Author Archives: David Tarver

New Dean for U-M College of Engineering: What’s Your Opinion?


The University of Michigan College of Engineering is searching for a new Dean. The second and final term of the current dean, David Munson, ends next June, and the search for his successor is well underway. I am serving on the search committee, and we’ve received a lot of input from people in and around the College. As an alumni community search committee member, I’m interested in hearing as broad a range of opinions about the attributes the new dean should have. What do you think the priorities for the next dean should be? What attributes would you most like to see in the selected candidate?  You can let me know by posting a comment here, or by sending me a private e-mail. In any case, I’d appreciate hearing from you.


Speaking @ Christ The King Church Flint, This Sunday


This Sunday, July 12, I have the honor of being the Festival Speaker at Christ the King church in Flint, Michigan. Always great to go back home and see so many long-standing friends. Thanks to Father Phil Schmitter for the invitation. I’m still settling on my topic .  The problem is that there are so dang many to choose from! If you’re in the Flint area this Sunday, come on over — we’ll have a good time. When? Immediately after 9:45 am service.

Day 12: Boulder Dam

Monday morning, May 18, 2015, day 12 of my cross-country journey. Time to see something I’ve wanted to see for a long time, the Hoover Dam (a.k.a. Boulder Dam). After much less than a one-day stay, it’s time to leave the delightful Boulder City hotel. First though, I’ve got to get some breakfast and check out the Boulder Dam museum right here in the hotel. Continue reading

Days 10-11: Alley Cat, Vegas, and more

I spent the better part of the weekend with my friend Allen Thompson (a.k.a. Alley Cat) and his family. On Saturday morning, I accompanied Allen and his son Durell to the Men’s Prayer Breakfast at his church, New Directions. It was good to be among the fellowship of men, both young and old, who were taking part, Unfortunately, we got to the event a little late, so only slim breakfast pickings remained. No problem, still lots of barbecue left at Allen’s house!


Me and Alley Cat, at the Thompson Estate, Rancho Cucamonga.

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The Badlands

Late in the afternoon of Day 2, I reached Wall, South Dakota. Wall is near the entrance to Badlands National Park, and it is the home of a famous retail outlet called Wall Drugs. Wall Drugs is on a street that looks like a simulation of an Old West town, and it seems to be quite a tourist trap. Not many people there on May 8, but I bet the place gets overrun during the summer – probably like Mackinac Island does. Anyway, I hung out at Wall Drugs for a little while, and a helpful store clerk there gave me directions to the national park entrance. In fact, he said he’d look me up and strangle me if I failed to see the Badlands before heading off to Mount Rushmore.

On the main drag in Wall, SD. Simulated Old West street.

On the main drag in Wall, SD. Simulated Old West street.

A Tesla near the main drag in Wall. Wonder where they charge that baby!

A Tesla near the main drag in Wall. Wonder where they charge that baby!

Only took 10 minutes or so to drive over to the park entrance. A nicely paved road winds through the Badlands, so it is easy to see the sights while driving along, and there are many places where one get out of the car and take a closer look at the park. Badlands is an amazing place, and I think I’d like to return and bike it someday. Apparently lots of people do that.

Driving through the Badlands. Roads here are better than those in Michigan!

Driving through the Badlands. Roads here are better than those in Michigan!

Meet my little friends! Big horn sheep roaming through Badlands.

Meet my little friends! Big horn sheep roaming through Badlands.

The GTI is doing quite well, thank you.

The GTI is doing quite well, thank you.


Onward and upward!

After spending an hour or so with my nephew Norman David and his family, I had to hit the road – had to put some more miles on the odometer before bedtime. My goal was to make it to Sioux City, but unfortunately the hour got late and I got a little drowsy before reaching there. I ended up spending the night in a little town called Albert Lea, Minnesota. It’s about an hour west of Rochester, so I felt pretty good about the distance I was able to travel. Found a hotel off the Interstate 90 exit called the American Inn, and rolled into there a little after midnight. The place was simple and clean – even had a swimming pool – and the staff was friendly. A good place to put down for the night.

Had an interesting experience about an hour before reaching Albert Lea, though. I saw a sign for a Holiday Inn Express, took the exit, and turned in the direction I thought I was supposed to turn in. 10 minutes later, I was on the one of the darkest, most desolate roads I had ever seen, with no sign of a hotel or anything else, and no cell coverage. That was a little spooky. Anyway, after traveling about 5 miles without seeing signs of civilization, I retraced my route, got back on the interstate, and headed for Albert Pea.

Next morning, I took care of some computing chores, including calling my web hosting service to figure out why I couldn’t upload blog posts from my phone. To my pleasant surprise, the techs there sorted it out! I’m making this post from my computer while I sit in a hotel room, but many future posts on this trip will come directly from my phone.

Best movie location of all time! Can't stop, though.

Best movie location of all time! Can’t stop, though.

Off to my destination on this leg of the trip – the Badlands and Mount Rushmore. Always wanted to see the latter, and the former sounds downright interesting. On the way, I saw an exit for Fargo and was tempted to take it (that was, after all, the location for one of the best movies of all time!), but I had no time for detours. Onward and upward.

Stopped for gas along the interstate and saw something I thought to be long extinct – a Sinclair gas station! Naturally I had to gas up there! I felt like it was 1966 all over again.

I thought these were extinct! Not the reptile, the gas station.

I thought these were extinct! Not the reptile, the gas station.

The prescription for Baltimore: jobs

471381728-1500x1000It was hard to watch the images coming out of Baltimore last week. Seeing Freddy Gray’s life cut short, a man who was the same age as my own son, was tragic enough. The ensuing protests, the riot, the wall-to-wall media coverage, the talk about urban hopelessness, lack of opportunity, poor education – all of this was unsurprising, if not downright predictable. This is a story that is getting very old, about a situation for which solutions exist, solutions that are not even being attempted. That is precisely why the story is so hard to watch. Continue reading