Category: Air Force ROTC

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

The calendar shows May, but schools are closed today as a late-season snowstorm hits the Upper Peninsula. Fortunately, it held off long enough to not affect travel for our graduates and their families this past weekend. Our growing enrollment meant that, for the first time ever, we held a separate commencement ceremony for our graduate students on Friday afternoon, followed by an undergraduate ceremony Saturday morning. More than 170 College of Sciences and Arts students walked across the stage, earning bachelors, masters, and PhD degrees from our more than three dozen degree programs. It was a truly joyous occasion and, with the hockey arena packed, I expect we will continue with the separate undergraduate ceremony each spring going forward.

Michigan Tech graduate shakes Rick Koubek's hand during springtime commencement 2023
One of the 170 Science and Arts grads receiving a degree

Friday evening was the emotional commissioning ceremony for our Army and Air Force ROTC program, where we celebrated our nation’s newest second lieutenants. Celebrating our students’ accomplishments is one of my favorite jobs as dean.

Graduation also means the final Board of Trustees (BOT) meeting of the year. While we are all saddened by the recent closure of Finlandia University, we are excited that we have managed to, on very short notice, essentially move their nursing program into our Department of Biological Sciences. With the BOT approving this last week, we look forward to welcoming students in the Fall. Also at the BOT meeting, ten CSA faculty received final approval for granting of tenure or promotion to full professor!

Medical Lab Science graduates at Spring Commencement

Of course, summer means travel, and faculty in CSA are the campus leaders in leading students on study abroad and study away experiences. Three of our Visual and Performing Arts faculty, Lisa Gordillo and Mary and Kent Cyr, are leading students to Vienna, Prague and Dresden, including an opportunity to attend the famous “Prague Quadrennial,” one of the largest international festivals of theatre, design, and architecture in the world. Other students will travel to Germany, including Dresden and Leipzig, under the direction of our Humanities Assistant Teaching Professor Stephanie Rowe.

Social Sciences faculty Kat Hannum and Mark Rhodes will lead students on a 20-day Amtrak adventure across the United States, studying sustainable tourism. Finally, Social Sciences faculty Dan Trepal will lead students to study history and archaeology in Cumbria in the United Kingdom.

ROTC graduate raises right hand to take the oath
A new second lieutenant takes the oath

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. In particular, support to defray the additional costs of studying abroad is much needed. Thank you so much for supporting Michigan Tech! For CSA giving opportunities please visit:

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 to share your MTU experience or offer suggestions.

Best wishes,
David Hemmer
Dean- College of Sciences and Arts

Greetings and Happy Veteran’s Day from the College of Sciences and Arts at Michigan Tech!

SSgt Shaniqua S. McKnight, Dean Hemmer, and Lt. Col. Joseph C. Pulliam ready to take flight

November 11, 2021

One of the interesting parts of my job is that the College of Sciences and Arts includes our departments of Military Science and Aerospace Studies, i.e. our Army and Air Force ROTC programs. While our cadets hail from majors across the university, for academic purposes the programs are housed in CSA and the commanders, Major Gwosch from Army and LTC Pulliam from Air Force, bring a unique perspective to our College Council.

A flight out with Air Force and Army ROTC

On October 28 they invited me to join a large group of Air Force cadets and cadre, and a smaller group of Army cadets, on an “incentive flight” that rewards them for their performance. The Michigan Air National Guard flew in two KC-135 Stratotankers to Marquette. We had planned to refuel F16s and an A-10 that would take off from Wisconsin but, to my surprise, they were unable to take off due to icing conditions! (“The F16s are great in the desert,” quipped LTC Pulliam) Undaunted, we had a wonderful flight, circling Mackinac Island at low altitude, flying all the way back to campus, and then back to Marquette. Our plane hit a flock of birds just before we landed, sending the other plane screaming back up in the air to circle around and leaving the crew stranded in Marquette for the night until the engines could be inspected. The co-pilot was a great Tech alum who currently flies for Delta airlines.

The wonderful support we give to our military was one of the things that drew me to Michigan Tech, and our cadets continue to make us proud. Most recently business student Caleb Brulke was named the number one Army cadet in the nation! Read more here:

Dr. Datta receives major grant to research toxin reduction

With everyone back on campus, I have resumed my efforts to hear about each of our faculty member’s research. I recently visited the lab of Biology Professor Rupali Datta. Dr. Datta is one of the stars of our department, an expert in plant biochemistry and molecular biology. She recently received a $700,000+ grant from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development to continue her incredible research on using various plants to absorb toxic metals like lead and arsenic in the soil. Her work has been applied in settings ranging from backyards in New Jersey to former mine sites in the Southwest and, closer to home, to the land where the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community grows wild rice.

Dr. Datta recently received a large grant from HUD

Thank You for your support

Critical to everything we do, including the success of our ROTC programs, 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: