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Financing Leadership

Greg Schaber

Many who knew Irv Beumer found it hard to imagine Xavier without him. But those who knew him best would add it was also hard to imagine Beumer without Xavier.

Beumer, a 1941 graduate, retired as the University’s treasurer and vice president for business and finance in 1983, but his dedication continued until his death in 2003. And this year, his widow, Mary Ellen Beumer, created a living memorial to that dedication: the Irvin F. and Mary Ellen Beumer Scholarship, which will go to a finance major involved in leadership activities. The scholarship will be fully funded by 2008.

“Irv thought Xavier was the best place in the whole world,” she says. “So I want Irv’s name to remain with Xavier in perpetuity.” In all, Beumer spent 36 years working for the University. Over that span, he served under five presidents, was the first layman to be named dean of the evening college, the first lay business manager and the first lay treasurer. Finally, he and Ed VonderHaar were the first laymen to become University vice presidents.

On Beumer’s financial watch, the University added seven buildings: Husman Hall, McDonald Library, Kuhlman Hall, the Joseph Building, Schott Hall, the O’Connor Sports Center and the College of Business Administration building. In his last decade at the University, enrollment grew from 2,898 to 6,950. Perhaps even more impressive given the financial challenges of the time, Beumer produced a balanced budget in each of his final 10 years at Xavier. “He worked very, very hard and laid the financial foundation for the present Xavier,” Mary Ellen says. “I always teased him that Xavier was more important than his family.”

Richard Hirté, senior vice president for financial administration, succeeded Beumer when he retired in 1983. “He served about a three-month overlap,” Hirté says. “We kind of hit it off instantly. He was a great guy and the most gracious gentleman you could ever meet. He had the institution at heart every step of the way.”

The two men kept in touch over the years, and Beumer remained a ready resource, offering his experienced voice to any situation that crept up. “I felt very fortunate,” Hirté says. “Sometimes people leave and you never hear from them again. We had a lot of fun together. He was thrilled at the progress we made in transforming campus and the facilities.”

Beumer, a Cincinnati native, was a member of Roger Bacon High School’s class of 1937. He majored in finance at the University and, when the United States was plunged into World War II, he was commissioned through the Army Officer Training Corps and became an Army finance instructor at Duke University.

Mary Ellen met her future husband while he was a student at Xavier and she an undergrad at Our Lady of Cincinnati. They were married in 1944. After the war, Beumer left the Army and returned to Xavier to earn a master’s degree in English and work as the University’s director for veteran’s education. The couple soon found themselves in on-campus housing as well—small, gray two-family structures constructed largely to house married students. “Irv and I lived there for quite awhile,” Mary Ellen says. “We had so much fun together. It was a wonderful life. We had one daughter at the time, and our second was born there.”

Beumer left Xavier briefly to work as operations manager for an advertising firm but found he missed the University, and returned for good in 1954. Given his longstanding love of the University, Mary Ellen says funding a scholarship seemed natural.

“I think Irv would like that,” she says. “He had a wonderful relationship with Xavier. And because Irv was there, my love for Xavier is there, too.”

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