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Honoring a mentor by supporting future engineers

Education is a lifelong investment, one that several students will be able to afford more easily thanks to the support of alumnus Roy Koch ’72, ’73 and his wife, Donna.

Civil engineering students (from left) William Sumlin ’17, Collin Paich ’18 and Lauren Biales Wise ’17 with faculty emeritus Vince Ricca, who mentored many Buckeye engineers during his 26 years at Ohio State.The civil engineering graduate donated a generous gift to the College of Engineering to establish the Vince T. Ricca Engineering Scholarship Fund. Named in honor of his mentor and former college professor, Koch’s scholarship will support undergraduate students studying civil engineering with a focus on water resources and environmental engineering, or those pursuing an environmental engineering degree. 

“I believe that water will continue to be one of the most significant challenges to continued human development and quality of life,” explained Koch. “We need the best and brightest to address these issues and it is my hope that this scholarship will support that objective.”

As the first member of his family to pursue a higher education, Koch knows firsthand the financial struggles many college students face. He worked summers and throughout the academic year to earn just enough to cover his tuition and living expenses. With this scholarship, he hopes to provide support for the next generation of Buckeye engineers who may not otherwise be able to pursue a college degree.

“I attribute much of my personal and professional successes to the opportunities provided by Ohio State and the College of Engineering in particular,” said Koch. “The education I received at Ohio State prepared me very well for my careers in both the civil engineering profession and academia. I hope to provide the same opportunity for students who may not otherwise be able to pursue their dreams.”

Like many donors, Koch also wanted to use his gift to pay tribute to someone near and dear to his heart. He named his scholarship in honor of faculty emeritus Vince Ricca, whom he credits with laying the foundation for his career—first as a practicing engineer and later when he became an engineering professor himself.

“Dr. Ricca was one of the most influential mentors I’ve had during either my academic or professional careers. He has had a significant impact on both what I chose to do and how I approached it,” Koch said.

Koch’s endowment was part of the recent Ohio Scholarship Challenge in which the university will match distribution payments on any newly endowed scholarship of $100,000 or more. The first students to benefit from the gift will be awarded their scholarships during spring semester 2017.

Tags: Alumni, Giving