Patrick V. Larkin says that he grew up in a
family of “very strong women.”
Without the timely intervention of one such woman, Larkin might never have
graduated from Temple, passed the C.P.A. exam, graduated from Temple Law
School, had a successful career in the insurance industry or become one of
the University’s most passionate advocates as a Temple trustee.
The fateful moment occurred in 1972. Larkin, then an accounting major at
Temple, returned to his home in Levittown, Pa., and announced to his mother
that he wasn’t returning to campus for his junior year.
“‘Over my dead body!’ she told me. She said I was going back to Temple if
she had to drive me there herself,” Larkin recalled. “‘Do what you want to
do after you graduate,’ she said, ‘but you will graduate.’”
Larkin returned, and in 1974 he earned a bachelor’s degree in business
Like many of his peers at Temple, Larkin was the first person in his family
to graduate from college. And like many of fellow students, his
working-class background motivated him to succeed.
“For most of us, a Temple education was our opportunity for a life that was
better than what we had growing up,” Larkin said. “But we can say with pride
that we never had anything handed to us, and that makes us a little more
resourceful and self-assured as we tackle life’s difficult issues.”
After graduating, Larkin was hired by a big-eight accounting firm, and
passed the C.P.A. exam in 1976. He then entered the insurance industry in
1978, the same year he began attending Temple Law School classes at night,
where he joined what he considers to be an elite brotherhood of suffering.
“Going to night school means you work all day, you go to school from 6 to
10, you drive home and get back to your house at 11 to eat dinner, and then
you’re so wide awake you can’t sleep,” Larkin said. “When you run into
people who went through that for four years, you know they’re something
special — they’re battle-tested — and you think of them as your brothers and
Larkin earned his J.D. and passed the bar exam in 1982, shortly after he
founded Brokerage Professionals Inc. (BPI) in Media, Pa. Last December, he
merged BPI with Arthur J. Gallagher & Co., a national insurance brokerage
and consulting firm. Larkin now serves as area president of Arthur J.
Gallagher Risk Management Services Inc.
Thirty years after graduating, Larkin was appointed a commonwealth trustee
of Temple by the state Senate in 2004. The three intervening decades give
him a unique perspective on his alma mater’s growth.
“When I went to school in the ’70s, North Broad Street was full of used-car
lots and empty storefronts. Temple wasn’t everyone’s first choice,” Larkin
said. “Now Temple is a destination school — it’s a first choice for
thousands of students in Pennsylvania and neighboring states.
We just opened a newly renovated and expanded Student Center, and on Feb.
16, we cut the ribbon on the University’s new TECH Center, equipped with 600
“These days, qualified students are vying for admission to Temple,” Larkin
said. “That tells me something very special is going on here.”
- By Hillel J. Hoffmann