James W. McLernon, BS '50

James W. McLernon, BS '50

In 2007, James W. McLernon, BS ’50, established the Samuel R. McLernon and Nancy McLernon Memorial Scholarship to provide scholarships to students from Kenmore West High School seeking to pursue an engineering education at UB’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. He also established the Nancy and James McLernon Superior Scholars Program.

James W. McLernon, a Kenmore, NY native and Kenmore West High School graduate, is a retired automobile company executive. He started his career with a summer job on the machine floor at the Chevrolet engine plant in Tonawanda, N.Y. in 1949 while still a UB student. By the time he retired in 1997, McLernon had held positions as general manufacturing manager of GM’s Chevrolet Division, president and chief executive officer of Volkswagen of America and chair of the board of American Axle and Manufacturing. McLernon appreciates the importance of financial assistance for undergraduates. In addition to his summer job with Chevrolet, while studying at UB’s newly established engineering school, McLernon drove a school bus before and after class, worked at a golf course and as a Christmas-season mail carrier.

Jim established the Samuel R. McLernon and Nancy McLernon Memorial Scholarships in memory of his late brother and late wife. His brother, Samuel, who attended Kenmore West High School, was a World War II veteran and was a long-time principal at Kenmore East High School. Jim’s late wife, Nancy graduated from the UB School of Nursing.

Jim passed away on March 20, 2020