Eastern Michigan University
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Fr. Bernard J. O'Connor Scholarship in Civic Engagement

In 2004, Dr. Bernard J. O'Connor left Eastern Michigan University for a position in the Vatican in the administration of Pope John Paul II. At EMU "Father Bernie," as most people knew him, taught political science, served as assistant dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, counseled EMU students and staff, and was the ROTC chaplain.

In Rome O'Connor served as a member or "adviser" to the Eastern Churches, which include countries such as Egypt, Syria, Iran and Jordan. His responsibilities included helping the eastern regions of the Catholic Church communicate with one another and working with various governments on human rights concerns.

A native of Nova Scotia, O'Connor was ordained a Catholic priest in 1977. He earned a doctorate in systematic theology from the Gregorian University in 1986 and a law degree from the University of Tennessee in 1994. His numerous honors include the EMU Gold Medallion Award in 2004, the Award for Excellence in Innovative Teaching from the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning in 2003, and Michigan Professor of the Year in both 1999 and 2001.  Father O'Connor died May 10, 2015 following an extended illness.