Arthur T. McGonigle

Biography

Deceased August 3, 1977

A pretzel magnate, candidate for Pennsylvania governor, and Temple University trustee, Arthur T. McGonigle left his stamp on North Broad long after he first stepped onto campus in 1928. A span of 35 years bridged the gap between McGonigle the student and McGonigle, pretzel CEO.

During those years, the Fox School of Business changed names three times. In 1928, he received a certificate from the School of Commerce, a Bachelor of Science degree from the School of Business and Public Administration by 1960, and in 1963 the School of Business Administration decorated him with an honorary degree. Born in Kane, located in north-western Pennsylvania, Mr. McGonigle began his business career as a traveling salesman for General Foods, owner of Maxwell Coffee, Clarence Birdseye’s frozen foods, and other well-known brands. In the 1930s, Mr. McGonigle took an entry-level job at Bachman Bakeries and before long, he and his brother Ray bought Bachman and turned it into one of the top five snack businesses in the U.S. A visionary in his field, Mr. McGonigle introduced new manufacturing techniques that set his company on course to be the world’s largest pretzel manufacturer. Innovations included the first automated pretzel twisting machine, novel use of marketing and advertising, cellophane packaging for snacks, and display-ready shipping cases—all new ideas in the snack industry during Mr. McGonigle’s time. In 1958, he was asked to run for governor as a dark horse candidate for the Republican party. In the primary, Mr. McGonigle beat out former University of Pennsylvania president and Eisenhower aide Harold Stassen. With a nod to what had gotten him so far, Mr. McGonigle’s campaign pins were shaped in the form of pretzels. In the general election, he invested a portion of his personal wealth, but lost by two percentage points to Democrat David Lawrence. After retiring from the company, Mr. McGonigle went about giving back. A major athletic facility on Temple’s campus, McGonigle Hall—opened in 1969, which bore the name of its benefactor, who gifted furnishings and equipment for the building.

Temple University Degree
Honorary Degree ’63; Bachelor of Science ’60, Fox School of Business; Certificate ’28, Fox School of Business

Temple University Awards & Affiliatons

  • Alumni Distinguished Service Award, 1971
  • General Alumni Association Certificate of Honor Award, 1953
  • Founder’s Dinner Award, 1952