Michael Connell

Professor | Business and Economics | Department Chair

Edwin Trapp Chair of Business

Rm 258 Center for Science & Business 309-457-2156


We live in an increasingly complex world. We have access to an incomprehensible amount of knowledge that grows daily. Young people need a guide to organize that knowledge and lead them down the path of higher education. In the beginning, they need someone to tell them what is important and why it is important. Later, they need someone to teach them how to analyze information and think critically on their own. That is the role of the faculty mentor.

As I have grown as a teacher, my strategy in the classroom has changed. Now I teach few things, bigger things to enable to students to understand those concepts intuitively. Over time, the details change but the principles do not. A broadly educated person understands a few powerful basic truths and applies them widely.

I love to learn about the roles that prices, property rights and contracts play in the organization and well-being of society. I love the process of sharing my learning with others in the hope of imparting a similar understanding of society and inspiring a love of learning. I am not naive enough to believe that I can do this for every student, but I am foolish enough to hope that I do that for some, and perhaps, many students. If so, I have been successful. Teaching is not what I do, it is who I am.


Complex Systems

Austrian School of Economics

The Role of Property and Contract in Wealth Creation

Public Policy Analysis

Innovation, Change and Growth


Antique Furniture

Pepsi Collectibles


University of Illinois, B.S. Economics (1976)

University of Illinois, J.D. (1980)

University of Illinois, M.S. Economics (1982)

University of Illinois, Ph.D. Economics (1986)

Courses Taught

Business 105: Introduction to Commerce

Business 322: Legal Environment

Business 382: Commercial Law

Economics 380: Environmental Economics

Economics 401: Public Policy Analysis

Selected Work

“A Father’s Falter at the Wedding Altar” by Michael L. Connell; Wall Street Journal November 20, 2014 

“The possibility of men living together in peace and to their mutual advantage, without having to agree on common concrete aims, and bound only by abstract rules of conduct, was perhaps the greatest discovery mankind has ever made.”  

F.A. Hayek