Trine University

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Trine University
Trine University Seal
Former names
Tri-State Normal College (1884-1906), Tri-State College (1906-1975), Tri-State University (1975-2008)
Type [Private University-Non-Profit]
Established 1884
Endowment $25.1 million (2015)
President Earl D. Brooks II, Ph.D.
Students 1,700 main campus (3,414 total)
Location Angola, Indiana, U.S.
41°37′56″N 85°00′20″W / 41.63222°N 85.00556°W / 41.63222; -85.00556
Campus Rural, 450 Acres (1.8km²)
Colors Navy blue, white and Vegas gold[1]
Athletics NCAA Division III
Sports 21 Varsity teams in the MIAA conference
Nickname Thunder
Mascot "Storm", a white tiger
Trine University logo.gif

Trine University, formerly known as Tri-State University, is a private non-profit post-secondary institution located in Angola, Indiana. The school was founded in 1884, and offers degrees in the arts and sciences, business, education and engineering. Trine University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. It operates several satellite campuses across northern and central Indiana.


Trine was founded in 1884 as Tri-State Normal College, and retained the reference to the "Tri-State" area for more than 120 years — so named because of the school's location in Indiana and its proximity to Michigan and Ohio. In 1906 the school was renamed Tri-State College, and again in 1975 as Tri-State University. In 2008, the school's name was changed to the current Trine University, in honor of alumnus Dr. Ralph Trine. The dropping of the "Tri-State" identifier reflected a desire to brand the school as a nationally competitive private university, not to be confused as being state-funded, or as being associated with businesses or organizations nationwide also using the prevalent "Tri-State" tag. Throughout the 1990s, the university opened several satellite campuses in locations throughout northern and central Indiana.[2]


The main campus covers 450 acres (1.8 km²) in Angola, Indiana.[3] There is another campus for the School of Professional Studies in Angola, as well as other satellite campuses in Mishawaka, Logansport, Avon, Centreville, Columbus, Warsaw, Fort Wayne, and Peoria, AZ.


The institution is a member of the Midwestern Undergraduate Private Engineering Colleges (MUPEC) and accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCACS).[4]


There are associate's degrees, bachelor's degrees, master's degrees and a doctorate in 35 major fields of study and a 13:1 student-to-faculty ratio.[5]

Student life[edit]

There are less than 2,000 students who live on the main campus.[6] National fraternities on the campus include Acacia (fraternity), Alpha Sigma Phi, Delta Chi, Kappa Sigma, Phi Kappa Theta, Sigma Phi Epsilon, Tau Kappa Epsilon and Sigma Phi Delta, while sororities on campus include the local organizations Gamma Phi Epsilon, Kappa Sigma Alpha, and Phi Sigma, National Chapters of Theta Phi Alpha and Alpha Sigma Tau, and an International Chapter of Kappa Beta Gamma. The school also features a Christian Campus House ministry.[6]


Trine athletic teams have been instrumental in providing a foundation for the university to join the ranks of the top academic and athletic institutions in America.

Trine has been a member of National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III and the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA), the nation’s oldest athletic conference, since 2004. Trine currently has more than 600 student-athletes who compete in 21 varsity sports. Prior to joining NCAA Division III, Trine (then Tri-State) was a member of NAIA. The school’s athletic teams were long-time competitors in the Wolverine Hoosier Athletic Conference and Mid-Central Collegiate Conference.

Alumnus Eric Watt, 2010, was the recipient of the 2010 Gagliardi Trophy—the Division III equivalent of college football’s Heisman Trophy. Watt’s No. 13 was permanently retired by the football program and his jersey is now on display in Fred Zollner Athletic Stadium.

Since joining NCAA Division III, the Trine football team has appeared in three-consecutive NCAA Championship playoffs between 2008-10. Included among the team’s accomplishments in those seasons were perfect regular seasons in 2008 and 2010. The Thunder won playoff games over Case Western Reserve (2009) and DePauw (2010). In 2014, Aaron Wolf became the team’s first Academic All-American.

The Trine wrestling program reached national prominence for the first time in 2010 when Nick Kraus became the university’s first National Championship qualifier. The following year, Elias Larson became the first wrestling All-American in team history. Mack Green became the school’s first heavyweight All-American in 2014.

Trine’s Zollner Golf Course[7] hosted the 2012 NCAA Division III Women’s Golf National Championships. Men’s golf coach Bill SanGiacomo has more than 45 years of service at the school and is a member of the school’s athletic hall of fame. He has led Trine golf teams to 14 appearances in the National Championships.

Since 2005, head coach Donnie Danklefsen has transformed the Trine softball program into one of the nation’s elite. During his tenure, the team has captured six MIAA regular season titles and seven MIAA tournament titles. The Thunder team has appeared in the NCAA Regionals each year since 2008. The team earned its first regional title and super regional titles in 2014, culminating in the program’s first-ever appearance in the National Championships.

Current senior and two-time All-American Carly Searles is NCAA Division III’s all-time leader in career triples. The team has produced three All-American selections and three Academic All-American selections since 2013.

The Trine track and field teams have seen several performers enjoy success since joining Division III. Current senior Tyler Bourdo has earned four All-America honors in his career. Current student-athletes Trisha King and Kara Eck have earned one All-America honor apiece. Alumnus Russell Dill, 2008, earned two All-America honors his senior year.

Notable Alumni[edit]

Jerry L. Allen - A 1978 mechanical engineering graduate, Jerry L. Allen built Vikimatic Sales into a $110 million distributor of fiber optic products. Today, Vikimatic Sales is a private line of branded products within the TVC Communications family, the nation’s premier telecommunications distributor. Allen holds 11 patents. In 1995 Allen was named Best Boss of the Year from a national pool of 700 nominees. He was honored as “Entrepreneur of the Year” by Earnst & Young of Ohio in 1997 and a year later the Northeast Ohio Growth Association named Allen “Deal-Maker of the Year”.

James D. Bock - A 1954 mechanical engineering graduate, James Bock began his career at Elkhart Welding and Boiler Works. In 1978 he took a job as executive vice president and chief operating officer at Bock Industries which was among the largest steel tube producers in the world. By 1989, Bock was the sole owner and president of the corporation which he sold to begin Bock Engineering Company.

Lynn A. Brooks - Lynn A. Brooks, a 1975 business administration graduate, is president and chief executive officer of Rieke Packaging Systems, and is president of Rieke's parent company, TriMas Corp. He serves on the boards of Rieke Foundation and Englass Limited in England. He is also a member of many professional organizations including the Petroleum Packaging Council and the American Institute of CPAs.

Rick L. James - A 1977 business administration graduate, James has over 30 years in the cast metals business, all of them in management or executive positions. He spent 20 years at Auburn Foundry in Auburn, Ind., serving in various positions including president and chief executive. In 1997, James struck out on his own as chairman and CEO of Metal Technologies. James is deeply involved with the cast metals industry. In addition to being a board member for the Indiana Cast Metals Association, James is a member of the American Foundrymen’s Society, and is vice president of the board of directors for the Foundry Education Foundation.

Dr. Ralph Ketner - An accounting alumnus, Dr. Ralph Ketner came to Trine, then Tri-State College in 1937 at age 17 following the death of his parents during the Great Depression. In 1957, He co-founded Food Town, later to become Food Lion, a successful 1,300 store grocery chain in the mid-Atlantic and southeast United States. Now retired Dr. Ketner keeps an office at Catawba College in Salisbury, N.C. where he is a consultant to the business school.

John J. McKetta Jr. - A chemical engineering alumnus, John J. McKetta graduated in 1937. He has served on the energy and environment advisory boards of five United States presidents. McKetta has served on the boards of directors of 16 different companies, and his achievements and awards are numerous. In 1976 he won the Lamme Award as the best engineering professor in the United States. In 1981 the International Chemical Engineering Award was bestowed upon him as the top chemical engineer in the world. In 1989 McKetta won the coveted Herbert Hoover Award for his services to society.

Robert P. Molitor - Robert P. Molitor received his chemical engineering degree in 1942. After college, Molitor joined US Rubber Co. in Mishawaka, IN. While there he helped develop self-sealing fuel tanks for fighter planes. This innovation saved the lives of countless airmen during World War II. Molitor went on to work for A.G. Spalding Co. in Chicopee, MA. for 42 years. As Vice President for Research and Development, he was awarded 27 patents for his innovative work, mostly in the field of sporting goods. Among other things, Molitor pioneered colored tennis balls, made numerous improvements to footballs and basketballs and was instrumental in the change from horsehide to cowhide baseballs in the major leagues. His most famous accomplishments were in the world of golf, where he is considered the “father of the modern golf ball.” Molitor developed the first two-piece golf ball, the Top Flight in 1971. A high end golf ball manufactured by Spalding still carries the Molitor name.

Ralph Trine - A 1961 mechanical engineering graduate, Trine’s company, Vestil Manufacturing, is a leading manufacturer of ergonomic products, loading dock equipment, material handling equipment, packaging equipment and storage solutions. He also owns T&S Equipment. In 1990 Trine was awarded Employer of the Year. He is also involved in the Steuben County Humane Society, Boy Scouts of America and was elected to the Indiana Academy in 2009. Trine and his wife Sheri have made significant contributions to the success of the university which bears his name.


External links[edit]