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O’Connor, Burke to lead College BOT

Liz Harter | Friday, May 18, 2007

The Saint Mary’s Board of Trustees (BOT) unanimously elected John J. O’Connor as chair and Mary Burke as vice chair at the group’s April 18-20 meeting.

O’Connor and Burke will assume their new positions June 1.

O’Connor, a 1976 Notre Dame alum, is currently a vice chancellor and secretary of the 64-campus State University of New York (SUNY) system.

Burke, a 1985 Saint Mary’s alumna, was elected to the Board in 2005. She is a Chicago banking executive and involved in The Food Partners, an investment-banking firm for the food industry.

“I look forward to the leadership of John J. O’Connor and Mary Burke,” College President Carol Ann Mooney said in a statement. “John’s experience in higher education and Mary’s financial background will ensure that the Board of Trustees will continue to move the College forward. Both are seasoned professionals with a deep commitment to Saint Mary’s.”

O’Connor will have a three-year term and will succeed Deborah Johnson Schwiebert, a 1974 Saint Mary’s alumna. Burke’s term lasts two years.

“I was honored to be elected by my colleagues to serve as chair,” O’Connor said. “I am delighted to have the opportunity to play a particular role in support of President Carol Mooney and her colleagues over the next three years of my term.”

O’Connor is also president and chief executive officer of the State University’s Research Foundation, where he is responsible for the support of research, technology transfer and university-government-corporate partnerships involved in scientific innovation and discovery.

O’Connor first joined the BOT in 1998 at the invitation of Phil Faccenda, Notre Dame’s general counsel and a Saint Mary’s board member. Having worked with senior administrators at both SUNY and New York University, he said he took the position because he “felt that his experience might be beneficial to the campus.”

O’Connor also served as the vice chair of the Board of Trustees, a position which will be filled by Burke.

Burke was also chair of the board and interim chief executive officer at Associated Grocers, Inc., of Seattle, a billion-dollar cooperative grocery wholesaler. She is the former chief financial officer for Imperial Sugar Company and also worked as Vice President for Harris Trust and Savings Bank in Chicago.