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UM College of Engineering Establishes the CDR. and Mrs. Donald C. Pette Sr. Memorial Scholarship

Grandsons Gregory A. and Geoffrey A. Pette donated the scholarship in memory of their grandparents.

By Barbara Gutierrez
UM News

The CDR. and Mrs. Donald C. Pette, Sr. Memorial Scholarship has been established at the University of Miami (UM) College of Engineering to assist a graduate or undergraduate student with financial needs. The $5,000 annual scholarship stipulates a preference for the recipient to be an engineering student who is active-duty military, a military veteran, former military personnel or a member of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps.

“We decided to develop this scholarship to honor the legacy of our grandparents and support veterans studying at UM,” said Gregory A. Pette, D.M.D., M.S., a periodontist, whom along with his brother Geoffrey A. Pette, Esq., an attorney and UM Law School alumnus, together donated the funds to start the memorial scholarship.

The Pette brothers have donated $25,000 to be administered over five years and have plans to continue the scholarship as an endowment fund after the end of the initial five years. The scholarship is meant to honor CDR. Donald C. Pette, Sr., a 1950 graduate of the UM College of Engineering who attended on the G.I Bill, and his wife Phyllis M. Pette, who also attended UM.

“This scholarship is a perfect example of giving back to an alma mater,” said Jean-Pierre Bardet, dean of the College of Engineering. “It will assist a deserving student who has served his or her country in obtaining a quality engineering education. The Pette’s hope that their scholarship will help provide a strong foundation like the one their grandfather, CDR. Donald C. Pette, Sr. received at the University of Miami.”

The Pette brothers said their grandfather was “a World War II veteran who did not have two nickels to his name when he came to the University of Miami, and then graduated UM and “married the love of his life.” He graduated with an engineering degree that gave him the platform to have a “meaningful and successful career.”

“Our grandparents were always very grateful to the University of Miami and to the U.S. Navy for the opportunities they both provided,” said Gregory Pette. The Pette brothers also stated that their “grandparents were donors to both UM and the U.S. Navy Memorial for decades until the very end.”

Upon graduation from UM, Donald C. Pette, Sr. rejoined the U.S. Navy as an Ensign and served on many cruisers and destroyers in the Pacific during the Korean and Vietnam Wars. He also was a Weapons System Engineer with a specialty in Guided Missiles and Nuclear Weapons. At the time of his retirement from the U.S. Navy, CDR. Pette was also the director of Terrier Missile Program at Weapons System Engineering. He also worked for the RCA Corporation in their Aegis Weapons System Program Office.

The Pette brothers were extremely close to their grandparents for the vast majority of their lives. Over that time, their grandparents instilled a love of UM on the boys and attended UM football and basketball games with them regularly, including the last game played at the Orange Bowl.

Gregory, Geoffrey together with his wife Angela and their son Rocco, are active UM season football ticket holders and avid fans, “trying to live up to the legacy that their grandparents set forth.”

Donald Sr. and Phyllis are interred together at Arlington National Cemetery.

Photo Caption: Commander Donald C. Pette, Sr. and wife Phyllis Pette at a Miami Hurricanes football tailgate.

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