Isenberg mourns the passing of John “Jack” Conlon, a seminal professor and academic leader during the school’s first half century. Professor Conlon, who served as Isenberg’s acting dean three times, died on August 28 in Amherst at age 95.
Born in Worcester, Professor Conlon’s association with UMass Amherst began in 1946, when he joined the university as a freshman after serving in the armed services in Europe. In 1949, he became the third UMass student to receive a bachelor’s degree in business. After earning a master’s degree from the University of Connecticut and a PhD degree in labor economics from Michigan State, he returned to UMass as the first chairman of Isenberg’s newly created management department. From there, his administrative roles expanded to embrace tenures as the school’s assistant dean (1962-1966), associate dean (1967-1975), and acting dean (1967, 1974, 1985).
A legend in the classroom, Professor Conlon taught labor-management relations and dispute resolution. “Over the years, he inspired legions of students, who in turn maintained close ties with Jack, UMass, and Isenberg,” recalls Isenberg marketing professor Marc Weinberger. “UMass and Isenberg,” Professor Conlon once observed, “has been exceptionally good to me. I received a first-rate education, met my wife here, and actively participated in the university’s astounding expansion. That transformation from a small state college to a dynamic cultural and economic center was truly miraculous.”