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Nearly 300 members of the BWH family—donors, trustees and hospital leaders—gathered at the Four Seasons Hotel last Friday to salute Eileen and Jack Connors Jr., recipients of the 2003 Heritage Society Award. The hospital’s premier recognition annually pays tribute to extraordinary volunteer leaders and philanthropists.
In a tribute to his friends, Chad Gifford, chairman and CEO of FleetBoston Financial, spoke of the larger-than-life impact the Connors have had on so many people. They believe “real success is making a difference for other people,” he said.
They have done just that at BWH for more than a decade. At the behest of a former president, the late H. Richard Nesson, MD, and trustees John McArthur and Jacqueline O’Neill, Jack served as board chairman from 1992 to 1996. Champions of women’s health, Jack, Eileen and their family contributed $5 million in 1998 in memory of Jack’s mother, whose name now graces the Mary Horrigan Connors Center for Women’s Health. They also stepped forward with $1 million for the Nesson Fellowship, and have supported other BWH programs, including the African Women’s Health Center.
“Your love for this institution is absolutely palpable,” Connors Center Executive Director Paula Johnson, MD, MPH, told the couple. “You make our village a more compassionate and caring one.”
Accepting the award, Jack Connors, chairman of the communications agency Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos, said he didn’t realize the true importance of health care until he joined the board. Chairman of Partners HealthCare System for the past seven years, he praised Nesson, current BWH President Gary Gottlieb and many other BWH and Partners leaders for their passion, intelligence and thoughtful mentoring. “Genius is part of the fabric of this great hospital,” he said.