George F. Keane ’51 to Receive Posthumous Special Recognition, April 20

George F. Keane ’51 to Receive Posthumous Special Recognition, April 20

Head shot of George F. Keane

George F. Keane ’51, 2022 Fairfield Awards Dinner Posthumous Special Recognition Honoree

George Keane, a graduate of Fairfield Prep and a loyal alumnus of Fairfield University, will be honored with Posthumous Special Recognition at the 2022 Fairfield Awards Dinner on April 20 at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York City.

Since 1998, the annual Fairfield Awards Dinner has remained a beloved celebration of Fairfield, raising nearly $20 million for the Alumni Multicultural Scholarship Fund and other endowment scholarships.

Continuing the tradition of recognizing volunteer commitment to Fairfield, professional excellence, and outstanding leadership, this year’s Fairfield Awards Dinner will honor George F. Keane '51 with Posthumous Special Recognition.

A native of Danbury, Conn., George Keane graduated from Fairfield College Preparatory School in 1947 and Fairfield University in 1951. He was a loyal alumnus over the years, sharing his business acumen and financial counsel while serving on the Board of Trustees. The University lost a wise and true friend when he passed away in 2021 at the age of 91.

After graduating from Fairfield, Keane attended graduate school at the University of Pennsylvania, then spent a number of years sharpening his financial skills with TIAA-CREF and Peat, Marwick, Mitchell and Co. in New York. He went to Washington, D.C., to get the Institutional Management of Funds Act passed through Congress and signed by then-President Nixon, revolutionizing the funding and investment practices of colleges and non-profits in America.

In 1971, Keane founded The Common Fund (now Commonfund), a nonprofit asset management company that manages investment strategies for endowments, foundations, universities, and other mission-driven institutions. Initially begun with a grant from the Ford Foundation, Commonfund has quite literally changed the way nonprofits and smaller colleges handle their endowments, giving them access to the financial expertise they would have been unable to afford otherwise. From its early days with just three people in a tiny New York office, Commonfund today advises 1,500 institutions and manages over $27 billion. Keane served as chief executive until 1993, when he was named president emeritus and senior investment advisor. He retired from Commonfund in 1996.

After this “first” retirement, Keane went on to join Trigen Energy as chairman, leading the company for six years and eventually taking it private. He served as a director of the United Negro College Fund for 12 years, receiving the Frederick D. Patterson Award for his service. Keane was also a member of the Investment Advisory Committee of the New York State Common Retirement Fund from 1985 to 2000. After the dot-com bubble burst, he advocated for the creation of a new index in place of the S&P 500, and worked with Research Affiliates of California in the development of the Fundamental Index.

Gifted with a beautiful tenor voice (he once sang with the Dixie Chicks at a financial symposium), Keane did not shy away from bursting into song at gatherings and family parties. He and his wife, Renee, were seasoned travelers and rejoiced in the company of their combined families of six children and numerous grandchildren both in Connecticut and at their home in Sarasota, Florida. 

In December 2021, the George F. Keane Scholarship Fund was established by family and friends at Fairfield University to give deserving students in need the opportunity of a Jesuit education, just as George had received. Through the 2022 Fairfield Awards Dinner, a special group of University donors is generously matching donations to the George F. Keane Scholarship Fund.

For more information on Fairfield Awards Dinner sponsorships, tickets or journal ads, please contact Jen Kane at 203-254-4000 ext. 2464 or jkane1@fairfield.edu.

2022 Fairfield Awards Dinner

Date: Wednesday, April 20, 2022
Time: Cocktails begin at 6 p.m. | Dinner and program from 7 to 9 p.m.
Location: Cipriani 42nd Street
110 E 42nd St
New York, NY 10017

George F. Keane '51
Posthumous Special Recognition Fairfield Awards Dinner 2022

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Last modified: 03-25-22 9:59 AM

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