As members of St. Bonaventure University’s class of 1963 gathered for their 50th reunion in June, they shared more than just their good memories.
Classmates banded together to fund a leader in residence program as a way to celebrate their milestone reunion and to help prepare today’s students for the task of leading others in a diverse and complex world.
While class gifts are typically offered in the form of additions or improvements to campus infrastructure, the Class of 1963 decided to take a programmatic path in support of what they hope will be a lasting and proactive program focused on leadership, said Joseph M. Pastore Jr., Ph.D., a member of the class gift committee and professor emeritus in residence at the Lubin School of Business at Pace University.
“Leadership can be an abstract concept, but the course of history has shown that the ultimate fate of human existence is shaped by the quality of leadership. We believe it can be made more concrete by inviting respected and accomplished leaders, preferably alumni, to interact with the University community for a period of days,” said Pastore, who from 1965 to 1976 served as a member of the faculty, dean of the School of Business, and provost at St. Bonaventure before returning to New York to join Pace University as dean and later as provost.
Pastore said that the Class of 1963 is committed to fostering student aspirations for leadership roles based not only on well-developed skill sets and the ability to perform, but on moral leadership rooted in the University’s Franciscan heritage and evident in the professional and personal qualities of the leaders who participate in the program.
Titled “Building Extraordinary Leaders,” the program will bring industry and community frontrunners to campus and will highlight diverse perspectives. The Class of 1963 has committed $10,000 per year to support this endeavor for a period of at least five years. Guest speakers will be notable, high-achieving alumni chosen from each of the academic schools at St. Bonaventure: School of Arts and Sciences, School of Business, School of Education, and the Russell J. Jandoli School of Journalism and Mass Communication.
“When class members began discussing a class gift, the term ‘excellence’ kept coming up,” said Julie Cunningham, director of St. Bonaventure’s Annual Giving Programs. “They wanted to illustrate to students the many pathways that exist on the road to success. We are extremely grateful to the Class of 1963 for establishing this program and for helping the University deepen the learning experience of our students.”
The program will launch this February when the physician to the Vice President of the United States, Kevin C. O’Connor, D.O., Class of 1988, visits campus. O’Connor attended St. Bonaventure on an Army ROTC scholarship, completing a major in biology and minor in theology.
His Feb. 13 visit to St. Bonaventure will include several presentations to the campus community, including students in the School of Arts and Sciences and members of the campus Medical Emergency Response Team, which he founded as a student.
O’Connor completed medical school at the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1992 and residency training at The Mountainside Hospital in Montclair, N.J. His military education has included Airborne School, Army Medical Department Officer Basic Course and U.S. Army Flight Surgeon training. He earned the designation of Master Flight Surgeon in 2010.
As an Army family physician, teacher, flight surgeon and hyperbaric medical officer for the last 18 years, O’Connor has served in clinical, academic, leadership and operational assignments at Fort Bragg and Fort Carson, including tours of duty with the 82nd Airborne Division, 75th Ranger Regiment, and United States Army Special Operations Command. He has deployed on numerous combat rotations in support of classified missions in Afghanistan, Iraq and Bosnia.
He has served as a White House physician since 2006 and, in February 2009, was appointed Physician to the Vice President. In this capacity, O’Connor provides primary care for the Vice President and Second Family, and is responsible for the medical planning and emergency actions in support of the Vice President at home, domestically and abroad. His military service thus far has required travel to approximately 60 countries.
O’Connor lives with his wife, Chris, and their three daughters in Crofton, Md.
About the University: The nation’s first Franciscan university, St. Bonaventure University cultivates graduates who are confident and creative communicators, collaborative leaders and team members, and innovative problem solvers who are respectful of themselves, others, and the diverse world around them. We are establishing pathways to internships, graduate schools and careers in the context of our renowned liberal arts tradition. Our students are becoming extraordinary.
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