Men’s basketball | January 19, 2022
Written by Christopher A. Vito
A La Salle alumnus has made a seven-figure commitment to the University aimed at bolstering the two athletics programs he has a personal affinity for.
John J. Connors, 1976, JD, CPA, LLM, who runs a national accounting consulting firm, left a bequest of over $1 million. Once fully funded, the vast majority of the planned gift will provide financial support for La Salle’s men’s basketball program. This will also benefit the men’s golf program.
Connors adapted to the University men’s basketball team for two seasons, including the 1974-75 campaign in which the Explorers spent seven weeks in the top 25 nationally and reached the NCAA tournament. His father, John T. Connors, ’48, coached the men’s golf team at La Salle during his 25 years as a faculty member in the sociology department.
“My family owes La Salle so much, and when I say this, I want everyone who hears it to know that this legacy is so heartfelt,” Connors said. “Without La Salle, we have nothing else. That’s why I’m doing this, why I’m giving half of what I have to La Salle.”
“One thing that was clear to me when I first met John was his deep-rooted love for La Salle,” said Brian Baptist, vice president of athletics and recreation at La Salle University. “He truly cares about the University, and the bequest demonstrates that overwhelmingly. John’s gift will help us transform and elevate the student-athlete experience at La Salle. It provides yet another example of a explorer who gives back. We are extremely grateful to John and his family, and we are very grateful for their support of our athletics program.”
Born in 1953, Connors is from Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania, in neighboring Delaware County. He is one of three children born to the aforementioned John T. and Anna Connors. Margaret, ’72, and Patricia, ’78, also La Salle graduates.
For John J. Connors, La Salle represented a gateway to education. An introductory course in accounting principles, taught by the late John F. “Jack” Reardon, ’59, Ed.D., set Connors on the path to a future in the accounting profession.
He never anticipated all that followed – playing basketball on a scholarship for Paul Westhead, who went on to coach four NBA teams, and forming professional relationships that led to a Rhodes Scholarship nomination, a full-time employment with the predecessor of PricewaterhouseCoopers and acceptance of the law. school at the University of Notre Dame.
These results, he said, are usually not reserved for students like him.
“I was just a child laborer who studied accounting and had a job at what was then Hayman Hall,” Connors said. “I was checking IDs at the gate and working as a lifeguard for the Christian Brethren while they did laps at night. I was helping staff members load bleachers through the third-floor windows of this new arena.”
“Everything that happened to me was so fortuitous,” he continued. “It’s a credit to La Salle. It’s a place that has always been, and continues to be, so student-centric. They care. The faculty cares. They reach far beyond the walls of the classroom. They take the time to get to know you and spend time with you. That’s the intangible, what really sets La Salle apart.”
Today, Connors is based in Milwaukee, Wisc. He regularly meets with tax professionals and travels the country as a renowned national speaker on a variety of tax topics, such as income and estate tax planning.
Each stage of Connors’ career provided opportunities to speak not only about his profession, but also about the benefits of a La Salle education.
“I would tell anyone – La Salle has done so much for me and my family,” Connors said. “It’s time for me, and for every La Salle graduate, to give back.”