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Tim Rupert '68

Tim Rupert '68Tim Rupert’s connection to IUP started long before he ever attended a single class. He grew up in a house that sat where Zink Hall sits today.

Although he considered some other universities when preparing for college, IUP was always in the forefront of his mind. In a funny twist, his father was transferred to Pittsburgh for work just before Rupert started college, so he got to go away to college in his home town, gaining his independence without ever leaving home.

Although he wasn’t sure what he wanted to do, Rupert, a member of the Class of 1968, knew that he liked math and science and so chose Mathematics as his major. During his time as a student, he was active in the Kappa Delta Rho fraternity, where he served as president and helped start a fundraising walk for Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh. For this walk, the brothers traveled from Indiana to Pittsburgh completely on foot carrying tin cans to collect donations and resting in comp hotel rooms along the way. When they arrived in Pittsburgh, they presented the money they’d raised on KDKA during its annual holiday telethon.

In 1968, IUP added its first two computer courses to the curriculum, and Rupert took them both. “This was back in the punchcard days,” he said. “You wrote your program, key-punched it in, and walked to the basement of Clark Hall, hoping you didn’t drop this big deck of cards on the way. There you loaded it into the machine. It was quite a different era.” Rupert said the courses helped him get his first job upon graduation—as a programmer with U.S. Steel in Pittsburgh.

He spent his first ten years in various IT positions before moving to New York in 1978 to head U.S. Steel’s treasury operations, which entailed responsibility for banking relationships and oversight of a $3 billion portfolio. He returned to U.S. Steel’s Pittsburgh operations in the mid-1980s. Then, in 1990, he helped take one of the company’s joint ventures—RMI Titanium Company—public. A year later, when the CFO of RMI retired, Tim left U.S. Steel to take over that position and eventually became company’s president. In 1997, he changed the company name to RTI International Metals and ran it until his retirement in 2007.

“I had a very successful and a very fortunate career,” he reflected. “There were an awful lot of nice jobs in there. And, certainly, the titanium industry is an exciting place to be. It’s very global and very connected with aerospace—both commercial and military. I’ve been around the world and had a chance to do a lot of exciting things.”

It was during his tenure at RTI that Rupert received the IUP Distinguished Alumni Award. The honor surprised him, but he found it to be a great honor. “For me, it was a nice reconnect to my roots, if you will, not just my alma mater, but the little town I grew up in, and a place my grandmother had attended—as Indiana Normal School—around 1901. It was very nice, for my parents, in particular, and the rest of my family to be able to go back with me and to see me get this award. In my remarks, I mentioned my grandmother, who was my mother’s mother, and so I think that was a nice moment for her too.”

Even though all that remains of his childhood home and old neighborhood is a fireplug—which he still likes to drive past when back in town—Rupert has maintained his connection to Indiana and IUP through the lifelong friendships that he and his wife developed while through living in the community and through service. He has been a member of the Foundation for IUP Board of Directors for the past seven years and currently serves as president. The duty involves managing money contributed to the university, overseeing the new student housing, and helping IUP achieve its educational goals in any way he and the board can. Rupert enjoys giving back to IUP because that service helps not just the university, but also the community where he grew up.

Since his retirement, Rupert has been making the most of his free time. One of his goals was to explore the West, so he recently hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and back up with a couple of his buddies from IUP. They spent a year training for the excursion. Rupert found it to be quite strenuous, but also beautiful. He also stays involved with local organizations like the Chamber of Commerce and helps his wife raise money for the Easter Seals. As an expert in the titanium industry, he still accepts consulting jobs from time to time.

Rupert and his wife, the former Susan Neal, were high school sweethearts and attended IUP together. They now split their time between Poland, Ohio, and Phoenix, Ariz. Their ties to Indiana remain strong. For the last forty-five years, they have taken vacations with the same group of friends they have known since grade school and their days at IUP. They have two grown children, Michelle and Michael. Michelle lives in Zelienople, Pa., with her husband and son. Michael graduated from IUP’s Academy of Culinary Arts in Punxsutawney and works as a chef in Arizona.

Profile published on 10/11/11

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