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Former physician to vice president tabbed to head Bona’s FHCP program

Jan 30, 2020 |

Dr. Kevin O’Connor, ’88, former physician to the U.S. vice president, has been named medical director of St. Bonaventure University’s Franciscan Health Care Professions program.

“We are thrilled to have Dr. O’Connor join our program and provide leadership and guidance for its sustainability and growth,” said Dr. David Hilmey, dean of the School of Arts & Sciences. “His knowledge, enthusiasm and experience will also provide our students moving into medicine and the health professions with mentorship and wisdom that will guide and inspire them on their journey.”  

A retired U.S. Army colonel, O’Connor “understands as a Bona’s grad what our students experience and what it means to have a Franciscan education and how that influences a career in medicine,” Hilmey said.

O’Connor was the physician to the vice president from 2009 to 2017 and White House physician from 2006-2009. He was inducted into SBU’s Seneca Battalion ROTC Hall of Fame last year.

“I am humbled and honored to have this opportunity to contribute meaningfully to my academic home,” O’Connor said. “I vividly remember my hours in Friedsam Library. And I remember my quiet, anxious moments in St. Joseph’s Oratory, offering a prayer before exams.”

The Franciscan charism woven into the health professions programs at St. Bonaventure was especially appealing to O’Connor.

“The healthcare professions offer a unique opportunity for one to ‘do well,’ as one ‘does good,’” he said. “The FHCP program answers both the community’s call for workforce development and God’s call to always care for those who are suffering.”

O’Connor has been an associate professor at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences since 2017, and taught previously at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences.

“Dr. O’Connor is a highly decorated veteran and successful and seasoned physician who has demonstrated success and, most important, compassion for others at every stage of his illustrious career,” Hilmey said. “There is no better person to lead our Franciscan Health Care program into the future.”

The FHCP program has nine combined-degree or early assurance agreements with six universities or colleges, featuring programs in medicine, pharmacy, dentistry and physical therapy. Students take three or four years of a pre-med program at St. Bonaventure, and finish their medical degree programs at the partnering institutions.

The combined-degree programs grant talented high school seniors provisional acceptance into medical school upon entry to St. Bonaventure. Early assurance programs allow students to apply for early acceptance to medical school as SBU sophomores.

O’Connor attended St. Bonaventure on an Army ROTC scholarship, completing a major in biology and minor in theology. He served as class president and founder/director of the campus Medical Emergency Response Team (MERT) and received a military commission as a Distinguished Military Graduate.

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About the University: The nation’s first Franciscan university, St. Bonaventure University is a community committed to transforming the lives of our students inside and outside the classroom, inspiring in them a lifelong commitment to service and citizenship. In 2019, St. Bonaventure was named the #1 regional university value in New York and #2 in the North by U.S. News and World Report.