What's New, NMU?

For the week of August 24, 2009

From the Academic Mall

Yes, it's back to school time! Which had us wondering, can you go back to school after summer break if you didn't have a summer? Don't let today's Fall Fest photo fool you: it has not been a sunny and warm summer. The water cooler talk these days centers around the summer that wasn't. Haven't seen any official records, but we don't need the National Weather Service to tell us we've had a cool summer. Can't recall if we even hit the 90 degree mark. And there sure weren't enough 80 degree marks, either. While this first day back to school is sunny and warm, things will cool off for the remainder of the week. Forecasters are calling for temperatures in the upper 60s/low 70s, with a chance of rain showers at the end of the week.

New WiMAX network launched

Northern deployed one of the largest active WiMAX networks in the country on the 10th anniversary of its campus-wide notebook computer program. A public demonstration of the technology was held in the Superior Dome. Students stationed in various Marquette locations dictums the new wireless opportunities via WiMAX video projected on a large screen.

WiMAX is a fourth-generation protocol (4G) that offers broadband wireless Internet access. Compared with the more common WiFi, WiMAX is capable of transmitting data over broad areas with less interference and more efficient bandwidth use.

“Over the past few years, with WiFi hot spots, NMU covered about 10 percent of the City of Marquette. WiMAX allows us to cover nearly 100 percent of the city,” said Gavin Leach, Vice President for Finance and Administration. “This access is important for our 6,000-plus off-campus students, as well as for students and faculty doing research and learning outside of the classroom. It extends our Internet access to educational resources.”

NMU is one of the first universities in the nation with a WiMAX network. Its license is restricted to education or government use. The university is already in discussions with some area K-12 schools about assisting in enhancing their wireless capabilities.

The 3,000 Lenovo ThinkPads being issued to Northern students this fall have built-in WiMAX/WiFi Intel cards. Students still using last year’s model will receive a WiMAX-equipped ThinkPad next fall as part of the university’s routine two-year rotation cycle. Meanwhile, USB WiMAX cards are available in the library for temporary use or for purchase at the NMU Bookstore.

The NMU notebook computer initiative was implemented a decade ago to bridge the “digital divide” by facilitating equal access to the latest technology. Students are issued computers as part of tuition and fees.

“It is highly appropriate that we’re marking the program’s 10th anniversary by unveiling another major technology initiative that addresses the same goal of equal access,” said NMU President Les Wong. “WiMAX will help to ensure that many of the NMU students who live off campus enjoy wireless access comparable to their peers who live on campus. And there is no additional university fee for this benefit.”


Member Appreciation Boat Cruise offers rare look at freighter

The Alumni Association Membership Cruise provided alumni with a rare opportunity to watch an ore boat being loaded. The Keweenaw Star, with her 120 passengers, was able to pull up alongside the Lee A. Tregurtha, as the Great Lakes ship was sitting at the Upper Harbor dock, taking on ore.

This second annual event brought together alumni of all ages for an evening on the water.

Alumni watch Tigers take down Royals

The Third Annual NMU Night at Comerica Park drew more than 150 alumni to the ball park Saturday,  Aug. 15. The group got together for a pre-game reception sponsored by the NMU Alumni Association and TCF Bank, the official Wildcat bank. The Tigers beat the Kansas City Royals, 10-3.

President delivers fall convocation

In his fall convocation, Northern Michigan University President Les Wong said NMU must redefine its position in response to continuing shortfalls in state appropriations and demographic pressure on enrollment. He announced plans to launch discussions across campus toward developing a new identity that will challenge the status quo while preserving quality and adhering to the university’s core mission.

“We have had incredible success as an institution where ‘high touch, high tech, high quality’ differentiated us from our competitors,” Wong said. “Conditions allowed us to sustain a high financial aid-low tuition model through campus efficiencies and reallocations. These conditions will soon cease to exist. We may need a new and different model.

“We shouldn’t expect this new identity to necessarily be rooted in or benchmarked by the current student-faculty, student-staff, student-administrator ratios that currently exist. We have saved money, but it has also stretched us too far and too thin. I want to meet face-to-face with more of you and perhaps in smaller groups where we can engage the problems and discuss solutions. Let’s give ourselves the freedom to put everything on the table for consideration.”

To see the full convocation, including introductory comments by Provost Susan Koch and Academic Senate Chair Andy Poe, visit Convocation.

Alumnus' parents volunteer for move

Many parents are on campus this week, helping their children unload their belongings and move into the residence halls. Jim and Deb Glazier from downstate Grandville have joined them. But here's what stands out: the Glaziers made the long drive by choice, not necessity. They have no children currently enrolled at NMU. The couple simply decided to volunteer their services as a way of giving back to the university that provided a "tremendous experience" for their son, Nikkolas, who graduated in May 2008.

The Glaziers were eager to spend some time and share their story with other families new to the university. This is the first time, to our knowledge, former NMU parents have been willing to step up — and travel so far — to assist others with this annual task.

The couple helped students move into Spalding Hall, where Nikkolas once stayed. To give an indication of their opinion of NMU, here is what Deb wrote in an e-mail when she inquired about volunteering:

"Jim and I continue to be so completely impressed with NMU! We have always 'tooted your horn' whenever we've had the opportunity and will continue to do so. Our son's experience (in four years!) and that of Jim and I was just perfect. In fact, we would love to be of some type of service to the university, if possible.

"Do you allow former parents to help with the move in of students in the fall? We would be most happy to travel once again across the bridge to help that weekend. Or, if there is anything else that comes to mind that we might be of some assistance, just let us know. We consider NMU one of the best in the state and beyond ... always the personal touch!"

Registrar's Office handing out diploma covers

The NMU Registrar's office has a surplus of 6 x 8 diploma covers. They are available to alumni at no charge. The covers are solid green with Northern Michigan University in gold script on the cover. On the inside, it is off-white with the NMU emblem in gold on the inside front cover. The inside back cover has yellow ribbon corners to insert the diploma in. It also includes a plastic sheet to put over the diploma and tissue to put between the seal and the plastic.
These diploma covers are available on a first-come, first-served, free-of-charge basis.
If you are interested, contact Margarete Salinger at msalinger@nmu.edu.
You will be asked to provide your name, graduation year, degree and contact information.

Thanks to the Registrar's Office for the alumni service.

Thanks for stopping by...

...Alumni Association member Annette Johnson '95 and her son, Joshua, of Glendale Heights, Ill.

...Dan Klodt '85 and his son, Nathan, of Grand Ledge, Mich.

...Robin Vance '98 and her daughter, Morgan, of Hale, Mich.

...Alumni Association member Marjorie Seavoy Falcone '63 of Kansas City, Mo.

...Alumni Association member Gayle Sullivan '80 and Stan Cahill of Salem, Mass.

...Mindi Flintoft-Hannon '03 and Tim Hannon of Saginaw, Mich.

All of this summer's visitors to the 6th floor will be entered in our Summer Prize Package Giveaway. We'll announced the winner next week.

But just because the prize is gone, doesn't mean you shouldn't stop by and say hello. We're on the 6th floor of Cohodas Hall.

From the e-mail bag

"Cory Hartbarger '56 and myself, Sandy MacLean, competed in the 2009 National Senior Games in Pala Alto, Calif. Cory and I met there and we had the opportunity to meet with former NMU coach Gil Krueger. Gil was second in the discus in his age group, Cory was second in the shot-put in his age group (80-84) and I was 8 of 16 (75-79) in the 5 K road run. All three of us qualified for All American status with the United States Track and Field Association.It was an exciting weekend."
Sandy MacLean '56
St. Louis, Mo.
stannard624@yahoo.com

Have something you'd like to share?

Feedback should be directed to alumni@nmu.edu

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