Life is More Than Work

Daniel McLoughlin says cultivate non-work areas of interest and they will benefit you lifelong
Daniel McLoughlin, Emeritus Professor, Xavier University
Daniel McLoughlin, Emeritus Professor, Xavier University

Dan McLoughlin retired from Xavier University after 32 years of service. He served as Chemistry Department Chair for 12 years immediately before his retirement. He received a B.S. in chemistry from Wayne State University, an M.S. in chemistry from John Carroll University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Missouri. He did postdoctoral work at the University of Oregon and at Washington University before moving to Cincinnati. He served in several outreach programs and was involved in several programs to help foster industrial chemistry education in K-12 classrooms. He is active in local community service. He has been active in the Cincinnati local section for more than 35 years and has served on numerous committees and as an officer in several positions, including as chair of the section. He served as co-chair of the 2016 Central Regional Meeting and also as co-chair of the ACS Central Region.

Did you choose retirement? Or was it chosen for you? 

After 32 years on the faculty at Xavier University I announced my retirement in 2014. The reason for choosing my retirement time was in part that our children had grown, completed their educations, and moved away from our home. They were moving on with their new lives and I believed that perhaps it was time that my wife and I move on to new experiences in our lives. In addition, my department was doing well, and I believed that it was time for new faculty and new leadership in our department. 

How was the transition from the working world to retirement? 

I found the transition quite easy and rewarding. 

What do you miss most about your old job? 

I truly miss my daily interactions with students, and I also miss my direct interactions with my chemistry department colleagues. 

Looking back, what do you wish you knew about retirement before you retired? 

Long before retirement, I became involved with committees and activities outside of the chemistry department. Consequently, I continue to remain involved with book readings and discussions with my colleagues in the philosophy, psychology, theology, English, biology, and economics departments. I made these connections early in my career and theses connections have been extremely valuable to my personal development.  

So far, what has surprised you the most about retirement? 

It is important to nurture your past connections. This requires work and commitment. 

George Bernard Shaw said, “Youth is wasted on the young.” Assuming they would listen, what’s your best advice for someone in their 20s/30s? 

I believe that involvement in other activities outside your area of your employment is very important. I also strongly believe in community volunteerism.  

What is your favorite part of retired life? 

I am grateful to be able to schedule my own time, to make travel plans, and to make new friends. 

What is the biggest challenge you have confronted to this point of retirement? 

Moving to a new city has required that I find new volunteer opportunities and new friends. 

How do you stay connected to the chemistry enterprise as a retiree? 

When I am asked by individuals what I do, I respond that I AM a chemist and that I AM retired. There are so many ways to stay connected to our chemistry careers in retirement and also become involved in community activities. ACS offers many ways to be involved. Beginning with my first year at Xavier, I have always been strongly involved with my ACS local section. Immediately upon my retirement from the university, I became a general chair of a four-day long ACS regional meeting, which was attended by more than 900 individuals. ACS has allowed me to associate and bond strongly with my chemistry colleagues in academia, government, and industry as well as with high school teachers. Although the pandemic has caused difficulty, I attend ACS meetings. I also regularly read C&E News and make use of the variety of online offerings of ACS webinars. 

What is a travel destination you can’t wait to get back to? 

We have a planned river cruise this summer on the Rhine River. 

What do you like most about where you are living in retirement? What is the one thing you wish you could change about where you live? 

We recently moved to Jacksonville, Fla. We now get to see our daughter often and we can see sunrises over the ocean every morning. 

What guidance do you have for people who are getting ready to retire? 

Many individuals fail to prepare for rewarding interactive activities outside of their specific careers. When I encounter people who are struggling with what to do when they retire, I usually notice that many of them appear to have only been involved with their specific job titles and have not interacted with or experienced people in other communities. 

Opportunities abound! Retirement can connect you to them! 

This article has been edited for length and clarity. The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the view of their employer or the American Chemical Society.

Related Articles