Gateway Celebrates Naming of The Curran Community Center with May 20 Ceremony

Gateway Community College (GCC) celebrated on May 20 the naming of The Curran Community Center, named for William E. Curran, philanthropist and retiree from Halsey Associates. The ceremony was held from 5:00-6:30 pm. The evening's speakers were Thomas Griggs Jr., Chair of the Gateway Community College Foundation Board;  Dr. Dorsey L. Kendrick, Ph.D., President, GCC; William E. Curran; and Professor Lorraine Li, Business Department, GCC.


William Curran subtitles his biographical sketch, “A Totally Fulfilling Life,” and those words epitomize this remarkable man’s achievements and outlook. Truly, the hallmark of Bill’s life has been dedication to country, community, conservation, career—and family.


During his 30 years with Halsey Associates, an investment management group, he helped investors promote private philanthropy by creating charitable foundations. Out of that grew a passion for conservation, and he worked closely with The Nature Conservancy, Maine Forestry Foundation, Forest Society of Maine, and the Maine Coast Heritage Trust. During that time, two million acres of Maine’s most scenic areas were preserved and conserved, with the stipulation they be managed sustainably and always remain open for recreation. Over one million of those acres were due to Bill’s efforts alone.


Born in Birmingham, Alabama, Bill attended public schools and earned Eagle Scout ranking with the Boy Scouts of America. At 16, he was admitted to Yale University, where he studied engineering, economics, and business management for three semesters before entering the Navy, where he served for eight years. He returned to Yale to complete his degree. An active reservist, he was recalled to duty during the Korean War. During that conflict, he was a full lieutenant, assigned as the Damage Control officer and Auxiliary and Repair Divisions officer, maintaining everything mechanical and electrical on the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Yorktown—a remarkable responsibility for a 25-year-old!


He later pursued graduate studies in finance and management at Marquette University. He worked with an equity team at Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company, persuading that conservative company to buy their first common stocks. He later joined with Yale University‘s investment office to convince an equally conservative Yale Finance Committee to purchase growth stocks, such as IBM and General Reinsurance, for the Yale endowment.


Bill was married for 53 years to the former Jane Forsythe. They raised two daughters, Jean and Margaret, who blessed the couple with four grandchildren. Until her 2004 death, Jane ran the Curran Foundation, giving away up to $250,000 annually to 150 to 200 agencies, largely in the Greater New Haven area. Bill continues Jane’s work at the Curran Foundation. He has made significant personal donations to both Gateway and the Gateway Community College Foundation, as well as to Elm Shakespeare, New Haven Symphony, Long Wharf Theatre, Common Ground, and Yale-New Haven Hospital, just to name a few.


Bill stays active in the community and the business world—all part of his “totally fulfilling life.”


The Gateway Community College Foundation is grateful to William E. Curran and the Curran Family for their generous support of Gateway Community College. Their investment not only helps to enrich the lives of Gateway’s students, faculty and staff, but also provides important programmatic enhancements and learning opportunities. The Gateway Foundation also extends its sincerest thanks to Brad Collins and Group C for developing an artful way of honoring the donors who, like the Curran Family, have made such a significant contribution to making Gateway Community College an integral part of the vibrant New Haven landscape.