Diaper duty

When you think of college students, diapers don’t usually come to mind. But 18 project management students changed that this semester when they organized a diaper drive for a local charity.

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Letters: Spring 2009

Mike Swoboda and I pledged Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity in Rolla in the fall of 1956. Mike was voted in as chapter president in his sophomore year: An unusual move at that time.
He quickly consolidated his leadership team and our fraternity began to move up in all aspects of our activities and in prestige on campus. Bob Elrod, CerE’63, was the chapter treasurer and Mike would have Elrod announce all the moves and changes that might be controversial. Poor Elrod was his lightning rod but they made a good team. Mike led our fraternity to high respect on campus in his two years as president.

We shared a great love for sport and competition. Mike’s primary sport was tennis but he became a very effective player in flag football, volleyball, basketball, and softball (fast pitch). At one point we did not have a good pitcher so Mike and I went up to one of the local school play grounds that had a backstop fence and took turns trying to learn to pitch using the classic windmill motion of fast pitch softball. Neither of us could master it.

Though we were about the same height, Mike was a spiker and I was his setter in volleyball. He was left handed and not an overpowering spiker but enormously effective. Mike had that rare ability to think in the middle of a competitive event and would sense where the defense was and direct the ball away. His dinks scored as often as his slams.
Once I came into his room and it happened to be election night. Mike had two yellow legal pads on his desk and was listening intently to the radio. On the pads were the names of all the Senators and Governors running for office and he was keeping tally with a pencil.

He loved the political process and particularly loved small town politics. He eventually got his dream job, Mayor of Kirkwood, and he brought to it the same skills that make him so effective as a fraternity president. Mike would always do all of the grunt work to secure and know where all of his votes were. Folks who found themselves on the opposite side of an issue from Mike rarely were willing to put in the time and effort that Mike did regularly. As a result they regularly lost and Mike won setting up some long standing resentments.

But one could never question where Mike’s heart was. He was determined to be the very best mayor that a town ever had… And he was. I keep thinking of that song “Jimmy Walker loved New York… “Well Michael E. Swoboda really loved Kirkwood and served his town well.

Michael C. Kearney, EE’60, Kirkwood, Mo.
Kearney is a fraternity brother of late Kirkwood, Mo., Mayor Mike Swoboda, ME’60, who died Sept. 6 as a result of injuries suffered in the Kirkwood City Hall shootings of Feb. 7, 2008.

What’s all the flap about flappers?

American writers in the 1920s used the flapper as a sign of the times, says Kate Drowne, associate professor of English and technical communication.

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Good old boys and Southern gentlemen

In his new book, White Masculinity in the Recent South, Trent Watts examines the way southern men have been represented in pop culture since World War II, from southern Protestant churches to the music of Lynyrd Skynyrd. The idea grew from Watts’ interest in the 20th century South.

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Chemist honored

Yinfa Ma, Curators’ Teaching Professor of chemistry, received the 2008 J. Calvin Giddings Award for Excellence in Education from the American Chemical Society’s division of analytical chemistry.

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Briefly

Hirtz to lead design center
Paul Hirtz, EMgt’95, MS EMgt’97, PhD EMgt’02, assistant director of the Student Design and Experiential Learning Center, was named interim director of the center. He took over the new role on Nov. 26.

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STEP into the sun

Exterior_fmt.jpegMissouri S&T was awarded $10,000 in research grants from the Environmental Protection Agency for research into solar energy and residential energy use.

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Welding in micro-gravity

Led by senior Michelle Rader, a team of S&T aerospace engineering students is trying to improve the speed of construction in space.

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Commencement speaker: Science and technology solve problems

Don’t let barriers get in the way of future success, Joan Woodard, Math’73, told a group of nearly 600 graduating seniors during December 2008 commencement.

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Faculty honored with Curators’ titles

David Van Aken, professor of metallurgical engineering, was named Curators’ Teaching Professor of materials science and engineering during commencement Dec. 20. He joined the Missouri S&T faculty in 1993.

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