Inspired by his own Miami Experience, economics and finance major gives back
By Jesús Jiménez, assistant director of editorial services
Jim McNamee ’62 was in his first year at Miami University when he received a $150 scholarship.
It was a modest amount, but the economics and finance major never forgot how much that helped him in his collegiate career.
Now retired, McNamee has decided to pass on the generosity by establishing a scholarship fund to support students in need who participate in the activities that made his Miami Experience unique.
Jim has made annual contributions to establish his scholarship with gifts of cash, as well as donations of appreciated securities and, in recent years, qualified charitable distributions from his IRA account. Additionally, Jim has elected to provide for a gift from his will in order to grow his scholarship endowment in the future.
“I’ve made very modest contributions to Miami for a long time because I felt that the school helped me get my job, and my career was a success partly because of Miami,” McNamee said.
“I gave some thought in how to designate it and suggested that they offer it to people in need who are doing things that I did.”
McNamee was involved in Air Force ROTC, the Delta Chi Fraternity, the Men’s Glee Club and the a cappella choir throughout his four years at Miami.
His scholarship is intended to benefit students in need who participate in any of those extracurricular activities or pursue a similar degree.
All of those activities were helpful in developing skills that were important in his 34-year career as a banker, he said.
“Between those activities and the academics, I would say my experience at Miami was a really good one,” McNamee said.
McNamee spent three years as a member of a cappella choir before moving on to the Men’s Glee Club as a senior. He was also in Air Force ROTC and earned a commission as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Air Force upon graduation.
Additionally, McNamee was a member of the Delta Chi Fraternity, where he served as vice president and developed close friendships and leadership skills that proved valuable to him throughout life.
During his time at Scott Air Force Base in Belleville, Illinois, McNamee received a Commendation Award and spent his spare time in the evenings earning a Master of Science degree in commerce at St. Louis University. “I am convinced that the two things that got me job opportunities were my degree from Miami, which is a well-known school, particularly in the business world, and the master’s degree from St. Louis University,” McNamee said.
McNamee joined the National Bank of Detroit credit training program in 1966 and had a 34-year career in national and international corporate lending. He spent 16 years devoted to international banking, including supervision of branch and affiliate offices in 11 countries that involved frequent travel to Australia, Canada, England, Germany, Japan and Mexico, among other countries. He loved the travel involved in his work and took every opportunity to explore and learn about the countries he visited.
“One of the things that I believe is that you can learn the business, but your ability to communicate is probably the most important thing in the business world,” he said. “I think the college experience of having to write papers and give oral presentations is a major reason that people succeed or fail.”
McNamee was also involved in supervising the credit training program and in recruiting future lenders from colleges around the nation, including Miami. He retired as the senior international credit officer in 2000 and formed his own company, JWM Consulting Services, Inc., to provide credit training, loan review and consulting to financial institutions and companies.
This was intentionally a part-time endeavor to allow time for golf, duplicate bridge and visiting his two daughters and six grandchildren in Colorado and Texas.
Jim and his wife, Marilyn, live in Michigan and spend the winter months in Arizona.
“If somebody gets a little benefit with what I was able to do, I’m pleased with that,” he said. “I think the most important thing is that you do what you can.”
To learn more about tax-wise giving strategies that you may be able to employ to support Miami University Foundation, please contact Miami's Office of Gift Planning at 513-529-1286 or GiftPlanning@MiamiOH.edu.