Establishing a "cycle of excellence" was Peter '68 and Angela Dal Pezzo's intention when they endowed the Peter and Angela Dal Pezzo Department Head Chair in Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering.
"By supporting faculty, you have the opportunity to shape the future of a department," Peter explains. "Our most rewarding experience has been seeing the Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering (IME) use the funds to develop into a more global, vibrant place of instruction."
The Dal Pezzos' own international perspective grows out of lives that have spanned continents and industries. After graduating from Penn State, Peter began his career at Bethlehem Steel, and he is now retired from his role as a vice president of global security for technology manufacturer Pelco. Angela, a native of Switzerland, has a degree in international business and held positions at Pelco as well. Today, their travels take them not only overseas, but also to University Park, where Peter volunteers his time and expertise as a member of the IME department's Industrial and Professional Advisory Council.
"Through my involvement with the Council, I became impressed with the department's vision for its future and its commitment to creating global engineers-graduates with the skills and understanding to contribute on an international level," Peter says. "Angela and I wanted to help the department fulfill that vision."
The Dal Pezzos' gift to endow the Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering department head chair was the couple's first major gift to the department and was instrumental in recruiting Dr. Paul Griffin to the position in 2009. "It's a tough time to be a department head, with enrollment up and resources down," says Dr. Griffin, the current Peter and Angela Dal Pezzo Department Head Chair of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering, who came to Penn State from Georgia Tech. "I knew that with the resources of the Dal Pezzo Department Head Chair, I would be able to create opportunities for our students and faculty that wouldn't otherwise be possible."
With funds from the endowment, Dr. Griffin has supported top graduate students and seeded new research ideas, including an undergraduate capstone project focused on energy-efficient manufacturing. Additional gifts from the Dal Pezzos have established five trustee scholarships in the department and launched the Global Manufacturing and Services Laboratory, where students collaborate on team projects with peers at international universities.
"We are so interconnected today, and the greatest gift that you can give someone is the education that will enable them to succeed in the global economy," Angela says. "We want Penn State graduates to have the hands-on experience, the exposure to well-known faculty, the understanding of the latest technology, that will help them to go out, do well, and support the next generation-many generations-of industrial engineers. Penn State has a great tradition in this field, and we want that to continue."