By Shannon Szefinski
On March 1, it was announced that Jack Welch, long time chairman and CEO of General Electric (GE), passed away at the age of 84. Welch, for whom the Sacred Heart’s College of Business and Technology was named, wanted to leave a mark on the education of young people.
According to the Associated Press, Welch became one of the nation’s most well-known and highly regarded corporate leaders during his two decades as GE’s chairman and chief executive, from 1981 to 2001.
Throughout his time at GE, Welch established his competitive and outspoken nature.
“From the day I joined GE to the day I was named CEO, 20 years later, my bosses cautioned me about my candor,” Welch wrote in his book, “Jack: Straight from the Gut.” “I was labeled abrasive and consistently warned my candor would soon get in the way of my career, and I’m telling you that it was candor that helped make it work.”
Welch was known for having a hands-on managerial style, which is also reflected in the education students receive as a part of the Jack Welch College of Business and Technology.
Back in 2006, Welch assumed a significant role within the Sacred Heart community after he endowed the university with a large donation. According to The New York Times, Welch did not attend Sacred Heart nor did he have any direct connection, but he came to know the university during his 41 years with GE, whose headquarters was located down the street from Sacred Heart’s main campus.
“The university is poised for greatness, and I want to be part of the next phase of its transformation and growth,” said Welch in his official statement announcing his donation.
The contribution that Welch made allowed for students majoring in business to not only excel in the classroom but outside the classroom as well. The education that students receive are rooted in Welch’s lasting impressions on the business leaders of the world.
“Many of my introductory business classes talked about Jack Welch and the impact he had on the business world as a whole,” said senior, finance and management major, Anthony Smith.
According to sacredheart.edu, “The Welch College of Business and Technology prepares students for an evolving and complex global-business environment by providing them with a community that is dedicated to technological, innovative, applied learning and research, and committed to ethical decision-making and service to others.”
“I have greatly benefited from having access to numerous guest speakers and networking events including career and job fairs, as well as free golf lessons offered to all of the business students,” said junior, marketing and fashion merchandising major, Amy O’Braitis.
In Aug. 2019, the Jack Welch College of Business and Technology changed location from the Martire Center to the newly acquired West Campus. As West Campus is the former headquarters of GE, it was fitting for the College of Business to be housed there.
“The expansion of the business school to West Campus provided us with an innovation hub to engage in personalized learning experiences,” said O’Braitis.
Welch’s donation to the university not only allowed for expansion within the classroom, but also real-world experiences and assets for students.
The Welch Experience is a program that offers business students the opportunities for networking events, student-run businesses, speakers and corporate visits and even golf lessons. Many of the opportunities presented by the business school, such as guest speakers, are also available to the whole Sacred Heart community.
These tools are meant to assist students in the transition from college to the business world.
“I feel completely prepared from the College of Business to go out and start my professional career,” said Smith. “The lessons I’ve learned from such amazing and knowledgeable professors will guide me in my career.”