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How Do You Say Happy Birthday?

Business Professor and His Brother Endow Scholarship to Honor Their Father

James and Michael Beers
James Beers, left, and Asst. Teaching Prof. Michael Beers at the Manning School of Business.

By Beth Brosnan

James Beers never studied or taught at UMass Lowell. But thanks to his son — Michael Beers, an assistant teaching professor at the Manning School of Business — James is now helping UML accounting majors get their degrees.

For his father’s 80th birthday, Michael and his brother, Stephen, endowed the James R. Beers, CPA Accounting Scholarship. The senior Beers began his accounting career fresh out of college; by age 30, he had founded his own company and eventually grew it into one of the largest local firms in the Washington, D.C., area.

Michael describes his father as a man with few hobbies but a relentlessly curious mind, the kind of person who “always wants to understand how others think, especially people from other backgrounds and cultures.” James has satisfied that curiosity through travel and by investing in young people’s education, endowing scholarships at the University of Maryland and George Mason University. Creating this new scholarship at UML, says Michael, “allows us to be generous to him in a way he could accept and that makes him happy.” 

UML students inspire an unusually high level of generosity among their professors. Forty-five percent of UML faculty and staff support student scholarships and other UML funds—a figure that is three times the national average for other colleges and universities.

“To be able to do something for our students is a gift in itself,” says Michael Beers, who joined the Manning faculty in 2011 after a two-decade career in business. “They’re earnest, inclusive, talented and optimistic—even though some of them have very little and have to carry big loans. They deserve this kind of support.”