His strong computing and management skills got John promoted from IT help desk manager to registrar and vice president at Grove City College.
Each spring, John Inman M’96 D’02 gets to do one of his favorite jobs. The vice president for enrollment services at Grove City College has also been the college registrar for the last 20 years, and one of the registrar’s duties at the institution is to lead the procession at commencement.
“It’s all the pomp and circumstance you traditionally think of, and it’s so colorful with the faculty in their academic regalia,” John says.
This year is likely to be his last in the role of grand marshal at commencement, since John is now training a successor, the school’s new registrar. His persistence, dedication, and record of success are why John Inman is the recipient of the 2022 RMU Alumni Heritage Award. The award recognizes distinguished service and accomplishment in any field of human endeavor that brings honor to the recipient and the university.
John grew up in Beaver County just as its steel industry was collapsing. His father worked for 40 years at J&L Steel’s Aliquippa Works, but that was no longer a viable future when John graduated from Geneva College with a degree in communications and public relations in 1988. He got hired as a reporting clerk at a new plant in Grove City making packaging materials, mainly McDonald’s salad trays and corrugated cardboard for lightbulbs.
None of the plant machinery was installed on his first day, so John went to help the trucks unload. On one shipping pallet he saw the plant’s new mainframe computer, and directed it to be stored near his desk while awaiting installation. During his lunch breaks, he read the manuals. That crash course in computers got John assigned to help with installation when the company expert arrived, and later he became the plant’s computer support person. He also started commuting to RMU for his M.B.A., and would later join the university’s first doctoral cohort.
In 1994, John took a job as help desk coordinator at Grove City College, which that fall began issuing laptops to every student and faculty member. It went so well that his boss next asked him to oversee a schoolwide transition from mainframe to client-server network. John didn’t want the headache and turned it down twice, until the boss said he didn’t have a choice. It turned out to be a fortuitous career move.
“It broadened my horizons to learn how the entire organization ran, from development to the registrar to the business office,” he says. “People on campus got to know me too.”
When the registrar retired in 2003, John stepped into that role, and eventually tacked on more responsibilities. As a vice president, he is responsible for the offices of the registrar, financial aid, disability services, and academic advising.
He and his wife, Janice, the college's advancement communications coordinator, are also active in their community and their church. John is a member and former president of Grove City Rotary Club, the former president of the Grove City Area Chamber of Commerce, and a former borough councilman. He is past president of Mercer County American Red Cross and a former board member of Grove City Area United Way.
“Community service really is our hobby,” he says. “We really just enjoy helping people.”
John also serves on the board of the Beaver County Industrial Museum with his father, Donald, who founded it to preserve the history of the region’s steel and glass manufacturing. In his dad’s honor, John endowed the Donald R. Inman Endowed Scholarship for Historical Studies at RMU, which goes to a deserving student from Beaver County majoring in history.