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.

Lady Miner volleyball player named Academic All-American of the Year

Jennifer Costello, a senior in chemical engineering from St. Louis, is the Capital One Academic All-America of the Year award winner for Division II volleyball as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America.

Costello is the third player and first female in school history to earn the award. Costello was also named Great Lakes Valley Conference Scholar-Athlete of the Year for volleyball. She is the first S&T volleyball player to earn the title and the fifth in school history.

Costello also earned first team honors last season. She has been named to the All-Great Lakes Valley Conference first team twice and has been named an Academic All-GLVC selection three times. She has won the M-Club Scholar Athlete Award for the last three years.

This past season Costello helped lead the Miners to their second-straight GLVC West Division title and to the semifinals of the conference tournament. She finished her career with 4,361 set assists, 923 digs, 444.5 points scored, 270 kills, 182 total blocks and 80 service aces.

Unwrapping mummy fascination

Public “unwrappings” of real mummified human remains — performed by both showmen and scientists as early as the 1600s — may have objectified exotic Egyptian artifacts. But they were also scientific investigations that revealed medical and
historical information about ancient life, says Kathleen Sheppard, assistant professor of history and political science.

Sheppard’s paper on 20th century Egyptologist Margaret Murray, the first woman to publicly unwrap a mummy, was published in the December issue of the journal Science in Context. She says Murray’s work is “poised between spectacle and science, drawing morbid public interest while also producing ground-breaking scientific work that continues to this day. These types of spectacles were highly engaging shows in which people were, to a certain degree, educated about different aspects of science both by showmen and scientists.”

Many Egyptologists focused on either “Egyptomania,” the fascination with all things Egypt, or “Egyptology,” the scientific study of Egyptian life, Sheppard says. But Murray combined the two, involving the public in scientific inquiry while at the same time correcting popular misconceptions.

“Murray tried to get the public to see that mummies weren’t magical, they were just preserved human remains to be studied and learned from,” Sheppard says. “In other words, rather than trying to separate the ’mania’ from the ‘ology,’ she wanted to bring reason and understanding to the mania.”

40 years of public radio history

Wayne Bledsoe, longtime host of “Bluegrass for a Saturday Night” and general manager of KMST, is helping the station celebrate 40 years on the air waves.

On Aug. 1, 1973, “Bluegrass for a Saturday Night” introduced area radio listeners to what would become an institution in public radio. Since then, KMST has broadcast an eclectic mix of music and NPR news and garnered a worldwide following.

Known then as KUMR, the station was on the air as early as 1963 as KMSM. At that time it was affiliated with the campus’ student radio station. When National Public Radio was formed in 1970, the University of Missouri System created radio stations at each of its four campuses.

The first locally produced show KMST aired, “Bluegrass for a Saturday Night,” was born of necessity, says General Manager Wayne Bledsoe.

“Bluegrass was virtually the only form of music we had enough LPs of to run an hour-long show,” he says. Those LPs — which will soon become history thanks to digital music broadcasts —  were donated from KMST’s sister station KBIA in Columbia.

Bledsoe joined the S&T faculty as an assistant professor of history and political science in 1968 and retired as professor and chair of the department in 2002. But he has been around KMST from the start, first as a volunteer, then as a contributing writer to the station’s program guide. In 1979 he took over the reins of the station’s flagship bluegrass program.

When the university announced plans to change its name to Missouri S&T in 2007, a small California radio station called KMST was in the process of going out of business.

“We timed it just right,” Bledsoe says. The FCC approved the transfer of the KMST call letters on July 16, 2007, making the radio station the first official harbinger of the name change.

KMST broadcasts at 88.5 FM in Rolla, Mo., and 96.3 FM in Lebanon, Mo., and livestreams its programming at kmst.org. Thanks to the Internet, KMST has contributing members in 47 states and 41 countries.

Professional degrees

Missouri S&T awarded six honorary professional degrees during commencement ceremonies in December. The degrees recognize the following graduates for professional achievement:

  • C. Dennis Croessmann, NucE’81, of Edgewood, N.M., chief of staff for the chief technology officer at Sandia National Laboratories
  • Thomas M. DeGonia II, Hist’93, of Olney, Md., a state and federal court litigator
  • Dale  W. Leidy Sr., ME’61, of Moreland, Ga., retired technical director at Owens-Illinois Inc.
  • Robert E. Low, of Springfield, Mo., president of Prime Inc.
  • Jeffrey W. Sheets, ChE’80, of Houston, vice president of finance and chief financial officer for ConocoPhillips
  • Bryan A. Stirrat, CE’67, of Diamond Bar, Calif., president of Tetra Tech — BAS.

 

700 new Miner alumni

More than 700 degrees were awarded at commencement ceremonies in December. Speaker Roger Truitt, ChE’71, discussed some of the changes he’s witnessed since he graduated 41 years earlier. He also gave the graduates five pieces of advice — to do their job well and market what they do, to always do the right thing, to question the validity of the questions they’re asked, to give back to Missouri S&T and to have fun in life.

“Your education is just beginning and will last your lifetime,” said Truitt, who received an honorary doctorate in engineering during the ceremony. “I believe you will see tremendous change in that lifetime.”

Truitt is the retired senior vice president of ARCO and retired president of ARCO Products Co. He lives in Paducah, Ky.

Class of ’63 to return in May

The Class of 1963 will celebrate its 50th anniversary at the Golden Alumni Reunion May 20–21 at Missouri S&T and the Comfort Suites in Rolla.

In addition to reconnecting with each other, alumni will tour their departments and learn more about what is happening on campus today. The Miner Alumni Association will host the alumni and present programs on the association, world events 50 years ago and MSM in 1963. The highlight of the event is a recognition ceremony, where class members receive their 50-year pins and certificates.

If you are a member of the Class of 1963 and have not received your invitation, or are from another class but would prefer to celebrate your Golden Alumni Reunion with the class of 1963, please contact the alumni office at alumni@mst.edu or call 800-JOMINER for more information.

New faces on alumni staff

There are some new faces in the Miner Alumni Association office. Here’s your chance to get to know them.

Administrative assistant Gillian Masters is the woman behind the cheerful voice that answers the main phone line. Masters came to campus last fall from Woodland Park, Colo., where she was office manager for a home health care company.

Darlene Ramsay, MetE’84, is no stranger to most of you. The former Miner Alumni Association president is now the executive director of alumni relations and advancement services. She oversees the operations of the Miner Alumni Association and the university advancement research, annual giving, and record-keeping services.

Katie Jackson joined the alumni office on Jan. 7 as assistant director. A member of the S&T staff since 2009, Jackson was a student program administrator in student affairs. She holds a bachelor of arts degree in psychology and religion
from Concordia College and a master of education degree from the University ofSouthern Mississippi. She is working toward a doctorate of education in educational leadership and policy analysis from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Save the date: Homecoming 2013

Make plans now to come to Rolla for Homecoming 2013, to be held Oct. 18–19. Watch for more details in the Summer issue of Missouri S&T Magazine.

105th Best Ever

The Miner Alumni Association hosted its annual breakfast before the St. Pat’s Parade on Saturday, March 16, with coffee, juice, and cinnamon rolls, along with Mimosas and Bloody Marys. After the parade, alumni and friends celebrated with dollar beer and free hot dogs.

Watch for pictures in the Summer issue of Missouri S&T Magazine. Or go online to bestever.mst.edu to see how S&T has celebrated for 105 years.