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A perfect match

What happens when Buckeye engineering alumni are presented with an opportunity to give back and quadruple their impact? Their generosity surpasses all expectations.

During a 21-day campaign in November 2017, 275 young alumni donated $26,540 to support 65 different initiatives across the College of Engineering, including scholarships, department priority funds and student organizations.

Jim and Pat Dietz stand in front of an Ohio State College of Engineering backdrop. Jim and Pat Dietz at an alumni gathering.Part of a special matching gift opportunity for recent College of Engineering graduates, those funds were matched three-to-one by alumnus Jim Dietz ’69, ’70 and his wife Pat, resulting in $106,158 in total support. Response from young alumni was strong, with more than half of participants making their first gift to the college and 39 percent making their first gift to Ohio State.

“A quarter of all living engineering alumni have graduated since 2009. Their unprecedented number gives them the opportunity to use philanthropy to enhance and strengthen the college in ways that previous generations could only imagine,” said Matt LaBarbera, director of donor relations. “Their support is crucial to the future of the college.” 

Knowing the impact receiving a scholarship had on their lives, Jim and Pat have prioritized giving back to Ohio State. The sense of pride gained from contributing to future students and the university is a feeling like no other, Jim explained, and he wanted other alumni to experience it.

Their one regret is that they didn’t start giving to Ohio State sooner. 

“We had four children very close in age, so we never felt like we had the  financial wherewithal. But you know what? We did,” Jim recalled. “I wish we had done it, because making a contribution to Ohio State, either to scholarships or other means, is just so satisfying.”

One of the groups benefitting from Jim and Pat’s Triple Match campaign is the Formula Buckeyes. The student-led motorsport project team received $13,100. Project manager Jakob Madgar, a mechanical engineering major, said those dollars will help the team succeed in their goal of building the fastest single-seat racecar in North America.

“It had a very tremendous effect, not only on this past year, but into the future as well,” Madgar said. “This donation helped improve the team and is giving us more opportunities to grow.” 

Donor support enables the Formula Buckeyes to gain hands-on experience building a new vehicle annually as required by competition rules. It also helps
them become better engineers. 

“Donors give the team the opportunity to build the car and compete at a high level. What’s more, they’re supporting the creation of some of the best engineers to come out of the university,” Madgar said. “Our engineers are able to take the skills they have acquired on the team and apply them directly out of graduation.”

Thanks to matchmakers Jim and Pat, and the donors they inspired, even more students and initiatives will benefit from the generosity of Buckeyes.

by Candi Clevenger, College of Engineering Communications,