For the week of August 8, 2005

From the 6th floor

Have you gotten tired of me writing about the great summer we've been experiencing in Marquette? If so, stop reading right now because that's all the following paragraph is going to be about. We are coming off two absolutely gorgeous beach days. (Well, it might be more than two in a row but because I work Monday-Friday, I was only able to enjoy Saturday and Sunday.) Temperatures have been in the high '80s with plenty of sunshine. Most are saying this has been the hottest summer they can remember. But if you talk to TV 6 Meteorologist Karl Bohnak, he will tell you those people have very short memories. While it seems as if it's been warmer this summer than it's been in a long time, in 2002, the month of July was actually, on the average, one degree warmer every day. Overall, 1988 was the warmest summer on record. But those records only date back to 1962. Unofficially, the summer of 1933 was the all-time hottest summer ever.


Northern Michigan University has gone from green and gold to blue and white as host location for Finn Grand Fest 2005. Thousands of visitors are expected in Marquette County throughout the week to take part in activities. Finn Grand Fest 2005 is a joint U.S. and Canadian Finnish festival with hundreds of opportunities to get immersed into the Finnish culture through lectures, programs, film, books, plays, sporting events, religious gatherings, arts and crafts, food, vendors, and music. One of the most unique aspects of Finn Grand Fest: the painted chairs. This activity is completely unique to Marquette's festival and organizers hope to have 2,005 blue and white chairs scattered around town to welcome visitors. I'm not sure what the current chair count is, but it seems to me that we have at least 2,005 chairs on campus alone. As you can see above from the 6th floor photo, chairs line the entryway to campus. For those of you not familiar with the painted chair project, it began in 1996, the first time Marquette hosted Finn Fest. The organizing committee wanted a way to welcome visitors to town and came upon the chair idea. Painters used the chairs as a way to honor their family’s immigrant story either through decopaging family photos on the chairs or through free hand art. In addition to being spread out around campus, chairs are popping up all over town. While many families keep their chairs after the festival, those that are left are sold at an auction.

Read more about Finn Grand Fest 2005.

Legislative update

While decisions about Michigan's budget aren't expected to take place until the state legislature reconvenes at the end of August, there may be reason for hope. Recent news articles have reported an increase in state revenues. That may be a positive sign for those areas that were looking at taking significant hits under current budget proposals. In a related note, Rep. Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba, and Sen. Mike Goschka, R-Brant, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Higher Education Subcommittee, were on the campus last week. According to the Marquette Mining Journal, Casperson had been encouraging Goschka to visit Northern and reassess his position on cutting Northern's budget. The original House budget proposed to cut Northern's funding by 31 percent over the next six years. The Senate budget plan calls for a 10 percent cut for one year. Of Michigan's 15 universities, only Northern and Wayne State University were slated for budget cuts.
"NMU President Les Wong, who has been a gentleman through this whole process, and Casperson have made a very strong, impassioned plea to me to reconsider, reassess and to think through not just the higher education component - because it's bigger than that. It's an entire community economy," Goschka told the Mining Journal.
Goschka has not committed to restoring NMU's funding, but said his opinion has been influenced.

Meanwhile, the NMU Board of Trustees met Friday, August 5, and approved a general fund operating budget of $93.3 million for fiscal year 2006, a decrease of $1.4 million from the previous year. The planning scenario used to develop the university's budget assumed a state appropriation decrease of $888,000, which is based on Gov. Jennifer Granholm's executive proposal. But the legislative process continues and a state budget remains to be finalized.
"We had to approve this plan today because Northern's fiscal year began on July 1 and the university needs to be able to move forward in preparation for the upcoming academic year," said Karl Weber, NMU board chair. "Northern's budget may have to be revised at a later date once the final state appropriation amount is determined, but it was developed around the administration's best guess as to what that will be." 

Seven to be inducted into NMU Sports Hall of Fame

Seven new members will be inducted in the NMU Sports Hall of Fame in conjunction with Homecoming Weekend 2005, September 16-17.
The induction dinner and ceremony will take place Friday, Sept. 16 in the Great Lakes Rooms of the Don H. Bottum University Center.
Social hour begins at 6:30 p.m., dinner at 7:30 p.m.and the induction program at 8:15 p.m.
Tickets are $18.50 for adults, $10 for children. Reservations are required.
Tickets can be purchased at the Superior Dome Ticket Office.
For additional information, contact the NMU Athletic Office at 227-2105.
This year's inductees are:

Steve Avery ‘89
A four-year letter winner with the football Wildcats, Steve had a stellar career on the gridiron. He holds the NMU record for yards rushing in a career with 3,842. Each year of his four seasons with the ‘Cats, Steve led the team in rushing. In 1987, Steve was named the GLIAC Player of the Year and an All-American, honorable mention. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in business management, Steve went on to live his childhood dream of playing in the National Football League. From 1993-95, he played with the Pittsburgh Steelers team when they won three AFC Central Division championships, one AFC Championship and took on the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl XXX. Since retiring from the NFL in 1997, Steve has been involved in the financial services industry. He is currently regional marketing director for The Hartford/PLANCO. Steve and his wife, Sandy, live in Cranberry Township, Pa., and have three children.

William Hamor ‘64
Bill earned four letters as a two-way tackle with the 1960-63 Wildcat Football teams. During his time on the squad, NMU compiled a 24-10-2 record. Bill was truly an unsung hero. While small in stature, he outplayed many bigger and stronger athletes. After receiving a bachelor’s degree from Northern and his master’s from Eastern Michigan University, Bill began a long and productive teaching and coaching career. He coached the Beverly, Massachusetts High School football team for 26 years, seeing it through its most successful decade. His 1988 Panther squad was 10-0 and went to the Division II Super Bowl. He is a former Boston Globe “Coach of the Year” and five-time Salem Evening News “Coach of the Year”. Bill was inducted into the Massachusetts High School Football Coaches Hall of Fame in 1999 and the Beverly High School Hall of Fame in 2003. Bill is retired and lives in Beverly, Mass. with his wife, Carrol.

Bill Harris
Bill earned four varsity letters in basketball and was the team’s Most Valuable Player three of those four years. He is the all-time leading scorer with 2,224 points and is the all-time, single season scoring leader with 763 points. Bill also holds records for the most career field goals (856), the best career free throw average (84.4% - 387 of 458), highest scoring senior (763 points), best free throw average in one season (89.7% -113 of 126).

Joan Peto Hopkins
Joan Peto Hopkins was hired in 1977 as the inaugural women’s swimming coach at Northern. After an initial disappointing season of 1-6, Joan went on to lead the Wildcats to an impressive string of seven Top Ten national team finishes, including second place in the NCAA Division II Championship in 1982. This is the highest finish of any NMU women’s swimming team in the NCAA or AIAW championships to date. In her nine-year tenure at Northern, her teams produced eight Division II national champions and 34 Division II All-Americans. In 1982, the College Swimming Coaches Association recognized Hopkins as the Division II “National Swimming Coach of the Year”. For the past 19 years, Joan has held the position of coordinator of the Bratzke Student-Athlete Academic Success Center at Eastern Kentucky University. She and her two daughters reside in Richmond, Ky.

Randy Meier ‘82
Randy was a four-year letter winner on the NMU wrestling squad. He had a career record of 114-38-1 with 32 falls. He earned All-American honors at 142 pounds in 1979 when he was fifth in the NCAA-II finals. He was the 1982 co-captain and was fourth at 152 pounds at the national meet. Randy graduated with a bachelor’s degree in education and began a successful 20-year coaching career. After three seasons at Marquette Senior High School, he was appointed head wrestling coach at Fulton High School in 1988, resurrecting the program from a seven-year absence. In 16 seasons, he coached 44 state qualifiers, 24 state place winners and 11 state champions. During the 1992-93 season, his team ranked 10 th in the state. In 1997-98, the team won the district and regional championships and was Division IV state runners-up. His honors include Lansing Area “Coach of the Year” as well as Division IV “Coach of the Year”. Randy retired from coaching after the 2004 season and is currently a physical education instructor. He and his wife, Sue ’87, live in Riverdale, Mich., with their three children.

Keith Nelsen '86

A four-year letter winner in football, Keith was a two-year starter at quarterback for the Wildcats. He still holds a number of individual records, including total offense in a season and total offense in a game. Keith was team captain and Most Valuable Player in 1985. Following graduation with a bachelor’s degree in finance, he earned his juris doctorate at the University of Wisconsin Law School. Keith spent several years in private practice, before taking on the position of vice president, legal for NordicTrack, Inc. In 1997, Keith was recruited by Danka Business Systems PLC and became associate general counsel. Danka, a provider of office printing solutions and services, operates in over 20 countries and is headquartered in London, England, and Tampa, Fla. In the past eight years, Keith has received a series of promotions within the company and currently serves as chief administrative officer and general counsel. He and his wife, Katherine, live in Tampa with their two children.

Gary Shanley ‘64
Gary competed in two sports while at Northern, football and track, earning six letters. He was a member of the 1960 track team that won the N.A.I.A. State Championship. As a member of the football squad, Gary played both offense and defense. After graduation from Northern, Gary began a 30-year career in education. In addition to his classroom work, Gary coached high school football during those years. His record at Indian River Inland Lakes includes a 24-game winning streak, two undefeated seasons and one state championship. He was named Class D “Coach of the Year” in 1972. Gary was instrumental in the development of a new football field for Inland Lakes, a field that was eventually named “Shanley Field” in his honor. Gary is a member of the Michigan High School Football Association’s Hall of Fame. He retired from teaching in 1994, but continues to officiate at track meets. Gary and his wife, Lynda, live in Alanson, Mich.

Homecoming not that far away

"Old Hollywood Comes to Northern" has been chosen as the theme of Homecoming 2005, which takes place Sept. 11-17.
Activities begin Sunday with the Dead River games and culminate with the NMU vs. Wayne State football game Saturday at the Superior Dome.

Make your plans to attend now!

In addition to favorite Homecoming celebrations, the United States Olympic Education Center will be celebrating its 20th Anniversary with special events throughout the week.

Check out the schedule.

From the UP to London

Phil Molnar is a 2005 graduate living in London, England. Originally from St. Clair Shores, Phil routinely rides the Tube to and from work. The former Northwind writer is working for a publishing company. We asked him to share some of his thoughts on life in London. He was more than willing to do so and we thank him.

London: Yesterday and Today
"A few hours ago I was on the Tube riding home when I heard a voice over the speaker say, “sorry folks, but there has been a security alert at Stratford station and our train will be delayed for some time.” As I sat in the packed train with my fellow commuters I couldn’t help but reflect on the events of the past month. "

Read Phil's story. Special to "What's New, NMU?".

Thanks for stopping by......

..... Mike Myler '96 of Alliance, OH. Mike is a professor at Mount Union College.

Don't forget...if you're in the Marquette area, stop by and say hello. We're on the 6th floor of the Cohodas, room 603.

From the Email bag

"Deanna, had a great two days in Marquette. I even got to Sunday's Hiawatha concert and enjoyed it immensely. After 20 years any city is bound to change. But what a sad moment to see the Big Boy's had burned. I had that all set in my head as my late night dinner. Monday was an all day work day meeting with Pathways people so I never got the chance to get over to the university. People were pleased to know that I had lived in Marquette...if only for a year. So that was a nice touch. Got to Presque Isle Park for a short hike down memory lane. Never once got near the university or to see the new art museum. But maybe there will be another time. So nice to see Lake Superior again. Thanks for the newsletters."
Doug Veit '84
Craig, Alaska

"Yes, it looks like an old fashioned road trip to Homecoming this year! I'll be there along with John Dobel '76. He's flying in from LA and we're driving up from Columbus on Tuesday, the 13th. It will be the first time either of us has been back to Northern in over 25 years! We'll be sure to stop by your office to check in sometime during the week. See you then."
Mark Clinton '76
Columbus, OH

"Hi Deanna. Sounds like summer heat has reached the U.P. Here in Grand Rapids we had our ninth day at 90 degrees or higher this summer already. In the past two summers I think we've only had one day over 90 degrees. I wish I was back in the U.P. It's got to be cooler than here in G.R. I've got a chance to get to Marquette next month. My buddy wants to check out the Yellow Dog Plains and the proposed location for the new mine. I try and watch the Mining Journal daily for any and all news regarding the mine. I'm very concerned about the environment but I know the local economy could use a boost like this. "
Mark Allan Dykstra '81
Grandville, MI

Have something you want to share? Feedback should be directed to

"What's New, NMU?" is a service of the NMU Alumni Association. Consider joining today!