Q&A with Alum & Donor Daniel O’Brien Reveals His “Why”

Wednesday, Feb 23, 2022

Daniel O'Brian alumni and donor

Daniel O’Brien graduated from D.C. Everest High School in the late 1970s and began a successful higher education journey that led to eventual business success in southern California, where he still resides. U-News reached out to Daniel recently to discuss the difference our Wausau Campus made in his career, his life, and his decision to become a financial donor.

Q: Daniel, you grew up in a family which really valued our Wausau Campus. How did that local higher education opportunity make a difference for you and your family at that time?

A: Six of my siblings plus myself graduated from UW-SP. Three of us attended the Wausau Campus prior transferring to UW-SP. While attending the Wausau Campus, we were able to continue jobs we already had, remain living at home enabling us to save on tuition, housing and travel expense. Overall, the Wausau Campus was a great resource for our family in reducing our total college-related expenses.

Q: Where did you transfer after finishing at the Wausau Campus, and how did that lead to eventual success in your business career?

A: All of the credits I earned at the Wausau Campus transferred to UW-SP enabling me to complete my bachelor’s degree in four years as planned. Although jobs were hard to find, with my bachelor’s degree in hand I was able to progress in the business world. About seven years later I completed my MBA at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. Ultimately, I was able to achieve the position of CEO at a medical device manufacturing company.

Q:  In recent years, you made a decision to provide generous scholarship support to Wausau Campus students. Why was that decision important to you?

A: Educated citizens are critical at this time to meet the challenges in our democracy, inequalities of our citizens and the increasing threat to our environment.

Q:  Do you believe a local UW higher education opportunity is as important for Wausau Campus students today as it was for you 42 years ago?

A: A local UW higher education opportunity has MANY benefits! It gives local students a more accessible and more affordable higher education for both full-time students and students working to increase their employment prospects.  At the same time, it’s an opportunity for employers to invest in their employees. And most importantly, it’s an opening for the local employers and the UW to work to meet current needs and prepare for future needs.