The Magazine of the University of Minnesota Duluth

Volume 15 • Number 1 • Winter 1998


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Duluth, Minnesota has captured a "Blue Heron." It is not a winged fish-eater; it is a floating vessel.    Last September, the Large Lakes Observatory (LLO) at UMD acquired an East Coast fishing vessel that is to be used for research on Lake Superior and the other Great Lakes. The "Blue Heron" arrived in Duluth at the U.S. Corps of Army Engineers dock in Park Point. Tom Johnson, director of the LLO, negotiated the ship's purchase using funds provided by the Legislative Commission on Minnesota Resources.

The "Blue Heron" is 87 feet long, 24 feet wide and draws 13 feet of water. It is "solidly built and designed to handle   the rough waters of Lake Superior," said Johnson. "It looks pretty rough right now after 12 years of fishing in the North Atlantic. It is full of rust, a little grimy, and in need of considerable modification for its new role as a research vessel," he added. New interior laboratories, sophisticated instrumentation systems including an acoustic-doppler   current profiler and a multi-beam sonar system are all in the plan.

Under the guidance of LLO's captain, Mike King and previous captain Rolan Caron, the "Blue Heron" was sailed from Portland, Maine via the St. Lawrence Seaway. The crew for the voyage was made up of volunteers, students and faculty from UMD including: Rick Allen, Tom Johnson, Chris Niendorf, Johnie Ostman, Mike Poupore, Monica Scheflo and Kate Whittaker.

Starting this spring the boat will become a familiar site in the Twin Ports area.With its arrival, the LLO will be able to conduct increasingly complex research projects. LLO plans to continue the caliber of research it has already undertaken on freshwater lakes in East Africa, Central Asia and Central America. The LLO made headlines in 1996 when its research on Lake Victoria in Africa established startling new theories on the evolutionary process of fish.  

Johnson, a limnologist and oceanographer who specializes in the history of climate, said the observatory's worldwide research may seem far removed, but it can genuinely be applied to the issues surrounding Lake Superior. "Duluth is the largest city on the largest lake in the world. Why shouldn't it be the world center for lakes research?"

Jeff Gunderson, assistant director of Minnesota Sea Grant, a funding and public outreach environmental agency also based at UMD, said that is exactly what is happening as the Northland's many different lake research and information organizations flourish. Some of these are: LLO, Sea Grant, Natural Resources Research Institution, Lake Superior Research Institute, Lake Superior Center, the Lake Superior Biological Station in Ashland and the Federal Environmental Protection Agency's research lab in Duluth. "Duluth is becoming a major center for environmental research, especially on water." Gunderson said, adding that organizations and various agencies are not so much competing or overlapping research, but playing off the other's strength.  

Aside from Superior's pollution research, the LLO in conjunction with Michigan Technological University, received a five-year $5.3 million grant, the largest one ever on Lake Superior for the foundation, to study the Keweenaw Current off Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula in Lake Superior. The team, led by UMD's Elise Ralph and Sarah Green, will study how one of the strongest currents of its kind in the world affects the distribution of nutrients, plankton and fish in the 150-mile study area. The Keweenaw Current makes the lake's waters circulate in a counter-clockwise rotation, then speed up off the Michigan point, churning millions of gallons of water out into the main lake. It is estimated that it moves as much water along the shore of Lake Superior as flows down the Mississippi River. Just how the current affects the lake's food chain, from nutrients and smaller life to herring, lake trout and salmon, including what it does   to toxins and sediments, are questions the team hopes to answer.

The Large Lakes Observatory will monitor currents on the surface using remote sensing, as well as Doppler-like sonar to measure currents under the surface. This will give a profile of the circulation that   can be portrayed on a computer model. "The foundation wanted to study near-    shore currents in general and Lake Superior in particular," said Ralph, who handles the physics end of the study. "This type of current is quite common in oceans and large lakes, but not much is known about it. And, considering this may be the most massive lake current of its kind, and that Lake Superior remains relatively unstudied, this was the perfect place to look." -- Mark Merritt


UMD is renovating, reconfiguring and modernizing approximately 46% or 20,026 gross square feet of the available space in the Chemistry Building as the result of a $1,134,423 federal grant from the National Science Foundation and a 33.4% institutional match of $670,000.

Dr. Bilin Tsai, Head of the Department of Chemistry, wrote the winning grant proposal, and Stanius Johnson Architects and Johnson Wilson Constructors, Duluth, are the designer and contractor for the project.

The proposed renovations are driven by a programmatic plan developed by the department and accepted by the campus administration to:
- Expand student participation in scholarship and develop new research areas,
- Accommodate increases in student interest in chemistry and biochemistry/molecular biology at both the baccalaureate and master's level,
- Integrate more instrumentation and computer techniques into the curriculum,
- Improve the infrastructure to support research.    

Since 1990, the UMD Department of Chemistry has experienced tremendous growth in all aspects of its mission: student credit hours increased 15%, baccalaureate degrees increased 17.3%, and the number of M.S. degrees almost tripled from five awarded in 1990 to fourteen in 1995. This dynamic growth created an enormous strain on the physical facilities which house the department. Thus, this project will not only improve the space currently assigned to research activities for faculty and students, but it will also correct safety, access, energy efficiency and environmental problems that exist in the 49-year- old Chemistry Building.   


The UMD College of Liberal Arts has started a campaign to support the Baeumler-Kaplan Holocaust Commemoration Lecture Series. This annual lecture educates the general public--and especially the young--on the causes, consequences, and lessons of the Holocaust through speakers, films, and seminars. The goal of the campaign is to raise $100,000 for the Lecture Series endowment.

Dean Harold Hellenbrand said, "We are really excited about this campaign. If successful, it will allow us to bring a major Holocaust speaker to Duluth each year and also to get out into the schools and community to educate young people about    the Holocaust and the politics of hate.

The increased sophistication of "Holocaust denial" proponents makes this lecture series more important than ever.   Last year, Gerda and Kurt Klein showed their film "One Survivor Remembers" and lectured to over 1,100 people on campus. On April 27, 1998, Kenneth S. Stern, author of several articles on Holocaust denial and a book, Fire on the Plains, on hate movements in the American heartland, will speak "Pseudo-Science, Pseudo-History, and the Politics of Contemporary Hate Movements."

You can visit the web site at For more information on the campaign, contact: Harry Hellenbrand, CLA, 111 Cina Hall, University of Minnesota Duluth, Duluth, MN 55812, 218/726-8981 (office).


The Alpha Nu Omega's website is now accessible through the UMD alumni page at
http://www.d.   It is a great spot to find Alpha alumni. And the memorial section is a poignant remembrance of departed Alpha Nu Omega members.

Alpha Nu Omega was formed 38 years ago as an alternative to the existing fraternities on campus.   Alpha Nu Omega was founded with the following objectives in mind: ". . . to form a greater bond between students, to better the academic standards of our university, to promote a more diversified program of social activities, to secure greater cooperation among faculty, administration and students, and to deliver a program of service to our fellow man. . ."

The Alpha Nu Omega association is organized primarily for education and scholarship purposes. An endowment fund has been created to assist the organization with long-term funding of their scholarships. Recipients of the three current awards are selected on the basis of academic success, fraternity participation (fraternity and campus/community service) and need.

Keep September 26-29, 1999 open on your calendar for Alpha's 40th reunion     in Duluth. The reunion will include UMD alumni connected events. For more information about the reunion contact Al Michaud or Mike Dean through the website.

UMD thanks Alpha Nu Omega for their honorable work and welcomes them to the University of Minnesota Duluth Alumni home page.


Minnesota Governor Arne Carlson, UMD Chancellor Kathryn A. Martin,
and University of Minnesota President Mark Yudof announce the UMD library funding proposal

The funding plans for the new UMD library were unveiled on the UMD campus last fall by UMD Chancellor Kathryn A. Martin, Minnesota Governor Arne Carlson and University of Minnesota President Mark Yudof. These three prominent Minnesotans join the University of Minnesota Board of Regents in recommending a Minnesota legislature bonding proposal that includes $22.3 million for the new UMD library.

"We are not just funding another library, we're funding the library of the 21st Century," Governor Carlson said. The new library will be one of the most technologically advanced in the state, possibly the nation.   If all goes as planned, the new library will open July 2000. It will be almost twice as large as the existing library and will have better light, better ventilation, more computers and more study space.

The new UMD library will provide space for state-of-the-art multi-media and electronic access equipment, improved and expanded study spaces, and efficient storage and management of existing paper-based collections which must remain readily accessible. The new library building will   be built in the area immediately north of the existing library, and will be linked to the current Health Science Library. These two buildings will house electronic and paper collections, three electronic instruction classrooms, an interactive television classroom and a multi media laboratory.

The bonding proposal also entails another $3.5 million including $1.2  million in classroom and laboratory renovations. The campus renovations are part of a continuing effort to improve lighting, ventilation, technology and make changes to meet the Americans with Disabilities Act building code.


The University of Minnesota system, including the Duluth campus, will convert from the quarter system to the semester system effective in the Fall of 1999. All other public institutions of higher education in the state will be on the semester system by that date.

The Board of Regents mandated a change based on numerous academic reasons. Longer terms are considered academically superior because they allow longer periods of time for absorbing course material, reading relevant books and articles and producing polished papers. Eighty per cent of universities in the United States use this system. By Fall 1999, all public institutions of higher learning in the State of Minnesota will be on the system. Greater consistency between institutions creates fewer problems for transfer students.

Steve Hedman, associate vice chancellor for academic administration said that the change has been a tremendous amount of work for all faculty and staff. "We in academic administration are extremely appreciative of these efforts," he said. "The number of documents which have had to be prepared in departmental offices, and the many hours needed for curricular review, have all come on top of normal teaching and other responsibilities. With most of the programmatic changes in place, attention is now turning to the extremely important task of ensuring that minimal academic progress and disruption are experienced by our students." The faculty and staff at UMD are hopeful that once operations begin under semesters the degree programs will be enhanced and their quality improved.


Albert "Bill" Tezla was honored by the Hungarian government last spring when Hungary's ambassador to the United States presented him with the Pro Cultura Hungarica medallion. Tezla, who taught more than 8,000 students in his 30-plus years as a UMD faculty member, received the award for translating Hungarian literature into English.

The Pro Cultura Hungarica is Hungary's highest cultural honor for a foreigner and was awarded for Tezla's contribution to "worldwide prestige and reputation enjoyed by Hungarian culture."

Tezla, who retired in 1983, hasn't stopped publishing. Next fall he will add Alaine Polcz's A Woman at the Front, a Chapter from My Life to his list of 26 scholarly works in print. Most of his   work, including Hungarian Authors: A Bibliographical Handbook published by Harvard University Press, involve Hungary or Hungarian culture. Tezla is a leader in bringing Hungarian writers to the attention of the world.


Chancellor Kathryn A. Martin presents Amy Buerke with the first
Wickstrom scholarship and a UMD 100-year aniversary sweatshirt

After over 15 years of supporting scholarship efforts at UMD, Beverly and David Wickstrom took a leap. They established a one-year, full-tuition scholarship to alleviate the financial burden of attending college for an incoming, high-ability student. The Beverly Bergman Wickstrom and David Wickstrom Scholarship was initiated last year and by September 1997 it had its first recipient, Amy Buerke.

Buerke's high school record gives an indication of her achievements. She graduated with honors from Proctor High School. She received the Best Actress Award, she was the vice-president of the French Club and was chosen as a Skyline Junior Rotarian. Buerke appreciates the investment the Wickstroms have made in her future."Because of their generosity, I will have the freedom to pursue my goals without fear of financial demands," she said. "Their willingness to make this sacrifice is an inspiration to me."

David Wickstrom grew up in Duluth's Lakeside neighborhood and graduated from UMD in 1960. He and his wife Beverly are frequent visitors to Duluth and continue to place a high value on a UMD education. David said, "Beverly and I are pleased that we can assist with Amy's education at UMD." That assistance and commitment is an inspiration to the entire UMD community.

UMD alumni and friends can establish a named, endowed scholarship at UMD by making a gift of $10,000 or more. A scholarship can be in a person's name or in honor of someone. An endowed scholarship can be funded over one, five or 10 years, and may be designated to academic scholarships, a specific collegiate unit, or to students in need of financial assistance. In some cases, donors prefer remembering UMD by including a scholarship gift in their will.

For more information, call Maryann Soleim in the UMD Development Office at 218/726-8993.

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