$30 Million for “Work in the Years Ahead”

Corporation member Joseph J. O’Donnell and Katherine A. O’Donnell hope to inspire others.

Joseph J. O’Donnell and Katherine A. O’Donnell

Boston philanthropist and business executive Joseph J. O’Donnell ’67, M.B.A. ’71, and his wife, Katherine A. O’Donnell, have given Harvard $30 million, the University announced today: a present the O’Donnells hope “will encourage others to do the same," enabling the institution “to expand its critical work in the years ahead—not only in Cambridge but also globally.” 

Joe O’Donnell was named a fellow of the Harvard Corporation, the University’s senior governing board, last spring in an unprecedented expansion of that historic body. His decades of volunteer work on Harvard’s behalf include service on his College and Business School classes’ reunion committees, terms on the Board of Overseers, various visiting committees, and a stint as an elected director of the Harvard Alumni Association. He discussed this experience, and his outlook for the University, with Harvard Magazine shortly after his appointment to the Corporation. Most recently, he was named co-chair of its new joint committee on alumni affairs and development. And as recently reported, he is one of four people planning the University's forthcoming capital campaign, imbuing this gift with a particularly potent message. He and his wife are also the parents of two recent College graduates, daughters Kate ’09 and Casey ’11.

O’Donnell himself was a six-time letterwinner in football and baseball at the College, captaining the baseball team as a senior. The Everett, Massachusetts, native later founded Boston Concessions Group Inc. in 1976 and has guided its evolution into a leader in the food service industry; he shared insights on feeding thousands of fans at sporting and other events in this profile from the Harvard Magazine archives.

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