Family of William F. Connell donates $10m to Harvard Business School

William F. Connell. Photo provided by Harvard Business School
William F. Connell. Photo provided by Harvard Business School

The family of the late William F. Connell has donated an additional $10 million to Harvard Business School to establish the Margot and William F. Connell Family MBA Program Innovation Fund, the school said Monday.

“This new donation from the Connells provides us with the financial support we need to enhance our second-year curriculum and make it a deeper, more cohesive, and more innovative experience that will have a life-long impact on our students,” HBS Dean Nitin Nohria said in a statement.

Connell, who received an MBA from the school in 1963, was the founding chairman and chief executive of the Boston-based Connell Limited Partnership, a group of manufacturing companies doing business principally in the automotive, energy, mining, construction, and agricultural sectors.

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The gift was made in honor of Connell’s 50th Reunion from Harvard Business School, which coincided with son Terry’s graduation from HBS, the school said in a press release. William Connell, the son of a bus driver who grew up in Lynn, died in 2001 at the age of 63.

“A previous gift from the family in 2003 helped launch the School’s Leadership Initiative --- now appropriately headquartered in Connell House --- which has helped our faculty undertake research and course development in this field, which is at the center of all we do at HBS,” Nohria said.

According to the HBS press release, the school’s faculty is now engaged in designing a new approach to the second-year curriculum. The generosity of the Connell family will provide a significant portion of the funding for this undertaking, including the support of new course development, new technology applications or platforms, and increased faculty development efforts. The school said it estimates that this project will take three years to design and implement.