by Dean Johnson, Dean, College of Business
We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of Joel Tuoriniemi, professor of practice in accounting in the College of Business, on Tuesday (Sept. 19).
An open memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. on Sunday (Sept. 24) at the Hidden Pine Barn, next to the Erickson Crowley Funeral Home on Pine Street in Calumet, Michigan. The Tuoriniemi family welcomes all members of the Michigan Tech community to attend, especially Joel’s current and former students.
Joel would often tell his students that he didn’t see teaching as a job; he simply showed up on campus each morning to do what he loved most — which was being with his students, all day, every day. “And,” he would say, “for some reason the University continues to put money in my bank account for it.”
Joel approached all situations by saying, “If we ask what is in the best interests of the students, the answer on what to do is usually obvious.” He would simply tell everyone, “Just be nice.”
Joel is remembered by his colleagues and students for his dedication to always providing whatever was needed to benefit students. He often proclaimed he had the best job in the world, and it showed in his passion for teaching. His rhinoceros tattoo reminded him how to approach every class.
A native of the Keweenaw, Joel received his bachelor’s in business, concentration in accounting, from Michigan Tech in 1994, and his juris doctorate from Michigan State University in 1997. He completed postdoctoral studies in accounting at the University of Florida.
Joel started at Michigan Tech as an instructor in 2001, teaching Foundations of Taxation. As time went on, he also picked up Business Law, which was a perfect fit given his JD. In 2006, he was hired full-time as an assistant professor of business law, and in 2014 he became a professor of practice in accounting. His teaching ability spanned from introductory accounting to the MBA and MSA, to the Applied Portfolio Management Program. He conducted research in taxation, financial statement analysis and contractual bargaining power.
Joel earned the University’s Distinguished Teaching Award and the College of Business Teaching Award, and was a member of the University’s Academy of Teaching Excellence. He held memberships in the American Taxation Association and Taxation Section of the Michigan Bar Association, and was the Ed and Betty Robinson Faculty Fellow in Accounting. In 2020, President Koubek appointed Joel as the MTU faculty athletics representative.
Joel’s office reflected the important items in his life: photos of his wife Julianne ’95 and children Wyatt, Hanna and Hunter; thank-you cards from students; hockey and golf memories; accounting and APMP posters; and a Keweenaw County map.