The Success Story of Honorable Larry McKinney '66
"One of the reasons I went to MacMurray was the core curriculum. It allowed me to study many different things. I didn't have to focus on just one area of study. When I got there, MacMurray had bright and caring professors who made everything interesting. Every class I took opened a new door to something else I found exciting. Expectations were high, which paid off later. My success at MacMurray since graduation has been dependent on the diverse group of people I met there. Each person I encountered there was a learning experience and those experiences serve me daily in my career as a judge."
A student during the Vietnam War, Federal District Court Judge Larry McKinney remembers a time when getting below a 2.0 GPA could result in being drafted to fight in the war. Being educated at MacMurray during an era of sweeping social change and exploration of ideas, McKinney grew to respect the views of the diverse campus community surrounding him. He reflects on his degree at MacMurray, "Only a bachelor of arts in government was offered, there were no bachelor of science degrees. There was no political science then and it was a time when you were quite proud to call yourself a government major". He earned his bachelor of arts in government in 1966.
After obtaining his law degree from Indiana University, McKinney served as a law clerk for the Indiana Attorney General's Office. In one year, he became a Deputy Attorney General. He then spent seven years as partner in two law firms and was elected to the Johnson County District Court in 1978. He served in this position until his appointment by President Ronald Reagan to the District Court Bench in Indianapolis in 1987, a defining moment in the 30 years he has spent as a member of the Judicial Branch, where he still presides.
McKinney has been active as a speaker, presenter, and panel moderator on subjects of civility and professionalism at numerous conferences and seminars throughout the United States, Argentina and Russia. He feels honored by his most recent panel appointment in China, where he discussed the legal aspects of intellectual property rights, property rights protection and cooperation in two locations with members of the high courts of several countries.
McKinney credits his experiences at MacMurray, and his successful 42-year marriage to his wife, Carole Lyon McKinney '66, as being pivotal to his success. Both have taught him to empathize with and understand different people and their situations in life. McKinney states "this is perhaps the key to success in any field, especially mine". Despite his lifetime of achievements, McKinney still remembers a time when he and Carole were "renting a trailer, just starting out, while (he) was in law school at Indiana University. None of it would have been possible without her and, of course, MacMurray." Together, he and Carole have two children, Josh (wife, Rachel) and Andy. They also treasure time spent with their three-year-old twin grandchildren, Helen and L.J.