Michael A. Connor, these days, is managing partner for Horizon Law Group LLP where he primarily works with entrepreneurial clients, and successfully handles corporate finance and securities, as well as commercial and business litigation.
In the fall of 1993, however, he was a young man starting law school at the University of San Diego and looking for his path. A three-year Merit Achievement Scholarship helped him tremendously with his law school tuition, keeping him on track academically and, most importantly, paved the way.
“It was a good three years and a tough three years,” said Conner, who earned his JD in 1996 magna cum laude, Order of the Coif, and passed the California Bar exam that same year. “I learned a lot about myself, about other people, and how to interact with others in law and from a personal standpoint.”
Connor, who had the highest grade-point average two of his three years in the law program, also served as the assistant editor of the San Diego Law Review and was the Ninth Circuit Governor for the American Bar Association’s Law Student Division.
“I felt like I got a lot of support at USD,” he said. “The professors there were top-notch academically.”
Without the scholarship, though, Connor knew the road to success would have been tough. That’s why, in 2008, he made a $50,000 pledge to create the Michael A. Connor-Horizon Group Endowed Scholarship. The scholarship seeks students who have an interest and proficiency in business transactional law.
“The pressure that came with the scholarship was good for me,” he said. “It made me really smart about how I was allocating my time. It was really helpful as I was getting my adult life started. And I now, as I look back on that, I’m highly motivated to pay it back.”
Connor, now 41, is the law school’s youngest alumni donor. He attended the university’s annual scholarship appreciation luncheon in April where he encouraged others to consider removing that title from him.
“If you have the opportunity to give back to those who helped make it possible,” he said, “it should ring true.”
— Ryan T. Blystone