A 1960 Trine University alumnus and his wife will donate $3 million toward efforts
to build a new student design center on Trine’s Angola campus.
John Pellegrino, who graduated with a degree in civil engineering, and his wife Mary
have made a $1 million gift and plan to complete the pledge by the end of the year.
In appreciation for the gift, a newly proposed facility will be named the John and
Mary Pellegrino Engineering Design Center.
“The student design center has long been an essential element of the practical, hands-on
education offered to engineering students at Trine University,” said Earl D. Brooks
II, Ph.D., Trine University president. “We are grateful to John and Mary for this
significant upgrade to our facilities and equipment, which will benefit Trine students
for many years to come.”
John Pellegrino said he thought about giving to Trine after reflecting on photos from
his childhood during the Great Depression and on what his degree has allowed him to
“If it wasn’t for that degree, I don’t know what I would be doing today,” he said.
After reading a proposal for supporting the design center, he felt the opportunities
it will provide for hands-on education and fabrication were a perfect fit for his
“I thought, ‘Holy heck, they’re plagiarizing everything I had in mind,” he said.
After working as a registered professional engineer at Strayer Manufacturing as Manager
of Engineering for 14 years, John Pellegrino was hired byRidg-U-Rak, Inc., as their Vice President of Engineering.
Eventually he purchased the small company and today the Pellegrinos’ family-owned,
Pennsylvania-based company is one of the largest pallet rack manufacturers in North
America and is widely recognized for its innovative, quality rack products. The company
boasts three state-of-the-art locations, including two production facilities covering
160,000 square feet and a 5 1/2-acre warehouse and distribution center, which was
added in 2018.
John Pellegrino received Trine University’s Outstanding Achievement Award in 2002.
The award is given each year to an alumnus or alumna who has attained a high level
of achievement in his or her profession, is well thought of in his or her community,
and who upholds the ideals of Trine University.
More space, better technology
Trine University’s Senior Design Center serves seniors in the Allen School of Engineering
and Computing. Each senior must be part of a team that completes a design project
for an industrial partner prior to graduation. Projects and the related Senior Design
course leverage all the technical knowledge students have gained throughout their
All of Trine’s senior design projects include a build portion to validate their design.
The majority of these physical builds take place in the Student Design Center, currently
housed in the former university boiler heating facility. As Trine has continued to
enjoy record enrollment, the number of senior design teams has grown.
In addition to providing space for more and larger projects, the John and Mary Pellegrino
Engineering Design Center will include state-of-the-art design and fabrication equipment
to better meet the needs of student teams and industry partners. This will include
a manual mill, manual lathe, CNC mill, CNC lathe, hydraulic press break, additional
TIG(s) and MIG(s), welding table, tubing bender, heat treat oven, paint booth, band
saw, metal fab English wheel, CNC router, 3D printers, a forklift and a car lift.
Terry Bradshaw, Four-time Super Bowl champion quarterback (Pittsburgh Steelers), two-time Super Bowl MVP and Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee, will deliver the address at Trine University’s Commencement on May 6.
Trine University’s T. Furth Center for Performing Arts will kick off this summer with legendary Christian artist Michael W. Smith and acclaimed Eagles tribute band Hotel California “A Salute to the Eagles.”