I write with sad news of the death of John Driscoll ’62, a much beloved member of the Wesleyan community known for his long and devoted service to alma mater. For more than three decades, John oversaw our alumni relations programs. With his ever-present good cheer, he was a remarkable ambassador of goodwill, rousing an enthusiastic “Go Wes!” wherever he went. And he went everywhere.
John joined the Wesleyan staff in 1982 as alumni director, having previously served with the U.S. Office of Education and the Civil Aeronautics Board. An engaging speaker and storyteller, he emceed or spoke at countless events, drawing on deep knowledge of all things Wesleyan. He had an unsurpassed ability to make friends, to engage alumni of all ages, and to build Wesleyan’s community worldwide.
Among Freeman Asian Scholars, his name and that of his wife, Gina, are synonymous with enduring affection and unstinting support. For many years the Driscolls traveled extensively throughout Asia with the late Houghton “Buck” ’43, Hon. ’93, P’77 and Doreen Hon. ’03, P’77 Freeman to interview prospective Freeman scholars. The Freeman Driscoll Endowed International Scholarship was named in their honor.
For their extraordinary service, John and Gina received the Raymond E. Baldwin Medal in 2017, the highest award of the Alumni Association, presented to them by President Emeritus Colin G. Campbell.
A faithful and ever-enthusiastic fan of the Cardinal football team, John led a revival of the Wesleyan “Fight Song,” teaching it to generations of Wesleyan first-year students. He became the first Wesleyan administrator to receive “emeritus” status, served under five Wesleyan presidents, received an Appreciation Award from the Black Alumni Council for his service, and was an active leader in Class of 1962 reunions. Off campus, he was a member of the Kiwanis and Conversational Clubs.
John had the great gift of making everyone in the Wesleyan community feel welcome and appreciated. We will hold him warmly in our memories as an inspiration and a reminder of what it means to act with generosity of spirit.
He is survived by Gina, who has a laudable record of service to Wesleyan as a member of the University’s Advancement team. He is also survived by son David and his wife Willow Cheeley; daughter Laura and her husband, James Taft (a Wesleyan Information Technology Services staff member), and their children Clara and Eli; and son Douglas and his daughter Lenora. Condolences may be sent to Gina c/o Wesleyan University, Office of Advancement, 291 Main Street, Middletown, CT 06457. Donations in John’s memory can be made to the Freeman Driscoll Endowed Wesleyan Scholarship Fund (Wesleyan University, Office of Advancement, 291 Main Street, Middletown, CT 06457). Information regarding services for John will be announced at a later date.