Category: Giving

Spring (Finally!) Arrives at Michigan Tech

Greetings from the College of Sciences and Arts at Michigan Tech!

Spring arrived in the Copper Country with sunshine and 70+ degree temperatures last week melting away most of the remaining snow. Alas, Spring also brings construction season as the second half of the two-year project on route 41 through town is underway just west of campus, requiring southbound traffic to detour all the way up to Sharon Avenue and down Macinnes Drive.


Spring also brings exciting construction to campus! On April 29 we broke ground on our new $50+ million H-STEM building. This magnificent structure will lie just to the east of the ChemSci building and will host our departments of Biomedical Engineering and Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology as well as the offices of our Health Research Institute. Large numbers of CSA faculty do human health research, and we are all looking forward to the building opening in 2024. You can watch the construction on a live webcam here.

Image of Michigan Tech students sitting on an Amtrak train studying, working and chatting.
Michigan Tech students aboard the rolling Amtrak classroom heading into Glacier National Park.

CSA also leads the way on campus in providing summer study abroad and study away opportunities for our students. Social Sciences faculty member Dr. Mark Rhodes is leading a three-week Amtrak tour of the western U.S. titled “Amtrak Tourism: Trains, Cities, & Sustainability”. See our students experiencing this terrific learning opportunity. Another Social Sciences faculty member, Dr. Richelle Winkler, is taking students to Costa Rica to study global sustainability, Costa Rican culture, and the Spanish language.

Image of Joel Nieves, music director of the Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra.
Joel Nieves Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra Music Director

The end of the semester brought our Spring Board of Trustees meeting and final approval for a dozen faculty promotions in CSA. This year’s batch of dossiers was particularly impressive; our faculty are exceptional in the classroom, in the laboratories, and in performance venues! Indeed, we have three new full professors in Visual and Performing Arts! One of them, Dr. Joel Neves, led the Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra as it celebrated 50 years with a performance of Carmina Burana on April 23. Another, Dr. Jared Anderson, led our choirs during the same performance.


Critical to everything we do are our alumni and friend donors. All your donations to our departments, scholarships, and the general fund are vitally important to our success. Thank you so much for supporting Michigan Tech! Learn more about CSA giving opportunities.

If you are ever back in town I hope you will stop by, say hello, and share with me your MTU story. Please do not hesitate to email me any time at djhemmer@mtu.edu to share your MTU experience or offer suggestions.

Musings on the start of Spring Semester

Greetings from the College of Sciences and Arts at Michigan Tech!

Spring semester started with a frigid blast of snow and ice that closed the K-12 schools for a couple days and unfortunately caused enormous headaches for students trying to get back into town, with multiple flight cancellations and closures of both Route 2 and 28 between here and the Mackinac Bridge. Undaunted, our PE skiing classes got underway as scheduled with below zero temperatures on Monday evening; Tech students are hardy!

In-Person Graduation Ends 2021

Picture of two graduates
Social Sciences MS graduates: Ryan Williams, (MS GIS) and Gary Spikberg (MS IHA)

Before the break we had an in-person graduation ceremony for the first time in two years! It was wonderful to don my regalia and congratulate the graduates walking across the stage in the Wood gym, including about 100 from our College. And, of course, the ceremony ended with a rousing performance from the Husky Pep Band! The graduation ended a successful semester of in-person instructions with only very limited disruptions from COVID. Fingers crossed we can repeat this success the semester without too many Omicron disruptions!

Applications to the College of Sciences and Arts continue to grow

Last Fall we welcomed our largest freshmen class since 1982, and our momentum is continuing with applications for Fall ’22 up 5.5% over last year’s already record-setting number. For the next five months our recruiters, faculty and students will focus relentlessly on convincing our incredible admits to join us in Houghton next Fall. Outreach includes personal notes to students, evening texting events, and some upcoming in-person events in Detroit, Chicago and Minneapolis. If any of our alumni are interested in potentially helping, please let me know. 

New H-STEM building coming soon!

Later this semester we will break ground on our new “H-STEM” building, which will house the departments of Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology and Biomedical Engineering, and the Health Research Institute. Our faculty can’t wait to move into this beautiful space. Find out more here https://www.mtu.edu/h-stem/

Deedra Irwin ’15 to compete in the Olympics

Picture of Deedra Irwin competing in biathlon
2022 U.S. Olympic Biathlon Team member and MTU alum Deedra Irwin

We were excited to learn Deedra Irwin has been named to the 2022 U.S. Olympic Biathlon Team. She was at Michigan Tech from 2010 to 2015 while earning her Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science with a Coaching minor. 

Congratulations to Deedra! We are all wishing her the best of luck when she competes for gold February 5-19 at the 2022 Beijing Olympics in the Zhangjiakou Zone!

A return to teaching

And finally, I am back in the classroom, teaching “Combinatorial Representation Theory” this semester. I’ve always thought it was useful for administrators to teach on occasion, and I’ve greatly enjoyed teaching our students, although I could do without the mask!

Thank you for your continued support

Critical to everything we do are our alumni and friend donors. All your donations to our departments, scholarships, and the general fund are vitally important to our success. Thank you so much for supporting Michigan Tech! For CSA giving opportunities please visit:  https://www.mtu.edu/sciences-arts/giving/

If you are ever back in town I hope you will stop by, say hello, and share with me your MTU story. Please do not hesitate to email me any time at djhemmer@mtu.edu to share your MTU experience or offer suggestions.