Scholarship to Honor Professor John Dealy’s Commitment to Gender Equity in the Technology Industry

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This fall, the MBA program at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business established the Dealy Scholarship, a merit-based award for students whose background or experience demonstrate interest in gender equality in the fields of technology, finance, consulting, or other business fields. It honors the late John F. Dealy, a longtime professor at the school.

“Gender equity is important to the future of business — whether in an MBA program or a corporate boardroom, there is tremendous value in diversity and inclusion,” said Prashant Malaviya, senior associate dean for MBA programs at Georgetown McDonough. “We are excited to begin awarding the Dealy scholarship to individuals who show a commitment to gender equity in business.”

All applicants to the Full-time MBA program will be considered for the award, which will have varying amounts as the school continues to receive alumni support for the scholarship. No separate application is required.

Dealy began teaching in the then-new MBA program in 1982 as a distinguished professor, bringing to the classroom his years of experience in the military, and as a lawyer, business executive, and entrepreneur. In the early 80s, he also created The Dealy Strategy Group, a consulting company that provided strategic advice to aerospace, satellite, and communications organizations.

Portrait of John Dealy

During those years, he often was voted the MBA program’s “favorite professor” by students who valued his leadership example enough to sign up for his famously rigorous courses. 

“John was a very demanding professor. Folks would ask ‘why are you doing this to yourself,’ but you knew every interaction was leading to an intensive learning experience,” said Joe Verbrugge (MBA’97). 

Dealy would later work at XM Satellite Radio, serving as senior advisor to the CEO — with his Dealy Group becoming ‘embedded’ to advise on the organization’s development beginning in 1997 and through its merger with Sirius in 2008. 

Early on, Dealy offered Verbrugge an internship with his company that eventually turned into a full-time job. As a member of the Dealy Group, Verbrugge worked with XM and eventually transitioned to a job there in 2004. He is still there today as a division president.

“To me, John represented the reason you’d want to go to a school like Georgetown,” he said. “When I think about the impact John had on my life, through opportunities and mentoring and seeing how he impacted other people throughout that period, he is a great representative of what Georgetown can do for its students.”

Verbrugge said he always was impressed with Dealy’s dedication to ensuring women had opportunities to thrive in the tech space.

“To me, John was the epitome of ‘we are all created equal’ here. He believed that whether you are a man or a woman, it’s about effort, diligence, and the creativity you bring to the work in front of you,” he said. “He nurtured women leaders in a space where there aren’t a lot of women leaders; he gave amazing opportunities to anyone who put in the effort.”

In recent years, the tech industry has become a growing destination for MBA students — with about 14% of the Full-time MBA class of 2019 finding jobs in the industry. Only consulting and finance garnered more interest from the graduates.

The professor’s daughter, Anne Dealy Beach (C’91, L’95), said her father’s commitment to gender equity simply reflected who he was. Both Anne and her sister, Marian (C’92), earned degrees from Georgetown — Anne went on to become an attorney and Marian earned a Ph.D. in microbiology. Beach recalls her father’s support of any of their interests — from the time he spent coaching their sports teams to his encouragement of career interests spanning business, biology, art, and filmmaking.

“He thought women could and should do whatever they wanted to do, and he supported us in any way he could,” she said.

Verbrugge added that he regularly sees the effects of lagging diversity in the tech industry despite equal opportunities making stronger progress in the corporate world.

“To me, it’s one space we still have a good amount of work to do to provide those opportunities,” he said. “As an organization, we know that diversity isn’t something to strive for on its own — it builds strength in our organization by bringing differing points of views to the table. It’s the right thing to do and the helpful thing to do from an organizational standpoint.”

“In a way, John Dealy was ahead of his time — both recognizing the importance of gender equity in business and encouraging women to become leaders in the tech industry at a time when it was less diverse than it is today,” Malaviya said. “In launching this scholarship, we want to continue Professor Dealy’s legacy of showing a strong commitment to our students by emphasizing our values around diversity and by encouraging them to pave the way to more inclusive work environments in industries like technology.”

Dealy passed away in 2017 after a brave fight with leukemia. Alumni like Verbrugge are working to keep his memory alive by establishing this new MBA scholarship. He is hopeful other alumni will contribute toward the award to strengthen Dealy’s vision for a better business world.  

“For the people who John interacted with, there’s a good group of people who upon self-reflection would say, ‘John taught me a lot and helped grow me as a professional,’” he said. “To honor him in this way and impact future generations of Georgetown students and the quality of students we recruit is a very easy thing to do.”

Beach added that her father worked hard his entire life and also showed the importance of being generous, partially through the establishment of a family foundation to support numerous humanitarian causes, including education.

“This scholarship is a very sweet recognition of my Dad,” she said. “He would very much appreciate the generosity and vision for this scholarship.”