by Emilie Coulter
Looking at Jon Hall ’79 on paper—executive vice president of FM Global, one of the world’s largest business property insurance companies; husband; father of three sons—one might think that Hall has little energy or time to spare for volunteer efforts. But those who know Jon Hall know differently.
“I believe as you mature, you begin to think about your legacy,” Hall says. “As they say, you only get one shot in life. As part of reflecting on my life and what will be my legacy, I have chosen to volunteer and to support organizations I believe in.” Plymouth State is among them.
In addition to being a regular and generous supporter of Plymouth State’s Annual Fund and a member of the Heritage Society for his bequest intention, Hall stays actively involved on campus. In each of the past two years, he has visited PSU to meet and speak with business majors and faculty. “Talking to the students creates an energy for me that is very uplifting,” Hall says. “I hope I can give them some insight on business and life that will help to prepare them for the road ahead.” Trent Boggess, dean of the College of Business Administration and professor of economics, notes, “Our students really appreciate hearing from a successful PSU alumnus who once sat in the same seats they are in now.”
Hall’s service does not stop at PSU, however. As chair of FM Global’s Sustainability Committee, Hall and his colleagues lead the company’s “green initiative” as part of their larger commitment to sustainability. He is also involved in FM Global’s “Total Health” effort—helping employees achieve a healthy, more sustainable work/life balance by exercising and eating right. Modeling that himself, one of his favorite local volunteer experiences has been as director of coaching for a youth soccer program for more than 500 children in his community. He has coached for years, and is proud of the state championship his under-14 boys’ team netted. He is also a consistent supporter of both United Way and the Nature Conservancy.
Hall believes his PSU education has served him well. Growing up near Hartford, Connecticut (the “insurance capitol of the world”), Hall says, “I suspected I might end up in insurance.” At Plymouth State, he became interested in business management. As Hall says, “I liked the fact I was studying practical subjects I believed I could use in the ‘real world.’” What he valued at PSU in the 1970s still holds true for students today. “The small class size allowed for true interaction with my professors,” Hall says, “and the practical curriculum resulted in a true transfer of knowledge about what really happens in the business world.”
In his professional, family, and volunteer roles, Hall believes “the only limitation becomes yourself, how hard you want to work, how much you want to put into it.” His own career proves that theory. Hall has steadily progressed through the ranks of FM Global. This commercial insurance company, with assets totaling over $14 billion, has provided coverage for roughly 30 percent of the Fortune 1000, including such corporate heavyweights as General Electric, Johnson and Johnson, Google, and Amazon.
Clearly, though, Hall lives the work/life balance that he promotes. His wife, Cornelia, has also become part of the Plymouth State community through their attendance at alumni events, visits to campus, and connections with Hall’s lifelong PSU friends. Hall stays in touch with a number of his classmates from Plymouth State, e-mailing regularly and getting together at least annually. “My years at Plymouth were and still are special to me,” he says. “I continue to benefit to this day. I hope my support and involvement have enabled Plymouth to help students the way it helped me.”