Category: Alumni

Changes Coming to Google Drive for MTU Alumni

Due to a policy shift by Google, changes are coming that will affect Michigan Tech Alumni. Starting January 1, 2023, Michigan Tech alumni will no longer have access to Google Drive and Google Photos. On that date, any files stored in Drive or Photos under an alumni account will be marked for deletion.

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

This does not affect email addresses. Email accounts will continue to work as they do today.

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

Michigan Tech is ‘Michigan’s Flagship Technological University’

An Update from President Koubek

One of Michigan Tech’s special elements is our spirit of teamwork. This was particularly evident during the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout, the Michigan Tech community sacrificed to uphold the values and mission of our institution. And on April 30, we celebrated together when over 1,200 students received their degrees. Congratulations to the Class of 2022! They join an esteemed group of alumni from around the world. 

President Rick Koubek
President Rick Koubek

Also, thanks to the hard work of our faculty and staff, Michigan Tech emerged from the pandemic in a positive position, enabling us to press forward with several new initiatives supporting the excellence that resides in this great University. I outlined these themes at a recent campuswide leadership meeting and am pleased to share them now more broadly with our alumni, donors, and friends. 

First, we continue to advance the Tech Forward areas identified by our faculty and staff in 2018-19.

Second, this fall we will begin a faculty hiring initiative with a goal of employing 400 tenure-track and nontenure-track faculty by 2035, provided enrollment grows as well.

Third, with the new campus master plan completed, we will invest in our campus footprint through renovations, student housing, academic space, and student space.

Fourth, we are working to establish a larger and more diverse student body from across the country, with a goal of 10,000 students by 2035. Progress is being made thanks to the work of our faculty and staff.

Fifth, we will continue to vigorously promote Michigan Tech’s excellence on the national level.

And finally, this fall we will initiate a University fundraising campaign to provide support for scholarships, professorships, facilities, academic programs, and athletics.  

As these plans become reality, the world will benefit from the innovations springing from our Tech Forward initiatives. Our campus will boast contemporary facilities, classrooms, and technologies to promote learning and research. Our students and faculty will benefit from donor support through scholarships, professorships, endowed chairs, and other forms of philanthropy. And finally, we will all be part of a growing, more diverse community of students, staff, and faculty.  

Thank you again for your support of Michigan’s flagship technological university. I am excited to move forward into a future focused on excellence and growth for our University.

Chernosky’s Legacy in Sustainable Practices Lives On Through Award/Scholarship

Former Michigan Tech professor and advisor Frank Chernosky ‘55 was an early advocate for sustainability principles. His leadership and mentorship of students during his tenure starting the 1960s until his untimely death in 1971 had a great impact on many. 

Frank Chernosky
Frank Chernosky ’55

In memory of Chernosky, Mike ‘69 and Karen Gregory established the Frank Chernosky Award in Climate Leadership in 2021.

“When I was a student in the 60’s, the concept of sustainability was championed by Frank Chernosky and Duane Thayer,” said Gregory. “That was before the EPA existed. What better way to remember Frank and help solve the planet’s climate issues than to support a scholarship in his name to assist students studying and researching ways to achieve sustainability.”

Marc Levier ‘71 ‘77 joins Gregory underscoring the impact Chernosky had on his life.

“Frank Chernosky was the professor I admired most. He was the person I looked to for guidance as a student and as a young man who was finding his way in life,” said LeVier. “A field trip to nearby Empire and Republic iron ore mines in my first class with Frank opened my eyes to the mining industry, and I was hooked.”

LeVier also recalled Chernosky as a practitioner of his craft, working in the summer months doing test work for mining companies or in the field working on assigned projects. “Frank brought his students current knowledge and problem-solving skills for real issues. His lectures kept you engaged and wanting more.”

Chernosky’s widow Fay is happy to see Frank’s connection to Michigan Tech continue. “Frank was all about his alma mater. He worked diligently to provide his students with the best education possible to succeed in their profession of metallurgical engineering specializing in mineral processing. His industrial experiences provided him the knowledge to convey the skills he knew they would need.”

The first award will be granted for the 2022-23 academic year. Clare Fidler has been named the first recipient. “I’m honored and thrilled to have been chosen for the Frank Chernosky Award in Climate Leadership,” she said. “I feel I could make a positive impact on the world by focusing on a career in sustainability. Addressing climate issues involves not only environmental questions, but a human, social, and economic ones as well. I feel passionate about tackling problems in all of those aspects of life in order to ensure a sustainable world and future.

Clare Fidler

“I’m thankful especially for the professional development opportunities that this award will help guide me through. I feel that learning from experts in a real-world setting will aid my understanding of current strategies in addressing climate issues and help me start applying those tactics in my own career much faster.”

Fidler will not only receive $6,400 in scholarship assistance for the upcoming year, but she’ll also receive a professional development and applied work fund of $1,600.

For more details on how to support this scholarship or students like Clare, contact Bryant Weathers.

Four Generation Michigan Tech Legacy Family

“Ryan told me when he was five years old he was going to Michigan Tech,” said Jim Cote ‘62, Ryan’s grandfather. He was right.

Jim ’62, Ryan ’22, and Rob ’85 Cote.

Ryan Cote walked across the stage at Michigan Tech’s Spring Commencement on Saturday (April 30) having earned a Bachelor of Science in Scientific and Technical Communication with a minor in cybersecurity. In doing so, he added to the family legacy and became a fourth-generation Tech graduate. 

“Michigan Tech’s a place I’ve always been interested in,” said Ryan. “I came up for Summer Youth Programs, and fell in love with the campus and the atmosphere.”

Jim ‘62 and Ryan ‘22 graduated 60 years apart. The other members of the four generation legacy are Ryan’s father, Rob Cote ‘85 (Scientific and Technical Communication) and his great-grandfather Robert DeGhetto ‘49 (Mechanical Engineering).

As for his future, Ryan has a job lined up with a small tech firm in lower Michigan, where he will do technical writing and cybersecurity work.

Tell us about your family legacy at Michigan Tech! Comment below.

In Memoriam

January 1 – March 31, 2022

ClassFull NameDegrees
1947Duane W. WestBS Mechanical Engineering
1948Robert A. FrickeBS Electrical Engineering, ’48 BS Mechanical Engineering
1948Donald C. HampsonBS Chemical Engineering, MS Chemical Engineering
1949Richard A. DerbyBS Metallurgical Engineering
1949Mitchell S. SiepakBS Electrical Engineering
1950Paul J. GoodeBS Physics
1950James M. JabaraBS Civil Engineering
1950Mario D. ZadraBS Chemistry
1951Harry D. BennettsBS Civil Engineering
1951Allen J. BentleyBS Mechanical Engineering
1951Ernest W. KitznerBS Mechanical Engineering
1952Robert A. BorakBS Forestry
1952Donald C. ViolettaBS Metallurgical Engineering, MS Metallurgical Engineering
1954Barth R. SchlupBS Civil Engineering
1956Tai Y. LeeBS Mechanical Engineering, MS Mechanical Engineering
1957Christy T. HaugeBS Forestry
1958Glenn R. BrownBS Civil Engineering
1958Raymond J. SlatteryBS Business Administration
1958Gerald L. Vande HeiBS Forestry
1959Clifford E. FaucherBS Civil Engineering
1959Monte J. HandBS Chemical Engineering
1959Jack E. PiersonBS Civil Engineering
1960Roger G. GratesBS Applied Physics, BS Metallurgical Engineering
1960Raymond G. LatvalaBS Business Administration
1960William J. LubitzBS Electrical Engineering
1960Richard G. MeeseBS Chemical Engineering
1961Edmond P. FridayBS Civil Engineering
1962William T. Dodson P.E.BS Mechanical Engineering
1962Russell P. PaquetteBS Electrical Engineering
1962Donald C. TrimbleBS Mechanical Engineering
1963Rodger A. ArolaBS Civil Engineering, MS Engineering Mechanics
1963Robert G. CarlsonBS Mechanical Engineering
1963Barry C. DaveyBS Electrical Engineering
1963Alfred A. PorkkaBS Mechanical Engineering
1966Erwin T. SimiBS Biological Sciences
1967Douglas A. Grisham P.E.BS Civil Engineering, MS Civil Engineering
1967L. Howard RichardsBS Mechanical Engineering
1967Dilip K. Shaw P.E.MS Chemical Engineering
1968Frederick K. GeisslerBS Electrical Engineering
1968James C. LamerandBS Mathematics, MS Mathematics
1969Robert J. GainesBS Civil Engineering, MS Civil Engineering
1970Jimmy A. FinleyBS Geology
1972Frederick R. AndersonAAS Electrical Eng Tech (AAS)
1972Ralph W. KleinBS Chemistry
1972David F. SzykownyBS Forestry
1973Dr. James E. KitznerBS Biological Sciences
1973Curtis R. PaulsonAAS Forest Technology
1974Dr. Robert A. AyresPHD Metallurgical Engineering
1974Walter J. CaspersBS Civil Engineering, MS Civil Engineering
1974Daniel W. JunttilaBA Liberal Arts
1974Ronald W. PaynterBS Civil Engineering
1975Fred William R. FassBS Geology
1975Charles D. KramerBS Chemistry, MS Chemical Engineering
1978Daniel A. O’BrienBS Forestry
1979Warren R. BrownBS Chemical Engineering
1979Sheryl P. LepistoBS Biological Sciences
1979Paul J. McHoneBS Forestry
1979Dr. Darwin G. MoonBS Mechanical Engineering
1981Carol A. DeBackerBS Wood Science
1982Robert E. CassBS Mechanical Engineering
1984John J. GagnonAAS Civil Engineering Technology
1985James L. HollenbeckBS Geology
1988Dr. Douglas E. WilkenMS Physics, PHD Applied Physics
1989Jeffrey S. ArchBS Civil Engineering
1989Dr. M. Sean ClanceyMS Rhetoric & Tech Communication, PHD Rhetoric & Tech Communication
1991Thomas M. DemenyBS Electrical Engineering
1993Eric M. FredricksonBS Environmental Engineering, MS Operations Management
1993Heather C. SchultzBS Mechanical Engineering
1997Ryan T. AdragnaBS Mechanical Engineering
2003Frank A. WhitonBS Engineering
2009Mark D. MiljevichBS Civil Engineering
2011Breanna L. CronkBS Mechanical Engineering
2012James E. BrandtBS Accounting
2019Anthony J. RettigBS Mechanical Engineering

In Memoriam for October 1 – December 31, 2021

Michigan Tech Mourns Loss of Darwin Moon ’79

Michigan Tech’s Department of Advancement and Alumni Engagement is sad to announce the passing of Darwin Moon ‘79, a member of Michigan Tech’s Alumni Board of Directors. Darwin was engaged in numerous ways with Michigan Tech, serving not only on the Alumni Board but also as a member of the Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics (ME-EM) External Advisory Board.

Darwin and his wife, Margarita, also supported the research of Professor L. Brad King, the Richard and Elizabeth Henes Endowed Professor (Space Systems) in ME-EM.

“Darwin was a very special Alumni Board member whose passion for Michigan Tech could not be contained. He has left his Husky paw print on our hearts, as well as on the University” says Kristin Kolodge, President of the Alumni Board of Directors.

The full obituary for Darwin follows.

Darwin G. Moon was born to Leslie C. and Betty Lou Moon on May 28, 1957, in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  In his youth, Darwin was an active member of the Boy Scouts of America and earned the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest advancement rank in Scouting.

Darwin obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Michigan Technological University, a Master’s Degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Michigan, a Master’s Degree in Engineering, Applied Mechanics from California State University at Northridge, and a Doctoral of Philosophy Degree in Engineering Mechanics from Clemson University.  He was a member of Michigan Tech’s Alumni Board, the Recognition & Recruitment Committee and the ME-EM External Advisory Board.

Darwin started working at the Air Force Rocket Propulsion Laboratory at Edwards AFB, California in 1980. He went on to work at McDonnell Douglas in Southern California and The Boeing Company for 27 years, most recently in Huntsville, Alabama, where he was a project manager on the Space Launch System.

After a brief battle with pancreatic cancer, Darwin passed away on March 16, 2022.  He is survived by his wife of 37 years, Margarita; sister, Karen (Mark) Vylonis; niece, Megan (Sean) Vylonis-Nelson; two nephews, Derrek Vylonis and Corey Vylonis; and numerous cousins.  Darwin is predeceased by his parents.

Remembering Five Former Michigan Tech Professors/Instructors

Wilbur (Bill) Campbell — Biochemistry Professor 1981–2003

Bill (Dr Wilbur H) Campbell died unexpectedly at home early on January 30, 2022.  He was born in 1945 in Santa Ana, California, and earned his PhD in Biochemistry from UW Madison in (1972). A series of post-doctoral positions in different parts of the country led to a faculty appointment in the Department of Chemistry at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science & Technology. He met and married Ellen in Syracuse in 1981, and they moved to the Keweenaw in 1985 when he became the biochemistry professor at Michigan Tech. 

In 1993, the Campbells decided to try to bring the discoveries of Bill’s academic research out into the world with new products for testing water quality. NECi, in Lake Linden, was one of the first biotech companies in Michigan. NECi’s products for nitrate testing won USEPA method approval in 2017. They are made in Lake Linden and sold to customers worldwide.

Bill’s step-daughter Lisa Carne works on coral restoration in Belize.  His brother’s family are settled downstate, from Detroit to Ann Arbor.  Sister Jeanette Merki and family are in Kirkland, Washington.   

Bill loved trees, birds, wildlife, cats, bears, and peace.  The beauty of the area kept the Campbells here in the UP, despite the winters.  

M. Sean Clancey — Humanities Professor 1998–2019

M. Sean Clancey, 66, a resident of Calumet passed away on Monday February 21, 2022 at Aspirus Keweenaw Hospital in Laurium.

He was born on August 20, 1955 in Ishpeming to James and Barbara (Stakel) Clancey. When he arrived home, his two older brothers, ages 2 & 3 – having recently witnessed the birth of a litter of Boxer puppies – were unimpressed, asking “Where are the rest?”. He graduated from Ishpeming High School with the Class of 1973, having focused not only on the English language, but also delving into German and French. His great interest in languages culminated in a highly rewarding trip to Europe, where he was able to focus his attention on the nuances of regional dialects in London and Paris. He was also surprised to learn that a student his age could even enjoy an occasional sip of wine or ale. His earnest studies empowered him to perform exquisite Shakespearian orations and even pull off an unforgettable onstage impression of Joe Cocker while competing in an air guitar contest under the lights at the Champion Horse Pulling Grounds during Beer Fest. One former high school teacher recalls giving him the assignment to write an essay about an inanimate object, using its perspective and point of view. Sean chose Richard Nixon’s wastebasket as the subject of his report.

Following high school Sean attended St. Norbert University, and then moved on to receive his Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism from Marquette University. He next attended Michigan Technological University where he received his Masters and PhD in Rhetoric and Technical Communications. We believe he was the only MTU Masters candidate to ever illustrate a thesis point by juggling three balls during his defense.

Sean’s first job after Marquette was for the Marinette Eagle Herald newspaper, where he worked the Peshtigo beat. After obtaining his PhD, he became a Lecturer at Michigan Tech in 1998. He taught there until his retirement in 2019. He was a multi-year finalist in the Academy of Teaching Excellence and won the MTU Distinguished Teaching award in 2009.

Sean was known by the nicknames “Otto” and “Doc”. Otto came from his high school German class, and Doc came from his skills on the volleyball court. He was an accomplished volleyball player, playing in tournaments across the UP, and earning a DSV (Doctor of Surgical Volleyball) degree awarded by his contemporaries. Another of Sean’s hobbies was golf – encompassing the links, frisbee, and computer versions. He was devoted to the Green Bay Packers (purchasing share number 029474 in 1997) and attended many memorable games at Lambeau Field. Doc was fortunate to be at Marquette University when the Warriors won the national championship under legendary coach Al McGuire in 1977. The Michigan Wolverines also held a special spot in his heart, his Grandfather having been the Student Assistant to Fielding Yost in 1908.

For over a decade, his summer was highlighted by a trip to the Great Northern Bluegrass Festival at Mole Lake, Wisconsin. Nothing pleased the Doc more than peacefully relaxing to music in the Chequamegon Forest with friends. Coming on the heels of that “relaxation”, he always relished the annual August canoe camping trips in the Keweenaw at Bete Gris on Lake Superior (at arguably the world’s most outstanding campsite) with a close circle of friends. For over 25 years, he made that trek and kept close tabs on the veracity of pronouncements at the well-stocked bar. No B.S. ever went unchallenged with The Good Doctor on hand.

Sean was extremely generous with his time. He served on the Board of Trustees for the Copper Range Historical Society and regularly welcomed visitors to their Museum in South Range. He would never pass up the opportunity to deliver meals for the Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly, sacrificing many holidays with his family so that he could help make those days extra special for elderly residents of the Copper Country. In addition, he served as Faculty Advisor to the Delta Upsilon Fraternity at MTU, providing much appreciated guidance for many years.

Sean was a staunch Progressive and tireless crusader for worthy causes. His knock was heard at many a Keweenaw door. He carried signs, gathered signatures, and handed out countless pamphlets while always being well prepared to calmly explain his positions on those issues. He truly Felt the Bern!

Sean always enjoyed a large circle of friends, who treasured his quick wit and easy smile. He was happiest when surrounded by friends and engaged in conversation.

He is preceded in death by his parents, and his beloved dog Luke. He is survived by his brothers: Pat (Diane) Clancey of Green Bay, Wisconsin, Jay (former spouse Mary Windsand) Clancey of Lake Michigamme, Tom Clancey of Tampa, Florida, and special niece Brooke (Joe) Routhier of Ishpeming.

Robert A. Fricke ’48 — Professor 1979–87

Robert A. Fricke, 99, a resident of Hurontown and the Bluffs Senior Living Community in Houghton passed away Sunday, January 23, 2022, at the UP Health Systems Portage Hospital, in Hancock.

He was born on March 18, 1922, in Hurontown, MI, a son of the late August E. and Ethel M. (Martin) Fricke. Bob was raised in Hurontown, and was a graduate of Houghton High School with the class of 1939. He then attended Michigan Technological University before enlisting in the United States Army Air Force from 1946 to 1948. He then returned to Michigan Technological University, to receive his degrees in Mechanical and Electrical Engineering.

On January 6, 1951, he was united in marriage to the former Dorothea Tetzlaff. The couple moved to different parts of the country during Robert’s working career such as the Local Radar Base in Keweenaw County, Zeeland, MI as City Engineer, Milwaukee, WI and Los Angeles for eight years, while he worked for Rex Chainbelt, then in Cleveland, OH, while he worked for Master Builder and later Union Carbide, in Ashtabula OH. He returned to make his home in Hurontown, when he accepted a faculty position at Michigan Technological University, retiring in 1987.

Locally, Mr. Fricke was a member of Grace United Methodist Church of Houghton. Robert’s life of helping and giving began at an early age when he became an Eagle Scout and continued throughout his life. Locally he was active on many boards and committees with Portage Township, was a former Secretary for Rangers Post #6165 VFW of South Range, the Hancock Lions Club, where he helped begin the handicap ramp project and the Copper Country Kiwanis Club, as well as a former Boy Scout Leader. Mr. Fricke was a 33rd Degree Mason and an active member of Copper Country Lodge #135 F&AM. He was very proud to have received the Masonic Lou B. Winsor Award in 2001, from the Grand Lodge of Michigan.

Preceding him in death were his parents and his sister Olive Raduchel. Surviving are: wife Dorothea Fricke of the Bluffs Senior Living Community; children James Fricke of Hancock, Elva Brodnick of Cleveland, OH, Mary Bronson of Mayfield Heights, OH; grandson Lewis Bronson; and nephew William Raduchel.

Stephen G. Shetron — Forestry Professor 1966–96

Stephen George Shetron, 87, of Traverse City, Michigan, passed away on January 5, 2022 after a short illness.

Steve grew up in White Plains, NY. He was a lifelong learner, with degrees from Alfred State (NY), Michigan State, and U of M. He was a professor in Soils Science at Michigan Tech for 30 years, enjoying his teaching and research in mine tailing reclamation. He and his wife Ruth raised their daughters, Becky and Lynne, in Alberta and L’Anse, Michigan. Their family time was full of such experiences as maple sugaring, fishing, cross country skiing, camping and summer weekends at their cottage on Beaufort Lake. Later in his career, Steve and Ruth lived in Houghton.

Throughout his adult life he was active in the United Methodist church and even after moving away maintained a special interest in the L’Anse church. His church home in Traverse City was the First Reformed Church. He was also an active volunteer in retirement, spending time with the Tucson-Sonoran Desert Museum, Native Seeds/SEARCH, and Interlochen. He enjoyed traveling with family and friends, and later in life visited South America, Egypt, drove the Alaska Highway and took a month-long cruise to Antarctica. He was a snowbird in Arizona for many years and enjoyed taking Amtrak back and forth.

Steve is survived by his children Rebecca Nold and Lynne (John) Shetron-Rama, grandchildren Natalie and Andrew Nold, and Benjamin and Elaine Rama. Preceding him in death are his father and mother John Henry and Veeva C. (Sworts) Shetron, his older brother John Shetron Jr, and his wife of 43 years, Ruth (Strobel) Shetron.

Douglas E. Wilken ’88 ’93 — Physics Instructor/Lab Assistant 2016–22

Douglas E. Wilken, age 59 of Foley, died on January 28, 2022 at the St. Cloud Hospital. 

Doug was born on December 17, 1962 to Richard and Jackie (Liardon) Wilken in Princeton, Minnesota. He graduated from Jefferson High School in Alexandria before attending Bethel University and Michigan Technological University to earn a doctorate in physics. After years of working in the corporate world, Doug returned to Michigan Technological University as an instructor in the Physics Department.

When not commuting between states, Doug delighted in being a grandfather and spending time with his wife and children. He was a fellow deer hunter and fan of the Vikings, along with any team who beat the Packers. Doug was a gifted musician, playing piano for his family and friends and sharing his beautiful singing voice with the church choir. He loved to read and collected a large library of books, ranging from countless technical tomes to science fiction and fantasy novels. One of Doug’s greatest passions was teaching and sharing his knowledge with others as well as tinkering with electronics. 

Doug is survived by his wife Dona of 30 years; children Christopher Koshowany, Matthew Koshowany, Kateryna Koshowany, and Samantha (Mathew) Minerich; grandchildren Tatiana, Mathew, and Henry; father Richard Wilken; siblings Eric (Sue) Wilken, Sue (Jeff) Nelson, Dan (Vicky) Wilken, and Curtis (Deb) Wilken; eight nieces and nephews and many other relatives and friends. He is preceded in death by his mother, Jackie.

Calling All Mascots

Before Blizzard T. Husky became Michigan Tech’s official mascot in the late 1990s, there were several iterations of the Husky mascot.

What are your memories of Tech’s mascot? Tell us below!

Bill ’71 and Kathy ’71 Wassberg were the first students to put on a mascot suit. They came up with the idea to hold a reunion for all mascot students during Alumni Reunion on campus August 4-6, 2022.

Did you or someone you know put on the mascot suit for Michigan Tech? We’d love to connect with you. Email us at

2022 Alumni “Snow” Statue Results

Thanks to all the Michigan Tech alumni and friends who participated in our second annual contest. Congratulations to our winners!

Multi-Day Snow Statue

Multi-Day Snow Statue – Winner

Title: Freezy’s Skeeball
Participants: Max Dehtiar ’06
Story: Childhood memories of carnivals aren’t about what you got to see, but about the things you got to do! This year’s theme was perfect for an interactive statue that is a fully playable version of the most classic midway game of all – Skeeball! The perfect thing to beat cabin fever and the social distance blues. A fun front yard game for neighbors, friends, and classmates to come play and be kids, or for grown-ups to feel like one again. 

The skeeball game has three scoring zones, and an internal tunnel that returns the balls to the tray in front. The scoreboard detail documents the statue’s year. The game is hosted by an adorable carnival barker penguin named Freezy. With him cheering you on, no one can resist giving this game a try!

Multi-Day Snow Statue – 2nd Place

Title: Snowy Circus
Caption: Baby animals in training for the big top bring our snowy circus to life/Through the years, times may have changed, but the spirit of winter carnival has stayed the same. Baby animals join us so we can cheer, to help us ring in the next 100 years!
Participants: Laurie Stark (’08/current employee), Susan Mattila (’08), Ryan Ploetz (’08), Ashley Ploetz (’08)
Story: Come one, come all to our 100th Carnival! Watch as our baby tiger jumps through a ring of fire and our sweet baby bear finishes up her hula-hooping dance! As our baby circus animals finish up their greatest big top acts, we take a look back to the first Michigan Tech carnival. 

A glimpse into this first carnival would show us circus-style acts, people dressed up as circus animals, bands, and contests. Over the years, the themes have changed from circus to heroes to cartoons, and more, but the spirit of that first winter carnival is still alive today as we celebrate with snow statues, broomball, and comedians. As we ring in the next 100 years, the future possibilities are endless!

24-Hour Snow Statue

24-Hour Snow Statue – Winner

Title: Come One, Come All! Keep your Eye on the Ice Ball.
Caption: Step right up and enjoy the show!  You’ll forget all about your frozen fingers and toes as Patty the Snowbank Elephant deftly contact juggles her pyramid of ice spheres for your amusement.
Participants: Drew Vettel ’05 ’06, Maeda Vetta (4 years old), Ben Thompson ’09, Aspen Thompson (10 months old)
Story: We took a family vacation with friends to Bessemer, MI and stayed at an airbnb near the base of Big Powderhorn. The statue was built in the front yard (out of the plow paths) so everyone in the neighborhood could enjoy it. We harvested icicles from the roofline for tusks and froze clear ice spheres using balloons. Patty’s curved trunk dips into the snowbank before curving up to reveal the 1st ice sphere for her contact juggling routine. There is a snow bench facing Patty so we could take refreshment breaks and relax when needed. The statue was mostly built by Ben and Drew, but our daughters helped a bit and we had some playtime in the snow with them too (sledding, making snow angels, etc.). We spent some time skiing, snowshoeing, and relaxing with our families while introducing our children to the beauty of the UP and the variety of fun outdoor winter activities.

24-Hour Snow Statue – 2nd Place

Title: Minecraft-Go-Round
Caption: Rising from the frozen ground, Our very own Minecraft-Go-Round
Participants: Michelle BalkLudwig ’08, Adam BalkLudwig, Tim Pongratz, Ken Lewis, Jenny Lewis, Olivia Lewis
Story: The statue shows three Minecraft animals saddled and ready to ride in a merry-go-round. It is located in the BalkLudwig front yard in Spooner, Wisconsin. We knew right away that we wanted to do a merry-go round to allow for multiple design ideas within a cohesive overall plan, but were struggling a bit to figure out the animals. Then our resident creative planner Olivia (age 14), suggested rideable Minecraft animals. Thus the pig, horse, and llama were selected. The base is 8 feet in diameter. We used storage tubs to form the general shapes of the animals, and then carved and added as needed. Olivia headed up the pig design, Tim handled the horse, and Adam carved the llama.

Other Material “Snow” Statue

Other Material “Snow” Statue – Winner

Title: 100 years of circus crowds enjoyed by one and all at frigid carnival
Participants: Jim Cesarz ’94, Diane Cesarz ’94, Ken Stevens ’93, Tim Storey ’93
Story: 100 years ago MTU students enjoyed the 1st carnival dressed up as circus animals. Today they continued the tradition, dressing up, dancing and balancing on circus balls while enjoying a heavy snowfall. A simple brick house welcomes everyone home with a warm cup of hot chocolate. While Tech provides many traditions, memories and a wonderful education, the deep and life-long friendships are priceless. Mi Casa es su casa! Welcome home, my friend.

Reminiscent of times past, this black and white photo, captures the MTU pep band enjoying the various statues. True to their fun nature they cannot resist adding a little song to gear up the circus acts and serenade their Winter Carnival Queen.

Other Material “Snow” Statue – 2nd Place

Title: There’s no Fun Like Snow Fun
Participants: Katie Kioski ’09 and Kristie Kioski
Story: Step right up and have a ball as we celebrate Michigan Tech’s 100th winter carnival. Inspired by the classic circus games, we have a duck pond, bowling, skee ball, and high striker. We hope you bring along your appetite. This sweet scene is made out of marshmallows.