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Michigan Tech Board of trustees honors Ryan | News, Sports, Jobs – Daily Mining Gazette

Dec 19, 2022
Brenda Ryan
Michigan Technological University’s Board of Trustees honored alumna and long-time trustee Brenda Ryan with two awards at its meeting Friday. They recognized her professional accomplishments and years of service to the university by awarding her an honorary doctorate of philosophy. They also named her a board trustee emerita. Her term expires December 31.
“I’ve derived so much benefit from Michigan Tech,” said Ryan. “I couldn’t do enough to pay it back. It’s been an honor for me to serve.”
Ryan has served twice on the Board of Trustees, chairing it for four years. She co-chaired the presidential search committee that brought President Rick Koubek to Tech. She was a keynote speaker at the university’s mid-year commencement on Saturday.
Ryan graduated from Michigan Tech with a bachelor of science in metallurgical engineering in 1976 and went on to earn a master of science in materials science engineering from the University of Virginia.
President Koubek described what he called Ryan’s “distinguished career in engineering and entrepreneurship.”
After years of working in engineering and management for major corporations, she founded two companies, Ryan Industries Inc. and Alliance Technologies. Her success with these companies earned her awards, including Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Production honoree and National Minority Supplier Development Council “Success Story.”
Bill Johnson, a former Tech trustee who co-chaired the presidential search committee with Ryan, called her “a Michigan Tech Husky through and through. She leads with a soft glove, but she can pull out the hammer if she needs to.”
Committee reports
John Bacon, chair of the board’s academic affairs committee, reported that the committee is reviewing the university’s academic integrity policy. A controversial proposal to tighten the honor code is being considered.
“It would be wise to get out in front of this, not behind it,” he said.
Leadership committee chair Steve Tomaszewski reported that John Bacon, Linda Kennedy and Jon Jipping are joining the committee. Progress is being made in the search for a provost and chief financial officer, he said.
Audit and finance committee chair Andrea Dickson reported that the university’s enrollment is holding steady, and fundraising and the debt level both look good.
Mind Trekkers
Jannah Tumey, assistant director of the Center for Educational Outreach, engaged the board in a hands-on demonstration of a new Mind Trekkers program called Unboxed Challenges. The Unboxed program is designed to spark curiosity about STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) in schoolchildren. The board’s challenge was to follow the clues in a box to solve a museum heist. It is designed for seventh- and eighth-grade students, Tumey said.
Unboxed also teaches what Tumey called “the soft skills” that employers are looking for, such as teamwork, problem-solving and leadership. Mind Trekkers, composed of Michigan Tech students who host events featuring hands-on science magic, are serving as mentors for the younger students in Unboxed.
More than 2,000 students–half of them students of color–have participated in the Unboxed program so far. And 97% of them reported an increased interest in STEM, Tumey said.
In other business
In other actions, the board reelected Jeffrey Littmann as chair and Steve Tomaszewski as vice chair.
President Koubek recognized Christopher Dessellier, a building mechanic in facilities management, for 40 years of service.
Steve Store of AFSCME Local 1166 thanked the board and the university administration for their spirit of cooperation during recent labor contract negotiations.
“There was no tension in the room,” Store said. “That’s something that has never happened before in our history.”
The board named Jean Kampe, materials science and engineering, and Komar Kowatra, chemical engineering, professors emerita and emeritus.
Cheyenne Scott, president of the undergraduate student government, and Ranit Karmakar, president of the graduate student government, reported on their activities.
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