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Xavier Magazine | September 26, 2017

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Brian’s Fund

Felix Winternitz

When a Xavier student can’t quite meet the monthly rent, handle a bookstore tab or pay off a niggling registrar bill, that’s when the McCormick family steps in to help.

Matt and Susan McCormick come to the table offering whatever it takes to keep a needy kid inside the Xavier classroom: “There have been over 60 kids now where, whether it be rent money or book money or registration fees, we’ve helped,” says Matt.

This is the very reason that the couple established The Brian McCormick Memorial Fund—to assist financially struggling students, regardless of academic abilities. “Brian’s Fund is for anyone in economic distress, it doesn’t matter, race, creed or whatever, they just have to be Xavier students in immediate financial distress,” says Matt.

Matt, who earned a BSBA in 1992 in finance and an MBA in 1995 in marketing, and his wife Susan, a 1991 communications major with a minor in business, are doing all this in the name and memory of Matt’s brother, Brian, who died suddenly in 2008 at the age of 33. Brian graduated from Xavier in 1997 with a BA in advertising. “We were truly blessed to have him for 33 years,” says Matt. “Brian loved his family with his entire heart and soul. He was truly one of a kind and would light up a room with his boundless energy, amazing humor and unforgettable zest for life. Brian also loved Xavier and enjoyed playing rugby for his school. He was one of Xavier’s men’s basketball team’s most passionate fans. He relished in our team’s victories, and absolutely loved beating UD in every way possible.”

The establishment of Brian’s Fund is a bittersweet moment.

“This is not what we wanted, of course,” says Susan. “We would much rather have Brian still with us. But this is a fund that Brian always talked about getting together. He was one of the biggest, most loyal fans of Xavier. Brian just had this awesome spirit about him. He loved Xavier and was always grateful for the chance it took on him.”

The couple was gratified by the immediate reaction and support for the fund. “So many people reached out to us when Brian died and wanted to know what they could do,” says Susan. “Thanks to them and their contributions, Brian’s memory will go on.”

“Can you imagine the multiplier effect from these 60 students?” says Matt. “We only ask they remember down the road, when they are in a position to help Xavier students in need, that they remember what the fund did. That would be a great end result.”

“The wonderful thing is we are not talking big numbers,” says Susan. “It’s small numbers, $200 here and $200 there. But the impact can be huge. Eventually, we’d both like it where the fund is self-sustaining and around Xavier forever.”

Matt is portfolio manager for Bahl & Gaynor Investment Counsel Inc., and Susan is president at Blarney Communications. Between the two of them, they spend a great deal of time thinking and planning for the fund. The couple’s latest project involved a huge Dana Gardens fundraising party before a Xavier-Dayton basketball game.

The love for Xavier and its community is a family affair for the McCormicks. “Our kids, who are age 10 and 6, are certifiably brainwashed about Xavier,” says Matt. “Let’s put it this way: Both have been going to games since they were three months old. My son can rattle off player numbers going back to David West. They also, honestly, enjoy the Dippin’ Dots at Cintas.”

“We have always had in our wills that we would give something to Xavier,” says Matt. “We wanted to formalize a process to make a contribution that will last longer than we will.”

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