Tech gets good financial news

HOUGHTON – The Michigan Technological University Board of Control received good news and recognition at its meeting Thursday. Along with exceeding fundraising goals, the university also ended the year in the black.

Representative Scott Dianda, D-Calumet, visited the board to congratulate the university on the success of the Generations of Discovery campaign. The campaign ran from 2006 to 2013 and surpassed its goal of $200,000,000 by raising $215,366,353.

“We’re so very proud of what you’re doing up here,” Dianda said. “You’re the gem in our area for the leadership we see out of Michigan Tech and where you’re going as a university. We also want to recognize Generations of Discovery and the amount of money that was donated to the university and all the plans we look forward to doing.”

Dianda presented Michigan Tech President Glenn Mroz with a framed tribute signed by Governor Rick Snyder, Tom Casperson and himself recognizing the accomplishment.

“This is very humbling and it’s a big surprise. None of this happens without a great team,” Mroz said.

During the year following the end of the campaign, fundraising remained a priority, reported Les Cook, vice president of student affairs and advancement at Michigan Tech. Despite setting a lofty goal, they once again came out ahead.

“For this fiscal year we set a goal of $30.8 million and, as you may recall, we talked about having a goal post-campaign of raising annually $22 to $25 million dollars,” Cook said. “We decided we were going to reach a little and set a goal of $30.8, and we came in at $30.94 million. We feel pretty good about that, but we’re not resting and we continue to proceed along.”

For the next fiscal year, Cook plans on setting an even greater goal of around $32 million, he said.

The board also heard from board treasurer Julie Seppala. Seppala reported that, according to preliminary figures, Michigan Tech finished the year with a positive balance of nearly $17 million in its Current Fund, which includes the general, designated, auxiliary, retirement and insurance and expendable restriction funds. The projected total had been $13,919,000 but, due largely to an increase in revenue, the fund finished out with $16,933,000.

“The biggest difference in our original projection to what’s happening now is in the revenue area. That’s attributed to the tuition increase and having higher retention from our fall to spring semester than we originally anticipatedwhen we did our projection we based it off previous years and we did better in that area,” Seppala said.

In other business the board:

heard from David Reed, vice president for research, that five junior faculty members received the National Science Foundation CAREER Award during the past year. The recipients are Zhuo Feng and Shiyan Hu, assistant professors of electrical and computer engineering; Mo Rastgaar and Tolou Shokuhfar, assistant professors of mechanical engineering-engineering mechanics; and Chaoli Wang, assistant professor of computer science.

“This year we had five recipients – we’ve never had more than three in a year before,” Reed said. “The real thing that makes it special, and makes it really a great program for Michigan Tech, is you have to demonstrate the integration of your research activities and your instructional activities. You have to demonstrate how you’re going to use this funding to tie those two together.”

elected Julie Fream as board chair and Paul Ollila as vice chair.

appointed Fream, Ollila and Terry Woychowski, board member, to the Michigan Tech Fund Board of Directors.

granted emeritus rank to Bradley Baltensperger, retired professor and chair of the department of cognitive and learning sciences, and to Steven Seidel, a professor of computer science who died in June.

granted appointments with tenure to Min Song, professor and chair of the department of computer science, and Jon Sticklen, associate professor and chair of the department of engineering fundamentals.