“In many ways, my uncle John was a regular guy, like anyone else who made the decision to serve his WPI community and his country in a wholehearted way. His life was confirmation for me, that anyone can be exceptional, that any student can make a powerful and meaningful impact and leave a legacy.” 
John Connors ‘17

As U.S. citizens take time this Veterans Day to honor those who have served our country, the WPI community pauses as well in remembrance.  John Connors ’17 in particular will remember John P. Connors ’87, as the civil engineering alumnus was named for his Navy SEAL uncle.


John P. Connors ’87

John P. Connors ’87

LTJG John P. Connors ’87 USN was by all accounts a wonderful friend, courageous leader, and fearless soldier. Always working hard and pushing himself to be his best, Connors was commissioned into the U.S. Navy following his WPI graduation and became a Navy SEAL. Two short years later, while being hospitalized for an infection contracted during a training mission, Connors made the decision to forgo further medical treatment and join his SEAL team on a mission in Panama. On December 20, 1989, Connors and three of his teammates lost their lives during Operation Just Cause. 

When asked about being his uncle’s namesake the younger Connors says, “My father kept old notebooks that my uncle John used at WPI for his Chemical Engineering classes. They were filled with graphs and meticulously written equations and notes in perfect penmanship. As a kid I used to look through all that old stuff, intrigued by the complex nature of it all. It sparked my initial interest in WPI and subsequent attendance at the school. And as time went on, being a part of the WPI community became more to me than just getting an education; in some ways it was a continuation of the legacy my uncle John left, something both personal and something to be shared. His was a story that gave meaning to me beyond simply attending his alma mater, and I will always remember him.”

A group of family, friends, and WPI alumni who were closest to LTJG Connors during his time on the Hill are currently raising funds with plans to dedicate a statue in his hometown of Scituate, Mass. The statue will honor Connors and all the men and women who have and continue to bravely protect our country. For more information on LTJG John P. Connors ’87 or to support the John P. Connors Memorial Fund, please visit here.