Trustee Christopher W. McNichol
When 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 undergraduates.
“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 in economics.
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 educational facilities.
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