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John McGovern, '12

Agent of Change

John McGovern, '12

Take the plunge! Further your education. Don't wait 30 years to go back to school.

Do these words sound like promotional copy from a college brochure? No, actually, they're words of wisdom from a seasoned financial executive who just finished his master's degree in management at College of Saint Elizabeth (CSE).

John R. McGovern, '12, has a stellar business career ... more than 25 years in finance for top companies including Avaya, Lucent Technologies, and AT&T before taking on the role of Chief Financial Officer for Strategic Products and Services, SPS, in Parsippany, N.J. Yet, he wanted more than an undergraduate degree in economics that he earned in 1980 from Kean University.

"I always thought at the some point I would really like to go back and teach in college," said McGovern. "I needed a master's to be qualified."

So, in fall 2010, while serving as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at Glowpoint, a cloud managed video services company based in Murray Hill, N.J., he enrolled in the Master of Science program in management at CSE. Just before completing his degree this past May, McGovern took on his role of chief financial officer and head of the IT department at SPS, a multi-vendor systems integrator serving businesses in the small/medium market to large Fortune companies.

"Graduate school was a lot different than I anticipated," says McGovern. "Before I started classes, I was concerned that with all my years of business experience, I would be bored, and/or smarter than the professors." But, that isn't the case at CSE, he says. "Most, if not all of my classes, had practical applications at my workplace – whether that was at Glowpoint, or now at SPS."

McGovern's path to CSE began right at home. As an adult student, his wife Diane finished her bachelor's degree in communication through the CSE Saturday program. "Before she knew it, she was done ... her good experience encouraged me to follow her lead."

Now, through a combination of on campus and online courses, McGovern, too, finished his degree in less than two years. "It's been a great experience." he said. "It has not only helped me in my current career path, but laid the groundwork for new opportunities in my future."