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New $10 Million Alumni Donation Will Support Curriculum Innovation at Harvard Business School

300px-Inside_a_Harvard_Business_School_classroomThe family of a late Harvard Business School (HBS) alumnus has donated $10 million to help support efforts already underway to innovativly redesign the second-year MBA curriculum, the school announced last week.

The donation, from the family of the late William F. Connell, a 1963 MBA graduate of HBS, will establish the Margot and William F. Connell Family MBA Program Innovation Fund, which will help support the redesign of the HBS second-year curriculum to provide MBA students with more courses, new technology applications and platforms and expanded faculty development initiatives.

“They are a remarkable success story, all of them eager to add value to the community and give back to society,” HBS Dean Nitin Nohria said in a statement of the Connells. “Bill truly personified the mission of the School to educate leaders who make a difference in the world,” he added.

A native of Lynn, Massachusetts, and the son of a bus driver, he went on to become the founding chairman and CEO of the Boston-based Connell Limited Partnership, a group of manufacturing companies doing business across the automotive, energy, mining, construction and agricultural sectors. With his wife, Margot, Bill had six children, two of whom also graduated from HBS. The family made an earlier gift, in 2003, which helped launch the School’s Leadership Initiative.

The family’s latest gift was made in honor of Bill Connell’s 50th HBS Reunion. “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,” Nohria added in a statement.

HBS in 2011 introduced a redesigned first-year curriculum, including an innovative new three-module course called FIELD (Field Immersion Experiences for Leadership Development) to complement its traditional case-method teaching model. The school is now focused on designing a new approach to the second-year curriculum, which is known as the Elective Curriculum because students choose all their own courses. The $10 million gift from the Connell family will provide a significant portion of the funding needed to support new course development, case writing needs, technology enhancements and faculty development, the school reports. It estimates that the initiative will take three years to design and implement.

Read more about the Connell family’s most recent gift to HBS.