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Marquette University Alumni Association

All-University Award Recipients

Professional Achievement Award

Donald A. McGovernDonald A. McGovern, Jr., Arts '72
Los Altos, Calif.

A missed opportunity led Don to find his professional calling. After earning his Marquette degree in history, he thought he would go to law school, but the admissions deadline passed him by. So he did something practical while waiting to apply for the following year: He took an undergraduate accounting class.

"Accounting came naturally to me — one of the few subjects in all my studies that did," says Don, who is retired from a long and video introsuccessful career with PricewaterhouseCoopers. "So when I began my career, it never seemed to be work!"

Shortly after he discovered his accounting ability, his wife, Irene, Arts '72, entered a graduate program at Northwestern University and the couple moved to the Chicago area, where Don earned his M.B.A. at DePaul University. Eventually, Irene also earned her M.B.A. there. After DePaul, Don joined PwC, rose through the ranks during his time in Chicago and, in 1987, was offered a partnership in the firm, which relocated him to San Jose.

He continued to excel, shepherding Silicon Valley initial public offerings, directing the U.S. firm's services for large public company clients and eventually being named vice chairman, global assurance leader and a member of the PwC Global Network Executive Team.

Don credits much of his success to his colleagues and team members over the years. "As I developed as a leader, I realized that success comes from others," he says. "Developing and mentoring others kept pushing me forward."

Retired since 2013, Don remains active in business as a member of three corporate boards. He enjoys biking, has taken up golf and is appreciating the time retirement allows him to spend with his young grandsons. 

The McGoverns established scholarships at Marquette and DePaul. "We feel very blessed to have had no debt when we graduated from college," he explains, adding that this has inspired them to give back and help ease the financial burdens of deserving students.