The Magazine of the University of Minnesota Duluth
Volume 20, No.1, Winter 2003


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A team of students flaunted the talent of UMD’s Industrial Engineering Department by winning the international design competition at the American Society of Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition in New York City. ASME is a nonprofit organization that focuses on the educational, technical, and research issues of engineering, and sets industrial and manufacturingstandards around the world.

ASME competitions have challenged students to create things like a somersault mechanism, a stair climber, aliquid transport mechanism, a machine that could retrieve rocks from Mars, and other complicated oddities.

This year UMD’s Mike Anderson, Dave Halverson, Mike Lackore, and Joe Higgins were part of an ASME team that designed and constructed a fishing rod that would allow a quadriplegic person to cast a lure. The rod and reel were to be controlled by using a “sip and puff” technology, and were judged on the accuracy of the cast. The assignment was inspired by the lack of outdoor sporting equipment powered by this “sip and puff” technology for persons with disabilities. For instance, a quadriplegic may control a wheelchair by utilizing this technology yet they can’t participate in certain sports in which this technology could easily be applied, like fishing.

The project began in the fall semester of 2000 as the students used trial and error as their method to success. Their design took them to first place in the regional competition in South Dakota, and won them a trip to the ASME competition.

Still, these young men did not stop! After perfecting their product even further, losing bulk and duct tape to present a cleaner more efficient version of their design, they joined 12 university teams from the U.S. and India in the international competition in New York.

Is it that these students are from the land of 10,000 lakes that they were able to create such a capable piece of equipment? After all, Minnesotans have been known to fish in extreme situations. Perhaps their success can be attributed to the superb Industrial Engineering Department at UMD, led by David Wyrick, associate professor and head of the department. All speculations aside, no one is surprised by the brilliance of these minds, or doubts the success of this exceptional university and students.

— Carly Schnedler


The Movie Game, a comedy written by UMD alumnus Adam Hummel, was selected by the American College Theatre Festival (ACTF) to be performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., in April. This marked the fifth time that the UMD Department of Theatre has been selected to present a production at the Kennedy Center. This is the highest honor a college theatre program can receive. The Movie Game was one of only four full-length plays selected from over 600 participating productions nationwide to be performed at the festival.

Several Movie Game student actors were recognized in Washington D.C., as some of the best theatre students in the nation. Adam Hummel won the Region V student playwriting award as well as the national Mark Twain Comedy Playwriting Award for The Movie Game.

In addition, Andrew Bennett was chosen as one of two actors, selected from over 350 students in ACTF Region V, as a finalist for the national Irene Ryan Acting Award. Brook Carl received the Region V Barbizon first place award in makeup design for the Fall 2001 UMD production of Cabaret, and represented Region V at the national festival. Jeffrey Peterson was chosen as the Region V Barbizon first place award winner in scenic design for The Movie Game.


UMD became the first repeat national champions in women’s college hockey on March 24, 2002 when the Bulldogs claimed their second-straight NCAA Women’s Frozen Four championship by defeating Brown University 3-2 in the title game in Durham, New Hampshire. Sophomore forward Tricia Guest scored the game winning goal with just 4:56 minutes remaining in regulation play while Kristina Petrovskaia and Erika Holst also added goals in the final game. Goaltender Patricia Sautter recorded 33 saves to keep Brown’s high-powered offense in check.

Forward Joanne Eustace and defenseman Larissa Luther were selected to the Frozen Four All-Tournament team for the Bulldogs. Maria Rooth was named an NCAA All-American (first team) for the second year in a row and was also an All-WCHA first team selection for the second time in as many years. Fellow junior wing Erika Holst earned a spot on the All-WCHA second team. The Bulldogs finished their third season of varsity hockey with an overall record of 24-6-4.

Unique among the nation’s elite teams, UMD’s roster includes five 2002 Olympians. Rooth and Holst helped propel Sweden into the medal round, Tuula Puputti and Hanne Sikio skated with Finland, and Petrovskaia was a member of the Russian entry. In addition, Jenny (Schmidgall) Potter, who skated with the Bulldogs in 1999-2000 and is expected to rejoin UMD next season, played for the silver medal-winning U.S. team at the 2002 Winter Games

The Bulldogs will set their sights on a third consecutive national crown next March. That’s when UMD will host the 2003 NCAA Frozen Four at the DECC in Duluth.


UMD is changing again. It is embarking on its fourth new construction project in a five-year period and this time the science programs will feel the welcome impact.

This spring the Minnesota Legislature approved the final funding for the new UMD James I. Swenson Science Building. And it is just in time. Chemistry and biology have changed dramatically since the construction of the Chemistry (1948) and Life Science (1968) Buildings. The two science buildings simply have not been able to accommodate the growing number of students and the changing practices of scientific research and education.

UMD science alumni and faculty have made vital contributions to research, industry, medicine, health care, and science education throughout the history of UMD. To strengthen UMD’s tradition of educating talented scientists, UMD’s science programs have added new instruments, new programs, and increased undergraduate research opportunities. Now, they will add a new building to house all of the activity, including chemistry and biology teaching laboratories and increased facilities for faculty and staff research.

UMD is grateful to Jim and Susan Swenson, who through the Swenson Family Foundation, have made a generous gift to UMD to help fund the new building. Jim, a 1959 chemistry graduate, is a strong advocate for undergraduate research opportunities at UMD.
The groundbreaking ceremonies for the new science building will be held next October 3 - 4. For more information please contact the College of Science and Engineering at 218-726-6995 or toll-free 866-999-6995.


UMD lost a good friend in the passing of Minnesota State Senator Sam Solon on December 28, 2001. Just last summer UMD renamed the Campus Center the Solon Campus Center in honor of Solon and his long lasting and often fierce commitment
to UMD’s projects and programs. His widow, Yvonne Prettner Solon, UMD alumnae (BS ’79, MA ’81), has established a scholarship in her late husband’s name.

Those wishing to honor the memory of Senator Solon can make a gift to the UMD Sam Solon Memorial Scholarship Fund, c/o UMD University Relations, 1049 University Drive, Duluth, MN 55812. For information contact
Elaine Hansen at 218-726-6793 or Maryann Soleim at 218-726-8993.


Patty Delano, shown here with Alumni Board President, John Kratz, is the new UMD alumni director. As a native Duluthian, Patty has watched the development of UMD and is excited about the positive impact UMD has on students, alumni and the community. She and the Board hope to build strong connections with UMD alumni by developing an interactive website, creating an e-news letter, designing an alumni career mentoring program, and expanding social activities. She would love your ideas. To contact her, email her at or call 218-726-8829.


The U-Pass Program, established at UMD in September 2000 to address the construction-related reduction of on-campus parking, was an overwhelming success in 2001-2002. The Duluth Transit Authority (DTA) provided an average of more than 2,000 rides daily. That’s up from the 1,000 rides per day it provided during the same period the first year.

Campus parking congestion has been minimized as a direct result of the U-Pass Program. It will continue to be difficult to find convenient on-campus parking during UMD’s expansion, but it won’t be impossible, thanks to the U-Pass program. More than 700 campus parking spaces will be eliminated by the time UMD is done with campus construction, which is expected to continue for the next two years.

According to John Brostrom of UMD Auxiliary Services, “Parking has essentially become a ‘non issue’ on campus since the implementation of the U-Pass Program, even though enrollment has surged the past three years from 8,504 in 1999, to 9,087 in 2000 and to a record enrollment of 9,380 in 2001.”

The U-Pass Program at UMD, which includes special campus routes and “free rides” for students, faculty and staff, is 80 percent funded through a federal Congestion Mitigation Air Quality grant, with UMD providing the 20 percent local share.

The U-Pass Program is part of a long-range plan to move the student union and create a high-tech transit center at UMD. This transit center will be more than just an area to wait for the bus. It will include informational kiosks and electronic schedule displays with “real-time” bus arrivals and transit information. This Intelligent Transportation Systems technology, which uses Global Positioning, will integrate the DTA into a statewide transportation communications initiative.

The first phase of the construction, the student union area in Kirby Plaza, will start in fall 2002, and the UMD transit center construction will follow in the second construction phase.


UMD’s School of Business and Economics (SBE) hosted its first “Professor for a Day” last October. Eighteen SBE alumni returned to campus for a day of activities, which included speaking to classes, participating in panels, one-on-one sessions with students, a “Breakfast with the Dean,” and a reception with members of the SBE Board of Advisors, SBE faculty, student volunteers and SBE student organization officers.

Other alumni who participated in the “Professor for a Day” were: Amber Kellen (BBA ’00); Dr. Joseph Leek (MBA ’99); Richard Nichols (BS ’76); Chris Steele (BAc ’80); Ed Wegerson (BA ’75, JD ’78); and Tom Wiedell (BS ’70, MBA ’01).

Participating alumni represented Best Buy, Moline Machinery, General Mills, Pillsbury, Allete, Minnesota Power, US Bank, DTE Energy, Miller-Dwan and McGladrey & Pullen. The alumni hold positions such as chief financial officer, senior vice president, president, director of marketing, human resource director, vice president of finance, senior accountant and tax staff.

The event was a success. Alumnus Jerry Zanko said, “It was obvious to everyone who participated that the day took a great deal of planning and hard work, and the results bear that out. I was proud to be a part of the program, and I would willingly volunteer to participate in the future.”

The School of Business and Economics intends to make the “Professor for a Day” an annual event. To volunteer your expertise to this or other events, contact Elaine Hansen at 218-726-6793.

— Cory Otto





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