Charles OConnell, former VP, Dean of Students, dies at age 79
Charles OConnell, former Vice President and Dean of Students of the University, died at his home in Chicago on Saturday, Dec. 22, at the age of 79. OConnell served as Dean of Students from 1967 until his retirement in 1986. He was named a Vice President of the University in 1973.
OConnell played a major national role in the development of policies on college recruitment, admissions and financial aid and also was a leader in national and international scholarship programs.
From 1962 until 1986, he was a member of the faculty of the Humanities Division, in which he had been named an Associate Professor in 1970. From 1959 to 1970, he served as Secretary of the Faculties. After his retirement in 1986, OConnell continued to serve the University part-time as a Special Assistant to the President and as an Associate Professor.
OConnell joined the University staff as Assistant Director of Admissions in 1952 after teaching at Roosevelt University and Creighton University. In 1957, he became Director of University Admissions and Aid, a post he held until his appointment as Dean of Students in 1967.
Upon his retirement, OConnell was praised by then University President Hanna Gray. It is hard to think of this University without Chuck OConnells presence. He has been the pre-eminent Dean of Students in the country, and he has provided me and my predecessors with advice and guidance on every key issue affecting admissions and aid, student life and related areas that have determined the policies of the University and fashioned the kind of place it is today and will be in the future.
He earned an A.M. in English in 1947 from Chicago, where he pursued doctoral studies from 1947 to 1950. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Toronto in 1943.
From 1943 to 1946, he saw duty in World War II with the U.S. Army Signal Corps. in Africa, Italy and Austria and was recalled to duty from 1950 to 1951 during the Korean War.
OConnell also gave many years of service to numerous educational and philanthropic organizations, including the Chicago Tribune Foundation; the Pullman Foundation; the College Entrance Examination Board, for which he was chairman of the board of trustees from 1968 to 1979; the Educational Testing Service, which he served as chairman of the trustee committee on finance from 1983 to 1986; and the National Association of College Admission Counselors.
OConnell was for many years a member of the Parish Board of St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church in Hyde Park.
OConnell is survived by his wife, Margaret Nornheim OConnell, who received a Ph.D. from the University in 1962, as well as numerous nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews.
A memorial service will be held at 4 p.m. Friday, Feb. 22, in Bond Chapel, 1025 E. 58th St., followed by a reception.