Conn family honors son’s memory by helping others battle substance abuse

Members of the Conn family include (back row, left to right) Jim Conn ’64, Brian Conn, Anita Conn, Laurie Healy (front row) and Jackie Conn.

Members of the Conn family include (back row, left to right) Jim Conn ’64, Brian Conn, Anita Conn, Laurie Healy (front row) and Jackie Conn.

When 1964 Saint John’s University graduate Jim Conn and his wife Anita decided to start a fund at SJU in honor of their late son, Brian, it was with a sincere intention of helping others.

Jim, Anita and their daughters, Jackie Conn and Laurie Healy, spent years battling Brian’s substance abuse disorder in an effort to keep him healthy.

 Anyone who has experience dealing with addiction or has a loved one with the disease knows about the roller coaster of emotions. There are times of deep sadness and times of hope.

The Conn family was determined to produce some hope out of their loss.

Brian Conn died October 17, 2017. In the months following, the Conns approached Saint John’s about making a gift in Brian’s memory.

After thoughtful deliberation, they decided on creating the Brian Conn Memorial Fund. The family clearly intends to impact others in honor of the great love Brian carried for family and friends throughout his life. 

The fund will help support students at Saint John’s and Saint Benedict who may be struggling or have struggled with drug and/or alcohol misuse in their lives. This will be accomplished through the support of various programming efforts such as preventative education, outreach, marketing, counseling and various projects or programs that address student substance misuse and/or promote healthy, responsible decision-making about substance use.

The fund may also be used to support students participating in chemical dependency treatment programs or who otherwise seek to maintain sobriety.

Brian’s family members are now focused on how they can help others. They are passionate about helping families dealing with substance abuse concerns and disorders. They care about how people think about addiction and its strong link to mental health and wellness.

With their generous help, students at Saint John’s and Saint Ben’s will be highly educated about the struggles and dangers of substance abuse, the opioid crisis, and prepared to help family, friends and those in their community who are struggling.

Saint John’s is grateful that we can be a part of this project with the Conn family while educating Johnnies and Bennies on such an important societal issue.

If you would like to learn more about supporting the Conn’s cause at Saint John’s, please contact us in Institutional Advancement.