When James  Sheehan ’78 was a senior at Missouri Western, he found out that Hormel Foods was going to be on campus to interview students, but he was too late when he tried to schedule an interview time. At 7 a.m. on the day of the interviews, Bill Kuechler, director of placement and off-campus services, called to tell him someone had cancelled their 8 a.m. interview, and would he take that spot?


That interview led to a career with Hormel that spans almost four decades. In 1979, he started as an accountant for them and today is the senior vice president and chief financial officer for the Fortune 500 company. He and his wife, Jeanne, currently live in Austin, Minnesota, Hormel’s headquarters.

To this day, James said he appreciates that Kuechler reached out to him that morning to invite him to come in for an interview. “I was so impressed that he thought of me. That memory really stands out.”

The Sheehans recently became members of Missouri Western’s League for Excellence, an honorary society of donors to the Foundation in support of the University’s mission. They support the League at the Regent’s level, $1,000 to $4,999.

“Someone created opportunities for me when I was a student, and I have an obligation to provide the same benefit,” James said. “Giving back is very important to us.”

Contributions to the League are undesignated, and Sheehan said he believes the Foundation knows best where the funds are needed rather than him making a designation.

“Missouri Western’s gift to me was the opportunity for a very good education,” he said. “That in turn allowed me many opportunities that I would not have had without it.”