‘Hail Purdue!’ A lifelong song for McGinley

Author: Barbara Leonard
Becoming a boilermaker seems natural for a child who often rode the rails and whose father worked for the Pennsylvania Railroad. For Tim McGinley, though, the title came with a capital “B” as he took to the Gold-and-Black’s basketball court, earned a chemical engineering degree, and tallied 20 years as a Board of Trustees member.

With a knack for math and chemistry, a basketball scholarship and ROTC enrollment papers under his arm, J. Timothy “Tim” McGinley (BSChE ’63) left Indianapolis in fall 1958 for Purdue University.

“I truly believe in giving back and helping provide that opportunity for others.”
– Tim McGinley

It was the first of countless trips he’d make to campus, even long after graduation. Among them: In 1972 for the Distinguished Engineering Alumnus Award; 1983 as an Old Master; 1989 for his first of 20 years of Board of Trustees meetings; and 1994 for the Outstanding Chemical Engineering Alumnus Award.

“I was the first in my family to go to college,” McGinley says, and those undergraduate years were life-changing. “I consider my chemical engineer degree as the basis for my entire career. I learned about hard work, analytical thinking, and exploring alternatives in great depth before reaching conclusions.”

With varsity basketball, four years of ROTC and chemical engineering studies, time management was his greatest challenge. “I had to balance my concentration, energies and time. That was a good lesson.”

His career path took him to government service, corporate leadership and entrepreneurial ventures, including Indianapolis-based House Investments Inc., a real estate investment firm he founded in 1978 that has sponsored projects in a dozen states.

“My training and skills prepared me to do a variety of things,” he says. “You have to be able to unite people behind a common cause, work with teams, motivate people, and put the right people in the right jobs. Learning that started with experiences in the chemical engineering classrooms and on the basketball court.”

Bringing his skills back to campus as a member of the Board of Trustees was “a tremendous opportunity,” he says. “Our goal the last 10 years was to take Purdue to the next level, and I hope people will judge my time as having been successful.”

McGinley and his wife, Jane, also a Purdue graduate, have pledged $2 million to the Purdue Opportunities Award Program, which provides scholarships to income-eligible students.

“We personally experienced the importance of scholarships,” he says. “My parents would not have been able to afford to send me to Purdue. I truly believe in giving back and helping provide that opportunity for others.”