Patricia O’Brien DBA, P’15 has roots that run deep at Bryant University. Not only was her father an alumnus (the late William O’Brien ’50, ’54), but her daughter Gabriella “Ellie” Badaracco ’15 received a BA in Communication.
A career educator and administrator, O’Brien was elected to the Bryant Board of Trustees in 2013. Her close connection with Bryant is one of the many ways she helps shape the future of students and higher education.
Currently, she is serving as Co-Chair of Bryant University’s Presidential Search Committee to select a successor to President Ronald K. Machtley upon his retirement in 2020. She shares this role with William J. Conaty ’67
“Bryant is a special place, where students are truly inspired to excel,” O’Brien says. “My father had a very successful career in business and always credited Bryant for that. It’s important to me and my family to make sure that what makes this University so special continues to grow in the future.”
The O’Brien family name is visible in the George E. Bello Center for Information and Technology on the Olga and William R. O’Brien ’50, ’54 Team Study Room. Olga O’Brien maintains active and strong ties to the University. The family legacy also includes the William R. and Olga O’Brien Endowed Scholarship Fund, helping Bryant students achieve their educational goals since 1997.
O’Brien is the Associate Provost for Budget & Planning in the Office of the Provost at Boston University, where she works to develop new policies and procedures and helps drive the annual budgeting process. She has served in her current post since 2016.
She joined Boston University in 2007, serving as the Associate Dean for Administration and Finance at the BU School of Public Health. She joined the Office of the Provost in 2014 as the Assistant Provost for Graduate Enrollment Management, leading strategic efforts to achieve and sustain graduate enrollment goals.
A widely respected expert in international business and executive development, she was on the Harvard Business School faculty for more than a decade, and served as Deputy Dean of Harvard College. She previously was Dean of the Simmons College School of Management, and held teaching positions at Babson College and Brandeis University.
O’Brien received her Doctor of Business Administration from Harvard University, an MBA from Simmons, and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Boston College.
She and her husband Joseph “Joe” Badaracco P’15 – who is the John Shad Professor of Business Ethics at the Harvard Business School – are members of the Bryant Leadership Council of Donors and the Parents Council.