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In Support

Gift to help support experiential learning for engineering students

Herb and Bobbie Dripps

Written by Mary C. Dillon

Photos by Nesbit

An alumnus who credits much of his success to the “real-world” experience he received as an undergraduate at WVU has made a gift to help ensure future generations of students receive the same opportunity.

Herb Dripps, a 1965 civil engineering graduate, donated $500,000 to create the Herbert P. Dripps Student Experiential Learning Fund. The funds will be used to support senior design projects; capstone experiences; student organizations; technology, laboratory and equipment enhancements; and travel for projects and competitions. 

“I received my undergraduate degree in civil engineering from WVU and my master’s from an Ivy League university,” Dripps said. “The Ivy League university taught me theory, as did WVU, but WVU taught me a lot more by including – and stressing – the practical application of such. In other words my instructors at West Virginia would often say ‘Here is the theory – learn it well – but now we are going to show you how to apply it in the real world.’ I suggest that future undergrads considering graduate school remain in Morgantown for their advanced degrees.” 

In 1974, Dripps founded Glen Arm Building Company, a Maryland-based design-build commercial contracting firm that specializes in the construction of retail centers, office complexes, “flex” warehouses and institutional buildings. He recently took a tour of College facilities, which allowed him to meet with current students and faculty.

“The tour demonstrated to me the value of the programs both to the students, faculty and the University,” Dripps said. “Dean Cilento also opened my eyes as to the importance of research for the prestige of the Statler College, the retention of valued faculty and the attraction of top graduate students.”

“Herb credits much of his success to the practical, hands-on learning and the value of the professors – many of his had industry experience prior to working in the classroom – at WVU,” said Gene Cilento, the Glen H. Hiner Dean of the Statler College. “This new agreement will create a fund in support of these learning opportunities.”

This is the second gift Dripps has made to the Statler College. In 2014, he pledged $500,000 to the College’s new Advanced Engineering Research Building.

The gift was made through the WVU Foundation, the nonprofit corporation that generates, receives and administers private gifts for the benefit of WVU.