It was 1947. Al Mengato (E’49) was playing intramural football with his fraternity brothers at Carnegie Tech when Mary Rita Grosswege (MM’51) walked by. One of Al’s fraternity brothers had already met Mary Rita and encouraged Al to ask her out. So he did.
“Homecoming was coming up and he invited me to go,” said Mary Rita. “That was our first date – Homecoming 1947.”
The couple has been together ever since. More than 60 years later, Carnegie Mellon remains a central part of their lives.
The Mengatos value their CMU educations and hope to help today’s students achieve great things. That’s one reason they’ve stayed involved with their alma mater – and given back financially year after year.
“It’s not always a lot, but I’ve given something to Carnegie Mellon every year since I graduated,” said Al. “I think it’s important to support the things you care about.”
“We have not been in a position to be big donors, so we just give what we can,” adds Mary Rita. “If everybody gave a little bit every year, it would all add up.”
For Al, the lessons he learned while at Carnegie Mellon are invaluable. He’s always wanted the students who come after him – including his son, Richard Mengato (E’78, ’80) – to have the same experience.
“What you learn while you’re at Carnegie Mellon you’ll use in every aspect of your life,” said Al.
Al still relies on those lessons today. When faced with a decision, his civil engineering department head Frederick T. Mavis encouraged his students to always ask themselves, “Is it worth doing?”
“That’s the most valuable thing I learned at CMU,” said Al. “I always keep that eternal question in the back of my mind and it’s ended up saving my business and my ‘you know what’ numerous times.”
Mary Rita also learned a lot of life-long skills while at CMU, where she continues to advise her sorority, Kappa Kappa Gamma. “I’ve met so many great young women,” said Mary Rita. “It’s amazing to see some of the things they go on to do after college.”
And the Mengatos have seen a lot in their 64 years with Carnegie Mellon University.
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