FORMER AQ PRESIDENT O’CONNOR DIES
June 14, 2007 - Aquinas College’s third president, Dr. Peter D. O'Connor, 71, has died in San Antonio, Texas. Friends say O’Connor had been ill for some time and died of natural causes on May 22, 2007.
O’Connor served Aquinas as president from July 1986, following the retirement of Dr. Norbert Hruby, until April 1990 when he retired for personal and professional reasons. R. Paul Nelson, who replaced O’Connor on an interim basis, was later named as his permanent replacement by the Board of Trustees.
O’Connor’s four year tenure at the College was marked by physical improvements to the campus, including the remodeling of several buildings, the installation of an updated computer lab and the implementation of a new campus-wide telephone system. The 17-acre Reformed Bible College property that now comprises the campus’ east end was also purchased during his term of office.
Joseph Parini chaired the Aquinas Board of Trustees and headed the presidential search committee that selected O’Connor as president. At the time, he stated that O’Connor’s commitment to the liberal arts, experience with minority students and his Christian perspective and values were strengths that made him the “right kind of fit” for the College.
Before coming to Aquinas, O’Connor served as vice president of Academic Affairs at Incarnate Word College, now the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio. Two years after leaving Aquinas, O’Connor moved back to his New York roots to be dean at St. Thomas Aquinas College in Sparkhill where he retired as professor emeritus.
O’Connor’s wife of 46 years, Patricia, died in 2006. Shortly after her death, he moved back to San Antonio to be with family. They had six children during their 46 years of marriage. Both his son and daughter attended Aquinas. His son, David, graduated from Aquinas in 1990. His daughter Alison, graduated in 1995.