J. Patrick O’Brien was appointed Interim Dean of the College of Business on 3 January 2018. For O’Brien this was a return to Loyola University New Orleans as he previously served as Dean of the College of Business and Professor of Economics from July 1995 to May 2006.
Prior to returning to Loyola University New Orleans, O’Brien served as the 10th president of West Texas A&M University. A number of important accomplishments to include an unprecedented increase in enrollment marked his presidency. Enrollment grew 28 percent in nine years - from 7,412 in the fall of 2006 to 9,489 in the fall of 2015, the highest in WTAMU history up till that time.
During his tenure, construction projects totaling approximately $200 million were undertaken. From 2012 until his retirement in 2016, WTAMU was ranked in the 1st Tier of U.S. News and World Report Master Level Universities and Colleges in the West, and ranked by The Princeton Review as one of the Best Colleges in the West. U.S. News and World Report ranked WT’s undergraduate on-line degree programs as among the best in the nation. Likewise, the on-line graduate programs in business, nursing, and education were highly placed in the U.S. News and World Report ranking of Online Graduate Programs. In addition WTAMU was consistently recognized as a top military-friendly university by G.I. Jobs magazine, and in 2012 WTAMU was named by the Daily Beast as the 21st most beautiful university in the United States. In 2015, WTAMU was recognized as a Hispanic Serving Institution.
While President at WTAMU, O’Brien serves as chair of the NCAA Division II Presidents Council for two year; and as chair, he was a member of the NCAA Association's Executive Committee and the NCAA DII Administrative Committee. He was a member of the NCAA Division II Presidents Council for seven years.
Upon his retirement from West Texas A&M University at the end of June 2016, O’Brien was appointed as President Emeritus.
A native of Tennessee, O’Brien earned baccalaureate (economics) and master’s (agricultural economics) degrees from Auburn University in 1967 and 1969, respectively. He received his Ph.D. in economics with areas of specialization in monetary economics, public finance and regional economics from Oklahoma State University in 1977.
O’Brien started his career in academia as an instructor at OSU before accepting positions as an assistant professor of economics at Bowling Green State University (1974-1977) and then at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
He remained at UAF until 1991, leaving his position as professor and head of the Department of Economics to accept a dean’s appointment with the College of Commerce and Business Administration at Jacksonville State University (1991-1995).
O’Brien was commissioned as a 2nd Lt. in the US Army and served on active duty in 1969 and 1970. As a Captain, he served in the US Army Reserves and Ohio National Guard until 1979.
In his spare time, he enjoys reading, gardening and traveling. Dr. O’Brien is married to Karen Stapp O’Brien and they have two adult sons and three grandchildren.