How Terry and Karen McMahon’s continued philanthropy will help transform IU Northwest athletics

How Terry and Karen McMahon’s continued philanthropy will help transform IU Northwest athletics

The McMahons' generosity will fund gym renovations, Hall of Fame creation, branded vans and more

Terry and Karen McMahon don’t ask for credit.

But it’s hard not to credit, or at least acknowledge, the McMahons' continued generosity and their role in the transformation Indiana University Northwest’s athletic facilities have seen in recent years, and will continue to see moving forward.

Their namesake is enshrined in the Terry and Karen McMahon Resource Center, which debuted in 2019 and serves both the academic and athletic needs of student-athletes.

Their contributions have led to a renovation of the training and locker rooms, which stand out among the RedHawks’ rival programs.

And, thanks to another substantial gift, the McMahons' latest philanthropy will help numerous upgrades within the athletics department, which will include the addition of new bleachers, the creation of an athletics Hall of Fame, branded Ford transit vans, a new PA/sound system, new gym floor design, branded graphics, scorer’s table and more.

“We’re very grateful,” IU Northwest Director of Athletics Ryan Shelton said, “We’re very, very lucky and we hope we can continue to do things that make the McMahons proud of our student-athletes and our teams.”

Terry McMahon said he’s simply happy supporting an athletic program that aligns with his ideals of recruiting quality athletes, developing high-character citizens and creating future leaders within the region.

“I’m just a sports fan,” McMahon said. “… when I got to meet Ryan and saw what he was trying to accomplish at IU Northwest, it gave me a little bit of a venue to participate.”

With a smile, he added: “To the extent anything with our name’s affiliated with helps the program, fine. Anonymous works for me, too.”

From an IU Northwest student to a lifelong supporter

Terry McMahon’s connection to IU Northwest goes back before the campus moved to the current Gleason Park location.

A Hammond High School graduate, McMahon — President/CEO and Shareholder of McMahon & Associates in Munster — spent two years at IU Northwest, where he helped start the campus’ first (unofficial) basketball team before earning his accounting degree from the Indiana University Kelley School of Business in 1962.

The connections don’t stop there, either. Three of Terry and Karen McMahon’s children went to IU Bloomington. Another received their master’s degree from IU Northwest.

Terry McMahon was reacquainted with the Northwest campus more than a decade ago through former Chancellor Bruce Bergland and Shelton, who was then coaching the women’s basketball team.

Shelton’s team impressed McMahon. Not just with how they played, but with how they presented themselves and the emphasis the program put on academics. McMahon’s initial contributions came in the form of scholarships and has continued through various athletic renovation projects.

“The scholarships helped,” McMahon said. “The more solid and the more comfort I got with the way the program was run, the more likely I was to help with other projects.

“… If you’re going to have an outstanding program, you ought to have facilities to back that up.”

Great facilities for a great program

Thanks to the McMahon’s continued generosity, IU Northwest has the facilities to match the growing success of its athletic programs, talented players and coaches.

“One of the reasons we like performing is because of people who show so much care and consideration for us,” former women’s basketball player Michaela Schmidt said. “I know everyone is very thankful, and grateful, for everything the McMahons have done for us.”

Schmidt, on top of being a multi-time All-Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference selection and leader on the 2023 NAIA National Tournament qualifying team, had the highest department GPA for multiple years while also majoring in nursing.

Schmidt graduated in May 2023 and is working as a pediatric registered nurse at Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis. She credited the resource center for her success and noted the importance of improved facilities could mean for prospective student-athletes.

“First impressions are huge,” Schmidt said. “… That’s one of the first things you remember when making a decision.”

When IU Northwest Chancellor Ken Iwama was appointed amid the COVID-19 pandemic in August 2020, the athletic upgrades didn’t slow down. Projects continued and talented players and coaches continued to join RedHawks’ teams as they prepared for their second year in the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference.

“We’re incredibly thankful for Terry and Karen McMahon’s continued alignment and support of our athletic programs and campus,” Iwama said. “Not only has their generosity helped raise the stature of our facilities, but their ideals align directly with our goals of creating impactful leaders and citizens within our community after graduation.”

Behind the scenes — through the upgrades to the locker room, resource center and training rooms — IU Northwest has separated itself from its competitors over the last few years. Now, with several more athletic renovation projects in full swing, student-athletes, recruits, their families and coaches will all see the continued emphasis IU Northwest is putting into its athletics programs creating modern, engaging and inviting facilities when they walk into Savannah Gymnasium.

In turn, McMahon hopes the contributions will help continue creating a culture of competitive athletic programs but, more importantly, drive aspiring individuals, both academically and athletically, to IU Northwest to create impactful leaders in Northwest Indiana when they graduate with an Indiana University degree.

“IU Northwest emphasizes not just being a good team, but that these student-athletes grow up, they become good citizens and hopefully they stick around our area to enhance the quality of our local communities,” McMahon said.