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Alumna to speak at Baccalaureate Commencement May 20

Kathleen O'Brien '67, vice president for University Services at the University of Minnesota.
Kathleen O'Brien '67, vice president for University Services at the University of Minnesota.
Photo courtesy of University of Minnesota.

Kathleen O’Brien ’67, vice president for University Services at the University of Minnesota, will give the address at St. Catherine University’s Baccalaureate Commencement Ceremony on May 20, at 2 p.m.

Under her leadership, University Services has been transformed into a campus leader in accountability, efficiency and outstanding service.

The department — with a $394 million annual operating budget and more than 3,000 employees — includes Facilities Management, Capital Planning and Project Management, Environmental Health and Safety and Building Codes, Public Safety (University police, central security and emergency management) and Auxiliary Services (bookstores, dining services, housing and residential life, parking and transportation, printing services and University stores).

O’Brien has also been directing the University of Minnesota’s efforts on the Central Corridor Light Rail Transit. The rail line will run along Washington and University Avenues, on the Twin Cities campus, as it connects downtown Minneapolis and downtown St. Paul.

From 2003 to 2009, she and Joel Maturi, University of Minnesota athletics director, led the construction of TCF Bank Stadium — the first Big Ten football stadium built in more than a generation. The stadium is also the first LEED-certified collegiate or professional football facility in the country.

O’Brien, who was named vice president for University Services in October 2002, holds a bachelor's degree in history from St. Kate’s and a Master of Arts from Marquette University. She has completed all coursework toward a Ph.D. in history at the University of Minnesota.

On June 30, she will step down as vice president for University Services, after a decade in this leadership role. The University of Minnesota will be launching a nationwide search to fill O’Brien’s position.

Prior to leading University Services, O’Brien served as city coordinator for Minneapolis from 1994 to 2002; chief of staff to University of Minnesota President Nils Hasselmo from 1989 to 1994; and represented Minneapolis's second ward on the City Council  from 1982 to 1989.

During her tenure as city coordinator, Governing magazine named Minneapolis one of the best-managed cities in the nation.

Related stories:

May 19, 11 a.m., Associate Commencement Ceremony speaker: Toné Blechert ’67, MAOL’93 

May 19, 2 p.m., Graduate Commencement Ceremony speaker: Dr. Karen Hsiao Ashe

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May 10, 2012 by Pauline Oo

See also: Alumnae/i, Leadership, Liberal Arts