Michael P. Galvin, Class of 1978

Leading private equity fund manager and former assistant secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce

Michael P. GalvinMichael Galvin is president of Galvin Enterprises, Inc. where he manages a venture capital portfolio of investments in biotechnology, real estate development, and business services. Mike is also co-founder of The Galvin Projects, and co-founder of Gore Creek Asset Management LLC.

Mike was a partner of corporate finance transactions at the law firm of Winston & Strawn in Chicago. He later served under President George H.W. Bush as the Senate confirmed assistant secretary of the United States Department of Commerce for Export Administration (the defense trade area), where he worked with the Defense and State Departments to reformulate and renegotiate 45 years of post-Cold War strategic trade policies after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact. Mike and his brother, Chris Galvin, with the support and inspiration of their father, Bob Galvin, co-founded Harrison Street Capital.
He graduated from Boston College with a B.A. in Economics and received his Juris Doctorate from Chicago-Kent College of Law where he was Editor-In-Chief of the Chicago-Kent Law Review. Mike is an IIT Life Trustee and currently a member of the IIT Board’s Executive Committee and a member of the Board of Overseers at Chicago-Kent. He continues a family tradition of IIT active leadership service and philanthropy that started with his father, a University Regent, and included the parallel support of his step-grandmother, Virginia Galvin Piper, who made the lead gift to endow and name the IIT library after Mike’s grandfather, Paul Galvin. He lives in Washington D.C. with his wife Elizabeth.
Who was your favorite professor at Chicago-Kent?  What was your favorite class?

There were so many favorites.  But, Professor Richard Conviser stood out because he was distinctive not only inside, but outside the classroom too.  In class, his heat-seeking, take-no-prisoners deployment of the Socratic Method demanded the best of all of us.  Outside class, he reached out to all to become an equally effective faculty adviser, professional mentor and even better friend.

Describe your career path.  What steps did you take to get to where you are currently?

Corporate finance transactions associate (then elected partner) at Winston & Strawn, then US Senate-confirmed Assistant Secretary of Commerce for defense trade, and then (as now) owner/operator of real estate, buyout/build-up, and venture start-up companies as Co-Founder and President of Harrison Street Capital.

Since as a law student I did not have a definitive, sequentially envisioned career path, my philosophy “path” was to stay in productive, energetic, professional and civic motion so that career opportunities would hopefully materialize along the way.  And they did.  Focus, but remain agile and open to career adjustments and opportunities as they arise.

What was the greatest challenge you have faced in your career?  How did you overcome it?

When one of our companies experienced a serious misunderstanding with a government enforcement agency, it took every ounce of legal training, understanding and judgment I had learned at Chicago-Kent and experienced in legal practice to prove that no wrong-doing had actually occurred.  I was able to restore our credibility, which endures today.

What would people find most surprising about you?

My biggest passion in life is to take wounded (amputee) warriors snow skiing to help them experience what they can overcome, achieve and look forward to doing in life in their physically challenged state as opposed to sitting around rehab thinking about the life experiences they might no longer be able to enjoy.

Who is your favorite US Supreme Court justice (living or deceased)?

Justice Anton Scalia:  Even if you do not agree with his more disciplined less inventive interpretation of the Constitution’s guiding principles, one has to respect that Justice Scalia’s best friend on the Supreme Court is Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (among the most liberal Justices with whom he often disagrees)—which represents a level of genuine civility and respect in public service to which all should aspire.