In 1977, O’Leary assumed the presidency of SUNY Albany at a time when programs and academic units were being closed due to budget limitations. With the campus in major turmoil, he decided to take the university in a different direction and develop new programs. During his tenure as president, he helped with the development of 27 graduate programs, increased the financing for external research and introduced an international research and scholarship exchange. Some of the new graduate programs evolved into the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy and the School of Public Health. The result was a complete turnaround for SUNY Albany.
Prior to becoming president of SUNY Albany, O’Leary was the assistant director of President Johnson’s National Crime Commission, director of parole supervision in Texas and a professor at the University of Albany from 1968-1977. After his presidency, he taught criminal justice and was awarded an honorary doctorate in 2006.
O’Leary is survived by his wife, Lihua Yu O’Leary; his daughters from his first marriage, Beth O’Leary and Cathy Goldwyn; three stepchildren, Lena, Eugene and Anna Sun; and 10 grandchildren.
James Regan, former president of the New York City Board of Education, passed away on April 25, 2011 in Staten Island, NY of complications from Parkinson’s disease. He was 81 years old.
Regan and his twin sister Gertrude were born on January 24, 1930 in the Bronx, NY to Peter and Mary Regan. He graduated from Fordham University in 1952 and earned a master’s degree in personnel and guidance from Richmond College (now the College of Staten Island) in 1971. During the Korean War, Regan served in the Navy and afterward became a teacher at New Dorp High School.
Regan served on the board from 1972-1990. Prior to this, he was a social studies teacher for 17 years. He was president of the board four times, May 1974-1975 and three consecutive one year terms beginning in July 1983. He served as President during difficult times. After schools chancellor Anthony J. Alvarado resigned in May 1984, Regan endorsed the acting chancellor Nathan Quinones for the position. They worked together for the next three years, resulting in improved test scores, decreased classroom sizes and a decrease in the dropout rate. In 1989, as the result of a young girl’s death after getting off the school bus, Regan pushed for a trial program that required the installation of red stop arms on all school buses on Staten Island. It is now a citywide feature of school buses.
Regan’s wife Mary (Schlusser) Regan passed away in January. He is survived by his daughters Claire Regan and Cara Regan-Warford.
James Patrick Seymour, a Notre Dame receiving star passed away at 64 on March 29 in Highland Park, Illinois after a battle with cancer. Born on November 24, 1946 in Detroit, Seymour established many records and earned All-America honors during his three seasons with the Fighting Irish.
He made a strong offensive combination with teammate Terry Hanratty. Both were featured on the cover of Time in 1966. Upon graduation in 1969, Seymour was the all-time receiving leader at Notre Dame, with 138 catches for 2,113 yards and 16 touchdowns. He ranks sixth on Notre Dame’s career chart for receptions.
Seymour was a first-round draft pick for the Los Angeles Rams, but he turned it down and joined the Chicago Bears from 1970-1972. He appeared in 31 career games with the Bears, recording 21 receptions for 385 yards with 5 touchdowns. A hamstring injury in his senior year at Notre Dame limited him in his professional career with the NFL.
After leaving the football life behind, Seymour became the owner of BGS Insurance Agency in Arlington Heights, IL. He also worked with several charities in the state. He is survived by his wife, Nancy Garvey, their sons Jim Jr., Jeff and Todd, four brothers, a sister and six grandchildren. – K.M.
1963 - 2011
For a time, it seems, John Sullivan’s life followed a certain, not terribly surprising trajectory. Raised in Sleepy Hollow, NY, he was a quarterback for the high school football team and a pitcher for the baseball team. After college, Sullivan entered sales and worked for Strick Leasing Company and the Carrier Corporation, where he found professional and financial success. Then, unable to ignore the homeless he saw all over New York, he enrolled at Fordham to pursue a degree in social work and devoted the rest of his life to helping others.
Sullivan died on April 5, at New York Presbyterian Hospital, with family and friends nearby. His death followed a recent diagnosis of esophageal cancer.