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McGivern gives back to program that boosted him

John McGivern, bba ’83, played football at Washburn from 1979-82. Like many during that era, it was the relationships built and lessons learned he takes with him.

“We didn’t have as much success on the field, but that didn’t hinder my love of the game or the University,” he said. “We learned perseverance, battling through adversity and getting up early every day to take on the next challenge.”

McGivern and his teammates still have the same pride they always had in Washburn. In recent years, they’ve had more to celebrate with a conference championship, postseason appearances and players in the NFL under Coach Craig Schurig.

"In my opinion, we have the greatest football coach right now Washburn has ever seen,” McGivern said. “Coach Schurig and his family have conducted themselves as classy as can be, representing the University extremely well on and off the field. On top of that, he’s run a clean program.”

McGivern is president of the family business J.F. McGivern, Inc., a residential, commercial and industrial painting firm. He has served on the Washburn University Board of Regents since 2012 and is in his final month as chairman. Along with lessons learned on the football team, McGivern credits his father, John F. McGivern, for grooming him to be the leader he is now.

“My father drove me hard. I learned the business from the bottom up,” he said. “I was on the road out of state (Texas, Louisiana and Florida) on projects learning the trade and the business and then was slowly brought into management. That field experience was extremely valuable in helping me transition, but at the time, I didn’t think so. I had just got my business degree from Washburn, and here I was working in the field for next to nothing.”

The success he has had now allows him and his wife, Sheila, to give back to Washburn. They have donated to the athletics department indoor practice facility, the John A. and Sheila McGivern Hospitality Center in Bianchino Pavilion, the Yager Stadium football renovation project, the Sneed Track resurfacing project, the Whiting Fieldhouse renovation project, Washburn soccer scholarships and the Dr. Jerry and Susan Farley Professorship in Leadership . They also have a football scholarship in their name (John and Sheila McGivern Family Football Scholarship Fund) and give regularly to other scholarships and areas. They know private support for the program is essential to playing at a high level and recruiting top student-athletes.

“It’s something Sheila and I want to support. We desire, and I as an alumnus, former player and booster, desire to play at the top level of the league every year,” he said.

McGivern and his teammates will be tailgating this fall when Schurig and the Ichabods return to action. The home-opener is Thursday, Sept. 7, at 6 p.m. at Yager Stadium.“We still tailgate together and have good times,” he said. “Football and athletics in general are a big part of Washburn. The comradery is good for us and all alumni and supporters who attend athletic events.”

The band at a football game

You can help support student-athletes

If you are interested in supporting athletic programs or starting an athletic scholarship to commemorate your time as an Ichabod or Lady Blue, contact Bruce Steinbrock by email or at 785.670.1334.You can also make a gift online to the Ichabod Scholarship Fund.

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1729 MacVicar Avenue
Topeka, KS 66604
Phone: 785.670.4483
Email: contactus@wualumni.org