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James J. O’Connor to speak at Saint Xavier University Winter Commencement

Retired chairman and chief executive officer of Unicom to receive Doctor of Public Service, honoris causa

Chicago (Dec. 19, 2007) James J. O’Connor will speak at the Saint Xavier University Winter Commencement on Sunday, Jan. 6, 2008 in the Shannon Center. During the ceremony, O’Connor will receive a Doctor of Public Service, honoris causa, in recognition of his extraordinary record of service.

Shannon Center doors will open at 1:30 p.m. with the procession beginning at 2:10 p.m. The Commencement ceremony will begin at 2:30 p.m.  

O’Connor is the retired chairman and chief executive officer of Unicom Corporation and its subsidiary, Commonwealth Edison Company. He is currently director of the following companies: Armstrong World Industries Inc., Corning Incorporated (Lead Director), Smurfit-Stone Container Corporation (Lead Director). He previously served as director of Bell and Howell, Borg-Warner, Esmark, Everen Securities, First Chicago Corporation, Tribune Company and Trizec Properties.  

A native Chicagoan, O’Connor continues to provide leadership to numerous civic and nonprofit organizations. His extraordinary service includes: past president of Catholic Charities; life trustee and past chairman of the board of The Field Museum of Natural History; a director and past chairman of the Chicago Urban League; former chairman of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce; a trustee of The Adler Planetarium, the Chicago Symphony and the Lyric Opera and the Museum of Science and Industry; and Northwestern University. 

O’Connor was elected to the Chicago Business Hall of Fame in 1987, named  Lincoln Laureate in 1993, and received the Daniel Burnham Award from the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce in 1994. He is a recipient of three honorary degrees and more than 65 local and national awards, including the Shield of Saint Xavier. A chair of Decision and Game Sciences at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University was established in his name in 2001. 

O’Connor earned his bachelor of science in economics in 1958 from Holy Cross College and his master’s in business administration from Harvard University in 1960. He spent the next three years in active duty with the United States Air Force, assigned to the Office of Special Investigations in Washington, D.C. He attended Georgetown Law and earned his juris doctor in 1963. 

O’Connor served on the Board of Trustees for Saint Xavier University from 1979 to 1995. His distinguished service to and generous support of Saint Xavier University are exemplary. The SXU Board of Trustees elected him a life trustee in 2005. 

Contact: Joe Moore
773-298-3937 or jmoore@sxu.edu