John P. Kehoe, FCRH ’60, FCLC ’85
Senior Advisor, The Abernathy MacGregor Group Inc. and Kehoe Partners Inc.
Secretary, Fordham University Board of trustees
John "Jack" Kehoe earned his bachelor's degree at Fordham University nearly 30 years after he first set foot on the Rose Hill campus as a freshman, and six years after he was awarded a master's degree with distinction from Columbia University's Graduate School of Business. At his graduation ceremony, Kehoe recalls his mother congratulating him, then quickly reminding him of another accomplishment he had yet to achieve: completing his bachelor's degree at Fordham, a goal he realized in 1985.
As he tells it, Fordham has shined like a beacon through his lifelong journey of self discovery. Despite many accomplishments—serving as a sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps, rapidly ascending Wall Street where he became managing partner of an investment firm in his mid-twenties and launched his own investor relations consultancy—Kehoe's determination to complete his education at Fordham remained unwavering.
After his first year at Fordham, then Dean Father Leo McLaughlin said Kehoe, at the time a self-described maverick, would not be invited back to Rose Hill the next year. Instead, McLaughlin suggested that he continue his studies at Fordham's School of Education and spend some time out in the world "finding his path." Heeding his mentor's advice, Kehoe attended night school at Fordham, earned an Investment Analyst Certification from the New York Institute of Finance and went to work on Wall Street. In between, he served his country in the U.S. Marine Corps. He later headed a mutual fund company as its president and was an Allied member of the New York Stock Exchange. For 10 years, he served as a trustee of the New York Securities Industry Association Economic Education Foundation. His career reached a pinnacle when he formed Kehoe, White, Savage & Company. After nearly 30 years at its helm, Kehoe sold the practice in an employee buyout in 1998. He then joined The Abernathy MacGregor Group where, as senior advisor, he continues to counsel clients on investor communications, capital markets access and crisis management.
As he has journeyed through life and a successful career, Kehoe has remained closely connected to his alma mater. "Fordham is not a place," he says. "It's an experience ... a life compass with a preset course to finding yourself. The distinctive quality of the institution is the spiritual exercises that are manifested in the professors' work and care. Its greatness is in its people."
His devotion to Fordham is evidenced in the many ways he has served the University: as a founding member of the Fordham College at Lincoln Center Board of Advisers, member of the President's Council and Board of Trustees and co-chair of the Capital Campaign. He has also supported the University's mission with numerous gifts—most recently, $2 million that has transformed the Black Box Studio Theatre at Lincoln Center into a state-of-the-art facility. A tribute to his late wife, Veronica Lally Kehoe, it was named in her honor in a dedication ceremony this February.
"I was looking for a project that would honor Veronica's memory and give back to the theatre department about which she cared so deeply," says Kehoe, who has five children and five grandchildren. A talented actor, director and producer, Veronica was devoted to developing new talent and had a great interest in Fordham's theatre program. Also an alumna, she earned a bachelor's degree in religious studies at the University in 2002. Of their respective achievements at Fordham, Kehoe jokes, "Veronica graduated summa cum laude, and I graduated 'Johnny Come Lately.'"
Fordham University honored Kehoe during the eighth annual Fordham Founder's Award Dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria on March 30.