Alumna Lieutenant Governor of Ohio, Maureen O’Connor, Class of ’73, to give Commencement Address at Seton Hill College
March 1, 2001
GREENSBURG, PA- Lieutenant Governor of Ohio, Maureen O’Connor will deliver the address at Seton Hill College’s 83rd annual Commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 12, 2001 in Sullivan Hall. O’Connor holds the highest elected office of any Seton Hill graduate. Following her graduation from Seton Hill College with a Bachelor of Arts in history, O’Connor earned her J.D. from Cleveland- Marshall Law school in 1980. As Lieutenant Governor, Maureen O’Connor presides over the State and Local Government Commission, a panel that acts as a liaison between state and local elected officials. She also serves as Governor Taft’s chief policy advisor on criminal justice issues. Accordingly, she is involved in the policy decisions for the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, the Department of Youth Services, the Office of the Adjutant General and the Office of Criminal Justice Services. As second-in-command, she would succeed, by constitutional authority, to the Office of the Governor should he be unable to perform the duties of the office. In addition to her responsibilities and duties as Lieutenant Governor, she also serves as Director of the Ohio Department of Public Safety, a Cabinet level position within the Taft Administration. Ohio Public Safety employs approximately 4,000 people and consists of six divisions including the Ohio State Highway Patrol and the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. Born in Washington, DC, and raised in Cleveland, Maureen’s record of public service spans more than two decades. After completing her law degree in 1980, she established a private practice that focused on trial work and criminal defense. In 1985, Lieutenant Governor O’Connor joined the Probate Court by appointment and served eight years before being named Judge on the Summit County Common Pleas Court by Governor George Voinovich. Summit County voters showed their confidence in O’Connor at the polls by re-electing her to another term by 70 percent of the vote in 1994. In January of 1995, Maureen was appointed as Summit Count’s Prosecuting Attorney and worked to change legislation to better provide for rape victims and children. O’Connor is recognized as the no-nonsense attorney who successfully prosecuted “The Goodyear Rapist” who terrorized women in the Akron community for over 14 years. Through aggressive plea negotiations, David Bellomy pled guilty on all rapes committed in Summit County, regardless of whether the statute of limitations had expired or not. “It was essential for the victims’ peace of mind and closure to hear him plead guilty to all crimes against each victim,” O’Connor said. Lieutenant Governor O'Connor has received a number civic and professional organization awards, including the 1997 MADD Law Enforcement Award and the 1997 Cleveland State Distinguished Alumnae Award for Civic Achievement. O’Connor, class of 1973, comes from a long line of Seton Hill graduates. Women in her family have attended Seton Hill for three generations. O’Connor has remained faithful to her alma mater; serving as Class of 1973 Newsagent, continuing close friendships with classmates and connecting with Ohio SHC alumnae. She enthusiastically accepted the invitation from the Class of 2001 to serve as Commencement Speaker in May. According to class president RaeLynne Snyder, “We’re very excited that Maureen O’Connor is speaking. I think it’s important to hear from Ms. O’Connor because she is a highly ranked female politician and a Seton Hill alumna. We need to have positive female role models like Maureen O’Connor.” “I am delighted that Maureen accepted our invitation to deliver the commencement address,” President JoAnne Boyle said. “The timing of her address couldn’t be better. This year's Astin Study reported the lowest student interest in politics (28%) since the beginning of the study. Maureen will be able to challenge our students to put to use in the public forum the values they have learned here at Seton Hill.” Lieutenant Governor O'Connor lives in Akron, Ohio with her two teenage sons, Alex and Ed. Seton Hill College’s commencement will be at 11:00 a.m. on May 12th and is part of a two-day celebration for graduates, their families and friends and members of the College community.