University of Maryland

Seeing the Parts of a Whole

Alum Supports Next Generation of Engineers in A. James Clark Hall

By Liam Farrell

A builder and real estate developer who has bred and raced horses and made a mark in Hollywood production, Stanley Zupnik ’59 (above, center) found that his engineering degree had unlimited applications.

“We don’t think with our hearts, we think with our heads,” Zupnik says. “Engineers are problem solvers.”

To help educate the next generation of them, the longtime supporter of UMD recently made a $2.5 million gift. The donation is Zupnik’s fourth to the A. James Clark School of Engineering and, in recognition, the Forum in A. James Clark Hall will be renamed in Zupnik’s honor.

“I love electronics and technology,” he says of the high-tech forum, which can host conferences, lectures and seminars. “It was overwhelming when I saw it.” Zupnik has always been fascinated by how things are put together, fixing stereos and televisions as a side job in high school and working in construction while at UMD. In addition to developing commercial and residential buildings in the Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C., area, his horse Direct Scooter was a world champion. And in 1992, he produced the movie adaptation of David Mamet’s play “Glengarry Glen Ross.”

When he walks into a room, Zupnik says, he looks at the structure instead of the furniture or artwork, picking apart how it all came together. That mental approach, he says, is invaluable in any industry.

“I don’t see the end result, I see all the little pieces put together,” he says. “You can do so many things with that knowledge.”