Dingman Center for
Entrepreneurship Celebrates 25 Years
Michael Dingman Visit Kicks Off Anniversary Celebration
Michael Dingman addresses more than 300 guests who gathered to celebrate 25 years of the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship.
The Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship began its year-long 25th anniversary
celebration on September 21, 2010 with a day of festivities concluded by a
keynote address from University of Maryland alumnus Michael Dingman, the
entrepreneur-philanthropist whose gift helped transform the center into a
world-class entrepreneurial institute with a worldwide reach.
Van Munching Hall was transformed into “Terp Marketplace” as student
entrepreneurs sold their wares and promoted their services in the Pownall Grand
Atrium. Past Dingman Scholars came back to campus for a reunion with present
Scholars and past and present center directors. Chancellor Brit Kirwan stopped
by to greet Michael Dingman and his sons, Jamie, David and Patrick, also
visiting. The day was capped off by a special edition of Pitch Dingman, the
monthly competition that gives entrepreneurs an opportunity to present their
business idea to the Dingman Center’s professional investment staff and
entrepreneurs-in-residence for the chance to earn $2,500 start-up funding. But
this time, hopeful entrepreneurs got to make their pitch to Michael Dingman
The event was attended by over 300 students and alumni; past and present
Dingman Scholars; past center directors Jerry Feigen, Charles Heller and Don
Spero; and campus dignitaries such as Rudy Lamone, former dean of the Smith
School and founder of the center; former University of Maryland President C.D.
“Dan” Mote; Dean G. “Anand” Anandalingam; and Dean Darryll Pines of the Clark
School of Engineering.
(l to r) Anand Anandalingam, dean of the Smith School; Rudy Lamone, former dean of the Smith School and founder of the
Dingman Center; Michael Dingman; and Brit Kirwan, chancellor of the University of Maryland.
Dingman, whose family has deep roots in Baltimore, enjoyed the chance to be
back on the University of Maryland campus, saying he had been flooded with
special memories from the moment his plane touched down.
Some of those special memories involved Lamone. “Rudy Lamone is one of the
great entrepreneurs of all time,” said Dingman. “I am reminded of what he did in
starting this center when I look around at all the students here. This is what
happens when you say ‘What do we do to make schools better? To give people like
me a chance?’”
Dingman took his chance and ran with it, founding Signal Corporation, now
part of Honeywell International, and has enjoyed an impressive and wildly
successful career. Today he is president of Shipston Group Ltd, a diversified
international holding company now heavily invested in mainland China, focusing
on its internal growth and consumption. He spoke admiringly of the country’s
recent achievements in infrastructure and clean energy, and its commitment to
building its economy and educating its citizens.
Michael Dingman consults with former University of Maryland President Dan Mote.
Those factors make it a land of opportunity for entrepreneurs. “China is the
world’s largest market,” Dingman said. “The scale and pace of economic growth in
China is stunning.” He pointed to the Dingman Center’s active encouragement of
entrepreneurial growth in China through the annual China Business Plan
competition as an important program both for Smith students and for the country
of China. The center’s technology commercialization internship program in
Israel, conducted in partnership with engineering students from Technion, is
another way the school is exposing Smith students to a global business
environment and equipping them to compete on a global scale. Dingman said that
of everything the center did, its China and Israel programs were his favorites.
“I grew up in a time when America built huge infrastructure projects, like
the interstate highway system, shipyards, airports, massive dams—matched only by
our even greater investment in public schools and universities,” said Dingman.
“These were monumental achievements. Americans could do that again, here and
around the world…What you are doing here, you kids and teachers and directors,
is helping to lead an entrepreneurial rebirth of the nation…Thank you for a
great 25 years! Now, get to work,” Dingman concluded, to a round of rousing
applause from the audience.
Dingman’s own investment in the University of Maryland has yielded a
remarkable return, not only for students at the Smith School but also for the
economy of the state of Maryland, the region, and now for global markets such as
China and Israel. As the Dingman Center continues to expand its reach and cement
its reputation as a top-tier entrepreneurial center, the effect of Dingman’s
gift will continue to ripple throughout the world.
The Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship
Founded in 1986, the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship is a top-tier
entrepreneurial institute recognized around the world as a leader in enterprise
creation. Forward looking and community focused, the center actively encourages
a real-world business culture that bridges the theoretical with the practical.
It assists emerging growth companies through an extensive mentor program and
various educational and training activities, and helps the companies find
capital through its Capital Access Network.