Redlands is the reason
“Giving back to the University of Redlands makes it possible for future generations to experience the same life-changing experiences that you did. School of Business alumna Roseanne O’Brien shows that there are many ways to support our students Today, Tomorrow and For All Time.”
Finding her turning point
We all have moments in our lives when we find ourselves on a new path. Turning points, when our before becomes our after.
For Roseanne O’Brien (WU ’78), that moment came in the mid-1970s when she decided to seek her business degree at the University of Redlands.
Before, she was a working woman struggling to climb the ladder.
After, she was a rising corporate star who would eventually find the letters VP attached to her name at a global corporation.
O’Brien recently retired as Vice President of Corporate Communications for Northrop Grumman, an international security and defense contractor.
Now, when she looks around at the life she created for herself she can’t help but be thankful for that moment when she discovered the former Whitehead program for working adults at the University of Redlands (now known as the School of Business).
“I was at a point in my life where I knew that if I wanted to go to another company and get a higher position, I had to get my degree,” said O’Brien. “Thanks to the Whitehead program at Redlands, I was able to get my degree, and that is why I was able to get that next job in my career. I owe the success I achieved to the University of Redlands.”
Saying thank you
O’Brien has expressed her thanks countless ways, through financial contributions and by volunteering her time.
She’s a former member of the University’s Board of Trustees, and she donates every year to the Redlands Fund, an annual fund that supports University operations.
O’Brien also is a current member of the Pacesetter Leadership Committee, a group of leadership donors who call other donors to encourage their continued support. It’s a task that allows her to remind her fellow alumni of the life-changing opportunities they found through the University of Redlands.
“It really is a life-changing experience for those of us who otherwise would not have had the opportunity to get a college degree,” O’Brien said. “So when I think about giving back to the University, I always say to myself, ‘Redlands is the reason you rose to the top of a $30 billion defense company.’ It changed the entire course of my life and can do the same for others. And that’s why it is so important to give back.”
O’Brien has another favorite moment in her life: When she was invited to give the commencement speech at her alma mater.
“To stand up in front of a group of grads and their families, and for someone to think that you are the right person for that, is an opportunity that doesn’t come along very often in life,” O’Brien said. “It was one of the most memorable experiences of my life.”