A strategic gift from Kearney and Co., a leading financial consulting firm serving federal government clients, will benefit students and programs at George Mason’s School of Business. The firm recently committed $300,000 to support the school’s Government Contracting Initiative.
Impetus for the gift came from Brian Kearney (BA Integrated Studies ’02), the chief operating officer for the Alexandria, Va.-based company. Founded in the 1980s by his father, Ed Kearney, Kearney & Co. has grown impressively, and now has over 800 employees.
Under the pair’s leadership, Kearney & Co. has become closely involved with Mason’s School of Business, initially by supporting an undergraduate student scholarship. The firm regularly recruits at Mason, hiring about 10 graduates in the past year, and Brian Kearney serves on the business school’s advisory council.
Growing up in Annandale, the younger Kearney was already so involved in the family business that when the time came to choose a college, it was important that George Mason was nearby. “One of the biggest reasons that I went to Mason was so that I could work here [at the firm] while I went to school,” Kearney said. The local university was a popular choice: his sister, an accounting major, followed him at Mason a few years later.
Working together as a family presents its own unique challenges, Kearney admits, but is certainly rewarding. “My dad is boss, mentor, and friend. It is great to work for him … When I was starting out, Dad told me, as long as you work harder than anyone else, you’ll be fine.” (The company seems to be in good hands, considering that one of Kearney’s two daughters, 12-year-old Emily, likes to say that she plans to run the company one day).
Kearney & Co.’s charitable and community endeavors demonstrate the family’s strong ethic of community service. The company regularly receives accolades for how well it treats employees, including recognition as one of the Top 50 Best Places to Work in Washington D.C.
“We feel that when you’re put in a position to help someone, you should,” said Kearney, who now lives just a few miles from campus in Fairfax. “Through this partnership with Mason, we will be helping the next generation of business students to succeed.”
Funds from the company’s six-year commitment will be used to establish a new graduate certificate program, the Government Accounting Certificate in partnership with Kearney & Company, as well as for scholarships. The program will ready Mason students for a variety of management roles in serving and consulting for government agencies. More broadly, the gift advances the leadership profile of the School of Business as a key partner with top companies in the region, and as a national thought leader in the field of government contracting.
“It is great to see that the value of a Mason degree keeps appreciating,” Kearney said. “That shows that the institution is getting stronger. I compare it to buying a new car. From the day you buy a car, every year it’s worth a bit less. But getting a Mason degree is the opposite—from the day you graduate, every year its value gets higher.”
March 14, 2018 / RR