Early in the Fall Semester 2021

September 16, 2021

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

Our Fall semester is off to a wonderful start! The beautiful summer weather we had has continued into the Fall with abundant sunshine and mild temperatures. My family and I enjoyed a great afternoon of Huskies Football last Saturday at the recently dedicated “Sherman Field and Kearly Stadium”, which features a brand-new artificial turf field. Alas the Huskies fell 12-9 to Division I opponent St. Thomas. It was great to see the Husky Pep Band at full strength on the field.

Our aggressive recruiting efforts paid off with the largest freshman class (1480 students) since 1982 on campus, up more than 20% from last year and increasing our overall campus enrollment by more than 2%. Our president has laid out an ambitious growth agenda to get us to 10,000 students, and this large (and extremely gifted and diverse!) class is a great start along the way. Enrollment in the College of Sciences and Arts has been growing steadily for the last four years, and we are planning a large digital marketing campaign this Fall targeting some of our exciting new programs.

Two of these programs include our new BS in Human Factors, which is a sort of combination of psychology, computer science and engineering. Another is our recently introduced BS in Sustainability Science and Society. We are also targeting students interested in health careers, including medical school, dental school and physical therapy.

More than 95% of our classes this semester are face to face at full capacity. It is wonderful to see our beautiful campus once again full of students and to meet in person with all my colleagues. We are still working hard to keep our students and staff safe. Wastewater testing continues to show very low presence of COVID on campus, and we offer walk-in testing on campus, supported by our own campus testing lab.

Let me close by highlighting the achievements of Steve Techtmann, one of our star young faculty members in Biological Sciences. Steve was recently awarded the 2021 Future Insight Prize by Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, a leading science and technology company, along with research collaborator Ting Lu, professor of bioengineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. The prize is one million euros for unrestricted support of research. Techtmann is an environmental microbiologist who studies how microbes could be used to convert plastic waste into safe and edible proteins. His work has also been supported by several million dollars of funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). I had the opportunity to tour his lab and was blown away by his work!

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. They will play an even bigger role over the next year with decreased state support expected. 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.