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        College, Giving

        Father's legacy lives on through new scholarship

        March 7, 2024 By Laura Schmitt

        All News


        John McGeever football player sitting on sideline

        A commercial real estate developer, former NFL defensive back and captain of the 1961 Auburn Tigers football team, alumnus John McGeever (business administration ‘62) loved his alma mater and was pleased that 11 family members went on to earn degrees at Auburn.

        “Auburn, and not just football, had a huge impact on my father and that carried over to his children and grandchildren,” said oldest daughter Meredith McGeever Kynerd (interior design ‘88), an interior designer in the Birmingham area. “He started a legacy at Auburn.”

        After John McGeever passed away in December 2022, close friends and colleagues expressed a desire to make donations in his name to an organization that was very meaningful to him. Knowing how much he loved Auburn and loved helping people, son-in-law Kevin Kynerd decided to honor him with an endowed scholarship in the Harbert College of Business.  

        The scholarships will enable Harbert students who are minoring in real estate development to fulfill their academic dreams. The first scholarships will be awarded in fall 2024.

        Getting to know John McGeever

        “John was a unique, unselfish, genuine man,” said Kevin Kynerd, president & CEO of Bradford Building Company in Birmingham and Meredith’s husband.

        After playing five full years in the NFL—four years with the Denver Broncos (1962-65) and one year with the Miami Dolphins (1966), McGeever retired and began his real estate development career. 

        “He had a long, successful career developing office, retail and restaurant properties primarily in the Birmingham area,” said Kevin.

        John McGeever, Coach Shug Jordan and other capt kneeling

        A captain of the 1961 Auburn football team, John McGeever (left) played for famed Coach Shug Jordan (center). A standout on the field, McGeever was also a member of both Omicron Delta Kappa and Blue Key student national honor societies while at Auburn.

        Longtime family friend M. Miller Gorrie (civil engineering ‘57), founder and chairman of Birmingham-based construction giant Brasfield & Gorrie, first met McGeever when he was playing running back and linebacker for famed Auburn coach Shug Jordan around 1960.

        “He was the best,” said Gorrie. “I think he could have played almost any position. I remember him blocking a field goal and running it back 82 yards for a touchdown. If he intercepted a pass, it was as good as a touchdown.”

        Gorrie got to know McGeever even better in the ensuing decades as they crossed paths in their construction and real estate development careers around Birmingham.  

        “John McGeever was a very straightforward and honest person, who when he became a friend, he was a friend for life,” said Gorrie.  “As a real estate professional, he was a bulldog— very thorough and meticulous and tried to make every deal work. He had the patience of Job to hang with the deal that was slow to develop. You could always trust what he told you.”

        Todd Jackson (building science ‘95), who is married to McGeever’s youngest daughter Aimee (nursing ‘95), was impressed with his father-in-law’s demeanor.

        “You couldn’t ask for a better role model for your children,” said Todd, who is group president at Brasfield & Gorrie in Birmingham and whose son Ben Jackson will graduate from Harbert with a degree in business administration this May. “He raised three great daughters who have been successful in life and they’re now raising their own children.”

        Although her father was incredibly humble and shunned the spotlight, Meredith thinks he’d be thrilled with the scholarship.

        “He was a big proponent of me and my sisters Aimee and Lana getting a good education,” Meredith said. “To think that this scholarship will help a student who wants to study real estate development get a great education, I know he’d be pleased.”

        Added Meredith, “He was the epitome of the Auburn Creed because he believed in hard work, practical things, and earning everything you had. He taught that to all of us, as well.”

        You can honor the memory of John McGeever with a gift to support the John McGeever Scholarship. Your gift will help more Harbert students fulfill their academic dreams. 

        Donate now.


        The Harbert College of Business which is celebrating the 10th anniversary of Raymond and Kathryn Harbert's transformational naming gift, is a nationally ranked hub of undergraduate, graduate and continuing business education that is inspiring the next generation of business leaders. Our world-class faculty deliver unparalleled academic rigor in the classroom, while our research-driven scholarship advances thought leadership and best practice across business disciplines. The largest college on Auburn's campus, Harbert enrolls more than 6,900 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students.