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Thiel College receives $25 M gift

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By ROB PRICE, editor

A western Pennsylvania entrepreneur has left $25 million to Thiel College, where his mother and father met as students before he was born. It’s the largest donation in Thiel’s history.

William S. Dietrich II died Oct. 6 after a long, successful life in business that included the founding of Dietrich Industries. In addition to his gift to Thiel college, he also lefts multi-million-dollar gifts to cultural and educational organizations in Greenville, Conneaut and the Pittsburgh area.

Dietrich’s mother and father, Kenneth Dietrich and Marianna Brown, met at Thiel in the 1920s and married in 1933. They later moved to Conneaut, where they started a local inn business.

Kenneth Dietrich started a small lumber business in the late 1940s; that business eventually was taken over by his son and grew into Dietrich Industries. The business was sold to Worthington Industries in 1996, and the proceeds from the sale were used in the creation of Dietrich Charitable Trusts.
In announcing the gift to Thiel College, Tropy VanAiken, the college president, noted $25 million donations are game changers. “A gift of this magnitude has the potential to fundamentally change Thiel College,” VanAken said.

“A gift of this magnitude has the potential to fundamentally change Thiel College,” said Troy VanAken, the college president.
It is not yet known whether the gift comes with any strings attached, such as a dedication to faculty salaries or new buildings. The college will announce at a later date how it intends to spend the money.

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