On September 19, 1966, UMBC opened its doors to students for the first day of classes in the institution’s history. Mimi Dietrich ’70, American studies, was among those “pioneer” students, encouraged by faculty and administrators to take advantage of a campus where everything was both new and possible.
“So many of them were inspiring because they were joining us in this new university,” says Dietrich, who has in her decades as an alumna continued to show her passion for UMBC in a variety of ways.
The pioneering spirit has continued to carry Dietrich to pursue her passion in quilting. After teaching middle school and pre-school for 6 years, Dietrich shifted her focus to teach needlework and quilting. For 50 years, Dietrich has traveled across the United States to teach at guilds, festivals, state conferences, cruises, and an American studies course at UMBC. Dietrich was inducted into The Quilters Hall of Fame in 2015 and was named Professional Quilt Teacher of the Year by the International Association of Creative Arts Professionals in 2013. The author of 17 books and countless publications, Dietrich now teaches a year-long class focused on Baltimore Album Quilts. A founding member of The Village Quilters in Catonsville and the Baltimore Applique Society, Dietrich is preparing for an exhibit of her quilts in 2019.
Alongside her professional successes, Dietrich hasn’t strayed far from UMBC in the decades following graduation. A founding member of the Fab Four, an alumni group comprised of graduates of UMBC’s first four graduating classes, Dietrich took on a pivotal volunteer role engaging the earliest alumni heading into UMBC’s milestone 25th and 50th anniversaries. During UMBC’s 50th anniversary celebration in 2016, The Fab Four hosted several events, and continues to plan initiatives aimed at connecting UMBC’s early alumni with the university.
Dietrich credits her husband and fellow alumnus Robert “Bob” Dietrich ’70, biological science, for keeping her connected to UMBC, where he worked for 40 years. A former member of UMBC’s Alumni Association Board of Directors, Dietrich was named UMBC Volunteer of the Year in 1997, an honor she shared with husband Bob. Together, they’ve raised two sons, Jon and Ryan, who have grown up to be wonderful dads to their three grandchildren.
– Amy Dalrymple