What's New NMU? October 26, 2012

Staying Wild
Learn More
Campus Information
Staying Connected

Campus Conditions

View from the 6th floor!

A wet and wild Thursday commuters and students found Marquette and the surrounding area impacted by heavy rainfall.  The city of Marquette even posted police at several intersections warning drivers of the hazard of the flooding.

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Staying Wild: Mickey Gopigian

Many NMU students cite a love of the outdoors as one of the main reasons they chose Northern. For Mickey Gopigiana, a Detroit native, it was no different.  While earning a degree in broadcasting, the 1984 graduate also learned to scuba dive in the frigid waters of Lake Superior.

Hearing about scuba diving from his Resident Advisor John Frick made Mickey want to learn to dive himself.  Taught by Don Trost, Mickey experienced many “firsts” while learning to dive in Lake Superior:  his first breaths underwater, first night dive, walking across the ice to get in the water by Picnic Rocks, and diving by Presque Isle in a warm April day when the ice was just breaking up (Mickey remembers it being the coldest water he’s ever been in). 

Upon graduation Mickey was able to combine his NMU education with his love of diving and took a job filming underwater video in Tortola.  After living and diving in the British Virgin Islands and Grand Cayman Islands, he has spent the last eight years in the Turks and Caicos, leading small group dives with his wife Jayne as part of Flamingo Divers.   He describes the area as incredible.  “Reef Sharks are a daily sighting, but we also have occasional sightings of Lemon, Tiger and Hammerhead Sharks. Dolphin, Eaglerays and Manta Rays make the occasional flyby, and you never get tired of that,” says Mickey.  “In just the last two days for instance, we've seen two fish that in 25 years of diving in the Caribbean we've never seen.”

His greatest experience was diving with a Humpback whale.  The whales migrate past the Turks and Caicos between January and March.  Sightings are sporadic and their presence is usually indicated by a water spout or a glimpse of a tail.  In January 2009, Mickey and Jayne were leading a small group of divers when a Humpback appeared no more than 50 feet away from the boat and began shadowing the group.  The whale swam with the divers the entire time.  As Jayne exited the water via her anchor line the whale followed her up to her safety stop.  After a break the group began their second dive, thinking the whale would have moved on.  Upon seeing the divers, the whale turned around from a quarter-mile away and swam with them the rest of the morning.  The experience was awe-inspiring and while it hasn’t been repeated, Mickey and Jayne remain hopeful. 

Mickey says learning to dive in the extreme conditions of Lake Superior made him a strong, confident diver and that NMU prepares students well for anything they’d like to undertake.   “My first job in the Caribbean was in the British Virgin Islands as an underwater videographer, and my degree program combined with my Scuba training got me the job!

Learn more about Flamingo Divers and see marine photos from their dives here: http://www.flamingodivers.com/.

John Frick '82, '87 and Mickey Gopigian '84 in West Caico, 2009.

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Learn More

Communication and Performance Studies information here.

NMU offers a variety of health promotion (HP) classes including three SCUBA certifications.  You can see the complete list of HP classes here.

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Campus Information

Dale Kapla (Academic Affairs) is pictured left accepting one of the tablets from T.J. Fox, president of the Illinois/Wisconsin region for Verizon Wireless.  Verizon Wireless held an event in Marquette to celebrate the activation of their 400th market of 4G LTE.  Durring the October 18 event NMU received a donation of 20 tablets valued at $7,000.  The tablets will be used by students performing field work and staff who travel extensively.


Upcoming Events:

A great tailgate event is planned to cheer on the NMU football team when they are on the road.  The tailgate event will be held in conjunction with the Wildcat Football Parents Association.

Midland, Michigan
Saturday, October 27
NMU vs. Northwood Tailgate
12 p.m. kickoff

Speed Networking Event

Would you like to help students practice their networking skills?  Are you available to attend the Wildcats for Life Speed Networking campus event the evening of Wednesday, November 7.  If so, let us know.

This speed networking event is an opportunity for NMU students to network with alumni and hear more about individual career paths, words of wisdom and advice, as well as practice their networking skills.  The Alumni Office is assisting Wildcats for Life in identifying alumni who would like to come back to campus and be a part of this event.  We’re hoping to have alumni volunteers secured by November 1.


Wildcat Night Across the Country - 2013

Wildcat Night Across the Country will be held Saturday, February 16, 2013 at 7:30 p.m. EST.  Wildcats will take on Michigan State University.  We’ve already got party commitments in Yuma, Arizona, North Pole, Alaska and Battle Creek, Michigan.  Don’t see your city listed?  Consider hosting a party!  It’s fun and easy to do.  Simply: 
  • Find a local bar or restaurant that gets Fox Sports and will televise the game for you.
  • Let us know so we can help spread the word to NMU alumni in your area and send you a Wildcat Party Pack.
  • Look forward to having a great time!

Job Postings

Title: HelpDesk Consultant

Department: Academic Information Services/Computing HelpDesk
Hourly Rate:  $11.43 probationary; $12.27 working rate

Submit application by November 1, 2012


Title: Steam Plant Operator/Controls Technician; variable days; variable hours on a rotating schedule; 12-hour shifts

Department: Plant Operations
Starting Hourly Rate: $15.71

Submit application by November 12, 2012


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Staying Connected

Thanks to all of you who have visited the Alumni office while on campus.  Whenever you’re in town, please drop by 603 Cohodas Hall to say hello!  (You don’t have to be visiting - for those of you who live in Marquette, we want to see you too!  Please stop in.)  If you can’t get to campus but you’re off exploring the world, be sure to send us a photo of you wearing your favorite Wildcat gear so we can share it with other alumni.


Bruce Sachs '61, "64 of Mount Clemens, Mich. pictured left

Gavin '06, '08 & Sara (Barclay) '05, '09 Telfer stayed at the Victorian by the Sea Bed & Breakfast higlighted in the July 26, "What's New, NMU?", owned and operated by Jeanne Velin Short ’72 and Rob Short. Gavin and Sara were celebrating their fourth wedding anniversary and could not have asked for a better experience.

While in Camden, Maine, Gavin and Sara ran into John '93 and Mary '92 Diddams of Marquette and swapped stories about NMU and mutual acquaintances.

Kevin Smith '77 of Owosso, Mich.

John and Ryan Nickel, children of Charles '92 and Susan '95 Nickel, are pictured with the NMU Hockey team as they played in Green Bay, Wisconsin against Wisconsin.


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Please send us your updates
questions and comments to:

Contributing Editors:
Marina Dupler '03, Assistant Director of Alumni Relations
Brad Hamel '99, '11, Assistant Director of Advancement Communications