. That is one of the best parts of my degree from Tech is the instant connection you have with other alums.” –Walt ’08
“Funny story: This weekend I was at a Ski Patrol meeting and during that meeting we did a bit of training. My training partner, from Minnesota, turned out to be, likely (since there were only two at the time and he looked familiar), my statistics prof from Tech!!! Such a small world. For alumni reading, it was Peter Wollan. I was at Tech from 88-92. I didn’t have the heart to tell him I hardly attended his class. It was part of my “Thematic” 9 credits. Not a clue what the other 6 credits were.” – Kaet ’92
Comments from a Facebook post about the passing of former Tech President Ray Smith
“Wonderful man and leader. Had the pleasure of getting to know him while I was at Tech from ’65 to ’69. RIP. – John D.
“Dr. Smith along with Prof. Joe Kirkish helped us get Tech’s first educational FM station on-the-air; WGGL-FM.” – Stan S.
“I was at Tech 1973-1977. I remember the administration building referred to as Fort Smith.” – Kenneth H.
“Have his autograph on my diploma.” – Ellie C.
“RIP Great Man, President Raymond L. Smith.” – Genny Z.
Comments from a Facebook post about 906 Day
“I graduated in 2014 and moved to the East Coast afterwards. I still keep my 906 phone number and I am proud of it. Reminds me of good old days back at Tech.” – Jasem B.
Comments from a post about the Tech Wives cookbook
“I met my husband at Tech… although while in school (late ’90s) we were all about the $0.99 Whopper Wednesday! I do use a B&B recipe variation to make my pickled eggs.” – Stacey K.
“I’m not sure when the Michigan Tech Wives Club ended. It was for wives of MTU students. I think early 80s.” – Cynthia H.
Comments from a Facebook post about relocating wolves to Isle Royale
“Though I fundamentally disagree with the decision, it will be interesting. The case for wolves in Yellowstone and ISRO are vastly different, and it feels to me like the park has gone out of its way to ensure an allure for visitors and continued research, for a “playing god” philosophy that is inherently in opposition to the core values of the NPS. Still, interesting!” – Darren T.
By Allison Neely | University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections
While the start of fall semester at Michigan Tech heralds the beginning of a new adventure for new and returning students, it also brings back many fond memories for our alumni. For some, it’s memories of moving into the dorms or buying textbooks; for others, it’s their first class on campus and meeting their advisors for the first. However, most would agree that it was the student activities outside the classroom that they remember the most. Whether it was their first Tech football game or homecoming activities, if you’ve been a student at Tech since the early 1950s, you remember the fun and excitement of K-Day.
K-Day, short for Keweenaw Day, has been a favorite annual tradition of Michigan Tech students since 1951. The first Keweenaw Day was established as a way to bring the campus community together. In response to a growing student body at the then Michigan College of Mining and Technology (MCMT), faculty member, Dr. Charles San Clemente, suggested to the Faculty Association in the spring of 1951 that the college consider a campus community-wide picnic to bring students, faculty, and staff together before the rush of mid semester.
The November 1951 edition of the MCMT Alumni News reported on the success of the first Keweenaw Day celebration held on October 9 held at the picturesque Fort Wilkins State Park. Over 1,000 members of the campus community and their guests attended the event, marking “the beginning of a fine tradition.” The sounding of the campus siren (sometimes referred to as the Engineer’s Whistle) at 11 a.m. marked the end of classes for the day and the beginning of Keweenaw Day festivities. Buses and vans shuttled people up the coast to take in the scenic vistas of the Keweenaw Peninsula. Upon arriving at Fort Wilkins, K-Day-goers were treated to a picnic lunch and a variety of activities, including games, sightseeing trips to the lakeshore and up Brockway Mountain, small game hunting, and fishing. A highlight of the day was the faculty-student baseball game, pictured here. While the game was all in fun, there are rumors that the students won. After the games and tours were ending, K-day culminated in a sing-along around the campfire.
In its 67 years a Tech tradition, K-Day has seen some changes, but at its core, the main themes of festivities, food, and friendship have remained the same. The event was moved to McLain’s State Park in 1976 to shorten the driving time from campus and reduce the road congestion that plagued the event in its early years. Picnicking and fun activities have always been central to K-Day, but additions over the years has kept K-Day a favorite among students. Inflatable games, live music, contests and informational booths; as well as demonstrations featuring medieval fighting, Bonzai bikes, and exploding gummy bears. The student organization fair has also been a great way for new students to learn about campus activities and organizations.
Generous financial and moral support from the College administration and the Student Organization helped to support the event in the early years before the Memorial Union Board took over responsibility in 1967 and Inter-Fraternity Council in 1976. Today, K-Day is sponsored by Fraternity & Sorority Life and Student Activities and still a much-beloved campus event.
As Michigan Tech welcomes a new class of Huskies to campus and another day of K-Day, take a trip down memory lane and share your own K-Day stories!
Here’s a few comments from Tech’s Alumni Network and Michigan Tech Parent Facebook groups
Friends and fellow MTU grads, BMS has a number of very good opportunities for staff and leadership positions. I have found BMS to be a positive, engaging company with a great mission. Is it time for you to consider a career in Syracuse, NY? I hope you do! BTW, before I joined, several people warned me about the amount of snow they get in Syracuse. I tried not to laugh…
Back to school time again…so I’d thought I would share this example of when you are a Freshman and walk into MEEM 4220 instead of ENG 1101 somehow.
Still remember that feeling of buying the special paper (isometric dot paper) for the ENG classes and feeling like I had finally made it (get to do “real” design stuff!!)
Assistance needed. I’m a 2016 Army ROTC grad stationed in Hawaii. I ran into a 2006 Airforce grad, and only got his first name, “Scott.” He paid for my breakfast and left. Would anyone know who this is?
From the Tech inbox
Moving into McNair (then named Co-ed Hall) in the fall of 1968, the east wing was only finished on the top two floors and the elevators weren’t working yet. My room was on the top floor so we had to schlep everything up the six flights of stairs. And, even though it was late September, it was warm so the heat in those stairwells was quite oppressive. -Kerry Irons ’72; ’73
There was something magical about Houghton and Dad’s years there that were absolutely transforming. Incidentally, Dad is being buried in his Michigan Tech sweatshirt! -From the daughter of Evans Foertmeyer, Class of 1945 on the death of her father.