Detroit to Houghton, Husky Network Builds Mentorships and Memories

On June 26, this time of reunions and re-emergence was also a time for introductions,
as Michigan Tech’s first Vice President for Range and Inclusion (VPDI) met with
Detroit location alumni and buddies.

Wayne Gersie, VPDI at Michigan Technological University, attended the African-American
Alumni Affiliation (A4) annual picnic in Detroit. Also there had been Michigan Tech Board
of Trustees Chair
Brenda Ryan ’76 Board of Trustees member Derhun D. Sanders ’97 and Darnishia (Slade) Morris ’98, manager of Global Engagement Programs at MTU’s Pavlis Honors Faculty and Michigan Neighborhood Service Commission member.

Michigan Tech’s incoming Dean of Learners Wallace Southerland III was also on hand,
together with five potential college students and their families, two recent college students, and
thirteen alumni and their families.

The picnic was at first set for the Detroit Riverwalk, but was shifted downtown
to Greektown due to the fact of weather (Huskies are practically nothing if not versatile). As generally,
it was a time to pull out photograph albums and reminisce — and to welcome new and potential
Huskies to the fold. 

A group of Michigan Technological University Black alumni and prospective students pose for a group shot in front of a brick wall in Detroit's Greektown.
Huskies renew friendships and make new buddies at the annual picnic. (Image credit:
Paige Quick)


An older woman talks with a younger man in a wooden restaurant booth with iron-scrolled black grilling behind them.
MTU Board of Trustees Chair Brenda Ryan talks with Jimmie Cannon ’20.

Morris reported A4 became considerably less active about ten several years ago. “Some of us, which includes Doris
Powerful, felt strongly about relaunching the annual picnic, which we did 4 or five
several years ago,” she reported. As a former
regional admissions manager (RAM) for Tech, Morris is familiar with how critical it is for potential Huskies and their
families to see common faces in their possess local community and in Houghton. 

Powerful, who graduated in 1997, is no stranger to parenting MTU Huskies. She’s mother
to each a modern graduate (who commences master’s experiments in the slide) and an incoming
first-yr university student.

“The A4 picnic is substantial due to the fact college students get started out creating their communities
early,” Powerful reported. “You get to meet new faces that you may possibly not see on campus or else.
Your children commence to meet and form a spouse and children and develop their local community now, prior to
they travel so far absent from you.”

Morris reported she and Powerful had been delighted with the engagement among the group of 34.

“Students and their families want to meet folks who have absent by means of the encounter,”
she reported. “I know how many uncertainties I experienced. Anything at all we can do to simplicity that —
a mentor from their main, potential college students who can connect with their friends,
mothers and fathers who can make connections and obtain assets — the levels of encounter are
all critical.”

VPDI Motion Strategy

Adhere to the web site, obtain assets and keep connected to initiatives to foster and preserve
a sense of belonging in the Michigan Tech local community by way of the
VPDI site.

Gersie appreciated everyone’s participation in the celebration, which he reported lays a potent
basis for the ongoing assets readily available to college students by means of the MTU campus
local community and alumni network.

Five people stand in a restaurant near a pizza table with others sitting in the background with wood-finished walls and many wearing Michigan Technological University Huskies t-shirts and other swag at the African American Alumni Association annual picnic in Detroit.
From remaining, Darnishia (Slade) Morris ’98, Doris Powerful ’97, Cornelius Powerful ’97, recent
Tech university student Jailynn Johnson (chemistry), and MTU Vice President for Range and
Inclusion Wayne Gersie cling out with other Huskies in downtown Detroit’s Greektown.
The annual A4 picnic is usually held outside, but stormy June weather ruled that

“Students and their mothers and fathers are right here to know that when they appear to Michigan Tech,
there is certainly a aid procedure in place which is heading to assistance them matriculate efficiently
by means of the system, furnishing treatment and making sure a sense of belonging for them,” reported
Gersie. “If they will not truly feel that, then the stress and the feeling of impostor syndrome
can be heightened. But when they have the aid to be productive and connect with
mentors and assets, they can flip out like these alumni who are right here sharing their

“Activities like A4 are crucial to aiding college students who are coming to Michigan Tech with
hopes and aspirations of having a diploma, using that diploma and translating it into
strengthening their quality of daily life for by themselves, their families and their communities.
It makes it possible for them to see and hear from function types who have previously accomplished, like our
alumni.”Wayne Gersie, Vice President for Range and Inclusion

Morris reported for her, the reunion rejuvenates the commitment to fortify the bonds
among her hometown and Michigan Tech. 

“I am straight-up Detroit. I truly feel some stage of accountability to maintain our alumni connected
to what is going on on campus.”Darnishia (Slade) Morris ’98, A4 Organizer

Board member and alumnus Sanders reported the downstate gathering usually means a good deal to Huskies.
“Just due to the fact you will not cross the bridge and do that five hundred-and-some-odd-mile travel would not
indicate that you are not as substantially in love with Michigan Tech as any other man or woman,” he reported.
“And so, it truly is generally superior to reconnect with alumni at this celebration.” The gathering is
critical for potential college students who haven’t frequented campus due to the fact they are able
to get a sense of the Tech encounter by means of the strong stories alumni share, Sanders

“This is a testament to Michigan Tech and the track record that the University has all
the way down right here in the Detroit location of Michigan,” Sanders reported.

Increasing outreach in the Detroit location is an critical component of Michigan Tech’s mission.
In addition to browsing with alumni, Gersie connected face-to-face with groups and
persons he’s been actively operating with given that he arrived on campus in late 2020
— which includes Bruce Ross of the Michigan Division of Natural Means, Mike Reed
of the Detroit Zoological Society, Lionel Bradford with the Greening of Detroit and
Robert Magee of the Engineering Society of Detroit (it was a welcome improve from Zoom

This is the last of a three-component Michigan Tech News series on range and inclusion
initiatives at Michigan Tech. Get news updates, obtain assets and find how you
can aid initiatives for range, inclusion and a sense of belonging on the VPDI site.

Michigan Technological University is a general public exploration university, residence to much more than
7,000 college students from 54 nations. Launched in 1885, the University offers much more than
one hundred twenty undergraduate and graduate diploma systems in science and engineering, engineering,
forestry, business and economics, well being professions, humanities, mathematics, and
social sciences. Our campus in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula overlooks the Keweenaw Waterway
and is just a few miles from Lake Excellent.