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What you said in January about Tech

From Facebook:

“Funny thing we live in a small town in Wisconsin. I am shooting pool and just met a 2014 mechanical engineer grad from Mich Tech that is an engineer at Sea Grave, a local fire truck manufacturer.” -TS

“My husband and I were at the bear sanctuary in Minnesota last summer. A Husky was doing an internship there. She knew my son. Also met an alum who was in his 80s. Small world.” -DB-A

“You can find Huskies everywhere! Especially if you’re wearing MTU gear or sporting a decal on your vehicle. We were at a bar in the small town of Crivitz, WI where I grew up and we found a Husky!” -CD

“We are in Pound. We were visiting our Husky out in Washington state this summer for his internship. We ran into probably 10 alumni. Amazing.” -JM

Always a favorite week at Tech. The sculptures look like they continue to be amazing” -Dawn F.

“One day in winter ’82-’83 I think. Not completely positive. Those details are are a little foggy. However, Jim’s food mart remained open that day, and I recall trekking over there with a sled and returning home with cases of survival essentials (of the liquid form)😂. We didn’t have fancy video games then, so we played euchre and poker and later on when we were really glowing we sledded down Agate Street from the top. Now that was a real thrill! Thankfully we had trustworthy spotters at the bottom waving us off if a car was coming down College Ave!” -Pete J.

“Back in 61–64 we closed once. The president looked out at Mt. Ripley and saw all the students over there skiing. ‘If they can make it to Mt Ripley they can make it to class! I’ll never close again.’” -David H.

“Sure did! Having Rosa Parks as the speaker at my graduation ceremony was one of many highlights of my time at MTU!” -Mary C.

“I was in my cap and gown. I think in the 4th row. I remember thinking at the time how petite she was. But yet, she had such a powerful presence.” Julie V.

“I always rode on my sorority’s dog sled. So much fun!” Tiffany M.

“White out so bad it was terrifying to try to cross 41. Would have probably been ‘81” -Mark C.

“ It was -35. My car was the only one that would start, so I had a car full of students from the apartments. We went to school. ’84 or ’85.” -Dan H.

“ Yes! Spring 1985, first day of spring term, I was at the Admin Building, changing some of my classes, signs everywhere that classes were canceled at noon. I went over to a friends house and NO ONE believed me! “Oh”, they said, “Tech never cancels”. So they went to class and I stayed in and watched TV!” -Sue G.

“When I was a Tech there was a story that the school was closed once and all the students took trays and went sledding.” -John H.


History of Tech’s Library (Yes, the actual library)

By Emily Riippa | University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections

Van Pelt and Opie Library in 2017.

Classes are back in full swing at Michigan Tech, and that means that students are hitting the books. Huskies can be spotted deep in concentration around lab equipment, state-of-the-art computers, well-decorated whiteboards, and, of course, library tables. Drive past the Van Pelt and Opie Library late at night, or walk through the first floor reading room in the afternoon, and you’ll find students meeting with friends and powering through problem sets with help from classmates. In recognition of the importance of the library to Tech students, the building closes completely only once a year, the night of Winter Carnival’s all-night snow statue competition. Though the library and its resources have been powering Huskies for decades, the space dedicated to the library and what it provides have seen significant changes. Let’s journey back into the Michigan Tech Archives to see the life of the library over more than a century.

Michigan College of Mines Library circa 1920s.

The library of the Michigan Mining School began with a gift of 3,000 bound volumes coordinated by J. Sturgis, a member of the Houghton County Historical Society; materials owned by the school’s faculty apparently supplemented these holdings. As enrollment grew and the Michigan Mining School became a college, the library blossomed. In 1912, to help students and professors alike make best use of the burgeoning collection, the Michigan College of Mines helpfully produced a “Handbook of the Library” to inform students about available materials, special features, and etiquette for this hallowed ground. By this point, the college’s books and other publications resided in a “fire-proof structure” that also housed the MCM geological and mineralogical collection. College business and executive offices shared the space, as well. As the Academic Office Building, the old library continues to host office spaces for various departments to this day.

Michigan Mining School stacks.

Those visiting the library were advised that the now “26,000 volumes, 14,000 pamphlets, and 1,450 maps” were “largely scientific and technical in character,” befitting the college’s curriculum. Future mining engineers could find “complete sets of all the important mining and engineering publications,” as well as “journals of scientific lines allied to mining engineering.” So patrons would be able to successfully navigate the two-winged brick building, the handbook included a useful sketch of the floorplan, showing the locations of books, newspapers, minerals, and the “modern equipment” of which library staff were proud. To clarify the availability of materials, the handbook explained that, while “the Library is intended for free reference use[,] the privilege of borrowing books for home use is accorded to all officers of instruction and to all registered students. This privilege is extended to all responsible persons who apply to the librarian for it.” Now, faculty and students are joined by all Michigan Tech staff members in enjoying the ability to check out books, and community members may also apply for courtesy cards allowing them the same opportunity.

Michigan Tech library in the academic office building.

A growing library with a diverse collection needed able workers to sustain it. In 1940, the Daily Mining Gazette published a profile of the Michigan College of Mining and Technology that explored its staff and the special collections in their charge. Librarian Madeleine Gibson, an alumna of Wellesley College and the University of Wisconsin who remained at Tech for 35 years, led the trio. Under her worked two library assistants, Florence McGee (who also served as a cataloger) and Lillian Combellack. The three women oversaw holdings that had grown to 39,000 “books and bound serials, and a collection of pamphlets on scientific and engineering subjects.” Gibson, McGee, and Combellack also cared for a depository of documents produced by the federal government and the Michigan state government. The Gazette noted that a special display case had been designated as housing for the “John M. Longyear Spitzbergen collection, consisting of books, magazine articles and pamphlets on Spitzbergen.” The eponymous Longyear, a lumber baron and former member of the university’s Board of Control, had established a coal mining company on the remote Norwegian island territory of Spitzbergen (also known as Spitsbergen), and materials pertaining to the company logically found a home at the MCMT. Students whose interests bent more to music than Norwegian mining could check out a set of musical books “donated by the Carnegie corporation of New York City.” Patrons could peruse the shelves during the extensive reading room hours held six days a week.

New library “snowbreaking” in 1965.

By the 1962-1963 academic year, the library building was bursting at the seams. Campus boasted over 2,700 students in more than twenty fields of study, and the library, built to accommodate a much smaller collection and student body, now housed 78,000 volumes. Governor George Romney requested $750,000 in planning funds for a new library from the state legislature, a decision that Tech president J.R. Van Pelt credited with expediting the construction by two years. Herman Gundlach, Inc., submitted the successful bid for the general contract, and work began shortly thereafter, with a “snowbreaking” held on February 11, 1965. The building, situated just east of the Memorial Union Building on College Avenue, totaled 80,000 square feet over four stories, offered space for 225,000 volumes, and seated 1,000 students. According to a December 1964 press release, each of these figures represented a six-fold increase of the prior capacity. The design of the library also emphasized “flexibility provided by a modular plan of construction,” simultaneously reducing the number of interior walls, and created private study areas “around the periphery of the stacks.” Graduate students and faculty enjoyed designated study spaces, and new homes were made for the Michigan Tech Archives, microforms, and typing stations. In a move that might seem confusing to modern eyes, the design prominently incorporated a smoking room for patrons. On October 29, 1966, dignitaries gathered at a large dedication ceremony for the completed new facility, which architect Ralph Calder characterized as “the most inspiring” of campus buildings “because it is the intellectual focus on campus.” The library subsequently received the name of J.R. Van Pelt, in honor of the president who led Tech during its construction.

Van Pelt Library in 1999.

Time marched on, and campus growth and development once again compelled changes to the library building. When the North Central Association made a university accreditation visit in the 1997-1998 school year, reviewers suggested that Tech “plan to increase the size and scope of library resources” and find funding for future improvements of the library physical plant. A proposal in 2000 to create a Center for Integrated Learning and Information Technology (CILIT), which would help to provide some of the improvements and connect the library to Fisher Hall, met with some resistance from staff writers at the Lode, and the building, as proposed, never came to fruition. Instead, the suggested CILIT structure became Rekhi Hall. Meanwhile, a $5 million donation from John Opie (class of 1961) and his wife Ruanne funded the most extensive renovation and expansion of the library since the mid-1960s construction. The Opie Library expansion to the Van Pelt Library, dedicated in April 2005, created a soaring new reading room with a prominent glass front, two dozen study rooms for team projects and collaboration, and “the latest technologies, including an information wall” to provide “the latest on library and campus activities, as well as a steady stream of news and weather.” In the 54,000 square feet of additional space, students also had access to a large number of public computers. Meanwhile, visitors to the garden level would find the archives had been moved from their place on the second floor to a new, purpose-built facility that expanded reading room seating and provided secure, climate-controlled storage for irreplaceable historical records.

Postcard of the Van Pelt Library.

The building may be different, from its style to its location; the collection may have grown from 3,000 to several hundred thousand volumes; the smoking room may, thankfully, have given way to computer labs and cafes. Despite the changes over the years, it’s undeniable that the library has always been and remains a cornerstone of Michigan Tech.

What memories of the library stand out for you?


What you said in December…about Tech!

From Facebook

“Graduation morning, December 2005…I was showing my now husband the necklace and earrings my parents gave me for graduation and he said, “maybe we should complete the set.” We had our reception at the MUB the following September! I should add, I know I graduated but I remember nothing of the ceremony!! :):) love you, Andy B.!!!” -Megan B.

“I proposed to my wife in our apartment off campus. We met at Tech through Mu Beta Psi music fraternity, so technically I married my Brother. (All members are referred to as Brothers)” -Jason Y.

“My husband proposed to me in Wadsworth Hall kitchen on Thanksgiving morning. He was making Thanksgiving dinner for students who stayed up for break. This was back in the day when very few stayed over and the building was essentially closed.” -Chris P

“Moving back is the dream!” -Tee E.

“My husband, a Tech grad, proposed to me on Brockway Mountain.” -Ann O.

“My husband of almost 25 years proposed at the top of Brockway. We met on our first day on campus. His roommate and my roommate were transfer students from the same high school/community college.” -Danette U.

“Oh, I’m an oldster! My husband proposed at the top of Lac Labelle fire tower in 1979. That was at the top of what is now Mt Bohemia! We both graduated in 1977.” -Holly S.

Hearing Queen’s “Another One Bites The Dust” blasting from speakers out of the Wadsworth Hall windows on my way into Fisher 135 for my freshman chem final.” -Mak M.

“Drove home after May exams after freshman year – in the snow. When I got to the Big Mac I realized I didn’t have $1.50 for the toll. After a little thought I turned around, went to the Shell Station, and cleaned out 15 empties from the dark resources of my Blazer! Score!” -Dannette U.

“Fisher 135 when someone stood up and said all these questions are tricks and walked out…come to think of it, this may have been winter carnival (reasons this may have happened unknown…).

But 3 back to back to back finals (thank God for the Tech rule of no more than 3 in a row) suck so so so bad.

But here I am 4.5 years into my career thankful for such an amazing place, education, and friend network.” -Eric S.

“Yeah it was stressful but nothing compared to the daily stress of working full time as a design engineer of large machines and pressure vessels” -Steve S.

“2 pots of coffee and 2 packs of No-Doz” -Louis C.

“My husband graduated in chemistry in December but walked on June 8th in his cap and gown…the same day we walked down the aisle in church 55 years ago. A double happy day” -Irene W.

“BS in Chem.Eng.1959 .31 years in oil industry.Now at 83, 28 years retired” -Enzio M.

“I remember when the Zilwaukee Bridge was under fire in the 80s, some wags made a “Not Built by Tech Engineers” t-shirt. Perhaps we need same for Line 5 pipeline.” -Victor V.

“As I was finishing my Ph.D at Tech in 1999, I used my student worker and his trusty yard stick for this picture. I used the pic during my interview at Mississippi State for a faculty position in the forest Department. Showing just how happy I was to be moving to the deep south, and out of the snow! In true forestry fashion, I talked about how you can measure major snowfalls in the snowbank, like counting rings on a tree. Light fluffy snow was a snowstorm, then the dark dirty snow was in between those storms.” -Andrew L.

From the inbox

Thank you Michigan Tech for preparing me for a great career! I obtained my BSME in 1956 and was then employed by what was Bendix Automotive Brake Systems in South Bend Indiana. I had a career total of 48 patents as inventor or co-inventor. My greatest achievement occurred when Chrysler upper management decided to switch from their in-house designed and built “Centerplane” brakes to Bendix duo-servos. It was my job to adapt our brakes to the entire Chrysler line – 9” dia. for Valiant 10” for Plymouth and Dodge, 11” for Chrysler and 12” for Dodge light truck. Of course with four wheel disc brakes they are now all gone. –Don J.


The Future of Michigan Tech: A Summary of the Tech Forward Conversations  

Over the past several months the campus community engaged in a series of conversations regarding the future of Michigan Tech within the context of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.  Last week, President Koubek and members of the leadership team presented a summary of those conversations and the initiatives the campus will pursue in the coming years. President Koubek began the reception by acknowledging the more than 500 faculty and staff who participated in the conversations as well as the deans who provided thought leader pieces.

Following, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academics Affairs Jackie Huntoon and Vice President for Research Dave Reed further explained how the campus community arrived at nine initiatives.

According to Huntoon, “The Tech Forward conversations we’ve had this semester have been very productive. People from across the University, members of the community, and alumni have all contributed and provided their insights regarding the future of Michigan Tech. We listened carefully to all the different voices and are excited about how the all of the conversations converged throughout the semester. We now have a framework that will help us to focus our efforts as we begin to plan for the future.”  Reed added, “There are a number of critical issues for society to address. Michigan Tech is already working on many of these, but the initiatives will allow us to do even more. We can bring our expertise in the data revolution and sensing, for instance, to contribute to global efforts to address these critical issues.”

Three campus-wide initiatives garnered wide support throughout the conversations, the first being a new college focused on computing. Dan Fuhrmann will lead the planning for this initiative. The second is to propagate the Pavlis Honors College educational outcomes across Michigan Tech’s core curriculum. Lorelle Meadows will spearhead this effort. The third initiative is to enhance Michigan Tech’s efforts to promote diversity and inclusion. Kellie Raffaelli will lead this initiative and has been appointed Special Assistant to the President for Diversity and Inclusion.

There are six additional initiatives for which the following individuals have agreed to lead a committee in developing proposals on behalf of the University:

  1. Advanced Materials and Manufacturing: Gregory Odegard
  2. Autonomous and Intelligent Systems: Jeff Naber
  3. Health and Quality of Life: Caryn Heldt
  4. Natural Resources, Water and Energy: Andrew Burton
  5. Policy, Ethics and Culture: Jennifer Daryl Slack
  6. Sustainability and Resilience: David Shonnard

Each working group, yet to be assembled, will host a series of meetings early in the New Year to develop their respective proposals for consideration by the review committee, consisting of two members of the president’s council and two from University Senate, who will make recommendations for funding beginning in fiscal year 2019-20.   

To learn more, please visit www.mtu.edu/techforward.  

 


13 Days Left Until 2019! Make Your Gift Today!

As we approach the end of the 2018 calendar year, we want to take a moment to remind our alumni and friends that there is still time to make an annual contribution in support of Michigan Tech.

You can phone the Michigan Tech Fund at 906-487-2310 or toll-free at 877-386-3688 to make your gift with a credit card. You also have the option of making a credit card gift via Michigan Tech’s secure online gift page. These online gifts can be made up until 11:55 p.m. (EST) on December 31 to ensure a 2018 contribution.

The Michigan Tech Fund offices will be closed on December 24 and 25, but will be open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (EST) December 26, 27, and 28 and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (EST) on December 31.

 


Your Summer Youth Program Experience: Nathalie Osborn ’93

Nathalie Osborn ’93

From tomboy attending the Women in Engineering Program (WIE) in the 80s, to presenting as a guest speaker for the 2018 WIE attendees, this energized leader, coach, director and co-author is sure leave a positive impact on everyone she meets. Here is her story.

We love hearing back from those who are alumni of both Michigan Tech and Summer Youth Programs. Whether you attended in 2012 or 1985, we want to hear from you! Please share your story with us!

Hometown: I grew up in Mount Pleasant, Michigan which is a university town. My dad was a college professor at Central Michigan University (CMU), so I was familiar with university life and my mom volunteered in schools but stayed at home.

Siblings: I am the oldest of three, with one brother and one sister.

Childhood Hobbies: We always went to CMU games, and my family was very active. We participated in cross country skiing, and I played softball and ran cross country. I also did enjoy reading a lot. In grade school, I always loved reading the biographies about people’s life and adventures, like Amelia Earhart and Teddy Roosevelt.  

Favorite subject in School: Math, because it always had right answers. I also liked science. My high school physics professor was one of my favorite teachers. My school also had a vocational training program, so I had the opportunity to take architectural drafting and electrical wiring. I really loved the style of learning by doing.

Role models: My grandfather and I were super close and I could talk to him about anything. He was hands-on and a techy person, and he taught me many things. I was a tomboy growing up and he embraced that and encouraged me to learn. Even at a young age I remember him telling me “I could be anything, have anything, or do anything I wanted.” He really was a great role model for me, and I am not sure I would have been as confident going into engineering without his support.

How did you learn about WIE and why did you attend: My father found out about the Women in Engineering Program and he knew I liked math and science so he  encouraged me to attend. I thought why not! I will say I didn’t know how far north it was going to be! I remember that it was a great summer. I went to the program but we also took time to explore the UP. I remember hiking, seeing waterfalls, and it was just a great chance to see the beauty of the UP.

What do you recall about your week at WIE? The whole experience, especially being on a college campus, staying in the dorms, and eating in the dining hall helped me to see what the college experience would be like. I remember being excited to get to know women from other schools with the same interests. It was such a fun and energetic environment and a chance to explore all engineering disciplines and learn in a hands-on way.

College: I attended a 2+2 engineering program with Michigan Tech and Central Michigan University for mechanical engineering. I went to CMU from 1990-92, maybe because the distance from home to Michigan Tech did scare me a bit. The 2+2 program was great. We had about 15-20 people in that program and most transferred to Michigan Tech after the first few years. We took all the pre-engineering courses together so we became close. I recall heading up to Michigan Tech with three others from the program piled into a car, to check out campus.

Once I did get to Michigan Tech and I started classes, I remember wishing I would have come up here for all four years! My favorite memory at Michigan Tech was winter carnival. I remember that one group had a life size search and rescue scene, with an ambulance and all! The atmosphere of that carnival, all the people engineering statues together, building and have fun. I love how this school embraces winter.

What are some milestones or great moments in your career you’d like to share? My first job was at Automotive Perception and a few other Michigan Tech grads were working there too. It was a job where we traveled the country and went into auto plants and installed laser cameras and windshields on cars. What I think is unique about this job is that I am still friends with a lot of the people I worked with and it overall was a unique experience. I also worked with Ford and helped with the hydrogen fuel cell in a car they were unleashing at an auto show in 2001. Then, I went into the energy industry and worked on the California Solar Initiative with the California Public Utilities Commission to help launch that program. It was a huge project and I feel grateful to have been a part of it. I am currently the Director of Smart Grid Initiatives at NextEnery Center, a nonprofit in Detroit.

Michigan Tech did a great job preparing me to be an adaptable and versatile engineer. I went into mechanical engineering but have been able to have flexibility in my roles through that field.  

You are the co-author of a book. What is it about and what was that experience like? I am the co-author of “Ignite Your Leadership: Proven Tools for Leaders to Energize Teams, Fuel Momentum, and Accelerate Results.” I always thought it would be fun to write a book and wrote a chapter for this book. In the book, I use engineering terms to showcase how I  power myself, the “kW” of leadership – know who you are, what you want, and why you want it. I was also shocked and humbled that the book made the bestseller list in US and Canada.

You came back to Michigan Tech as a guest speaker during the 2018 WIE etiquette dinner. What was that experience like? I really loved it and welcome the opportunity again. It was amazing to come full circle and talk to a group of young women who are learning about engineering programs.  They are in a great place with so many paths in front of them. I enjoyed crafting a message talking to them about how an engineering degree is great to get, but even if you don’t pursue that path, you can power your life however you want.  I am very fortunate for all the opportunities I have had in life both based off choices and encouragement from others.


A Look Back at Tech’s Residence Halls (or Dorms)

By Emily Riippa | University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections

What makes the college experience special? For some, it’s getting to dive deeply into studying what matters to them. For others, it’s the friends made over late-night study sessions, midnight adventures, or even more colorful escapades not to be described here. It’s forming a broomball team, setting off the fire alarm with burnt popcorn, pranking a buddy. Whatever it might be that sets college apart, the odds are good that the residence halls had a hand in it.

So many memories are formed in college dorms, and student housing at Michigan Tech is no exception. Over the years, a variety of residence halls have offered Huskies a place to sleep, study, and socialize on campus. Let’s take a look at three long-running dorms still serving students today: Douglass Houghton Hall, Wadsworth Hall, and McNair Hall.

Douglass Houghton Hall (DHH)

Douglass Houghton Hall in its earlier years.

Douglass Houghton Hall, more commonly known these days as DHH, is the oldest residence hall at Michigan Tech. From day one, DHH stood out: it was the first building constructed as a dorm at the college and provided brand-new accommodations for some 204 male students when it opened in 1939. The following June, the hall received a formal dedication as Douglass Houghton Hall in a speech given by A.E. Petermann, the chairman of Tech’s Board of Control. This name, Petermann told his listeners, would remind the students that Houghton had made the most of his youth, achieving considerable success as a geologist, physician, and investor before drowning in Lake Superior at the age of 36.

 

In an article published in 1941, the Daily Mining Gazette sang the praises of DHH in rhapsodic terms to alumni arriving for that year’s reunion. The building was “of Tudor-othic style, and constructed of red brick, with stone trim, copper roof, and metal casement windows,” as well as solid local oak. Alumni and their guests would “appreciate particularly the lounge facilities,” of which there were two. “Mellow paneling, a large fireplace, davenports, reading-chairs, and a piano make each lounge a pleasant and homelike gathering place,” wrote the Gazette reporter. An infirmary, laundry, “student valet room,” kitchen, and dining room rounded out the offerings of DHH. Another article, this one in the campus paper, likewise noted that students could be buzzed to the hallway telephones; the luxury of room lines had not yet reached the dorm. From rooms facing the front of the building, lucky residents could look out at “a beautiful, tree-shadowed lawn,” in the words of the Gazette, and know that they were “but a stone’s throw from the college athletic field, and only a five-minute walk from the westernmost of the college buildings.” Best of all, students in the new dorm were not subject to a curfew, unlike their contemporaries at other colleges.

Of course, the relatively light supervision that DHH students enjoyed in those days was not always used wisely and well. In 1957, a pair of residents decided to transform their room into a chemistry lab, but their experiment ended with a minor explosion. Fortunately, the two were not seriously injured. On another occasion, a resident advisor asked a student to explain what had damaged a single globe light in his room. “A sonic boom,” the young man replied. The RA almost dismissed the incident on the basis of the student’s chutzpah. Then, of course, there was the time in 1951 that a group of students guided freshman Guenther Frankenstein’s massive Jeep up the stairs of DHH and parked it in front of Room 151. Fifty years later, Frankenstein recalled that the administration “wasn’t too happy regarding the event” and that the dean “wanted to expell [sic] me for good” but ultimately settled for a lengthy period of probation.

Students driving the Jeep up the DHH stairs. Guenther Frankenstein, the car’s owner, is shown at right, helping to steer it in the right direction.

It cost the college $350,000 to build and furnish Douglass Houghton Hall. Unfortunately, despite the Gazette’s glowing reviews, the building quickly ran into issues. Insulation had to be added and the roof repaired within a year. Space also soon became a problem: in 1942, DHH housed 20 percent more students than it was designed to hold. World War II delayed construction of a new addition, which eventually opened in 1948. Some further renovations occurred in 1966, 1969, and 1991. Through it all, DHH has been a little historical gem in a campus looking to the future.

 

 

 

 

Wadsworth Hall

An earlier incarnation of Wadsworth Hall, featuring the athletic fields and Sherman Gym.

Wadsworth Hall is the longest dorm on campus, spanning more than a quarter mile on US-41. Ever since it first opened in the fall of 1955, “Wads” has attracted interest for its statistics. Writing about the dorm following a 1958 expansion, the Gazette noted that its construction required the removal of 100,000 cubic yards of excavated material, included 750 tons of reinforcing steel, and paid out $1.6 million in wages to the local community. Also remarkable was how dramatically the new residence hall expanded on-campus living: 70% more students could be accommodated in college housing.

Demand for dorm space at Tech was so high in 1955 that the first 356 residents moved in before their rooms were painted. Wads featured “ultra-modern living” in double rooms, each of which, the university boasted, featured a picture window, huge desk lights, and expansive closets with sliding doors. Common spaces also became a point of pride, including a sizable lounge and “a recreation room almost as large,” a ping-pong room, and a laundry room with all the trimmings. On the ground floor, Tech students needing medical care could visit the infirmary, which featured “five completely-equipped hospital rooms.” The Michigan College of Mining and Technology alumni magazine made a point to note that one of the rooms was “separated from the rest to serve the coeds.” The construction of the new Wadsworth infirmary relieved another building on campus, the Smith house, of its medical role, freeing up that building as residential space for women enrolling at Tech.

All of these amenities were housed in what is now just the eastern wing of the residence hall; the other portion, which included more student rooms and a dining hall, opened in 1958. Herman Gundlach, who had been the contractor on the second phase, submitted the successful bid for the final 200-bed expansion in 1965. Like historic DHH, Wads has also received its tune-ups over the years. The most ambitious of these took place in 2004, while students remained in residence. Remodeled shower stalls provided more privacy, and kitchens and lounges were extensively renovated. New carpeting and furniture moved into dorm rooms, replacing the much-applauded closets from the 1950s and building in lofts that students had come to love. Finally, the large dining hall received a “bright and modern look,” with “restaurant-style seating” replacing the “long, brown, institutional tables reminiscent of ‘Cool Hand Luke.’”

Residents of Wads before the renovation might recall one memorable way that their dorm-mates showcased their creativity in the building’s corridors. Beyond choosing imaginative names for their halls–which continues to this day–residents would paint murals in audacious style in celebration of their theme. The art coming out of the 1971 Winter Carnival was a good example: medieval scenes lined the hall that year, including an impressive painting of knights on horseback riding toward a castle. Who said that engineers couldn’t be artists?

Medieval paintings in the corridors of Wadsworth Hall, 1971

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

McNair Hall

If you attended Tech in the 1960s through the 1980s, it might still seem odd to hear Co-Ed Hall referred to as McNair. Tech broke ground on the new dorm, which has since been renamed in honor of former college president Frederick Walter McNair, in December 1965. McNair as we know it, however, almost didn’t happen at all. In the early 1960s, with enrollment of students and especially of female students (“co-eds”) steadily increasing, the college found itself facing a housing crunch. It needed on-campus rooms for women, so administrators set aside a number of spaces in Wads. That provided only a temporary remedy to the problem, as students asking for campus housing continued to enroll. Tech went to the drawing board and came up with a plan to build a new residence hall for sixty women. After that had been completed, three more dorms would be built, including one with a “meals services division.” In the end, Tech scrapped these plans in favor of a more compact, two-phase residence hall complex.

A model of Co-Ed Hall before construction

Each section of Co-Ed Hall was designed to house 300 students. A dining facility seating all 600 would connect the two. Contractor Herman Gundlach once again took on the job, starting with the construction of “a heated tent like structure composed of scaffold rings and Vis-Queen, which enabled crews to work in relative comfort despite the severity of Northern Michigan winters.” Gradually, scaffolding gave way to masonry, and in just ten months the first phase of Co-Ed Hall was open for occupancy. Phase I–called West McNair today–stood three stories high and, like its neighbor Wads, featured a large lounge, a sizable recreation room, and an apartment for a counselor-in-residence. As in DHH, the university took pride in offering each floor of double rooms “telephone service in the corridors.” Construction on Phase II, described as a “high rise type dormitory building,” began in 1966 and wrapped up the following year. “Suite-type rooms,” noted one advertisement at the time, “with connecting baths and some single rooms are being considered.” Between the two–both physically and chronologically–was placed the cafeteria, which offered not only a dining area but another lounge, post office, telephone switchboard, and office space. Mercifully for students fighting a Copper Country winter, the plans called for enclosed corridors to take residents from each wing of Co-Ed Hall to the dining room.

What stands out for former residents, whether they called their home Co-Ed Hall or McNair? Many would point to the scenic views. While there’s no such thing as poor scenery in the Copper Country, this dorm enjoyed more than most a beautiful vista, perched as it is on what students call McNair Hill. With its expansive walls of windows, the dining hall invites students to enjoy their meals with a little Keweenaw flavor, whether ablaze in fall colors or gently cloaked in winter snow.

Construction photographs of the eastern part of Co-Ed Hall (East McNair)

 




Ray Smith Memories

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

Consulting Geophysicist

________

I graduated from Tech in 1961 before Ray Smith became President. I was able to follow his presidency for many years.

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

 

________

Friends –

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.

Joe Kirkish

________

Les,

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.

Regards:

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

Go Huskies!

________

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.

Jon Wenger

________

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.  

Les Hendrickson

Lester E. Hendrickson, Ph.D.

Professor Emeritus

Fulton College of Engineering

Arizona State University

Tempe Arizona

________

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.

Bill Powers