This retired civil engineer is still building—for the future.
“Seven graduated. All have jobs. Two are going right into PhD studies. One into a master’s.” Bill Roberts, associate vice president for advancement and alumni engagement, reels off the latest student progress report to Ronald J. Pasquinelli ’59.
“Go get ‘em, guys!” says Ron, who does more than cheer ‘his’ students on. His $20,000 in annual scholarship gifts breaks down financial barriers and keeps them in school. They are here because of Ron.
“Ron’s scholarship is for the student with no other options to pay their student bill. They’re truly going to have to go home,” says Bill.
There are four more due to graduate next year. Ron is helping two sophomores.Two juniors. In the past two years, his generosity has affected 21 students with an average 3.18 GPA.
Why does he do it? Because a tuition crisis shouldn’t hold a hard-working Husky back. “You gotta give ’em a chance,” Ron says. “MichiganTech helped me. I’ve done well, and I return the favor.”
“You’ve learned how to work at Tech and all you have to do is go out in the world and do it.”—Ron Pasquinelli’s advice to MichiganTech students
He earned his bachelor’s in civil engineering at Michigan Tech and later a master’s in business administration from Golden Gate University. The 1999 Michigan Tech Board of Trustees Silver Medal winner and 2009 Civil and Environmental Engineering Academy inductee is a prime example of what this year’s student commencement speaker Drew Markel highlighted: the many hats MichiganTech Huskies wear. Ron’s hats include military service, construction, financial management, international business consulting—and sailing, deep-sea diving, community service, and philanthropic endeavors from coast to coast.
He still gets together with his former sailboat crew, but these days stays off the high seas. “I stay out of trouble. I don’t mind causing it for others,” he says, laughing. “But I like to stay out of it myself.”
He’s still up for the thrill of seeing Michigan Tech students succeed.
“It’s a pleasure to see it happening while it’s ongoing, and get the feedback while I’m here,” says Ron. “Students benefit, and so does the country, and the world.”
Bill tells Ron that he’s somewhat of a celebrity around Tech. The “Pasquinelli Style” of giving appeals to present and potential donors who appreciate immediate, gratifying results.
His annual gift is offered in addition to the $1 million planned gift under the Ronald J. and Marie B. Pasquinelli Education Opportunity endowed scholarship fund established in 1995.
Bill, who previously headed financial aid and saw Ron’s transformational gifts in action firsthand, will tell you this kind of interaction with the generous people who support MichiganTech on every level is his favorite part of the job. “There’s good people out there doing good things.”