John and Carolyn Connors forward Franciscan values
When John Connors, ’58, arrived on Bona’s campus for the first time more than 50 years ago, he discovered a strong connection with the Franciscan ideals of justice and service to others. The Syracuse native says the unique Bonaventure experience of growing within a small community taught him that each person is a special individual and should be treated as such. “If anything affected my business background and experience, it was that if you treat people right, they will respond the same,” he says.
A center for the basketball team from 1956 through 1958 and voted MVP by his teammates his senior year, John was inducted into the SBU Athletic Hall of Fame in February 1998. He went on to enjoy a prosperous business career that spanned four decades, took him around the world, and saw him found several successful companies.
Today, John and his wife, Carolyn, carry forward the Franciscan values of social justice and service to others by supporting a range of University initiatives. One that is very dear to John is the Robert C. Conroy Memorial Parish Internship Program that he and Carolyn established in 2003 in honor of longtime SBU alumnus and employee Bob Conroy. The internship program helps students form connections between their faith and real issues of social justice, peace and the classroom.
John wanted to continue Bob’s work and recognize him through a program where students are integrated into local parishes. “Bob exuded what St. Bonaventure is all about,” says John. “He was a very humble person. He cared for others more than he did himself.”
John hopes fellow alumni will remember their time at Bonaventure and support the University, especially during the Anniversary Campaign for St. Bonaventure University. “It’s time to give back,” he says, adding that St. Bonaventure isn’t a large school with a large endowment. “People here love the school and want to continue the spirit of St. Francis. They need the support.”