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Volpes ‘give back’ with $5 million pledge for scholarships

An RIT alumnus and his wife have pledged $5 million to the university for engineering, engineering technology and computing scholarships.

The commitment, from Charles and Andrea Volpe of Charleston, S.C., will expand the Charles E. and Andrea L. Volpe Engineering Scholarship to benefit additional students. Established in 2003, the scholarship, covering full tuition over four years, targets students from Red Jacket High School, Victor High School and Canandaigua High School in Ontario County, N.Y.

Andrea and Charles Volpe

Charles Volpe ’59 (mechanical engineering) is a 1954 graduate of Red Jacket High School and native of Manchester, N.Y. He is a current board member and retired president and chief operating officer of KEMET Electronics Corp. in Simpsonville, S.C.

“My wife and I have been searching for a way to give something back to RIT and to my hometown, so offering engineering scholarships to RIT for students from Red Jacket, Victor and Canandaigua seemed to accomplish both of these goals,” he says. “Our dream is that enough students will graduate through this scholarship that they, in turn, will see fit to individually or as a group of Volpe Scholars get together and give something back to RIT and to the hometown.”

The $5 million planned bequest is the largest ever from an RIT alumnus to the university. The couple also gave $6,000 to help launch a FIRST robotics team at Red Jacket High School. FIRST – For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology – sponsors regional robotics competitions and an annual national competition.

“I thought FIRST would be the perfect vehicle to stimulate interest in engineering with the students at Red Jacket,” says Charles Volpe.

Michael Saffran