Commonwealth Trustee Christopher W. McNichol was appointed by the state
House of Representatives three years ago at age 31, he wasn’t the youngest
trustee in Temple’s history. That distinction belongs to Patrick O’Connor,
who was appointed to the board in 1971 at age 28. But even now, at 34,
McNichol is the youngest member of the board.
His relative youth has some advantages. Only 12 years removed from getting
his bachelor’s degree from the Wharton School of the University of
Pennsylvania, McNichol still has his undergraduate years fresh in his mind.
Those memories fuel one of his primary personal missions as a trustee: to
strive for a broad, comprehensive educational experience for all Temple
“I graduated from the Wharton School at a time when that institution’s
curriculum was geared to producing one-dimensional specialists and
technicians,” McNichol said. “My greatest concern is that Temple students be
offered a more well-rounded curriculum. Students need guidance for the
future — not just a specialized professional education and preparation for
standardized tests. We need to prepare each Temple graduate for the full
range of intellectual and personal challenges they’ll face when they leave
school. I think we are making great progress toward that goal.”
McNichol, a director with Citigroup Global Markets Inc., has faced plenty of
intellectual and personal challenges of his own since getting his bachelor’s
His career as an investment banker began in 1992, when he joined Smith
Barney Harris Upham & Co. Inc. as an analyst in the firm’s public finance
division. Since then, McNichol has served as banker for tax-exempt
financings totaling more than $10 billion and structured some of the most
complex transactions ever underwritten by Citigroup (the company that, after
many name changes, succeeded Smith Barney).
McNichol is currently responsible for the overall management and banking of
municipal bond transactions in Pennsylvania and several other mid-Atlantic
states. He’s also a member of a team of bankers that structures financings
for institutions of higher education to provide student housing and
A lifelong resident of Pennsylvania who spent most of his childhood in
nearby Drexel Hill, McNichol has lived in Philadelphia since 1996.
“I’m not a graduate of Temple, but the school has become an adopted alma
mater to me,” McNichol said. “As someone who grew up in Temple’s back yard,
it has been amazing to witness the transformation of the University in
recent years. And it’s not just the facilities and the general look and feel
of the campus. We’re making great strides toward giving Temple students the
finest educational facilities in the area, but it’s much more than that.
It’s the attitude of Temple students and recent graduates: They’re proud.
“Temple graduates have always had to fight the perception that Temple was a
commuter school located in a place that people generally avoided,” McNichol
said. “Perceptions have changed. These days, Temple is a place where people
want to be. I’m delighted to be part of an effort to build on that.”
- By Hillel J. Hoffmann
© 2004 Temple Times