By Karen Flores, Asst. Features Editor
Thomas O’Malley ‘63, was appointed the chairman of the Manhattan College Board of Trustees for a second time after his predecessor William Dooley ‘75, stepped down.
According to manhattan.edu, O’Malley served as chair of the board from 2005 to 2012 and is a loyal donor to the school, with the O’Malley Library and the O’Malley School of Business being named after him.
O’Malley spoke to the Quadrangle via phone call about the circumstances behind his appointment as the new chairman and his initial thoughts. He said that his predecessor, Dooley, had asked him to fill in the role after having to step down due to personal reasons.
“We’ve known each other a long time. He asked me to take over on a somewhat temporary basis. I agreed and for the last couple of months, I’ve been doing the job,” O’Malley said.
O’Malley stated that being the chairman of the board involves working with different people within the college administration to ensure that they have the necessary resources to run the college efficiently and effectively.
“We work through the provost, the faculty of the college and of course the president of the college to see what changes are necessary. My role is an organizational role. My role is really to make sure that the college has the resources necessary to run on an organized, efficient basis and on a basis that allows the college to provide an education at a very high level,” O’Malley said.
When asked how his current term as chairman of the board differed from his previous term, O’Malley highlighted the impact of COVID-19 and technology on the college as well as the educational system as a whole.
“Well, it’s quite clear that the entire educational system is undergoing a change. The change was started by the COVID-19 pandemic. The idea of remote education is kind of playing a substantial role in the future,” O’Malley said. “I think today, technology has changed the way we approach education. Over the course of many years of running different corporations, I’ve seen how technology has changed the way we approach business, and it’s certainly changed the education sector. How we will apply technology at Manhattan College is a very big element I’m very interested in.”
O’Malley also said that he believes having a career-oriented education with a liberal arts background is helpful in the long run.
“Your education has to be able to give you a job when you get out of school. I think when [you] get out of college, you better be sure that you’ve taken enough courses that you get yourself a good job that provides you with a good living. So an education that is very much career oriented has become more important,” O’Malley said. “But I still believe that a liberal arts background is helpful. I don’t think you can go forward and appreciate the world without having a fairly broad education.”
Brother Frank Byrne, FSC, the vice chair of the board, wrote via email that O’Malley is dedicated to the mission of the college and that the board is fortunate to have him as the chairman again.
“Thomas O’Malley embodies the spirit and commitment Manhattan College instills in its students and The Board of Trustees is fortunate to have him as its new chairman,” Byrne said. “I appreciate the opportunity to serve with someone so dedicated to the mission of this College.”
Rosanne Thomas Matza, ’82, the recently appointed vice chair of the board, wrote via email that O’Malley embodies the Lasallian principles taught at the college and is someone who has demonstrated having the college’s best interests at heart.
“By appointing Thomas O’Malley as chair of the Manhattan College Board of Trustees the College has chosen a leader who is a champion of its Lasallian principles,” Matza said. “Tom cares so deeply about Manhattan College and both through his words and his incredible generosity. He has always demonstrated that he has the College’s best interests at heart.”
Donald Gibson, Ph.D., dean of the O’Malley School of Business, believes that having Manhattan College alumni such as O’Malley involved within the school allows for them to use their experiences to keep the Lasallian traditions going.
“The chair of the board, typically has been an alum of Manhattan College. They understand and have a sense of the tradition and have Lasallian values that show what it’s like to be at this college because of their experiences,” Gibson said. “We look forward to working with Mr. O’Malley who can give terrific advice to students, faculty and deans on potential directions for the school.”
O’Malley attributes his success and ability to give back to his community to his family, education, his service in the United States military as well as other aspects in his life.
“I’ve had a few things that helped in that regard. First of all, a strong family. I’ve been married to my wife, Mary Alice, for 58 years,” O’Malley said. “I think serving [in the military] is an important element and I know it helped me. So I would say service does not have to be in the military. Service can be with the mission of the Christian Brothers, helping other people. Service can be to the environment, service can be to a lot of things … but give back to the community.”
O’Malley hopes that students will aim high and take risks in order to successfully achieve their goals and be able to give back to others.
“My advice to students in college and to any person that I talked to, is to aim high. Don’t limit yourself. Take some risks. Take a shot at really accomplishing something in your life,” O’Malley said. “I support many things and just if you’re very lucky and very successful, being generous would be my remark. I’m generous because I’ve been very lucky and successful. That comes from that earlier point that I made which was don’t be afraid. Take some risks, stay organized, and maybe you’ll succeed.”