Henry P. Conn, In Memoriam
I am sorry to report that one of the University of Louisville’s dearest friends and supporters, Hank Conn, passed away on April 24, 2023.
An alumnus of both the UofL J.B. Speed School of Engineering and the College of Business, Mr. Conn was a true Cardinal success story. After graduating from UofL, he embarked on a remarkable career that included serving as vice president of global management consulting firm A.T. Kearney Inc. as well as management positions with Ford Motor Co., Siemens-Allis Inc. and TRW Inc. A consultant to senior leadership teams worldwide, authored “Workplace 2000 – The Revolution Reshaping American Business,” a best-selling guide to innovative management and compensation practices.
His consulting work with energy companies led to his interest in and passion for supporting alternative energy. In 2009, he and his wife Rebecca provided a pace-setting gift to fund the Conn Center for Renewable Energy Research, which advances energy innovations to commercial readiness. As the largest pledge at the time, it allowed the university to fulfill the Commonwealth’s aspiration for a center of excellence on renewable energy research. The outcomes include the creation of the largest non-medical research center at the university, attraction of eminent scholars as faculty and theme leaders, and a step change in research innovation and entrepreneurship.
The Conn’s generosity and purposeful benefaction inspired the formation of the Conn Legacy Society at UofL in 2011. The society was established in appreciation of Hank and Rebecca’ generosity to create an ecosystem around planned giving that leaves a legacy at the university. The benefaction of this group makes significant impact on excellence in research, student support, and community engagement for generations to come.
In 2012, the Conns established the Leigh Ann Conn Prize for Renewable Energy in honor of their late daughter. The biennially awarded $50,000 prize is the only prize of its kind that recognizes renewable energy innovation coupled with commercialization having clear global impact. The prize brings world-wide attention to the University of Louisville for its commitment to renewable energy excellence.
The Conns have supported the university in many ways. He was as a keynote speaker for Speed School Engineering Days and served on Speed’s Industrial Board of Advisers. The Conns also donated generously to UofL’s School of Medicine, Student Services and University Libraries.
For his many contributions, Mr. Conn was recognized as a distinguished alumnus in 2006 and as the university’s Alumnus of the Year in 2009. Hank was also inducted into the School of Business’ Entrepreneurial Circle of Fame in 2015 in recognition of his lifelong achievements.
We will celebrate Mr. Conn’s life with a celebration of life event in the near future. Details forthcoming. Read his full obituary.
Hank’s vibrancy and boundless enthusiasm continue to inspire. While we are saddened by his passing, we are grateful for his being.
President, University of Louisville
Updated: In lieu of flowers, the family requests expressions of sympathy in the form of donations to the University of Louisville at http://give.louisville.edu/conn or charity of your choice.