The man behind UOIT’s curtain, Tim McTiernan

Tim McTiernan is smiling at the success of UOIT since he be came president. Photo by Sachin Bahal
Tim McTiernan is smiling at the success of UOIT since he be came president. Photo by Sachin Bahal

Before Tim McTiernan became the president of UOIT, he began his life in Ireland, in the city of Kilkenny. The locals know it as an old medieval city.


Growing up, McTiernan had a strong passion for rugby. He played on the rugby team during his teen years. He was also a member of the school’s debate team and was “the rugby player on the debate team.”


During his first year of studies at Trinity College in Dublin, McTiernan continued to play. However, he says he wasn’t good enough to be on one of college’s rugby team.


McTiernan says even though he doesn’t play rugby anymore, he still watches when he can.


“It’s hard not to watch rugby when you’re back in Ireland, because the country is full of sports fanatics. Rugby is taken really seriously there,” he said.


Towards the end of McTiernan’s undergrad studies, he got married and had a daughter. In August 1973, McTiernan along with his wife and daughter, left Ireland to come to Canada.


McTiernan says he and his family arrived with “the Canadian flag flying over the south buildings at Vancouver airport, with handwritten immigrant papers.” McTiernan knew a professor at UBC, whom he had worked part-time and who convinced them to move to Canada.


Before earning his degrees in psychology and philosophy and starting a family, McTiernan had wanted to be a pilot. His dream of being a pilot was first sparked when an alumnus from his high school came to talk about possible careers.


After that, McTiernan remembers telling his mother about his dream but she said he could only do that if he got a degree first.


“That was good tactics on her part because, by the time you get a degree, you sort of forgotten about being a pilot,” McTiernan said.


All hope was not lost for McTiernan’s pilot dream. At one point of his life, he actually flew a plane but only for “about 17 miles and it terrified me at the time.”


McTiernan was helping get a provincial cabinet minister from a meeting at Nippissing University to Sudbury, Ont.


When he was on the plane returning to North Bay, the pilot suggested McTiernan steer the plane for a bit.


“You have that sense that you are in control and I was so busy trying to keep the plane level…I realized that I could have tried to turn and had an opportunity to do more that what I did and I’ve been kicking myself ever since but it was scary fun,” McTiernan said.


Over the past few years, he has become increasingly interested in travelling, hiking and photography. When he travels with wife, they like travel on “the roads less travelled.”