Born in Macon, Georgia in 1907, Phillip earned his law degree from the University of Florida. He opened a law office in West Palm Beach in June 1931. The following year he was elected West Palm Beach municipal judge, and four years later was elected assistant state attorney for Palm Beach and Broward counties. In 1939, he became state attorney, where for more than two decades he helped to shape the history of Palm Beach County. Throughout his career, Phillip always took the time to dedicate himself to his community by being a participant and benefactor to numerous charitable, religious, professional and civic organizations, including being a founding director of Flagler National Bank.
“Phil O’Connell was one of the true leaders of West Palm Beach. The Scholarship serves as a tangible way to ensure that he is remembered for his contributions to Palm Beach County and to the State of Florida.”
RICHARD S. JOHNSON
Chairman of the Board, Flagler National Bank
“Phil O’Connell was a very astute businessman and an excellent advisor. His ability to consistently make sound decisions was a definite asset to our bank. Phil had a great knowledge of Palm Beach County and its business cycles.”
THOMAS E. ROSSIN
President, Flagler National Bank
“My father set a high example of integrity for all of his children. A competitive attitude, a search for excellence and a strong belief in the value of education were instilled in us at an early age. It is, therefore, most appropriate that this scholarship be established as a tribute to him. He literally fought his way through college and law school, supporting himself through professional boxing. He also put his sister through college, two brothers and two sons through law school, and a son and daughter through college and graduate school. It is fitting that this scholarship be a part of his legacy to future Palm Beach County students.”
PHILLIP D. O’CONNELL, JR.
“Phil O’Connell was a gifted man. He used his talent for the benefit of this community, this country and this state. He was a doer, a leader who took positive action toward the betterment of his part of the world. He was big in outlook, and he was big in accomplishment. He was capable of careful discrimination, yet never unjust. He was a complete man, physically, morally and spiritually. He was recognized and acclaimed as an athlete. Phil sparked the development of West Palm Beach into one of the best known small-club boxing centers of the nation, a colorful chapter in our sports history. He became a lightweight boxing champion at the University of Florida, and when still a student, turned pro as a welterweight to help send his younger brothers to college. He made history in our community with his contributions to public development of stability, balance, fairness and good sense. His conduct of life forms a precedent and guide of all of us to follow.”
THE HONORABLE JAMES R. KNOTT