From the UConn Foundation's Our Moment newsletter (June-July 2012)
David O'Loughlin '64, and his brothers Peter '59 and James '60, would attend college and excel, according to a rarely stated—but widely understood—expectation from their father, who worked as a meat salesman in Hartford.
"There was no choice about it!" David recalls. "And unless we could get a full scholarship to another school, our state university was what our family could afford."
The three brothers all graduated and went on to their careers and lives. Peter succeeded in business. Following service in the US Army, David began a career at IBM in space/aviation software development and management, which eventually led to him helping to program the launch computers for the Apollo program. And James went on to hold many patents for his work as a computer designer for Digital Equipment Corporation.
When James passed away in 2010, the O'Loughlin family sought to find ways that honored his memory and helped provide opportunity to others. They have established the James F. O'Loughlin Memorial Scholarship to support students in the School of Engineering who demonstrate academic achievement and financial need, with priority consideration to a student interested in or majoring in Electrical Engineering, as James did.
"Jim and I got along like a lot of brothers, with a lot of back and forth. I'd poke fun at him for his engineering ways. He would 'disregard' my math degree. Jim's death was a shock to our family and we miss him," David says. "There really wasn't an 'a-ha' moment when we decided this is what we were going to do. I just looked at where I was in life, and realized that I had the means to be able to remember him this way. It's a good way to honor him and, indirectly, recall the lives all of us had at UConn."
O'Loughlin doesn't get back to visit campus often, but in a 2011 trip was amazed at both how much had changed and how much remained the same.
"We walked by Swan Lake and saw the math building. That was probably 80 percent of my entire view of UConn when I went there," he recalls.
The family hopes that, through their giving, they can make a difference in the life of a future UConn student.
"I would like to look back and see that we helped someone get a degree that they wouldn't have otherwise," he says. "That we gave someone a boost, or assisted in having them get their foot in the door somewhere. That's the way to remember Jim."
To support the School of Engineering, please contact the Foundation's development department.