Tim Tyrrell, Former NFL Player and 2013 Harper College Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient

Tim Tyrrell's seven-year career in the National Football League got its start in 1980, when he walked onto the Harper College football team and not long after, became star quarterback.

After receiving his associate of arts degree, Tyrrell transferred to Northern Illinois University, one of the 13 four-year schools that extended him a scholarship. During his senior year at Northern, he led the Huskies to win the California Bowl, was voted Most Valuable Player and earned Mid-American Conference Player of the Year. His efforts landed him in the NIU Hall of Fame.

Tyrrell launched his football career as an undrafted free agent in 1984 and played professionally for the Atlanta Flacons, Los Angeles Rams, Buffalo Bills and Pittsburgh Steelers.

"Harper was a huge part of my NFL dream coming true. It fueled my adrenaline and instilled in me a desire to never stop learning and to keep trying to do my best," he says. "It was a phenomenal stepping stone for me to take it to the next level."

Currently, Tyrrell serves as the Vice President of the Chicago Chapter of the NFL Players Association, a non-for-profit organization that funds eight $12,000 scholarships for high school students and donates new equipment to Chicagoland youth football teams.

The desire to foster a giving organization, he says, stems from the culture he found at Harper. While at Harper, he received guidance from his head football coach, athletic directors and professors, on how to deal with challenges.

"Coach John Eliasik focused on encouraging us to come up with solutions rather than thinking about problems and instilled in me a passion that is unmatched," he says.

Additionally, Tyrrell dedicates many hours of service working with non-for-profit charities, feeding the homeless, helping with football camps, speaking to local schools and helping former NFL players give back to the community.

Tyrrell calls on his leadership skills as the Director of Market Development for PIRCH, a company that specializes in premium lifestyle goods for the home. In the role, he oversees the expansion of three new stores, hiring 100 new employees and introducing high-end indoor- and outdoor-kitchen, laundry and bath brands to interior designers, homebuilders, and architects.

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