Remembering Professors Sewell and Schwartz

Bill Sewell

William “Bill” Clyde Sewell, 84, a resident of Houghton, passed away Thursday, November 25, 2021, at Aspirus Hospice House in Wausau, WI.

He was preceded in death by his parents, brothers Delbert and Walter and a sister Nancy.

He is survived by his sons Andrew (Elizabeth Simoneau) of Columbus, OH and Michael (Kathy Johnson) of Wausau, WI. Bill is further survived by his grandson, Ian of Columbus, OH, a sister, Ruth of Canon City, CO, and his life-partner Ruth Robertson of Kansas City, MO and Houghton and numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins.

Bill was a Professor Emeritus at Michigan Technological University, having taught philosophy there from 1972 until 2004. He was active in many community organizations. He served on the Hancock Planning Commission and the City Charter Commission.

Bill was a den leader and then cub master for Hancock Cub Scout Pack 207 and later was an assistant scoutmaster and scoutmaster for Hancock Boy Scout Troop 207. He served as president of the Hancock Lions Club, president of the board of Portage Lake Hospice, and the first president of the board at The Omega House. He also served on the board for the Barbara Kettle Gundlach Shelter Home for Abused Women. Bill served in the United States Air Force from 1955 to 1959. He earned is B.A. in Philosophy from Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville in 1965 and his Ph.D. in Philosophy from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland in 1975.

Bill was a volunteer for Keweenaw Home Nursing, Portage Lake Hospice, Omega House and Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly with friends Scott Rutherford and Ray Weglarz who helped to initiate the effort to build the Omega House. He was awarded the National Hospice Organization’s Volunteer of the Year in 2004. Bill loved a good joke. Those who knew him well will remember him for his compassion and his sense of humor.

To view the full obituary, please visit memorialchapel.net.


Dick Schwartz

Richard Frederick Schwartz, 99, most recently a resident of White River Junction, died December 4 after suffering a fall several weeks ago. He was predeceased by his wife, Margaret, who died in May 2021.

Dick, as he was known to his friends, was a retired professor of electrical engineering, a devoted father, a dedicated amateur musician, and an active member of the communities where he lived. For the last 15 years of his life, Dick and Margaret lived in Peru, New York. As residents there, they were both active in the Unitarian Universalist Church of Plattsburgh. Dick also was a member of the community band, the church choir, Peru’s Democratic Central Committee, and the board of the town’s public library.

Before their move to Peru, Dick and Margaret lived in Endicott, NY, where they relocated when Dick took a position as a full professor of Electrical Engineering at Binghamton University’s Watson School in 1985. Previously, he was a professor at Michigan Technological University in Houghton, MI, and at University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, PA. He also taught at University of Michigan on sabbatical in 1960-61.

Dick, a clarinetist and a pianist, combined his love of music with his professional interests, developing courses on acoustical engineering at the universities where he taught. A gifted tinkerer, Dick would attempt to fix just about any piece of electronic equipment, and could build a functioning radio with a lump of galena and some spare parts lying around his shop. Dick had several patents to his name, dating from when he worked for RCA early in his career.

The son of a professor himself, Dick loved teaching – and he continued teaching long past his retirement. He was especially active in mentoring young male students in Binghamton-area public schools, and fostered relationships that continued for decades afterward.

Dick loved his large extended family, remembering birthdates of his relatives and often sending them a personalized “birthday poem” and a birthday check. He also was a prolific letter writer, addressing missives to family and friends – and also to public figures and companies. A World War II veteran, he was resolute in hating war. He remained politically active and engaged until the end of his days.

In May 2021, Dick was honored by the Hartford Historical Society for being the oldest resident of Hartford County. His name was inscribed on a plaque in the Garipay House, and he was given an honorary cane to mark his elder status.

He is survived by his children Kate Mortimer, Stuart Holland (Doug Federhart), Frieda Cialek (Brett Nyman) and Eric Schwartz (Margaret Yaukey); his step-children Rachel Romanowicz (Ed) and Richard Boes (Lori); his grandchildren Christopher, Andrew, and John; and his step-grandchildren Joshua, Matthew, Rebecca, and Alex. He was predeceased by his wife Margaret, his former wife Ruth Wadlin, his son Frederick Schwartz, and his grandson Andy.

To view the full obituary, please visit knightfuneralhomes.com.

Innovators in Industry Aims to Connect Students to Alumni

On October 25, Michigan Technological University launched Innovators in Industry, a project connecting students with MTU alumni in industry. The aim is to give students direct access to industry experts, leaders, and influencers to help shape students’ paths.

The initial three-part series consisted of virtual sessions where featured alumni gave short presentations with Q&A from students and others in the audience.

Recordings of each of the first three sessions are available below.

Future plans for the Innovators in Industry series include in-person sessions and on-location visits for students to industry hubs.


October 25 • The Future of Autonomous Vehicles & Mobility
Co-hosts: Janet Callahan, Dean of the College of Engineering, and Jeremy Bos ’00 ’12, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering.

Featured alumni: Sean Kelley ‘86 of the Mannik & Smith Group, Inc., an engineering and environmental sciences consulting firm; Mark Rakoski ‘95, of Mitsubishi Electric Automotive America Inc.; and Birgit Sorgenfrei ’91 of Ford Motor Company.

Play Innovators in Industry: Future of Autonomous Vehicles and Mobility video
Preview image for Innovators in Industry: Future of Autonomous Vehicles and Mobility video

Innovators in Industry: Future of Autonomous Vehicles and Mobility


November 1 • The Computing Revolution
Host: Dennis Livesay, Dean of the College of Computing

Featured alumni: Dianne Marsh ’86, director of device and content security, Netflix; Austin J. Noronha ’87, managing director, Sony Innovation Fund; Stuart Pann ’81, senior vice president at Intel Corporation; Christine Roberts ’91, senior vice president and general manager, software and services solutions, Poly.

Play Innovators in Industry: The Computing Revolution video
Preview image for Innovators in Industry: The Computing Revolution video

Innovators in Industry: The Computing Revolution


November 8 • Entrepreneurship, Startups, and Venture Capital
Host: Dean Johnson, Dean of the College of Business

Featured alumni: Kanwal Rekhi ’69, managing director of Inventus Capital Partners; John Rockwell ’79, president, CEO, and director of Accelergy Corp.; Chang Park ’73, president, CEO, and founder of Universal Remote Control, Inc.; and Rebecca Ufkes ’87, president of Ufkes Holdings.

Play Innovators in Industry: Entrepreneurship, Startups, and Venture Capital video
Preview image for Innovators in Industry: Entrepreneurship, Startups, and Venture Capital video

Innovators in Industry: Entrepreneurship, Startups, and Venture Capital

Lucas Appointed to AVP of Alumni Engagement Position

Michigan Technological University announces the appointment of Jennifer (Jung) Lucas ’09 as Assistant Vice President of Alumni Engagement, effective November 15. Lucas joins Michigan Tech after an extensive national search.

Jen Lucas ’09

“I appreciate and thank the campus community, members of the Alumni Board, and the Advancement and Alumni Engagement team for their efforts in selecting Jen to lead our alumni engagement activities,” said Bill Roberts, Vice President for Advancement and Alumni Engagement. “Jen has a depth of experience in fundraising and alumni relations and an exciting vision for engaging Michigan Tech Alumni. I am so pleased to welcome her to the team.” 

Lucas brings nearly 10 years of leadership and management experience in alumni engagement and annual giving to Michigan Tech. She got her start in Advancement working as a student caller for the Michigan Tech Telefund, eventually moving into the call center manager role following her graduation. She went on to work in alumni engagement and annual giving roles at several educational institutions before spending the last two years in industry relations at 3M.

“I am both honored and excited to come back and work for an institution whose mission I truly believe in,” said Lucas. “The Tech alumni community is a special one, and I hope to build on the foundation and traditions already in place while engaging in new ways with my fellow Huskies.”

Lucas will lead the University’s alumni engagement efforts including strategic planning, alumni reunion, academic affairs partnerships, and administrative oversight of the Alumni Board of Directors and regional alumni chapters.   

Examples of Lucas’s career accomplishments include maintaining an annual giving pace of over $1 million, volunteer and cross-functional team management, and extensive large-scale coordination and execution of both in-person and virtual events.

A Minnesota native, Lucas earned her B.S. in Scientific and Technical Communication graduating magna cum laude.  Jen was also a standout on the volleyball team earning many honors including all-America honorable mention and all-region. She received Michigan Tech’s Raymond L. Smith Award as the outstanding female senior student-athlete in 2009.

“Michigan Tech quite literally changed my life. My experiences as a student-athlete, Blue Key Honor Society member, and employee all are treasured memories,” said Lucas.

Lucas begins her duties on Monday, November 15. Roberts thanked Brenda Rudiger, Vice President for Advancement Services, for graciously agreeing to assist in the transition following Paula Nutini’s recent retirement.  

Supporting the Student Experience

“Celebrating Traditions. Creating Connections.” That is the mission of your Alumni Board of Directors. This diverse group of volunteers support a wide range of programs for alumni and students to encourage engagement with Michigan Tech. One of these programs is the Student Initiative Support Program (SISP) which provides funds and alumni expertise for student organizations with ideas that promote student involvement on campus.

They look for ideas for programs that positively impact all students and support the alumni mission of “Celebrating Traditions. Creating Connections”. Ideally, these initiatives are inclusive and support a culture of philanthropy among students. The Alumni Board has also helped students acquire equipment that will leave a lasting impact on the University such as the Film Board sound system upgrade.  

In addition to providing funding, they provide connections to knowledge or expertise in a particular area. An example of this was connecting the Sustainability House students with an alumnus with expertise in beekeeping.

Below are the initiatives that the Alumni Board has supported through the history of SISP.

  • Alpha Phi Omega – Epsilon Lambda
  • AMS Enterprise – Cherry Festival Parade
  • Aquanauts Scuba Club- wetsuits for women
  • Arnold Air Society
  • Blue Key e-tablets & software
  • Blue Key Winter Carnival
  • Career Prep Videos
  • CesarChavez Tribute Dinner
  • FilmBoard Sound Equipment upgrade
  • Forest Guild – National Convention
  • GSG Colloquium
  • SDC Ice Skate Rental Program
  • Indian Student Association Diwali
  • Iranian New Years – Norooz
  • IRHC Broomball Trailer
  • Justin Fitch Memorial Ruck March
  • Keweenaw Pride
  • Leaders in Continuous Improvement
  • LeaderShape
  • Makerspace 3D printer
  • Materials Unlimited Conference travel
  • MedLife – Mobile Clinic – international travel
  • Mont Ripley Ski Patrol
  • MTSF Oozeball event
  • MTSF Snow Soccer event
  • MTU Sustainability Demonstration House–beekeeping
  • Mushing Club
  • Outdoor Nation Challenge – OAP
  • Pep Band Cherry Festival Parade
  • ROTCPrecision Drill Team
  • SBE Project Plan Competition
  • SBE DECA conference
  • SIS- MLK Day
  • SIS- SIS/SAAM Reunion bus
  • Sled Heads-WC snowmobile stunt show
  • Society Biomedical Engineers – Conference
  • Society of Optics and Photonics at Michigan Tech
  • Student Veterans Organization
  • University Innovation Fellows
  • USG- Thanksgiving Break Bus
  • Women’s Leadership/Programming Council
  • Women’s Soccer Reunion

Whether it’s on this list or not, tell us what student organization or experience impacted you?

Guzdials Enrich Campus with Bench, Statue

Chris ‘63 and Jan Guzdial made a gift of a granite bench and bronze Husky statue, which is placed just outside the McAllister Welcome Center in the Memorial Union Building.

The location will be a magnet for students—both current and prospective—to sit next to the husky and snap a photo.

“We want to put smiles on students’ faces,” said Chris. “It was a struggle to get through Michigan Tech as a student, but Tech really helped me. I wanted to do something for Michigan Tech and the students here.”

Chris, a chemical engineering graduate, claims he “learned how to learn” at MTU, citing a couple of his instructors. “Mr. T.E. Vichich said in his class that you couldn’t just cram the night before an exam and expect to pass. You needed to do your homework daily. That proved to be true for me.

“Another instructor was my chemical engineering advisor, Dr. G.M. Machwart, who taught me lessons that stayed with me my entire career.”

The Guzdials were inspired in their gift by William Bernard and family and their role in adding the Bernard Family Clock Tower to the west end of campus in 2018.

“We were going to contribute to that project, but it was already taken care of,” said Jan. “This bench was an opportunity to further add to campus. Universities need these extra things to enrich campus life.”

The bench was dedicated July 26 at a small ceremony with the Guzdials and their friends in attendance. 

“I look forward to seeing the photos of students sitting on this bench, hugging the husky, and having a good time.”

In Memoriam

July 1, 2021 – September 30, 2021

Pref Class Full Name Degrees
1949 Vincent A. Miklas BS Electrical Engineering, BS Mechanical Engineering
1949 Willard O. Tschantz BS Mechanical Engineering
1950 Gordon D. Carlson BS Civil Engineering
1950 Thomas C. Elwell P.E. BS Mechanical Engineering
1950 Jack D. Raisanen BS Civil Engineering
1951 Edward J. Gaffney BS Mechanical Engineering
1951 Howard A. Zollinger P.E. BS Electrical Engineering
1952 Dante A. Iacovoni BS Metallurgical Engineering, MS Metallurgical Engineering
1954 George F. Kruggel P.E. BS Mechanical Engineering, ’55 MS Mechanical Engineering
1956 L. Stanley Freese, Jr. BS Forestry
1957 Jack A. Kolehmainen BS Mechanical Engineering
1957 Roy A. Koski BS Geological Engineering, BS Metallurgical Engineering, BS Mining Engineering
1957 John E. Miller BS Electrical Engineering
1958 Frank R. Hastedt BS Physics
1958 John A. Rechlin BS Civil Engineering
1959 Dr. Donald E. Mikkola BS Metallurgical Engineering
1959 John H. Ruusi BS Chemical Engineering, ’63 BS Business Engineering Admin
1962 Louis F.M.  Angotti BS Business Administration
1962 John Lagadin BS Geological Engineering
1963 Robert J. Gaabo BS Electrical Engineering, MS Electrical Engineering
1965 Sandy W. Johnson Jr BS Mechanical Engineering
1965 Dennis M. Taulu BS Mechanical Engineering
1967 Darrell A. Bacon BS Mechanical Engineering
1967 Jon C. Betts BS Forestry
1967 Anthony J. Esposito BS Business Administration
1967 Joseph S. Wildberg BS Business Administration
1968 Dr. Alan R. Kaub BS Civil Engineering
1968 Michael R. Peramaki BS Forestry
1969 Erik J. Grorud BS Civil Engineering
1969 Paul A. Masini BS Business Engineering Admin, ’69 BS Mechanical Engineering
1970 William T. Hicks II, P.E. BS Electrical Engineering
1970 Eric J. Paavilainen BS Forestry
1971 Dominic C. Chiang MS Chemistry
1971 Richard E. Drouillard AAS Electrical Eng Tech (AAS)
1971 Kristine M. Haglund BS Biological Sciences
1971 Douglas R. Hansen BS Electrical Engineering
1971 Jeffrey A. Jasicki BS Mechanical Engineering
1971 Alan G. Klug BS Mechanical Engineering
1971 Norman W. Laursen Jr BS Electrical Engineering, MS Electrical Engineering
1971 John W. Loney Jr MS Electrical Engineering
1971 William D. Lundt BS Mathematics
1971 Douglas L. McKee BS Electrical Engineering
1971 Steven W. Nyman BS Chemical Engineering
1971 Dennis K. Olson BS Civil Engineering
1971 Mark E. Sauve BS Chemical Engineering
1971 Michael F. Schmidt BS Business Administration
1971 Darrell J. Seppanen BS Mathematics
1971 C. Jerry Sherwood BS Mechanical Engineering
1971 Allan L. Sleeman BS Mechanical Engineering, ’77 MS Mechanical Engineering
1971 Alan R. TerBush BS Business Administration
1971 Larry D. Thompson BS Electrical Engineering
1972 David J. Dibert BS Applied Physics
1972 Farhad Haghighat BS Mechanical Engineering
1972 Gregory J. Hatt AAS Civil Engineering Technology, ’77 BS Civil Engineering
1972 Andrew J. Hubert BS Electrical Engineering
1972 George C. Kandler Jr BS Biological Sciences
1972 Mark W. Larson AAS Forest Technology
1973 Dr. Leroy V. Heldt MS Biological Sciences
1973 John P. Kohut BS Chemistry, ’76 MS Chemistry
1973 Betty A. Pyhtila BS Business Administration
1974 Larry P. Mosher BS Electrical Engineering
1974 Lorraine D. Palmer BA Liberal Arts
1974 Richard F. Prince BS Business Administration
1975 Kenneth M. Barlage AAS Forest Technology
1975 Sharon R. Sibilsky BA Liberal Arts
1977 David A. Broman BS Biological Sciences
1977 David D. Myrold BS Forestry
1978 Peter W. Roberts BS Business Administration
1978 Steven R. Vanden Brink BS Civil Engineering
1979 Robert D. Dekema AAS Electrical Eng Tech (AAS)
1982 Mary C. Linton MS Biological Sciences
1983 Gary R. Shea BS Civil Engineering
1984 S. Paul Sundeen MS Business Administration
1985 James M. Harju BS Electrical Engineering
1985 Mark C. Hebert BS Metallurgical Engineering
1987 Gregory G. Morelli BS Civil Engineering
1994 Cynthia J. Tormala BA Liberal Arts
2000 Keith E. Graham BS Forestry

In Memoriam — April 1, 2021 – June 30, 2021

Remembering Professor Francis

William P. Francis, age 81, died Friday, September 3 at his home surrounded by the love of his family following a year long struggle with complications from heart disease. Bill was born March 15, 1940, in Columbia, Missouri.

Bill spent his early years living in many different places both in and outside of the United States during his father’s service in the Air Force, graduating from Ramsey Abbey Grammar School in England in 1957. He received his bachelor of science degree in physics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and his Ph.D. in theoretical physics from Cornell University. He was briefly employed at Bell Labs in New Jersey prior to working at the University of Windsor in Ontario as a post-doctoral researcher. Bill joined the faculty of Michigan Technological University in the department of mathematics in 1970 where he taught math, physics and computer science for 35 years retiring as professor emeritus in 2005. While a member of the math department, Bill served as acting department head, coauthored a calculus textbook still used in classrooms today, and was instrumental in the establishment of the math department computer lab. He served on many department and university committees, and received numerous academic and service awards, including the state of Michigan Teaching Excellence Award. He was the principal investigator on a government contract at the Keweenaw Research Center conducting mathematical modeling of laser reflection imagery of military vehicles.

During his teaching career, Bill tutored and counseled thousands of students, many who have reached out with gratitude. He was always willing to meet with students to assist with math problems, or discuss their career goals. He is especially remembered for encouraging students to pursue the career they envisioned for themselves and not what was expected of them by others.

Bill stayed active following his retirement working part time as vice president of Shafi, Inc, a company specializing in vision guided robotics programming solutions at the Houghton Innovation Center. He was also involved with many of the volunteer programs through AARP, receiving the President’s Volunteer Service Award for his work as an AARP Tax-Aide volunteer for 19 years.

Throughout his life Bill enjoyed participating in sports including handball, racquetball, squash, tennis, softball and hockey. He received the intramural distinguished athlete award from Michigan Tech in 1998. He worked out on a daily basis and played handball several times a week until the age of 80.

Bill’s great passion was music. He was a member of the Michigan Tech Concert Choir, Copper Country Choral, Studio North Opera, Pine Mountain Music Festival, Maple Sugar Folk, and the Copper Country Chords barbershop quartet. He performed for many charity events and enjoyed singing the “old” songs at senior homes.

Bill performed with the MTU concert choir on international tours of Mexico, Eastern Europe, Russia, China, the Baltics, South America and the Adriatic coast. Bill and Cindy cherished the memories and friendships developed during these trips.

Bill was preceded in death by his parents Justin and Marjorie (Oliver) Francis and a sister, Serrye Roy. He is survived by his wife Cynthia (Pike) Francis, his children Catherine (Todd) Wielinski, David Francis (fiance Casandra Nuques), Laura Francis (Myckey McNutt), as well as stepsons B.J. Whipple and Terry Bartlett. Bill is the proud grandfather of Victor, Quinn and Stryker McNutt, John Santiago, and Matthew Bartlett. He was previously married to Judy (Davis) Spahn, the mother of his children.

The family would like to thank the dedicated medical personnel at Marquette ICU and Cardiac Rehab, the Covenant LTAC Hospital of Saginaw, and Portage Health Systems. We will be forever grateful to the nurses, staff and volunteers at Portage Home Health and Hospice who were our constant companions in providing compassionate care for Bill.

Bill requested that in lieu of flowers contributions be made to the Milton Olsson Endowed Scholarship at The Michigan Tech Fund.

Obituary courtesy of O’Neill Dennis Funeral Home

PCA 2021 Induction Attendee List

As of 9/14/21 at 10:00 a.m.

Chris S. Anderson  Biological Sciences
Molli Andor* Mechanical Engineering
Michele Blau College of Business
Marie Cleveland College of Business
Christine M. Cowell Chemical Engineering
Deborah DeManno Biological Sciences 
Mandy Frantti Mathematics
Monica Hahn College of Business
Angela Hammond* Geological Engineering
Amberlee Haselhuhn* Materials Science & Engineering
Sally Heidtke Chemical Engineering
Cynthia Hodges Mechanical Engineering
Jean Kampe Materials Sciences & Engineering
Michelle Edith Jarvie-Eggart Civil & Environmental Engineering / Engineering Fundamentals 
Jaclyn Johnson* Mechanical Engineering – Engineering Mechanics
Britta Jost Mechanical Engineering
Kim Lobdell* Civil Engineering
Christine Manninen Biological Sciences
Adrienne Minerick Chemical Engineering
Heidi Mueller Mechanical Engineering
Leanne Panduren Civil Engineering
Christine Roberts MechanicalEngineering & Biomedical Engineering
Kristin Schourek Biological Sciences
Jennifer Shute Mechanical Engineering 
Rebecca Smits Geological Engineering
Birgit Sorgenfrei Electrical & Computer Engineering
Jennifer Trice* Mechanical Engineering 
Karin Buckland Van Dyke Forestry

*Indicates 2021 inductee