Loyola University Chicago

Quinlan School of Business

About Michael R. Quinlan

Michael R. Quinlan (PhB '67, MBA '70) grew up on Chicago's West Side and was the first in his family to attend college. He was offered a full-tuition scholarship to Loyola and was able to get a job in the McDonald's mailroom, where he worked 25 hours a week to pay for books and housing. From 1963 to 1970, Quinlan earned a bachelor's degree in philosophy and psychology and then a master's in business administration. In 1988, he received an honorary Doctor of Law degree from Loyola.

Though he began in the McDonald's mailroom, Quinlan eventually rose up the ranks to become its president and CEO in 1987 and chairman of the board in 1990. During his time at McDonald's, Quinlan spearheaded the construction of a Ronald McDonald House for ailing children and their families near Loyola's Medical Center campus. In 1999, he became chairman of the Loyola University Chicago Board of Trustees. Under his leadership, Loyola has witnessed increasing enrollments and major capital improvements to all of its campuses.Today, he is chairman emeritus of the board at Loyola.

In honor of a $10 million donation in 2004, the University dedicated the Michael R. and Marilyn C. Quinlan Life Sciences Education and Research Center. One year later, Quinlan was honored with the Sword of Loyola in recognition of his lifetime of humanitarian service.

In June 2012, Quinlan made a $40 million gift to the business school, the largest Loyola has received from an alumnus and the largest gift the business school has received. Loyola's School of Business Administration and its affiliated Graduate School of Business together became the Michael R. Quinlan School of Business in recognition of the gift.

"I strongly believe in the Jesuit ethic and the importance of giving back and being grateful," Quinlan said. "I believe in trying to be good men and women for others and in treating the human spirit."

Quinlan's donation to the business school has helped fund brand new programs, such as the MS in supply chain management and Chicago's only supply chain and sustainability center, which acts as a common ground for academics and professionals to work to advance and innovate the supply chain industry. This endowment has also boosted the business school's MBA ranking in U.S. News & World Report, helped attract top faculty, supported an increasing number of business students, as well as contributed to the expansion of Loyola's Water Tower Campus.

In honor of Quinlan's gift, the business school established the undergraduate Quinlan Case Competition, which allows students to take on real-world issues in the business world and work as teams to solve them for cash prizes. The school also worked with alumni to redesign the graduate Quinlan Social Enterprise Competition.

"Much of the success I may have achieved can be traced directly back to my time at Loyola University Chicago," he said. "I have received far more from Loyola than I have given. I hope my gift inspires support from other alumni. We have great plans in store for this school."