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April 19, 2017
By Lexi Ryan, media relations assistant
Northwest Missouri State University received a generous donation of fencing equipment this spring from a former stunt actor and fencing master to help students interested in learning the ancient sport.
Don Dino, who spent six decades practicing and teaching the art of fencing, donated his equipment after learning about the needs of the new Northwest Fencing Club. Dino is the father of Dee Dino, a specialist in Northwest’s Office of Student Involvement.
“It’s exciting for me that his legacy of teaching fencing can continue,” Dee Dino, who attended Shakespeare festivals with her father and brother every summer, said. “Anything we can do to assist clubs and organizations to be more viable for the long term. Having my dad’s name on something that helps students, that’s always been his passion.”
Don Dino played in numerous stage and film productions. He performed as a lead cast member in the “Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular” at Disney-MGM Studios theme park, which is known today as Hollywood Studios, in Orlando, Florida. He also choreographed fight scenes for the Shakespearian State Festival in Boulder, Colorado.
Dino earned his bachelor’s degree in physical education in 1961 from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, and a master’s in education in 1963 from Wayne State University in Detroit, where he picked up fencing.
He began coaching it in 1962 and continued until his retirement in 2015. Hungarian Olympic Coach Istvan Danosi mentored Dino, who went on to teach at the high school, middle school and elementary school levels. He later was an instructor at Boston University, where he completed some doctorate work, as well as the University of Wyoming, Otero Junior College in La Junta, Colorado, and Louisiana State University.
One of the first sports to be showcased at the Olympics, fencing combines martial arts and swordsmanship, and competitors earn points by making contact with their opponent. In a 1973 news article, Dino called the sport stimulating, glamourous, exciting and “similar to a game of chess on your feet.”
Jeffrey Jones, who went on to play Principal Edward R. Rooney in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” and Charles Deetz in “Beetlejuice,” was among his pupils at New Hampshire’s American Stage Festival in 1978.
With all of that history, Dino hopes his donation will excite a new generation of fencers at Northwest. Cassandra Alfstad began fencing in seventh grade and started the Northwest Fencing Club, which includes nine members, last fall.
The donation includes electronic and dry foils and sabers as well as an electronic scoring system. Dino also provided fencing attire such as helmets, jackets and gloves.
“The club is now able to provide others with the equipment needed to succeed,” Alfstad, a sophomore zoology and wildlife ecology and conservation major from Indianola, Iowa, said. “We hope this brings in more members and allows athletic diversity to expand across the campus.”
The Fencing Club meets every Wednesday from 6:30 to 8 p.m. in the Martindale Hall dance studio. Members learn and practice fencing skills during their meetings.
“I hope that some of our Fencing Club members will practice with this equipment and go represent Northwest Missouri State University in competitions that are regularly held at the regional level in Des Moines, Omaha and Kansas City,” James Hinson, Northwest’s director of student recreation, said. “And then tell other members and possible future members about their experience.”
Dino’s gift reduced the Fencing Club’s dues significantly, and Hinson hopes that helps recruiting efforts.
“I hope the equipment provides an opportunity for members and people who aspire to fence to be able to take the opportunity to do so with this donation,” Hinson said.
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
firstname.lastname@example.org | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900
Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468