David W. Ring Family Scholarship created to help entrepreneurship students

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State graduates Michael Owen Ring and his wife, Susan, have made a commitment to create the David W. Ring Family Scholarship in the Penn State Smeal College of Business. The scholarship, named for Michael’s father, will provide support for students in the corporate innovation and entrepreneurship major and honor David Ring’s success as an entrepreneur. The program is designed for students interested in managing innovation, reinventing current businesses, or starting a new business, with the intent of growing the economy and providing jobs for a diverse workforce.

David Ring was raised in Harlem during the Great Depression and sold newspapers before school in order to help support his family. Using his separation money from the Army, David, who had moved to Philadelphia, married, and had two sons, Larry and Michael, began selling toys to retailers from the trunk of his car. From these humble roots, he founded Ring Brothers Wholesale Toys with his brother.

David started Larami Corporation after a trip to Japan in 1959 to explore the idea of importing toys from Asia. Larami Corporation was best known for its rack toys and water guns, including the Super Soaker water gun, which was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame in 2015.

“My father was an innovator and entrepreneur his whole life,” Michael said. “He reimagined Larami Corporation as the toy business evolved. He was a wholesaler, importer and manufacturer, and he created packaging and catalogs to support his business interests. I was able to apply what I was learning in school to the business and was lucky enough to work beside him for many years. This scholarship will honor his entrepreneurial spirit.”

Michael earned a bachelor of science in accounting from the Smeal College of Business in 1965, while Susan earned a degree in secondary education from the College of Education in 1966. The couple has three sons, Daniel and Jonathan, 1992 and 2000 Penn State graduates, respectively, and Robert, a graduate of Roger Williams University.

Michael was inspired to make his gift in part by the tremendous growth the Smeal College of Business has seen since its inception in 1953. Through its leading faculty and network of research centers and institutes, the college consistently ranks among the top public business schools nationwide.

“Not long ago, I took a tour of the new building and was just blown away by all of the great things that have been done there. I wanted to help,” Michael said.

Recognizing that the University receives just a small percentage of its funding from the state, Michael and Susan wanted to ease the financial burden that has shifted to students and their families. “I think that it’s important to help them. I know that we can make a difference,” he said.

Michael and Susan established the Ring Family Sports Archive Fund in the University Libraries in 2006 to support the transfer of Michael’s extensive collection of sports newspaper articles, primarily related to Penn State football, into microform or digital format. Their philanthropy also benefits the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences.

Demonstrating his own entrepreneurial spirit, Michael and his son, Daniel, founded Enimex USA, a valve, metering, and regulating systems manufacturing business located in Houston, Texas, two years ago. The company’s first hire, a 2014 Smeal graduate, has been a valued addition to the growing business.

Supporters like the Rings are invaluable partners in fulfilling the University’s land-grant mission of education, research, and service. Private gifts from alumni, friends, and corporate partners enrich the experience of students both in and out of the classroom, expand the research and teaching capacity of faculty, enhance the University’s ability to recruit and retrain top students and faculty, and help to ensure that students from every economic background have access to a Penn State education. The University’s colleges and campuses are now enlisting the support of alumni and friends to advance a range of unit-specific initiatives.

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Last Updated December 23, 2015