Delaware Charter Guarantee & Trust Company
CLASS OF 1960
Stephen Tily III is probably glad that he was not born 20 years later. If that had been the case, Tily could not have attended Washington & Jefferson College. His father only agreed to pay for a college that was all-male. “W&J looked like a nice college,” he says. “And they were flexible in their attitude about what you could declare as your major.” He soon found out that there were more admirable characteristics about W&J. “It was a very friendly atmosphere and a very comfortable school,” Tily remembers. “All of the faculty and staff knew the students, so you felt at home.” Dr. John May in the economics department was Tily’s favorite professor. “He liked me and I liked him. I never wanted to be on his bad side, because he certainly would put the fear of God into you,” he says.
After graduation, Tily served briefly in the U. S. Army, but soon interviewed with SKF, a ball bearing manufacturer, who hired him to work in labor relations. “I started to go to law school at night,” he says. “But Industrial Valley Bank offered me a good position and I moved to banking.” After a stint as vice president of Farmers Bank, Tily decided to step out on his own by starting a trust company that specialized in retirement plans offered through stock brokerage firms. Although this move was risky, it clearly paid off. For many years, Tily was chairman and CEO of that company, Delaware Charter Guarantee & Trust Company (now known as Principal Trust Company), which is the largest trust company of its type in the country with $50 billion in trust assets and more that 280,000 accounts.
According to Tily, the most rewarding thing about owning a trust company is when you find out, years after you retire, that people are still satisfied with your product. While golfing, Tily often meets people whom he does not know, but whose retirement plan is being funded through the trust company, and they thank him for his work. Tily worked hard to please his customers, a value he learned at W&J where he worked hard to do well for the professors.