Kerri Rowan ’77 has built an exceptional career and a purposeful life in a city she loves. An avid traveler, she gives back to her community – and to students who are following an education pathway reminiscent of her own.
The University recognized Rowan’s commitment to integrity, civility and responsibility by awarding her one of its most prestigious honors, the Lillian M. Bassi Core Values Award. She will accept the award at the 2021 Bow Ties & Pearls Ball.
Rowan – a self-described “Uniontown girl” – graduated magna cum laude from California State College as an education major with a focus on Spanish.
While completing her master’s thesis in communication arts at William Paterson College in New Jersey, she relocated to the Washington, D.C., area. Nearby Arlington, Va., is still her home.
“(Washington) is such a beautiful, cosmopolitan city,” Rowan says. “I first visited as a teenager, during cherry blossom season, and I promised myself that someday I would live here. I consider myself so lucky to do so.”
After graduate school, Rowan secured a Capitol Hill internship with the syndicated Washington News Service, held a communications role with Robert Dole’s presidential campaign, and then began a career as a management consultant.
For more than three decades, she worked for prominent D.C.-area consulting firms, primarily in support of federal initiatives. Her clients included the FBI, Defense Department, Office of Personnel Management, Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Health and Human Services and the Internal Revenue Service. Most of her assignments were local, but others required long-term travel, sparking a lifelong passion for exploring new locales. To date, she has visited all 50 U.S. states, all seven continents and 108 countries – with new adventures ahead.
Rowan joined the federal government in 2007 as a senior program analyst for the IRS, where she remains employed today. An expert in information technology governance, she oversees key IT modernization programs, monitoring costs, schedules and scope-of-work targets to directly support the IRS’s chief information officer.
“My Cal U education provided a solid foundation on which I could incrementally build my career,” she says.
Her exemplary work at the IRS has been recognized with 12 awards for outstanding performance, a Commissioner Outstanding Achievement Award and, most recently, a Strategy and Planning Leadership Excellence Award.
Philanthropy also gives her life purpose. Through her condominium community, she has led efforts to collect back-to-school supplies for needy children, organize food drives for local pantries and gather pet supplies for animal shelters.
Rowan acknowledges the crucial role that scholarships played in making her own Cal U education a reality. So last year she established a scholarship that funds a full year’s tuition for a deserving student.
“To be able to assist someone else in a similar situation is very gratifying,” Rowan says. “It’s simply my way of paying back.”