Feature Stories 2024: New scholarship preserves the values of retired Chancellor Professor Ron DiPippo

Former students with former faculty
Pictured above: Ray Laoulache, John Guarino '95, Gene Potkay '73, Ron DiPippo, Scott Tingle '87, Don Foster '72, and John Berg '82
Feature Stories 2024: New scholarship preserves the values of retired Chancellor Professor Ron DiPippo
New scholarship preserves the values of retired Chancellor Professor Ron DiPippo

Mechanical engineering alumni establish scholarship honoring their influential professor.

For 37 years, aspiring mechanical engineering students set out to conquer Dr. Ron DiPippo’s demanding thermodynamics courses, studying harder than they ever had before. “Work hard, then work harder” was the mantra in Dr. DiPippo’s classroom. After surviving the grueling courses and exams that tested their knowledge, each student graduated from UMass Dartmouth with the fundamental skills that would lay the foundations of their engineering careers—and the confidence to succeed in a competitive industry.

Inspired by Dr. DiPippo’s impact on their educations and careers, a group of mechanical engineering alumni collaborated to establish the Chancellor Professor Ron DiPippo Scholarship Fund for mechanical engineering students. The committee of John Berg ’82, Bill Catlow ’69, Donald Foster ’72, John Guarino ’95, Gene Potkay ’73, Scott Tingle ’87, and Jim Zisson ’82, and Ray Laoulache, retired associate dean of the College of Engineering, sought to honor their professor and mentor by providing financial support to current mechanical engineering students at UMass Dartmouth.

“I gained a deep understanding of thermodynamics and energy systems, but perhaps more importantly, he taught me how to think critically, pay attention to details, and to work hard and apply engineering rigor,” said John Guarino ’95, executive director of the mechanical products team at Raytheon Missiles & Defense.

Ron DiPippo is a retired Chancellor Professor of mechanical engineering and former associate dean of the College of Engineering at UMass Dartmouth, known for teaching some of the most challenging courses in the mechanical engineering program from 1967 until his retirement in 2004. Prior to joining the faculty at UMass Dartmouth, DiPippo was a mechanical engineer at the U.S. Naval Undersea Warfare Center in Newport, RI, where his work focused on the thermodynamic analysis of compact propulsion systems for underwater applications and fluid flow phenomena.

DiPippo then and now
As an integral part of UMass Dartmouth's engineering community, DiPippo touched the lives of many Corsairs throughout his lengthy career.

Engineering alumni look back fondly at their time in DiPippo’s classroom and value the impact he had on their academic and professional successes. By introducing them to the level of precision, rigor, and critical thinking required and emphasizing the mastery of fundamental skills necessary to become successful engineers, DiPippo played a significant role in his students’ academic and professional experiences.

“Dr. DiPippo is the most influential mentor in my life, and he is at the core of every success that I have achieved,” said Scott Tingle ’87, U.S. Navy Captain (retired). “He is the reason behind my deep interest and capabilities in engineering, science, math, and technology.”

“One of the greatest lessons Ron taught me was that dedication and perseverance is more important than raw intelligence,” said Gene Potkay ’73, who is a retired senior vice president of intellectual property for Nielsen.

Students were held to high standards in DiPippo’s courses, but the challenge of meeting those expectations quickly turned to admiration for his professionalism and style. “Ron was respected as a role model of technical professionalism, elegance, accomplishments, and social graces for young engineers,” said Don Foster ’72, mechanical engineering instructor and lab manager, who later became a colleague of DiPippo’s at UMass Dartmouth.

Establishing a scholarship in DiPippo’s honor was a fitting way to show gratitude for his influence, while providing financial support for current students. The Chancellor Professor Ron DiPippo Scholarship Fund will be awarded to a mechanical engineering student with demonstrated financial need and an overall GPA of 3.0 or higher.