Three generations support Loras engineering program

Chris and Lisa Riegel give to Loras College because they think long term.

“If we don’t support Loras now, it may not be around when our grandchildren need to look for a college,” Chris said. “You have to support it now and into the future.”

And it’s possible a future generation of Riegels will attend Loras. Chris and Lisa’s son, Kyle Riegel (’12) graduated with degrees in engineering and applied mathematics. Chris’s father, Leo Riegel (’58) attended Loras for two years before transferring to the University of Iowa, where he earned a degree in mechanical engineering. Leo retired in 2002 after working 42 years for John Deere in Des Moines, Iowa, and Horicon, Wis.

Chris and Lisa Riegel support Loras in ways that are important to them. They are sponsoring the Parent Challenge during Duhawk Day as a way to encourage others to support the annual 24 hours of giving on March 13. Their annual giving helps the engineering program at Loras purchase equipment and maintain its standing with the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology Inc. (ABET). The board is a non-governmental organization that accredits post-secondary education programs in applied and natural science, computing, engineering and engineering technology.

Kyle Riegel (’12), center, on his wedding day in 2015 at Church of All Saints Catholic Church in Keokuk, Iowa, with his grandfather, Leo Riegel (’58), left, and his father, Chris Riegel.

Loras, which has about 30 students majoring in engineering, is one of six Iowa colleges and universities with an accredited engineering program. The others are Dordt, St. Ambrose, Iowa State University, the University of Iowa and the University of Northern Iowa.

“I’m a big believer in accreditation to justify the value of the education,” said Chris, who has a degree in mechanical engineering from Iowa State and works as a senior quality engineer at Amsted Rail in Keokuk, Iowa.

“The engineering program at Loras can’t be dismissed because of the size of the school,” he said. “It meets the same standards as any large university.”

Having an accredited engineering program was among the many attributes that lured Kyle to Loras.

“It just felt like the right place to be,” he said. “The biggest thing Loras offered was diversification of experiences.”

Kyle, who works as a field sales engineer for Schunk Carbon Technology in Milwaukee, Wis., serves on the Loras Engineering Advisory Board. As a student, he was treasurer of his first-year class, played on the tennis team and served as a tutor and teaching assistant. He was also active on the College Activities Board, the engineering and math clubs and acted in three plays – one of which he helped write. “That was pretty fun to be involved in,” he said.