“Alex’s Pizza, of course!”

We asked about your favorite place to eat, and boy did you respond. It was such an overwhelming response that Larry Gragg, author of Missouri S&T’s sesquicentennial history book, was inspired to write about it.
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Letter to the editor

Each issue I always take special notice of the alumni who have most recently passed. The vast majority of the older alumni served their country during times of conflict and went on to complete long careers, often with only one or two companies. Although I am saddened by the passing of a great generation of men and women, I greatly appreciate being reminded of the service and sacrifices those before us made. Many of these same folks are those that helped grow our university to what it is today.

Will Kirby, CE’08, ArchE’08
Overland Park, Kan.

Letters to the editor: Fall/Winter 2016

Accounts of my death have been greatly exaggerated. In the April 1987 MSM Alumnus on page 33 it was reported that I had passed away. Other than me being dead, all of the other details were correct. I have enclosed a copy of the front page of the Alumnus and page 33 for your review. I have just retired from the city of University Park after 27 years and hope to enjoy many more years in retirement. I thought it was time to correct the record.

Robert E. “Bob” Whaling, CE’73
Plano, Texas


I have just completed reading from cover to cover the latest Missouri S&T Magazine, and I especially enjoy the stories of the current S&T collaborative projects and how these help give students some practical experience. During my visit to Rolla for my 50th class reunion last year, I enjoyed touring the Kummer Student Design Center and seeing the chemical car in the ChE department. From the alumni magazine, I see that all students must now take part in at least one experimental learning project before they graduate.

I would like to tell you about the required student collaborative projects required by the chemical engineering department for students taking ChE 255, Chemical Engineering Design, in 1965. In order to graduate, you had to do a chemical engineering design project as a team. In the 1960s, the farmers of Missouri voiced a loud complaint that while they paid taxes to support the Missouri universities, they did not receive any benefit. Therefore, Dr. Dudley Thompson, chair of chemical engineering, declared that the design classes must do a project that would benefit the farmers. It was determined that there was an unlimited supply of scrub oak within a 50-mile radius of Rolla, and this scrub oak was considered a weed tree. Therefore, the project must be one that would consume this tree in some form. A couple of the design teams took the easy way out and designed a charcoal production process.

Prof. Russell Primrose challenged our group to do something more innovative. We learned that The Masonite Corp. blasted trees with high-pressure water to break down the tree trunks to form the basis for their Masonite boards. That process produced a side product of wood lignins that they had to figure out how to use since they could no longer discharge this byproduct into the river. They developed a process to convert these lignin fibers into a type of livestock feed. Thus our project was to take scrub oak as the starting material and design a commercial-sized plant to turn this scrub oak into a livestock feed. At that time there was an oak barrel maker not far from Rolla, and we were able to get an unlimited supply of gunny sacks full of oak sawdust.

After a series of trials first on a lab scale and then scaling that process up into larger equipment in the unit ops lab, we were successful in developing a process to hydrolyze this sawdust into what we called a wood sugar. I still fondly remember the very hot days in the unit ops lab with my fellow chemical engineering students sweating and working out the necessary equipment and processing techniques to complete this project.

The disappointing outcome was that we could produce a wood sugar, but the capital expense was so large that a pound of wood sugar would cost about $5/pound while you could buy refined cane sugar in the grocery store for well under $1. Dr. Primrose gave us an A for our efforts. I guess there is still an unlimited supply of scrub oak just waiting for someone to figure out how to turn it into a cash crop for the farmers.

Wick Doll, ChE’65
Spartanburg, S.C.


would like to commend you on Missouri S&T Magazine. It is very interesting and full of news — without typos, which is unusual these days. The latest issue, Spring 2016, was especially good. I especially enjoyed the young man who was into volunteering. As an avid volunteer myself, I was very impressed
by him.

Pat Swanson, wife of the late Ken Swanson, GGph’59, CerE’62
West Liberty, Ohio

To the editor

Ladies and Gents,

The Fall/Winter 2015 issue of Missouri S&T Magazine has now made a quantum jump in significance, importance and intelligent reporting about issues and topics relating to alumni contributions. Obviously many other topics aside from the great inventors need to be addressed but the inclusion of these several alumni inventors is a great step forward. [Read more…]

Letter to the editor

I just received and read the Spring issue of Missouri S&T Magazine. I enjoy the articles and especially the notes about the old-timers of my generation and before. 

However, I was disturbed by something in the article on page 38 titled “Reliving History.” My
hat is off to men like
Joseph Senne (MS CE’51) who fought in that war and won it, but a phrase in the article stated “… the peace treaty with Japan … .” Joseph and others of the Greatest Generation won that war. Period. The U.S. did not negotiate a peace treaty. Japan signed an unconditional surrender. There is a difference.

In today’s politically correct world we seem to have forgotten what winning is. Please don’t forget that there was a generation that won. Completely, unconditionally.

Sincerely,
Henry R. Atkinson, CE’56
Richmond, Va.

Editor’s Note:  Thank you very much for your note and for pointing out our error in using the phrase “peace treaty with Japan” to characterize the terms of Japan’s surrender on Sept. 2, 1945, to mark the end of World War II. It would have been more accurate for us to have written that Senne was on Okinawa when “Japan surrendered” or “Japan signed the instruments of surrender” on that date.

Letters – Fall/Winter 2014

Dear Editor,

I first read your article “Where’s Dave” in Missouri S&T Magazine during my freshman year in 2009. At that time I was looking for motivation and a direction for my future. Of all the material I had read while searching for my dream career, I found this article to be the most inspiring; I decided I wanted to travel in Dave McCann’s footsteps. My career needed not be with GE, but would simply allow me to interact directly with people of many different cultures while solving technical problems. I still reread the article now and again to remind myself of the end goal. I would like to contact Dave McCann, so if you could point me in the right direction, I would greatly appreciate it.

Evan Carroll, senior in mechanical engineering, Clarence, Mo.

Editor’s note: Dave McCann, ME’79, was featured in the Summer 2009 “Miners Around the World” issue. We forwarded Evan’s note to Dave. Here is his response:


Dear Editor,

Wow! What a nice and unexpected honor to know that my story has provided inspiration for a young person interested in following a similar path in life. Thanks for forwarding his message to me. I will contact Evan directly, and hope that I can provide him with some insights. And just in case you are interested, I retired last year, and have continued to travel and explore new places and cultures. I came back to Jeff City to attend my 40-year high school reunion and celebrate my dad’s 87th birthday, but I just got back from my first-ever trip to Costa Rica, where I spent the month of May sightseeing. My favorite moment was spotting a wild toucan in the trees just above me one afternoon while I was watching the sun set over a little beachside village. Life is good. 🙂

Dave McCann, ME’79, Jefferson City, Mo.


Dear Editor,

I just received the latest issue of Missouri S&T Magazine and while reading through it I noticed that on page 22 in “by the numbers” it says the baseball team has 608 wins since its inception in 1966. I take exception to that because I was part of the first baseball team that played in the spring of 1965. So this year would be the 50th year. We were 6-6 that first year. I even have the school newspaper that mentions that record. I always felt that we didn’t get any recognition for that year and it seems like we’ve been forgotten. I hope you can rectify this error. We would start each practice on the third base line and walk the infield to pick up any rocks on the infield.

Mike Hahn, ME’70, Florissant, Mo.

Editor’s note: You are correct, Mike. The Miners played as an independent team in 1965, one year before joining the MIAA Conference in 1966. We apologize for the error. Thank you for setting us straight.

A note from (Mehmet) Nihat Taner, MS CE’73

It was a long journey from Istanbul. Our plane refueled somewhere near Ireland and then in a small airport in eastern Canada before landing at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. At JFK we learned that we must go to La Guardia Airport for the flight to St. Louis. There was another person, a middle-aged Greek lady who was also going to St. Louis. We all got into a cab and barely made it on time to our flight. From St. Louis, we had to take a Greyhound bus to Rolla. We arrived sometime after midnight, very early on a Sunday morning in August 1972. [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.

Letters: Fall/Winter 2012

On Nov. 23, 1965, I took possession of a 1966 Pontiac GTO hardtop in Rolla, Mo. I was a college graduating senior. I had no job. I had, as yet, no firm job offer. Nonetheless, the dealer offered a financing deal:  my old 1958 Hillman Minx, no payments for 30 days, the first year’s insurance was included in the purchase price and the first three payments were $25.00. The deal was closed in less than 30 minutes. The dealer gave me the keys and told me to drive it off of the show room floor, which I did. I bought the car with every intention of keeping it forever. So far so good.

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