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Lorie and Nick Howley ’70 Give to Provide Educational Opportunities to Deserving Students and Invest in the Future of the Prep

Originally published in St. Joseph's Preparatory School Magazine (Fall 2021)

Nick Howley ’70 graduated at the top of his class from Drexel University’s College of Engineering and received an MBA from Harvard Business School. He is the founder and executive chairman of the Transdigm Group Inc. At a $55 billion enterprise value on the New York Stock Exchange, Transdigm is one of the largest aerospace suppliers in the world.

After finding success in his professional life, Nick was looking for a way to give back. He and Lorie, his wife of 40 years, started The Howley Foundation to support the education of underserved students. “This desire to help others came first from my parents, Nick and Marjorie, and also from the Jesuits,” he says. “For me, the Jesuit philosophy—the ‘Man for Others’ idea—didn’t really manifest itself until I became an adult. But they put the hook in deep,” he says with a laugh. “It’s a little insidious.”

The Jesuit teachings clearly run deep within Nick, Lorie and their family. There are more than 700 students in the Howley Scholars Program at any given time, making it possible for students from disadvantaged populations to receive a high-quality education. Nick and Lorie see this as a social justice issue, a matter of civil rights in addressing equality in this country. Their goal is to give students choices that can clear a path toward upward mobility, especially for many inner-city kids. They agree their approach may not be the quickest answer, but they see it as one of the only practical ones.

“We have always believed that the only lasting thing we could give our children was a high-quality education and a strong moral compass. But not all kids have access to the kind of high-quality education that promotes character formation, and for many, that’s the only type of opportunity that can help them break the cycle of poverty.”