Don and Irene McGovern have a strong appreciation for the value of higher education. Having received their MBAs at DePaul, both moved on to successful careers, Don in accountancy and Irene in finance.
Don and Irene realize how fortunate they were to have parents who were able to substantially pay for their education, allowing them to pursue their studies without the worry of a financial burden that faces most students today. Don worked part time all through college to supplement his parents help, and describes graduating without debt as “waking up one day and needing to almost pinch yourself at your own good fortune.” That feeling is what drives their strong desire to give back to higher education. With the cost of education today, they are very aware of the need for financial assistance for deserving students. They have recently established the Donald A. and Irene S. McGovern Endowed Scholarship in Accountancy at DePaul University, which was created to provide recognition and financial assistance to students pursuing an accountancy degree, with preference given to graduate students.
Upon graduating with a liberal arts degree and a close call with the Vietnam draft, Don decided to go to law school but had missed the entire cycle for admission. To prepare for law school the following year, he took an accountancy course and realized he had missed his calling in life. While still working the job he had as an undergraduate, he began to take additional undergraduate business courses. Then, Irene was admitted to Northwestern University for a master’s degree in history with a desire to teach. When they transferred to Chicago, Don took the opportunity to pursue a MBA at DePaul with a concentration in accountancy. Don calls his DePaul education his ticket to the accounting industry. Upon graduating from DePaul, Don accepted a job with Price Waterhouse (now PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).
Irene completed her graduate degree in history, and after teaching high school, enrolled at DePaul to earn her MBA. Upon graduating and working a year at Quaker Oats, Irene worked in international finance for Baxter Travenol for five years until she took a break for the birth of their first daughter. After the birth of their second daughter, she taught business courses at a local community college. Meanwhile, Don’s career continued to thrive at PwC, where he was admitted to partnership in 1987, at which time the family relocated to San Jose, California. Besides client work, Don has served in many capacities at PwC, including office managing partner for San Jose, U.S. managing partner for the Technology Industry Group and regional managing partner for the Assurance practice for the New York metro region, among others. He plans to retire this year, after 39 years with the firm, as Vice Chairman, Global Assurance Leader.
Don and Irene feel very blessed that they are able to give back. It is their hope that one day the McGovern Scholars will themselves be able to provide support for other deserving students.