Q&A: What was your hardest class at S&T?

Maybe it was beneficial and you use the knowledge you gained daily or maybe you’re just glad you survived. Either way, we asked about your hardest class or your toughest professor. Here’s what you told us: [Read more…]

Letters to the editor

The article on Ron Epps, Phys’67, was of high interest to me as there were four students from Mount Vernon High School in two consecutive years who were physics majors at (then) UMR – Epps, Nick Prater, Phys’67, Charles Steven Nichols, Phys’68, and myself. This would seem to be exceptional as our high school classes were only about 70 students! We all graduated near the top of our classes at UMR — pretty good record for four country kids from a small high school in southwest Missouri. This was due in no small part to the mentoring we received from Henle Holmes, MS Tch Math’61, our physics and math instructor at Mount Vernon, and then the fine university leadership of Dr. H.Q. Fuller and Dr. John T. Park, who later became chancellor.

I taught math and physics for 11 years and then worked 30-plus years in the oil service industry, retiring in April from Schlumberger as project manager in the area of exploration software development.

—Eugene Aufdembrink, Phys’68, MS Phys’70, Needville, Texas

I earned my master’s degree in December 1973 and we moved on to Montréal, Canada, for my doctorate. Now, 40 years after we left Rolla, I am writing from my hometown of Mersin, Turkey. My wife is a professor in Mersin University. I am director of a manufacturing company and our clientele includes Nooter/Eriksen Inc. It is always nice to find out that some of the people at Nooter were students at Rolla at the same time with me.

Looking back, I can say that we have spent some of our most pleasant days in Rolla and we remember them fondly. Thank you, Rolla. It has been a privilege and honor to be among your students and alumni.

(Mehmet) Nihat Taner, MS CE’73, Mersin, Turkey

I just received my Fall/Winter issue of I and it reminded me of Prof. Kent Peaslee, who presented me with the Benjamin F. Fairless Award at AISTech 2013 in Pittsburgh on May 7, 2013. Prof. Peaslee was president of the Association for Iron and Steel Technology (AIST) and he presented the award at the President’s Breakfast with more than 1,200 people in attendance. I have attached a photo of the presentation. Tragically, Prof. Peaslee suddenly passed away the following week. I thought that you may want to include the photo in an upcoming magazine.

— Bruce Bramfitt, MetE’60, MS MetE’62, PhD MetE’66, Steelton, Pa.

Letters to the editor

I was pleased to see (“On the Right Track,” Summer 2013) that you do not share the Wall Street Journal’s hatred of railroads (and bicycling and walking for that matter). One of my very few professional regrets is following my father’s otherwise excellent advice when I left MSM/UMR/Missouri S&T in 1967. A railroad employee all his working life, he recommended I not consider railroads as a career. For about one decade, the advice looked sound; but as we, and Warren Buffet, know this has changed dramatically. Based on what I saw while riding the “High Line” from Seattle to Minneapolis, It would appear that Travis Duncan, the subject of the article, faces better employment prospects than pipeline engineers.

Paul Marlin, MS CSci’67
Quincy, Ill.

I have an ash tray that I cast in a foundry class in 1959 that the archives might be interested in. It is a testament to the cultural changes that have occurred during the past half-century. At the time, a large number of students smoked and it was a fairly popular item, but it was a poor design. It 
was really too shallow to keep ashes from being blown around, and if you set a cigarette in the notch on the side, the length of the cigarette would contact the bottom of the ash tray and extinguish the cigarette. The other interesting feature is the name cast in the top — “Missouri School of Mines and Metallurgy.”

Kudos to Missouri S&T Magazine. It is a great publication. It is amazing the number of women that are mentioned. I graduated in January 1963 and I think the number was around 30 then. 

Ed Kriege, ME’63
Ocean Pines, Md.

Dear Editor,

I am what you might call one of the ol’ timers. I graduated from, as we called it, MSM, way back in 1947. This afternoon, I was sitting in the swing on our front porch in Erwin, Tenn., that is halfway between Flag Pond, Tenn., and Unicoi, Tenn. (now you know where it is!), reading the summer copy of your Missouri S&T Magazine. I enjoyed it very much. You all did an outstanding job. I finished reading it and picked up my copy of the July 15, 2013, National Review. On page 27, I saw an article titled “Blowing up Barbie.” I didn’t think I wanted to read it until I saw “Rolla, Mo.,” under the author’s name. This piqued my interest and I found the article to be very interesting. I don’t know whether or not you have seen it. On the assumption you did not, I have enclosed the article. I found it to be very interesting as it told the story of the Explosives Camp offered at Missouri S&T. Keep up the good work.

Cliff Dameron, MetE’47
Erwin, Tenn.

Tweets

Is S&T haunted?

University campuses and college towns are notorious settings for ghost stories. Is Rolla one of them? Is Missouri S&T haunted? We asked about your spooky Rolla experiences. Here’s what you told us.

Two incidents occurred within a couple weeks of each other at the same house a few blocks from campus in Rolla. First, I usually fell asleep listening to the radio playing softly. One night I was awakened by my radio as it was turning itself up until the volume was blasting. This
was an old tube radio with a mechanical volume knob. Second, I was awakened one night by the shower running full blast, not from broken plumbing but from the handle being turned wide open.

Mark Buhr, MetE’89
Washington, Mo.

A few years after graduating from S&T, I brought a group of college students to campus for a conference. While taking the students on a tour of campus, sharing with them what I remembered from my ambassador days, the students asked “Do you have any ghosts?” You see, there is a residence hall on the campus where they go to school that is supposedly haunted. I laughed and explained that when engineers hear weird sounds from the attic, they go upstairs, nail down the floor boards, seal the windows and make sure the mouse traps are set.

Aimee Rea, Psych’06
Maryville, Mo.

During my freshman year at S&T, in the fall of 1980, my grandmother asked me to visit the
Pi Kappa Alpha house, which had been the home of my great-uncle, Carl Cromer. He had been a member of Pi Kappa Alpha long ago and passed away during his sophomore year after an October 1937 car accident on Highway 63, near the present-day Stonehenge.

I was surprised to find out that Carl was reputed to have haunted the Pike house for years. Many members refused to occupy his room, which had been dedicated in his memory. Many unexplained phenomena had occurred over the years, ranging from the sound of glass crashing, to “ghostly images” and dogs barking and jumping up and down on the tiled crest just inside the front door.

Perhaps the strangest occurrence happened after the fire that destroyed the Pike house in February 1999. My husband, Chris Ramsay, MetE’83, MS MetE’85, who is chapter advisor to the fraternity, and several members scoured and searched the rubble of the house looking for the memorial plaque that hung on Carl’s door. They searched and searched, but found no plaque. A year later on the first Founder’s Day after the fire, my husband returned to his desk in the metallurgy department foundry to find the plaque, a little discolored, bent and scarred by the fire, mysteriously sitting on his desk.

Darlene Ramsay, MetE’84
Rolla, Mo.

Q&A: Did you ever pull a prank in college?

Were hard-working, nose-to-the-grindstone Missouri S&T alumni all work and no play during college? We don’t think so. We’ve heard tales of students leading a calf to the third floor of the Rolla Building, constructing a brick wall across Pine Street and burning an outhouse on campus. We wanted to hear more of those stories, so we asked.

Yeah, they’ve tried to get me to incriminate myself before. It’s not going to happen.
Jeff Spencer, CSci’93, Rolla, Mo.

To this day, I will testify that I know nothing about who disabled the elevators in TJ Hall. Move along folks, nothing to see here.
Patrick Williams, CE’11, Helena, Ark.

There might be stickers on hard-to-reach places around campus. Some are in plain sight and were still there as of February 2012 when I was last there. Some are probably in official press pictures. Good luck finding them, and to whoever put them there.
Scott Frazier, EE’09, Rochester Hills, Mich.

The final in the 1997 Intro to Programming C++ involved debugging an application. Simple things like finding compile time errors and logic errors and fixing them. The lab probably had about 40 students in it. One student had created a program to play “Mary Had A Little Lamb” on delay. You loaded it off of your 3.5-inch floppy disk, ran the program (which loaded it into memory), popped out the floppy and were out of the room before it went off. He passed out several copies the week before the final. My guess is almost half of the class had a copy of this program. I stayed until almost the end of the final, sitting in the back row listening as more and more PCs played out the song in all its 8-bit glory.
Nate Taylor, EE’00, Omaha

We repeatedly painted the Mu back on the rock at the Sigma Chi annex after they had the big “Burning the Mu” party. The Mu was dropped after getting their charter. We even went in camouflage with war paint. They tried to catch us, but it never worked. It was great fun. I was even dating a Sigma Chi and they were clueless. The sorority girls were not on the suspect list.
Cheri Mohan-Schmitt, ME’87, St. Louis

It is a tradition for the pledges of Sigma Phi Epsilon to drag the large rock in their front yard to another fraternity so their members would have to drag it back. In 1994, the students at the fraternity where the rock ended up rented a jack hammer and made the rock easier to carry back to Sig Ep. I’m not Greek, but I had some great friends in the Sig Ep house. When I asked them if they were going to replace it, of course their answer was “yes.” Their minds going wild with the size of rock they wanted to get. But then after a bit of estimation of what they could actually haul, they realized their goal was out of reach because no one in the house had a large enough truck to move a three-ton granite boulder. I said, “You find the rock, I’ll haul it.” I worked for Poe’s Gas, which had a truck equipped with a hydraulic boom for hauling propane tanks. One of the guys got permission to take a large red granite boulder from the Experimental Mine. I secured the truck from Gordon Poe, who had only one request, “Just don’t flip my truck over.” I delivered the rock the Saturday before finals week during the fraternity’s traditional senior round of golf. As soon as the rock was on the ground, someone shouted, “Let’s move it!” Those of us that loaded the rock knew this was nearly impossible, but we sat back and watched them try. The rock was sitting on edge and after a few minutes of grunting, it did roll over to a larger flat with a loud thud. I don’t think that rock moved for several semesters because of its extreme weight.

Another time, during the spring of 1997, the old IBM system in the computer lab was going away and all the 1-inch reel-to-reel tapes would all be obsolete. Dax Sparks, AE’96, ME’96, and I were working in the operations and equipment room on weekend shifts. We stockpiled about 80 of those reels and then unwound them and stuffed the mess into Charlie Irwin’s office one Sunday night. (Irwin is a retired supervisor of computing and information services, now known as IT.) His office was on the edge of the room and the walls were all glass. The tape filled the room to about chest height with his desk, chair and computers still inside.
Brian Call, ME’97, MS EMch’99,
Dunlap, Ill.

Tweets and Facebook

Stay connected to your alma mater through Twitter and Facebook.

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https://twitter.com/enuttall/status/268150140316053504

 

Tweets and Facebook

Stay connected to your alma mater through Twitter and Facebook.

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https://twitter.com/karenlgross/status/222129726943277056

 

Pranks?

Send us your answers by Jan. 1, 2013, for inclusion in the Spring 2013 issue of the Missouri S&T Magazine.

What is the one thing you couldn’t have survived at Rolla without?

Everybody has one. You know, that one thing that got you though school. For some it was a laptop, a calculator or a slide rule. For others, it was all about friends and family. Here are a few things Miners say they couldn’t live without during their time on campus.

[Read more…]