Several hundred people are expected to gather at Camp Harbor View on Moon Island in Boston Harbor Wednesday evening to toast outgoing Partners HealthCare Chairman Jack Connors.
Connors, who recently turned 70, is retiring next month after 20 years with Partners hospitals. He joined the board of trustees of Brigham & Women’s Hospital in 1992. The hospital merged with Massachusetts General Hospital in 1994, and Connors took over as Partners chairman two years later. Edward Lawrence, a retired partner at law firm Ropes & Gray, will take over as chairman.
“It’s been a great ride and don’t be surprised if you get wind that I was a little nostalgic” at the party, Connors said in an interview Tuesday.
The party will be held at the summer camp Connors founded, along with Mayor Thomas M. Menino, to serve children from Boston’s toughest neighborhoods. A spokesman for Partners, which is hosting the party, declined to say how much the hospital system is spending.
Connors has played a role in shaping the state’s health care overhaul in recent years. He was scrutinized last month for hosting a small retirement dinner, inviting business leaders and legislators who are in the process of hammering out a cost-control plan sure to significantly affect the hospitals he represents. Legislative leaders declined the invitation after the Globe inquired about the event.
Asked in an interview Tuesday if he expected to talk politics Wednesday night, Connors said no. He planned to give a speech about some of the highlights of his time with Partners.
Among them was the development of the Mary Horrigan Connors Women’s Health Center at the Brigham. The center is named for his own mother who was born -- a twin in a family of three sets of twins -- in a tenement house adjacent to the hospital. Connors said he had taken the job as a Brigham trustee as a tribute to his mother.
“All you need to be a good chair is to understand that boards are kind of overseers, if you will,” he said. “You don’t want to interfere with the management who get paid to do these things. You want to be an overseer, and you want to be supportive.”
Connors said he thinks Lawrence is better prepared to become chairman, an unpaid position, than he was 16 years ago because he is more familiar with how the hospitals work.
“These are Harvard teaching hospitals, and the last thing I expected was to be a student,” he said. “Even though I didn’t go through the traditional admissions process, I wound up a student. I’ve learned so much.”
Connors said his plans for the future include “more trips to miniature golf and the ice cream store with the grandkids.”