Remembering Jack Brennan '68

    Rev. Scott R. Pilarz, S.J., University President, presents John (Jack) Brennan '68, P'06 with a 50-Year Reunion Medal at Reunion Weekend 2018.
    October 7, 2020

    John E. (Jack) Brennan ’68, P’06, who served two different terms on The University of Scranton’s Board of Trustees, passed away on Saturday, Sept. 19, at the age of 74.

    Jack is remembered by many for his kindness, honesty, intelligence, a self-deprecating sense of humor and his dedication to the University.

    He served on the Board of Trustees longer than any other lay person in the University's history during his twin terms of service (1992-2001 and 2002-2008, respectively). He was also a member of the Kania School of Management (KSOM) Advisory Board and the President’s Business Council.

    In October 2000, Brennan Hall, home of KSOM, was named in his honor.

    Dr. Michael Mensah, who served as the dean of the Kania School from 2005-2018, spoke fondly of Jack’s dedication and service to The University of Scranton.

    “Jack was outstanding in regards to his personal service to the Kania School of Management and our students. He was selected to the KSOM Advisory Board in 2006 and brought some much-needed personal characteristics to the board, including his humbleness. This was very helpful to a new dean like myself,” Dr. Mensah said.

    Mensah recalled the story of a very tense board meeting early on in his term as dean and how Jack immediately was able to lighten the mood with a joke regarding his own performance as a student.

    “The devotion to student affairs and student issues is what I want people to know about Jack. He drove to Scranton for every board meeting (from New Jersey) and was always present on campus giving his personal time to interact with students,” Dr. Mensah said. “The KSOM Internship Office, along with the Career Development Center, were all things that Jack fought for and devoted his time to.”

    Close friend Bill Lynett '72 offered similar sentiments regarding Jack’s dedication to the University.

    “Jack cared so deeply about The University of Scranton and he devoted so much time to it. He served as a guest lecturer in several classes and students liked him because they could identify with him,” Lynett said. “He wasn’t out to better himself, but to better the University and those that lead the University.”

    Jack served as a mentor for several students during his time on the KSOM Advisory Board and was the recipient of the University’s O’Hara Award for Management in 2003. He was also among the first inductees into the KSOM Business Leader Hall of Fame in 2015.

    “Some people just build a certain kind of relationship with their alma mater, and Jack felt that way about The University of Scranton. He not only loved the Kania School of Management, but everything about the University as a whole,” Lynett added.

    Lynett served on the Board of Trustees with Jack in the 1990s and is a current member of the KSOM Advisory Board.

    “What you saw was what you got with Jack," said close friend Edward R. Leahy, J.D. '68. "He was as honest as the day is long and was a smart and direct guy. There was a real practicality about his intelligence."

    Ed and Jack became fast friends during their first day on campus on a Sunday night before classes began the next day, in the fall of 1964. In fact, Ed recalled that after walking up to main campus from his dorm, the old Hotel Casey, which was located across the street from the now Hilton Hotel in downtown Scranton, he saw Jack sitting on a bench in the quad. The two began talking, and Jack became Ed’s first friend at the University.

    Little did both know at the time that their conversation would mark the start of a more than 50-year friendship as both served together on the Board of Trustees from 1994-2000.

    Jack graduated from the University in 1968 and then enlisted in the U.S. Army. His service included a tour of duty as a first lieutenant with the U.S. Army Signal Corps.

    His experience with the Signal Corps led to a long and distinguished business career over the years. Jack was a co-founder of Metro Mobile CTS, Inc., which was one of the first cell phone providers, and served as president & COO of the company. During his career, he also served as president and COO of SkyWay systems; vice chairman of the board of directors of Southern Union Company; president of Activated Communications; and member of the board of directors of Spectrum Signal Processing. 

    Jack is survived by his wife, Lucinda, and the couple’s two children, Ryan and Sarah, as well as several other relatives. His son, Ryan, is a 2006 graduate of the University. 

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