MSOE Fluid Power Club to Receive the First Stipend Awarded from Thomas Wanke Legacy Fund Award

Thomas Wanke was a monumental figure in fluid power, active for more than 50 years and influencing generations of fluid power engineers through his work at the Milwaukee School of Engineering, its Fluid Power Institute, and with the National Fluid Power Association. To honor his memory, and to help ensure that his positive impact on fluid power education continues to be felt, the NFPA Education and Technology Foundation has been asked to administer the Thomas Wanke Legacy Fund, a dedicated funding mechanism that will support fluid power scholarships and education activities at universities throughout the United States.

Through a series of annual awards from this fund, we will be able to increase both the number of students studying fluid power, and also the quality of fluid power education in our nation’s universities – two goals clearly aligned with and ennobled by Tom’s life and legacy. We were proud to present the first Fluid Power Club stipend awarded in Tom’s memory to the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE).

According to Dr. Luis Rodriguez, Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Fluid Power Club advisor at MSOE, “On behalf of MSOE, I want to extend a heartfelt THANK YOU for your continued support and for the numerous initiatives to promote Fluid Power education nationwide. Receiving this award is truly humbling, knowing the significance Fluid Power held for Tom. Prior to his passing, Tom shared his experiences with the club. Remarkably, even after all these years, his enduring passion and love for Fluid Power continued to shine brightly, making his journey an ongoing source of inspiration. At MSOE, we are committed to perpetuating Tom’s memory by actively collaborating with NFPA and working towards the shared goal of cultivating a highly educated and skilled fluid power workforce.”

With the support of NFPA, students within the Fluid Power Clubs learn about fluid power while they work on educational and technical projects. With the support of this award, the MSOE Fluid Power Club is hoping to build a pneumatic circuit to help students better understand how a pneumatic system works. They plan to build the circuit in the upcoming semester and are hoping to receive industry insight. “We are constantly looking for more presenters for this semester and would like to be able to attend at least one facility tour this academic year.” If you are interested in speaking with MSOE’s Fluid Power Club on pneumatic circuits and/or conduct a facility tour with the students, please contact Kyla Olson at

Another impact of the Tom Wanke Legacy Fund is through scholarship awards. This year from the Tom Wanke Legacy Fund, three $2,000 scholarships were awarded to students pursuing fluid power education who were passionate in their academics, active in extracurricular activities, and dedicated to obtaining careers in the industry.

Are you interested in volunteering on the committee that selects scholarship recipients? NFPA’s scholarship programs rely on volunteer judges from the fluid power industry. For each program, the time commitment is approximately 3-5 hours.

Last cycle, we received 97 student applications to NFPA Scholarship Programs. This cycle, we anticipate more applications from qualified and passionate students. By joining the application review committee, NFPA members have the opportunity to identify students with optimistic futures in the fluid power industry.

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