Kevin Kearns

Professor of Public and Nonprofit Management
Graduate School of Public and International Affairs (GSPIA)
University of Pittsburgh

Kevin Kearns was the founding Director of the Johnson Institute for Responsible Leadership and the Frances Hesselbein Leadership Forum, two programs that promote ethical leadership in public and nonprofit institutions at the University of Pittsburgh. In July 2020, he stepped down from those administrative positions after two decades and is now exclusively engaged in his teaching on the GSPIA faculty and his research and public service activities. 

“I arrived in Pittsburgh as a graduate student in 1978 intending to spend no more than a few years here,” Kevin recalls. “But the City and its people welcomed me and, over the past 43 years, I have the privilege and honor of working with thousands of people — including GSPIA students — who are dedicating their lives to public service.It has been a gift for which I am grateful every day.”

Ongoing project: Editing The Encyclopedia of Nonprofit Organizations to be published in 2022 by Edward Elgar Publishing, UK.

Inspiration in the sector: “The resilience and commitment of its professionals and volunteers.”

Wish for the next nonprofit leaders?  “That they will be able to dedicate their substantial talent and passion to actually solving problems rather than responding to one crisis after another or continuously swimming against the current of prejudice and hate.”

Role model: “Leon Haley (long retired director of the Urban League). He was a mentor for me early in my career. I’m forever grateful for the lessons he taught by example — compassion, commitment, kindness, and a dedication to making a ‘place at the table’ for aspiring young professionals.”

Breakfast and what he might be reading: Two eggs scrambled, hash browns, French toast (but not very often!) 

At the end of the day: Might be reading “The “Shouts and Murmurs” column in The New Yorker. “Always reliable for a few grins.”

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