Protect. Preserve. Advance. Great Lakes Research Center

Deploy under-ice robots. Study lake ecology and fish biology. Capture sonar images with underwater autonomous vehicles. Investigate aerosol chemistry and how warm winters impact coastal food supplies.

Inside the Great Lakes Research Center (GLRC), biologists, geologists, engineers, chemists, geospatial information science specialists, and social scientists work together with students and staff along Michigan Tech’s Innovation Shore.

Great Lakes Research Center
Great Lakes Research Center at Michigan Technological University

The four-story, 50,000-square-foot center has a boathouse for the University’s nine surface and sub-surface research vessels and environmental monitoring buoy network, a complex of research laboratories, faculty, staff and student offices, and a public area that includes conference facilities and space for K-12 education. Eight laboratories are tailored for different research topics that relate to the Great Lakes, including invasive species, fish ecology, sediments, remote sensing, and atmospheric science.

“What we learn here can be both scaled and transferred to the world, creating opportunities far beyond the Great Lakes,” says the Center’s Director Guy Meadows. “We bring scientists together for freshwater research on the shores of the Laurentian Great Lakes Basin to be a leader in aquatic science, engineering, technology, and policy.”

Meadows says one of the Center’s most important functions is to educate the scientists, engineers, technologists, policymakers, and stakeholders of tomorrow about the Great Lakes basin. The Center for Science and Environmental Outreach provides K–12 student, teacher, and community education/outreach programs.

With the Center’s outreach programs to elementary students, Meadows says they are working to create the next generation of scientists.

“We need to engage them with the concept that science can be fun before the eighth grade and hold their interest through college.” Last year the Center’s outreach programs reached more than 13,000 students, teachers, community, and family members.

To maintain the Center and the research taking place, support is needed. Meadows says fellowships support graduate and undergraduate students who are conducting research about the Great Lakes. “They are the next generation of leaders and scientists who are working across all science frontiers to solve multidisciplinary problems. We need to help recruit the best and brightest and retain them at Michigan Tech to provide educational opportunities for the next generation of Great Lakes and freshwater scientists, engineers, and policy makers.”

Beyond fellowships for students, creating an endowment for the Center’s operations would allow new research to address the challenges facing the Great Lakes. “An endowment would support leadership development, advanced capabilities, and collective efforts to make a positive and purposeful impact on the Great Lakes and the region.”

The Center’s custom fleet of research vessels launch right from campus on the Keweenaw Waterway—the open waters of Lake Superior are just a few miles away. Due to its heavy use, the Center’s main vessel, the R/V Agassiz soon will need two new engines. The vessel is used for research, education, and outreach, making two to three class trips per day, several days per week and has been doing so for the past 15 years.

Meadows says they would like to build the research vessel fleet by being the first university to operate a fully autonomous research vessel adding an 18-foot-long driverless science ship. This autonomous surface vessel (ASV) would not need a crew onboard and can operate continuously for up to five days, 24 hours a day. This would allow Tech to pioneer and perform aquatic research.“We take Great Lakes science and bring computers, autonomous vehicles, engineering, and cybersecurity together for practical use.”

Superior, the University’s high performance computing cluster, provides researchers with new computational tools to predict wind, wave, and current patterns in all five Great Lakes. Scientists also can better predict complex processes by building models of nutrients, harmful algae blooms, and transport paths of invasive species and pollutants. Computing clusters like Superior are needed to look to the future. “What will the Great Lakes be like in 50 years? What decisions do we make today to preserve this resource? The GLRC is built upon the latest technology, the most advanced research, and the best scientists and engineers. Our vision is to sustain this excellence.”

Learn how you can support the Great Lakes Research Center. Contact Director Guy Meadows,, 906-487-1106.

Your Family Letter

Writing a letter to your family is an excellent way to provide key information to your family after your passing while sharing with them a personal message of love and wisdom. Learn how to create your family letter as part of the estate planning process.

Please visit our website at for free estate planning tools.  

Email to request our new brochure, Your Guide to Effective Giving After Tax Reform.



Did you know you can make a gift to Michigan Tech and receive fixed income for life?

A charitable gift annuity is a giving vehicle that allows you to enjoy tax benefits and an income stream in exchange for your gift of cash or appreciated assets. Learn more about life income gifts or use our gift planning calculator.

Please visit our website at for free estate planning tools. 

Email to request our new brochure, Your Guide to Effective Giving After Tax Reform.

Health and Wealth: 10 Mistakes to Avoid

Street signs for Health and WealthStart with a plan for your health and wealth by exploring this roadmap provided by Northern Trust and their partner, Pinnacle Health.*

With many tips on how to make good decisions when it comes to your health and wealth, experts also believe it’s important to point out common and avoidable health care and financial wealth mistakes.

Health Care Missteps
 1. Not having a plan – not preparing for age-related health issues
 2. Not knowing your or your family’s health history
 3. Not having swift access to key medical records
 4. Being passive or withholding questions during doctor visits
 5. Ignoring lifestyle factors proven to affect health, vitality and longevity (e.g., smoking,
     weight, exercise)
 6. Ignoring symptoms, therefore preventing early detection
 7. Allowing a busy professional life to prevent you from vital screenings (e.g., mammograms,
 8. Getting only one opinion in the case of a serious diagnosis
 9. Traveling without medical preparation
10. Being unaware of rapidly changing medical advances

Financial Missteps
 1. Not having a financial plan until a crisis happens
 2. Not having (monitoring) a good credit history
 3. Not having a sufficient cash reserve
 4. Letting someone else “take care of the finances” without your review or awareness
 5. Inadequate, or inappropriate, health, life, disability, property and casualty insurance
 6. Living beyond your means
 7. Chasing the “hottest” investments
 8. Improper beneficiary designations on retirement plans and life insurance
 9. Not updating estate documents as life events occur
10. Not reviewing your income taxes annually

For more information on providing for your family and planning for your future, please visit our website at for free tools. 

Northern Trust manages the Michigan Tech Fund endowment and other investments and offers this information as an educational service. This article used with permission from Northern Trust.

Gifts of Appreciated Securities

For years, you have carefully invested and watched your savings grow. What took a lifetime to build can be instantly lost through capital gains tax when you sell. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Rather than sell your stock, consider giving some of it to the Michigan Tech Fund. You won’t pay any taxes and you receive an income tax deduction for your gift.

Benefits to you:

AVOID capital gains taxes on the sale of your appreciated assets.

RECEIVE an income tax deduction for the full amount of your gift.

GIVE more this year without impacting your cash flow.

CAPTURE the value of your stock and end the worrying about market ups and downs.

PUT your gift to work right away for the Michigan Tech programs you care about most.

Gifting appreciated securities in place of cash may be a smart philanthropic and tax-wise alternative. You can learn more about giving stock to Michigan Tech

Invest, Plan, Provide for Your Future

As a young alum you are on your way to great success in life. And, time is your greatest asset in terms of investing and planning for your future. One of the best things you can do right now is consider the steps you will take to provide for yourself, your family, and causes that are important to you.  Small steps you can take today:

  • Name beneficiaries for your retirement plan assets and life insurance.
  • Designate Pay on Death or Transfer on Death beneficiaries for your investments, checking or savings accounts.

For more information on providing for your family and planning for your future, please visit our website at for free tools.  

Northern Trust manages the Michigan Tech Fund endowment and other investments and offers this information as an educational service.

Eleven Reasons to Update Your Estate Plan

You’ve completed your estate plan and health care directives and put all the documents in a safe place. You’re done! Or are you? One thing we know for sure, is that change is constant and changes in your life can impact your estate plan.

Estate plans are affected by changes in the value of your assets, changes in your family, and potentially by changes in federal or state law. Therefore, it’s a good idea for you to sit down with your attorney every three to five years and review your plan. Given all the potential areas that can change, it’s quite likely that you may wish to modify some portion of the plan.

Here are a number of reasons to consider revising or updating your plan.

  1. New children, grandchildren, or other heirs
  2. Move to a different state
  3. Sale or purchase of a major asset
  4. Reaching age 70½
  5. Your selected beneficiary is deceased
  6. Divorce or remarriage
  7. Substantial change in value of your estate
  8. Adding a major property to a living trust
  9. Selected executor or trustee is no longer available
  10. You’re considering a bequest for Michigan Tech or other charities
  11. Your planning was done before the estate tax laws/thresholds were changed in 2017.

Now is the perfect time to review your estate plan – or if you don’t have one, to get started. Many of the documents you have gathered to file your income tax return may be useful in reviewing your plan. Please visit our website at for free estate planning tools.

Email to request our new brochure, Your Guide to Effective Giving After Tax Reform.

Don’t have a will? You are not alone!

Fewer than half of American adults have a will. Act today to provide for and protect your family first, and then provide for charity.

The good news is that you can provide for the people and causes most important to you by taking simple steps now. Creating your plan for the future can be easy and enjoyable and can be customized to meet your personal and charitable goals.

While an attorney should always draft your will, we can help demystify the process and prepare you for meeting with your attorney with these simple steps.

  • Itemize your assets

Take a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle. On the left side, write something you own. On the right side, write the name or names of the person(s) you wish to receive that item or asset.

  • Organize your estate

Make the process of organizing your estate and plans even easier by requesting our free wills guide. This fill-in-the-blank guide walks you through the process of gathering information about what you own, your family, and your goals.

  • Write down questions

Consider practical questions, such as, “If I give my house to my adult son and my adult daughter, what will they do with it? If you come up with a question that you can’t seem to find a solution for, make a note to ask your attorney.

  • Review your plans for family

You can give some assets to family members right away and to others over time. Ask us how you can provide an income stream or a lump sum to a loved one and achieve your personal and inheritance goals.

  • Consider charity

Remember to include any charities that are important to you in your plan. If you have given during life, then consider providing for these organizations through your estate. Ask us about plans like charitable remainder trusts and gift annuities that can help your family and Michigan Tech later.

  • Visit your attorney

Bring the information you have gathered and questions to your estate planning attorney. Your attorney can draft a will or trust that will achieve your goals. You complete the plan through a simple signing process. Learn more about how to find an estate planning attorney

  • Update your plan

Update your estate plan as your financial situation, taxes, and life changes. Marriages, births, and deaths are all events that may make you want you to revise your plans.

Now is the perfect time to get started on your estate plan. Many of the documents you have gathered to file your income tax return may be useful in reviewing your plan. Please visit our website at for free estate planning tools.  

Email to request our new brochure, Your Guide to Effective Giving After Tax Reform.

Bill Jackson ’58, Provided Lasting Impact to Michigan Tech

jackson-william-personnelMichigan Tech is mourning William “Bill” G. Jackson, who passed away peacefully on March 1 in Scottsdale Arizona. Jackson graduated from Michigan Tech in 1958 with a BS in Electrical Engineering. His generosity is a perfect example of the impact a single individual can have. Jackson made multiple transformational gifts that continue to make a lasting and dramatic positive impact on campus.

Jackson’s first gift to Tech was made in July of 1973. He and his wife, Gloria, continued supporting the University with numerous gifts over the years. These gifts supported departments and initiatives including the Annual Fund, the Class of ’58 Endowed Scholarship, the Industrial Archeology Program, and the Rozsa Center. The couple made their first major gift when they established the William and Gloria Jackson Endowed Scholarship in 1998. This provided scholarships for undergraduate students majoring in electrical engineering, with preference given to graduates of Calumet High School, which provided Jackson, who remembers his roots, with a start in life that he continued to value.

In 2006 Jackson was presented with the Distinguished Alumni Award, the Alumni Board of Director’s highest honor, for his professional achievements, for being a model of the entrepreneurial spirit, for being a champion of higher education, and for bringing distinction to Michigan Technological University.

And still Jackson continued giving. Another major gift, given with his late wife Gloria in 2007, established the William and Gloria Jackson Professorship Endowed Fund which focused on bridging information technology and entrepreneurship. The gift arose from Gloria’s strong belief in the power of endowments and Bill’s strong respect and appreciation of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. The generous gift both established and provided recruiting funds for the endowed professorship now held by Dr. Timothy Havens, associate professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering and Computer Science and director of the Data Sciences graduate program and ICC Center for Data Sciences.

Dr. Havens says the William and Gloria Jackson position invaluable. “It provides funds for the Jackson Fellowship that I use to recruit exceptional graduate students. These students are able to work on higher risk/higher reward research, which is beneficial for both the student and also myself. Brian Flanagan, an accelerated master’s student, is the Jackson Fellow and is investigating how advanced data science can be used to predict maintenance in large fleets of vehicles.” This project has allowed Havens to build a new collaboration with Ford.

But Jackson wasn’t done yet. Another major gift, in spring 2013, made dramatic changes almost immediately and continues to support students and instructors. The William G. Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning, on the Van Pelt and Opie Library’s second floor, was constructed. It includes spaces and equipment for faculty training on new teaching methods and technologies including assessment, recorded lectures, and the Canvas learning management system. Though novelties at the time, all now enjoy widespread, effective use in Michigan Tech classes, and more than half of Michigan Tech instructors connect with the Jackson CTL annually for training and support.

In 2013, Jackson’s gift established a secure testing center that allowed local administration of the fundamentals of engineering and other commercial exams as well as support for accommodated exams. Demand for the use of this center has grown exponentially resulting in a summer 2016 expansion (also supported by the gift). In its first fall semester, about 70 exams were administered; today, it’s not uncommon for the center to give that number in a single day, with semester totals approaching 3,000.

Jackson’s gift helped to install lecture capture capabilities in 20 university classrooms, another trend that has continued to grow. (There are now 38.) During fall 2017, more than 5,000 hours of video was reviewed by students, with captures in over 100 different sections. The Jackson gift has provided much needed technology upgrades in several university classrooms, and fully supported the creation of the 60-seat Jackson Active Learning Center in the basement of Rekhi Hall which is tailored to the blended learning classroom model.

Jackson believed the most important impact were the opportunities his gifts created for people. In addition to providing initial full support of the testing center coordinator position, the gift has funded more than 20 blended learning and online curriculum development grants for instructors in almost all Michigan Tech departments. His gift provided the basis for an equipment loan program, and the impetus to begin a program that helps instructors learn how to teach online.

When Jackson visited campus in July 2014 to celebrate the opening of the Center that bore his name, Director Mike Meyer was especially struck by Bill’s humility, his desire to make a lasting difference, and his people focus.

“Bill brought two of his grandchildren along to the open house event,” Meyer says. “It was clear that his family was of paramount importance to him, and he wanted the kids to see the Center and understand his legacy. After a tour of both the CTL and the Testing Center his gift had created and a chance to visit with many of the instructors supported through grants, I tried to thank Jackson formally for his gift. Bill’s humble response? ‘It’s just great to have good people to put the money to work.’”

Bill and his family can rest assured Michigan Tech will continue to treasure his legacy. His transformational gifts will help students and instructors at Michigan Tech for many years to come.

Making an Impact. Creating the Future. Ron ’77 ’80 and Linda Staley

Ron and Linda Staley with their North American T-6 Advanced Trainer.
Ron and Linda Staley with their North American T-6 Advanced Trainer.

Helping to attract and develop the best educators for engineering management at Michigan Technological University is one of the reasons Ron and Linda Staley have made a recent gift to the School of Business and Economics.

The couple created the Staley Endowed Faculty Fellow for the continued growth of the new Bachelor of Science in Engineering Management degree.

“A single scholarship can make a major difference to a single student, allowing the financial means to achieve their college education,” Staley says. “However, that great professor who really helps you learn, who inspires you, whose knowledge sharing can turn into something special and be a path for your future career, that professor is the game changer to potentially hundreds of students. Linda and I appreciate those who make their career in educating our future leaders and want to help support those individuals at MTU.”

Staley says when classmate and Professor Dana Johnson and Dean Johnson, dean of the School of Business and Economics, shared their vision for the new degree program, he saw great potential for students.

To Staley, it is exactly the path Michigan Tech helped him create when he earned an associate’s degree in civil engineering technology in 1977 and a bachelor’s degree in business administration in 1980.

“A degree in engineering management can be used in so many engineering fields that I wanted to support the program,” Staley says. “It’s that combination of technical knowledge and business acumen that I believe is so important to all engineers.”

Working on engines, old cars, and motorcycles led Staley to a career in engineering. He has worked for more than 30 years with The Christman Company where he specializes in historic preservation for monumental buildings. He serves as the Senior Vice President, Regional Manager for Southeast Michigan, and Executive Director of Historic Preservation.

Staley has worked on state capitols in Michigan, Maryland, and Virginia, President Lincoln’s Cottage in Washington DC, the US Capitol Building, projects in Morocco, Poland, and most recently, to Cuba to work on Ernest Hemingway’s historic Finca Vigia. Other memorable work includes Henry Ford’s Fair Lane estate and multiple projects for the National Park Service in Calumet.

His time at Tech taught him to work hard and that helped define his life. “I had these great technical skills that allowed me to open doors for unique opportunities. But it was the business background that developed those opportunities into a career.”

Giving back to his alma mater that shaped his education and career is important to the couple.

“I’m not ready to retire anytime soon, but Linda and I talked extensively and while we’ve always planned that Michigan Tech would be in our estate planning, it was this new degree program that helped us really say ‘we can make a difference.’”

Dr. Dean Johnson, Dean of the School of Business and Economics, says gifts like the Staley’s are transformational for students and faculty.

“The School has been blessed through Ron and Linda’s contributions of their time and student scholarships,” Johnson says. “Today the Ron and Linda Staley Endowed Faculty Fellow position propel the School of Business and Economics forward in delivering the premier technology-infused experiential business education in the Midwest.”

Staley said he and Linda hope their endowment donation helps Michigan Tech’s engineering management program grow.

“Everyone has the opportunity to help the next generation coming through the great portals of MTU,” Staley says. “We are happy to be in a position which allows us to make this commitment.”

When Staley made his first gift to Michigan Tech in 1983, he sent his support to the School of Business and Economics, said Eric Halonen, Assistant Vice President for Advancement. “With that first gift, Staley showed he was supportive and appreciative of his Tech education,” he said. “Since then he has continued to grow and establish his giving, most recently with his and Linda’s generous estate planning gift.”

The Staley’s also support the School of Business and Economics with the establishment of a new engineering management scholarship for incoming students. This endowed scholarship will recognize an outstanding first-year student in the engineering management major.

Outside of the office, Staley enjoys adventure. He is a pilot and owns three airplanes: a WWII-era North American T-6 Advanced Trainer, a 1981 Russian Aero L-39 jet, and a Cessna 414. The couple enjoys traveling across the globe including trips to Thailand, Greece, Italy, Europe, and Mexico.

He and Linda live in Brighton, Michigan and have two married children and two grandchildren.  In 2017, Staley was inducted into the School’s Academy of Business and joined the Engineering and Supply Chain Management Industry Advisory Board.