photo headshot of Bernie Jackvony '67 superimposed over a Bryant University campus sign
For Jackvony, giving back is a responsibility that lasts forever
Jul 28, 2021, by Jeffrey Stupakevich
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As he looks back on his long and distinguished career in law and public service, Bernard A. Jackvony ’67 recalls his decision to attend Bryant as a young transfer student. He had chosen to pursue a degree in accounting, and on his first day he met with then Dean Nelson Gulski ’26 about transferring credits. Jackvony says he regards Gulski (who would later become Bryant’s President) with tremendous respect, and the two would later develop a warm friendship, but Jackvony laughs as he recalls that it began with a disagreement.

He didn’t understand why he would only be given credit for one semester of accounting after a full year at his previous school. “Dean Gulski told me ‘They don’t teach accounting like we teach accounting,’” he said. “And he was right.”

Jackvony remains grateful for his experience as a Bryant undergraduate student and recently decided to designate Bryant as a beneficiary of his charitable remainder trust. “Along with my family and my wife, there are a few special institutions that have shaped my outlook on life that had a powerful impact on me,” he says, “and Bryant was one of them.”

After his first year at Bryant and a brief internship at IBM, Jackvony decided to shift his focus toward a career in law. Soon after he graduated in 1967, he married his wife Sharon (’87MBA) and enlisted in the United States Marine Corps, joining a program that allowed him to attend law school and become an officer in the Judge Advocate General Division, where he served until 1973. After his military service, he accepted a job with a firm in Florida where he specialized in tax law, estates and trusts — areas where his background in accounting proved to be an asset.

It was then that he reconnected with Bryant, starting a South Florida alumni group and later serving on the Board of Trustees for nine years. He remembers being impressed by Bryant’s then-new campus and the expansion of its educational mission. “On the East Side of Providence, Bryant was a very good business school, but always in the shadow of Brown University,” he says. 

“But,in Smithfield, Bryant has become a world-class institution, and its reputation continues to climb.” Before the pandemic, he was a regular campus visitor, and he says he is always impressed with Bryant’s students.

“Bryant is doing a wonderful job preparing them for future success.”

In early 1997, Jackvony was appointed Lieutenant Governor of Rhode Island by Governor Lincoln Almond after Lieutenant Governor Robert Weygand was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.

Jackvony held the office until early 1999. He has also served as chairman of the Rhode Island Republican Party, and he continues to practice law in Florida and Rhode Island.

Education can be expensive, but an investment in learning pays lifelong dividends.

Jackvony says that he and his wife Sharon — who died in 2005 — always tried to support educational institutions that were making an impact on students during their formative years. After working as a teacher at the former Kenyon Street School in Providence, Sharon later earned her MBA in accounting from Bryant in 1987. 

The Jackvonys’ charitable remainder trust designates Bryant as one of the educational institutions most meaningful to both of them and, upon maturity, it will create the Sharon and Bernard Jackvony Scholarship Fund. “Bryant provided me with tools to make a good living, and I am grateful,” Jackvony said.

“Education can be expensive, but an investment in learning pays lifelong dividends.” He believes that the two things of lasting value that parents can give to their children are love and education. “So much of what we achieve comes from education,” he said, “Our responsibility to make education available lasts forever.”

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