The Kania School of Management held its first Business Leader Hall of Fame event Saturday event to honor five of the greatest Alumni of Scranton. The Pearn Auditorium in Brennan Hall was filled beyond capacity. Students were seated along the aisles and pushed into the outer area of the auditorium. The five honorees were Arthur “Art” J. Kania, Esq. class of 1953, Gerald R. Roche, class of 1953; Paul M. Montrone, Ph.D., class of 1962; John E. Brennan, class of 1968; and Christopher M. “Kip” Condron, class of 1970. These five alumni have given back to The University and now The University is taking the chance to thank them for their donations.
This event was a great opportunity for the current students to see and hear from some of the greatest alumni of the school. These alumni gave great advice to students. The advice ranged from how to deal with ethics in the workplace to what Jesuit values have helped guide them through their careers.
The honorees have some amazing accomplishments under their belts. After graduation, Kania went to the Villanova University school of law and graduated in 1956. He sits on the board of directors for several corporations and has served on the board of trustees at Villanova and The University. He received honorary degrees from both Villanova and The University. Roche graduated cum laude. He then entered the Navy after graduation and served until 1956. He joined Heidrick and Struggles and would later become the vice president. Eventually he would become the CEO. In 2005 he was named “recruiter of the century” by his peers.
Condron served as the president and CEO of AXA Financial from 2001 to 2011. He sits on the Alliance Bernstein board of directors. Brennan went into the Army after graduation and served in Vietnam. He went to Officer Candidate School and became a first lieutenant. He helped to found Metro Mobile CTS, Inc. and served as its president and chief operating oficer. He served as the vice chairman of the board of Southern Union Company for 15 years. He also served on The University’s board of trustees for 15 years. Montrone attended Columbia Business School and became a captain in the Army. He became the Chief Financial Officer, President and CEO of several companies including Whelabrator Technologies and Fisher Scientific International, Inc. He has also been on several prestigious boards such as former President Clinton’s Healthcare Commission and the Business roundtable.
The day started off when the honorees talked in a panel discussion mediated by John Dionne. Students and teachers both were able to enjoy the panel discussion. One of the things that these alumni really wanted to focus on was the Jesuit values that make The University different from other universities and colleges throughout the country. These alumni made a point to note that they were not the best and brightest students from their classes. Instead, some had trouble getting through college, but they have showed that the education that The University offers helped mold them into great people. Two great examples of this are Kania and Brennan. Kania went to the registrar’s office a few days before the school year was set to begin. He had not taken the SAT, nor had he even thought of college before this point. The registrar took him in and gave him a schedule of classes. Brennan had three cases of academic suspension. He refused to give up and graduated on time in 1968. This shows how The University offered chances to these great men even though they had not shown their potential yet.
Another huge point that the honorees wanted to emphasize to students in attendance was about the potential that they have. Roche stated that “the greatest crime in life is unfulfilled potential,” and this was echoed by all of the honorees.
After the panel discussion, the honorees walked out to the second floor of Brennan by the elevators where a plaque was unveiled.
After the plaque unveiling, the honorees and their guests went upstairs for a reception and dinner, where they were once again honored.
The plan is to continue this tradition though the details of this have not been announce yet. KSOM’s associate dean, Murli Rajan, Ph.D., mentioned that they will most likely induct new honorees every two years due to the sheer amount of work that it took to plan the event. However, he did not directly state how many people would be honored in the future.
The idea behind the Hall of Fame event came from Jaquelyn Dionne, John Dionne’s wife. She graduated from the university in 1989. She reached out to the office of the deans and asked if this would be possible, and the event happened with the help of Dean Michael Mensah, Ph.D, Rajan. The event as a whole would not have been possible without the help of these people and without the generous donations of the five honorees.