Tri-State profs inspired Talty to teach
By Jarod Davis
From beginning his academic journey at Tri-State (now Trine) University and not knowing whether to major in math or engineering, to recently becoming a professor and director of admissions at Virginia Tech, Tim Talty, Ph.D., has had a distinguished academic and career path.
Talty has more than 90 patents to his name and several pending, the product of 25 years of auto industry experience. He said he is excited to jump into the world of academia again to inspire others, as professors at Tri-State inspired him.
He came to Tri-State because of the co-op program, which allowed him to attend school while at the same time giving him the opportunity for real-world work, money and academic credit. The co-op opportunities associated with the electrical engineering major as well as the challenging math involved tipped the scale in favor of that major.
After graduating from Tri-State in 1987, he continued his education, inspired by his Tri-State professors. He went on to complete a doctorate in electrical engineering at the University of Toledo.
"Not just the EE professors — I really did like all of the EE professors; they were great — but the campus was full of outstanding professors,” Talty commented. "Prof. (Rich) Kruger was an amazing and inspiring professor in the Math Department and he had the greatest impact on me, really inspiring me to continually learn and grow.”
Talty also admired Prof. Charles Cook’s brilliance and English professor Tom Tierney, Ph.D.’s skills at the pool table.
“Prof. Cook, also in the Math Department, was one of my favorites; brilliant guy; tough professor,” Talty recalled. “Professor Tierney in the English Department; another tough professor... still loved his classes and he is, by far, the best pool player I ever played against. He hustled me on many occasions! I remember thinking: How could an English professor understand so much about angles, spin and momentum? He put this engineering student to shame!”
Talty also credits the quality of student life at Tri-State: he was treasurer of the student IEEE chapter and president of Delta Chi. He attended last year’s Delta Chi Alumni Weekend and enjoyed reconnecting with so many wonderful friends.
Without their support, Talty doubts he would have graduated.
“I was blessed to have so many amazing friends at Tri-State,” he said. “They are absolutely wonderful people; they were always there when I needed their support.”
Before taking his current post at Virginia Tech, his academic career included serving as a professor for the United States Military Academy, West Point, and as chair of the Electrical Engineering Department at Fairfield University in Connecticut. He returned to academia recently because of timing and circumstance.
“Since leaving Tri-State, I have wanted to be in academia,” he said. “Life’s journeys doesn’t always align as expected. Marriage, kids and expenses: Industry paid better. So I had to delay my journey back to academia until my kids were grown and their tuition bills mostly paid.”
He is excited to be working with and inspiring students once again. He even has played pool with some of his students.
“Unfortunately, I did not impress the students the way Professor Tierney impressed me,” he admitted.
“Happy hour events with students, tailgate events,… Virginia Tech reminds me so much of Tri-State in that there are so many opportunities to interact with the students in a positive, caring way,” he said. “It is truly wonderful to be in an environment where faculty care so much about the students. No, it is not Trine… but I’ll take the warmer weather.”