Patty O'Brien   2006 Distinguished Service Award Recipient

Patty O’Brien has touched the lives of thousands at UNB Saint John.  As information officer in the Advancement Office, Patty quietly plays a quiet, yet instrumental role in our communications team supporting internal communications and external media relations for events including the Lorenzo Reading Series, Art Series and Musicians-in-Residence performances. Patty frequently works beyond normal working hours to ensure that students, faculty and staff receive their weekly newsletters and special announcements, and that media across the Maritimes know about hundreds of student scholarships.   Above and beyond her position as information officer, she has made an outstanding impact in her annual role in convocation preparations. 

Patty came to UNB Saint John in 1996 and has played a pivotal role in every convocation ceremony since.  She has made UNB Saint John’s unofficial motto “the caring campus” a part of her convocation mantra, making every graduate feel personally invested in their convocation ceremony.  She coordinates nearly all logistics including communications with the Honorary Degree Recipients, Board of Governors, students, faculty, staff and dignitaries.  She coordinates catering, press releases, print package production, remarks, Valedictorian coaching, committee meetings, and website updates. It is also important to note that Convocation is not limited to a single event. Twice annually, Patty also pulls together events like the Honorary Degree Recipient Dinner, Graduates Tea Reception, Convocation Colloquium, ceremonial tree planting or brick laying and, the Convocation Ceremony itself.  For those of us who play a much smaller role in the preparation of the event she is an invaluable leader, making sure that everything comes together on time and in good order.

Currently, Patty is working with our team on proposals to develop new standards and tools to improve our internal communications through more progressive electronic newsletters and website functions. She continually strives to improve the quality of our communications and service to students, faculty, staff, media, Board, benefactors and community leaders.

In her near 10 years on this campus, Patty has yet to be recognized for her massive contribution.  She has made students feel a personal connection to administration at UNB Saint John, both while they are here studying and when they leave to become alumni.  If you were to ask any of our honorary degree recipients what they remember about their Convocation day, Patty O’Brien would likely be among their first recollections. Her personable, level-headed work style and commitment has gained her the respect and admiration of her colleagues who, quite often, will perform miracles because it was Patty who asked.   

Her commitment to the well-being of UNB Saint John and, particularly to the success of Convocation has been unwavering over the years.  Convocation without her attention to detail and personal level of attention just would not be the same.  It is quite simply time to recognize the Patty O’Brien’s contribution to UNB.

Dan Tanaka and Kara Stonehouse


April 19, 2006