Carolyn G. '65 and John P. McHale '62 at Alumni Weekend 2015

Carolyn and John McHale’s shared journey with Drexel began when they first met at a campus dance in 1960; it continues today as they remain connected to the University and invested in its future.

They made their first gift to Drexel 50 years ago and have been loyal donors ever since. "As long as I can remember, we just always gave," Mrs. McHale recalls. "We started giving back as soon as we were first asked, and now no one even has to ask — it’s something we make sure we do every year."

Initially, the McHales’ annual contributions went to Drexel’s unrestricted fund, benefiting the areas of the University with the greatest need. As time went on, they increased the amount of their gifts and designated them to support the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

"We give to STEM education because science and technology have always been a big part of our lives," says Mrs. McHale.

Mr. McHale earned his degree from Drexel in mechanical engineering in 1962 and had a successful career of more than 30 years with the U.S. Navy, retiring in 1988.

"After a vigorous testing and interview process, while still a senior in high school, the Navy selected me to attend Drexel," he says. "I started working for the Navy in June 1957 as a GS-2 engineer-in-training at the Naval Air Development Center in Warminster, Pennsylvania, and in September of that same year, I started classes at Drexel."

Mrs. McHale, who graduated in 1965 with her degree in biological science, spent 31 years of her career working for the federal government, first as a research chemist at the Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute, then climbing up the ranks at various branches of the National Institutes of Health. At the NIH, she discovered her love for computers.

"I gradually blended my career in research science with information science, a wonderful combination of the two areas," she says. "Drexel and the co-op program really made a distinct difference in who we are. Our excellent educational foundation and our work experience enabled us to go beyond the initial dreams we had for ourselves."

We started giving back as soon as we were first asked, and now no one even has to ask — it’s something we make sure we do every year.

The McHales say they support the University to ensure that future generations of students benefit, as they did, from the Drexel experience.

And that dedication extends beyond their financial contributions.They attend numerous alumni events and Mrs. McHale serves on the College of Arts and Sciences Advisory Board. Whenever given the opportunity, the McHales are advocates for the University — whether in casual conversation with family and friends, or formally as volunteers with Drexel’s Alumni Ambassador program.

"Our niece graduated in 1996," says Mr. McHale. "We had a lot of influence over her decision to go to Drexel. And our neighbor’s son is a Drexel graduate, in part, because of us."

When it came time for the McHales to celebrate their 50-year Drexel reunions, in 2012 and 2015, they volunteered for their Reunion Committees, reaching out to classmates and encouraging them to come back to campus to celebrate. Mrs. McHale and her classmates raised more than $145,000 for Drexel during the 2014-15 year in honor of their reunion - establishing a new benchmark for future Golden Dragon classes.

The McHales’ loyalty to Drexel over the past five decades is their way of saying thank you - for the memorable experiences, the lifelong friends and the foundation upon which they built their careers and their lives.