Alfred Franklin Beers, a former administrator at Penn who served in a variety of positions, including business manager of the School of Medicine, university comptroller, and associate vice president for finance, passed away peacefully on July 8 from complications of Alzheimer’s disease. He was 87.
Born in East Stroudsburg, PA, Mr. Beers grew up in Allentown, PA and graduated from William Allen High School. After a three-year enlistment in the U.S. Army, during which he rose to the rank of Sergeant, Mr. Beers then enrolled at Muhlenberg College and earned a degree in accounting in 1960. After graduation, Mr. Beers spent six years working in the audit department of Peat Marwick (now part of KPMG) in Philadelphia. At the same time, he worked toward his designation as a certified public accountant.
In 1966, Mr. Beers embarked on a long career in financial administration at Penn. Beginning as the assistant business manager of the School of Medicine, Mr. Beers rose through the ranks of the University administration. In 1969, he was named assistant comptroller. During this era, he served in several posts in Penn’s governance, including in the Administrative Assembly, the precursor to today’s PPSA, and on the Trustees’ committee on governance. Later in the 1970s, Mr. Beers was promoted to associate comptroller and then to assistant vice president for health affairs for finance. In 1981, Mr. Beers became acting comptroller, then, the next year, comptroller of the university.
In 1997, Mr. Beers was named associate vice president for finance (Almanac January 14, 1997). In this role, he coordinated the day-to-day financial operations of Penn’s schools and central financial administrative offices. “Al will play a critical role in moving the division [of finance] forward with its plans to develop a service delivery and business model that will enable Penn to achieve its restructuring goals, and also serve as a model for higher education,” Vice President for Finance Stephen Golding said at the time. “We are fortunate to have someone with Al’s exceptional abilities, proven record of success and breadth of knowledge of the University and higher education able to step into this important position.” During the 1990s, Mr. Beers also served as chair of the 25-Year Club and on the University Council committee on personnel benefits. In 2000, Mr. Beers retired from Penn, an occasion marked by a resolution of appreciation from the Board of Trustees.
While at Penn, Mr. Beers received local and national recognition for his work, including membership in the Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the executive committee of the Financial Officers Board of the Association of American Medical Colleges, and the Society of Research Administrators. He chaired the costing and financial compliance committee of the Council on Governmental Relations. Outside of Penn, Mr. Beers was an avid recreational vehicle enthusiast since he bought his first camper in 1973, touring 49 states and all ten Canadian provinces.
Mr. Beers is survived by his wife, Dorothy; four children, Michael, Karl, Denise Prentice, and Jennifer Newlands; twelve grandchildren; and three great grandchildren. Visitation will be held at St. Dorothy Church in Drexel Hill on July 23 from 9 a.m., as will a burial mass at 10:30 a.m. Donations can be made in Mr. Beers’s name to the Alzheimer’s Association (https://www.alz.org/).