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John D. “Jack” Cullen '49 began volunteering for Palisades Federal Credit Union in 1950, in part because he was so grateful for the loan he'd received that allowed him to buy his first car, a 1946 Chevy Coupe. He continued to volunteer, serving 50 years on the board of directors, because it was fun. “It's a bit like playing Monopoly. You get to play with millions of dollars of other people's money,” he says. “My rule was to ask, 'If it were my money, what would I do?'”

Cullen recently retired from the board, but continues to volunteer on various PFCU committees. He also served as president of Rockland County Credit Union District and was named New York State Credit Union Volunteer of the Year in 1996.

An administrative engineering graduate, Cullen had one accelerated term at Lafayette before his tour of duty in Europe in World War II. He returned in 1946 to “grind through” and graduate in 1949.

Cullen went to work in Lederle Laboratories production control department. “One day I read an article in an engineering journal about the army keeping inventories of tank parts on a new thing called a computer,” he says. So he suggested Lederle consider this method for tracking bottles, caps, and other supplies. Soon he was assigned to a task force on data processing, and then to a new job in data processing.

“Every day was different–that's how I got through 40 years there,” says Cullen, who retired in 1989.

Categorized in: Alumni Profiles