By Kathleen Sullivan Staff Writer

Connell School Dedication Is Sept. 12

By Kathleen Sullivan
Staff Writer
The Boston College School of Nursing will be formally dedicated in honor of late University Trustee William F. Connell, a prominent Boston-area businessman and philanthropist, on Sept. 12 in a ceremony attended by the Connell family and US Senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.).


William F. Connell '59
The dedication ceremony, which will include remarks by Kennedy and University President William P. Leahy, SJ, will follow a panel discussion addressing the nation's need for nurses featuring leaders from the fields of nursing, hospital administration and health insurance and moderated by WBZ-TV "HealthWatch" reporter Mallika Marshall, MD.

The school, to be named the William F. Connell School of Nursing, was the recipient of a $10 million gift made by Mr. Connell shortly before his death from cancer in 2001. Connell was a 1959 graduate of Boston College and served on the University's board of trustees for 24 years.

Kicking off the day's events will be the symposium, "Meeting the Nation's Need for Nurses," at Robsham Theater at 3:30 p.m., featuring remarks from Charles D. Baker, president and CEO of Harvard Pilgrim HealthCare; Michael F. Collins, MD, president and CEO of Caritas Health Care, and Beverly Malone, general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, the United Kingdom's largest professional union of nurses. The session will be moderated by Marshall, the only practicing physician/television medical reporter in New England.

The dedication ceremony will take place outside Cushing Hall at 5:30 p.m. (The rain location is Cushing 001), beginning with a personal tribute to Connell by University Chancellor J. Donald Monan, SJ. CSON Dean Barbara Hazard Munro will offer remarks along with Fr. Leahy and Kennedy. A public reception in Cushing Hall will follow the ceremony.

The dedication comes as the nationally ranked school is poised to make major contributions to the profession of nursing in the 21st century, according to Munro. "The school has always been recognized for its excellence in preparing graduates for clinical practice. Additionally, we are now recognized for the important research being conducted by the faculty," she said.

"Mr. Connell was clear about the mission of this University and the importance of the School of Nursing in fulfilling that mission. His legacy was aimed at improving the practice of nursing through scholarship and at enhancing the reputation of this school of nursing that now proudly carries his name."

Connell was chairman and chief executive officer of Connell Limited Partnership, comprised of three businesses primarily involved in metal alloys and industrial products manufacturing and one of the largest privately held companies in Massachusetts. He was an influential power broker who played a role in the merger of FleetBank and BankBoston and helped keep the New England Patriots from moving out of Massachusetts.

The Lynn native gave his support and service to numerous businesses and cultural, educational, and healthcare institutions. Among his many board memberships were terms on the board of directors of St. Elizabeth's Hospital and the American Ireland Fund.

Connell was the 10th recipient of the Ignatius Medal, Boston College's highest honor. The award "honors persons of uncommon achievement and influence in human affairs whose endeavors are enriched by a religious dimension." He also was honored as Irishman of the Year by the Friends of the John F. Kennedy Library and received the Steward of St. Peter Award at the Vatican in 1993. Connell was given honorary degrees from Emmanuel College and Suffolk University, among other honors.

All six of his and Margot Connell's children graduated from Boston College. His daughter Lisa Connell McNamara '89 is a CSON alumnus.

The school that will bear Connell's name was the first full-time undergraduate program at Boston College to accept women. It was founded in 1947 at the behest of then-Boston Archbishop Richard Cushing who saw the need for a bachelor degree-granting school of nursing under Catholic auspices in the Greater Boston area.

Today, CSON awards undergraduate, master's, and doctoral degrees, while offering a continuing education program for practitioners in the field. CSON's graduate program in nursing ranks among the nation's top 20, according to US News & World Report. Its Ph.D. program was the first nursing doctoral program to be offered at a Jesuit university.

 

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