O’Connor Follows the Footsteps of Oskar Schindler

Erin Ennis

Most students know him as a professor. The occasional criminal justice or fire science student knows him as an advisor. Those of us who have sat at convocation or a school-wide memorial may know him as our Campus Minister. But Martin “Marty” O’Connor is much more to the University of New Haven than just those things.

Marty O’Connnor, who has been employed at the university for 16 years, was chosen this year as the Oskar Schindler Humanities Foundation Endowed Professor.

Marty O’Connnor, who has been employed at the university for 16 years, was chosen this year as the Oskar Schindler Humanities Foundation Endowed Professor. A leader on campus, Marty has served the greater campus community in bringing forth not only excellence in the classroom, but excellence in community service and humanitarianism. A member of the community service committee, Marty has worked non- stop to create opportunities for UNH students. From the Alternative Spring Break program to the President’s Public Service Fellowship, Marty has put in his time and effort to leave a lasting impression on the student body.

The Oskar Schindler Humanities Foundation was established by President Kaplan’s father-in-law in the memory of the services of Oskar Schindler during World War II. Created from generous donations by the Bartels and Kaplan families, the Foundation’s awards have been an institution on this campus since President Kaplan’s inauguration. Although many know his name through the work of Steven Spielberg’s film Schindler’s List, Oskar Schindler’s legacy and humanitarian acts are now immortalized in the Endowed Professorship, which aims to give merit to those professors who, through teaching and the community, encourage students to be the living embodiment of responsible and caring human beings. Marty O’Connor said, “The exemplary conduct of the person for whom this fellowship is named teaches us that good behavior is often found in the most unlikely and extreme circumstances.” The Oskar Schindler Humanities Foundation Endowed Professor is expected to bring Oskar Schindler’s examples to life in their classrooms and through the community.

Last year’s Oskar Schindler Humanities Foundation Endowed Professor Dr. Mario Gaboury, a criminal justice professor, used his three year appointment to expand his research on victimization, human trafficking, and prisoner behavior. While Marty O’Connor has not picked the topic of his Oskar Schindler Humanities Class for the fall 2010 semester, he stressed that it would involve service opportunities in the greater New Haven area. As a life-long resident of our local community, O’Connor hopes to incorporate service opportunities with prisons, homelessness, and poverty into his classes to stress the importance of philanthropy and selflessness. Marty also hopes his tenure will push students to take the humanitarianism learned in service projects and in class to their real-life experiences outside of the University of New Haven. By stressing the importance of localized community service, Marty O’Connor hopes to see a trickle down of good, responsible, and caring human beings down from the college level and into middle schools, high schools, and the general public.

Chosen by an elite group of administrators on campus as well as Dr. Mario Gaboury, Martin “Marty” O’Connor will serve the next three years as the school’s Oskar Schindler Humanities Foundation Endowed Professor. His dedication to service, human behavior, and student enrichment make him the perfect candidate. If you are interested in learning from this beloved faculty member and friend of the student body, make sure to look out for his class in the fall of 2010.