Michael D. Dingman, benefactor and namesake of the Dingman Center of Entrepreneurship at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business, was on campus May 5, 2016, to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the center and honor and recognize the school’s vibrant community of entrepreneurs.
Dingman, his wife, Betsy, and son David, were on hand for the second annual Rudy Awards. Named after former dean and Dingman Center founding director, Rudolph “Rudy” Lamone, the awards were created to acknowledge people involved who have excelled in keeping the entrepreneurial spirit thriving. Awards were given to student and alumni entrepreneurs, veteran entrepreneurs-in-residence, angel investors, faculty and researchers.
Dingman is president of Shipston Group, an international holding company based in Nassau, Bahamas. He founded the Signal Corporation, now part of Honeywell International, and also served as chairman and CEO or president of several top U.S. industrial corporations, including AlliedSignal and Fisher Scientific. In 1986, Dingman gave the founding gift to help then-dean Lamone establish an entrepreneurial support center at the business school. The center emerged at one of the top-ranked centers in the nation, thanks to Lamone’s efforts and the work of center directors Charles Heller (1990-1999), Don Spero (2000-2004), Asher Epstein (2004-2012), and now Elana Fine.
"I've never been so happy in my life to be involved with such wonderful people," said Dingman in remarks to the event attendees.
Smith School Dean Alex Triantis also spoke about how Dingman’s gift has allowed the center to build a strong community of entrepreneurs. Fine then took the stage thanking the attendees for their contributions to the Dingman Center and to present the awards.
The nominees and winners of the 2016 Rudy Awards:
Research Honors awards are given to recognize doctoral students who are making excellent strides in entrepreneurial research at the Smith School.
Yang Pan PhD ’17 – Winner
Yuan Shi PhD ’18 – Winner
Nominees of the Faculty Award teach excellence in entrepreneurship and innovation in the classroom while contributing to the value of the Dingman Center and its programs. They integrate Dingman Center resources and programs into the classroom and encourage participation in the Center’s activities to students, faculty and staff.
David Kressler – Winner
Mentor of the Year
Nominees for Mentor of the Year have gone above and beyond to support student entrepreneurs. They also demonstrate consistent commitment to the Dingman Center and an implicit understanding of its mission.
Polly Vail – Winner
Drew Bewick ’88
Paul Capriolo ’06
Bob London ’83
Angel Investor of the Year
The Angel Investor of the Year nominees have shown high levels of engagement in Dingman Center Angels Investor meetings, have demonstrated a willingness to invest in and develop portfolio companies and have acted as a resource for introducing new deals to the angels network.
Bill Boyle ’81 – Winner
Alumni Entrepreneur of the Year
Nominees for Alumni Entrepreneur of the Year have each stayed engaged with the Dingman Center, represented the University of Maryland in a positive way and set an example for current students.
Ali von Paris ’12, Route One Apparel – Winner
Eric Golman ’15, Javazen
Matt Furstenburg ’11, Grip Boost
Evan Lutz ’14, Hungry Harvest
Manpreet Singh ’03, TalkLocal
Social Entrepreneur of the Year
Nominees for Social Entrepreneur of the Year are students or alumni who demonstrate passion for using business to address social issues, have started their own social enterprise and take advantage of the resources available at the Smith School.
Alexis Carson ’16, Cocoa Queens – Winner
Nadia Laniyan ’16, Cocoa Queens – Winner
Robin Chiddo ’06, Love Blanket Project
Anastasiia Polyakov ’17, Annie’s Children
Oru Wonodi ’18, NOVA Prints and Apparel
Student Entrepreneur of the Year
Student Entrepreneur of the Year nominees embody entrepreneurial spirit, take advantage of the resources available at the Dingman Center and have taken serious strides to improve their businesses.
Sam Feldman ’16, Cardbuddy – Winner
Damar Bess ’18, Nonich
Taylor Johnson ’16, VentureStorm
Tommy Johnson ’16, VentureStorm
Ryan Pillai ’17, WeCook
Daniel Stern ’16, Route One Ventures