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Washington and Lee University

Washington and Lee University

Fighting Poverty through Education

Larry Connolly ’79

from The Bridge: Spring/Summer 2011 issue

Frustrated by the lack of progress in reducing domestic poverty, Larry Connolly '79 looked to Washington and Lee to be part of the solution. He and his wife, Leigh, established an endowment to support W&L interns working in Atlanta through the Shepherd Alliance, a summer internship program administered by the Shepherd Poverty Program.

"If poverty was an easy problem to solve, it would have been solved a long time ago," says Connolly, the CEO of Connolly Inc., a recovery audit firm in Atlanta. "Nonetheless, it is more than disappointing that such little progress has been made despite the enormous amount of resources spent and the efforts of many.

"Poverty hasn't been studied by students who go on to professional careers," he continues. "Wouldn't it be great if W&L's program helps move the needle in the right direction?"

Connolly has seen firsthand what Shepherd Alliance interns have done through their summer internships in his adopted hometown. He sees the combination of hands-on experience and the study of poverty as a promising opportunity for change.

"These interns are pretty impressive individuals, and I have a lot of optimism about what they can do in their local communities when they leave W&L," he said. "I am hopeful, giventhe large numbers of students who participate in the Shepherd Program,
that some will go on to truly make a meaningful difference."