McNagny became chairwoman of the Ivy Tech trustee board in 1979-80. She and her husband, Bill, started the Glenn W. Sample Award, Ivy Tech's highest faculty honor, which was first awarded in 1980. McNagny served on the Ivy Tech Foundation, including as director from 1974 to 2009. The foundation raises money for student financial aid; assistance in buying land, facilities and equipment; and faculty and staff development. After 36 years on the board, McNagny retired in 2009 but continued to serve as director emerita. In 2010, she was awarded an Ivy Tech Community College honorary associate degree in College and Community Service.
She “will always be remembered for her work and dedication to making Ivy Tech Community College what it is today. She will truly be missed by the entire Ivy Tech family,” the statement said.
McNagny also represented Allen and nine other counties on the State Board of Education from its establishment in 1984 by legislators until her term expired in July 1, 1990.
The McNagnys were also art lovers. “Highlights from the William and Joan McNagny Collection of Sacred Icons,” 50 pieces of Russian, Eastern European and Far Eastern icons collected by the McNagnys since the 1950s, appeared in 2009 at the University of Saint Francis. A major exhibition of the icon collection was held in 2006. The couple also donated a print by Picasso for the “Fort Wayne Collects” exhibit held in fall 1991 at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art.