It All Adds Up

It All Adds Up

Kate Harper and Katie Kummer
Sometimes it just pays to give back. Recently Saint Mary’s alumnae Kate Murray Harper ’89 and Katie Scott Kummer ’89 were back on campus to receive the Outstanding Accounting Alumna Award. While the two were here they also made time to share advice and anecdotes about their career experiences with the College community. The accounting twosome visited with administrators, faculty, and students, making presentations in classes and answering questions. “I think that it’s important for the students to see the success women can have after they’ve left Saint Mary’s,” says Harper. Harper is a partner in KPMG’s Structure Finance Group and Kummer is an Audit Partner with Ernst & Young, LLP, both in McLean, Va.

Harper received a bachelor in business administration, and says that Saint Mary’s benefited her “self-confidence and esteem,” living and studying in an all women’s environment. She also appreciated the Writing (W) requirement, noting that today’s employees often lack sufficient writing skills. “More and more, I’m encountering people who cannot write well thought out sentences, convey ideas, prepare analysis, and write in an easy to understand, meaningful way. I don’t think I appreciated back then what I think people should appreciate today, which is the value of the liberal arts education and being able to write well.”

Kummer also received a bachelor in business administration, with a minor in Italian . She made the decision to come to Saint Mary’s after a Saint Mary’s student visited her high school and mentioned the Rome program . “That just sounded like a great experience to me and made me interested in Saint Mary’s.” Kummer spent a year studying in Rome and she says the experience brought to light that the world is a small place. “It helped me to appreciate that Italians have the same issues, concerns, and desires as those in the U.S.”

Kummer says she fell in love with accounting in her first accounting class. “It taught me a lot about working in teams and having a collaborative work ethic,” says Kummer of the way the professors worked with each other and the students. “I feel like the professors in the accounting department have a great relationship. They’ve been together for so long and they’ve taught us that in working together, you’ll accomplish a lot more than working in an individual environment. In a work environment, that’s just so important. You only succeed if the team succeeds, really.”

Harper says that professor Mary Ann Merryman brought her career experience outside the College to the classroom. “I felt I was always encouraged to learn and she made class interesting.”

Both Kummer and Harper look to retired professor Claude Renshaw as a mentor. Merryman and Renshaw attended Harper’s Wash., D.C. wedding, and Kummer says, “It’s his [Renshaw’s] dedication to his field that I appreciate. It has helped me realize the impact I have on people that work for me–and I make sure I show them a personal commitment and interest in them.” All this points to what Harper says was the best part of being a student at Saint Mary’s–the friendships. “You make lifelong friends and start relationships with the professors,” says Harper. “The relationships here just can’t be beat.”