AMHERST, Mass. - John P. Flavin, of Arlington, Texas, has agreed to serve as national chair of Campaign UMass, the comprehensive campaign kicked-off by the University of Massachusetts in October 1996 to raise $125 million, engage advocates, and enhance the University’s image across the state and nation.
As national chair of the campaign, Flavin will head the Campaign Cabinet, a volunteer group of 42 alumni and friends of the University charged with overseeing Campaign UMass and with helping the University to identify, cultivate, and solicit major-gift prospects. The cabinet met today at the University.
"I believe in UMass, and I believe that private support is essential for the University’s success. It’s as simple as that," Flavin said on accepting the chairmanship. Flavin also contributed one of the lead gifts to the campaign, donating $1 million to fund a chair in entrepreneurship in the UMass School of Management. The gift has also drawn $500,000 in matching funds from the state’s Endowment Fund, bringing the total support for the chair to $1.5 million.
Prior to becoming involved in Campaign UMass, Flavin made several major gifts to the School of Management at the University, in part to memorialize his brother Joseph B. Flavin Jr., who graduated from the School of Management in 1953 and was president and CEO of the Singer Corp. until his death in 1987. Besides the Flavin Chair in Entrepreneurship, he also established the Flavin Fellowship program, which encourages promising students from the School of Management’s master’s degree program, and he established the Flavin Fund, which enables the School of Management to undertake service projects in area schools, such as curriculum development workshops for faculty and outreach programs to encourage high school students to go to college.
In addition to his support of the University, he also participates with several grammar and high schools in the Dallas area to provide educational opportunities to under-served students and to assist them in preparing for college.
"The support of education is a major part of my life," says Flavin. "It is the best equalizer our society has, and land-grant schools have a special role in that."
He said he hopes his involvement with Campaign UMass will encourage other alumni to become involved. "What the University offered my brother and me won’t be available in the future without private support," he says. "Living in Iowa and Texas was an eye-opener. Out there, public institutions get as much support from their alumni as private institutions do. We need to bring that way of thinking to New England."
An entrepreneur himself, during his career Flavin established several businesses and then sold them, including Score Cards,a baseball card company that was part of the contemporary explosion of interest in baseball cards.
Flavin attended UMass after the Korean War on the G.I. Bill. He received a bachelor’s degree from the School of Management in 1959, and is currently chairman of the board of Triangle Supply Co., Inc., Dallas, a wholesaler of plumbing and heating supplies. He was president and owner of the company from 1983-96.
Earlier, he was controller then vice president of A.Y. McDonald Manufacturing, Dubuque, Iowa, 1962-79. He started his career with Mass Mutual Life Insurance Co., from 1960-61.