Back to News Mount Saint Vincent Hosts Annual Gala in Support of Scholarships for Students

Mount Saint Vincent Hosts Annual Gala in Support of Scholarships for Students


Riverdale, N.Y. – The College of Mount Saint Vincent will host its annual fundraising gala, the Scholarship Tribute Dinner, on Wednesday, May 6, 2015 at Cipriani Wall Street. The event begins with a cocktail reception at 6:30 p.m., followed by dinner and dancing at 7:30 p.m.

The gala, which is held annually to support scholarship opportunities for talented and deserving students at the Mount, will pay tribute to two distinguished individuals: William M. O’Connor, a partner at Thompson & Knight LLP, and Sgt. Cheryl C. Shea, of the New York City Police Department’s Office of the Deputy Commissioner for Training. Former NYPD Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly serves as Honorary Chair of the Dinner Committee, and all the men and women of the NYPD will also be honored at the dinner.

Scholarship Tribute Dinner honorees are recognized for their personal, professional, and civic achievements that uphold the College’s mission “to foster an understanding of our common humanity, a commitment to human dignity, and a full appreciation of our obligations to each other.”

William M. “Bill” O’Connor is a partner in the New York office of Thompson & Knight LLP, where he serves as co-chair of the Real Estate Capital Markets Practice Group. Mr. O’Connor previously served as chairman of the financial services practice at Crowell & Moring LLP. He has been named to the Thomson Reuters list New York Super Lawyers® and the Irish Legal 100 published annually by Irish Voice, and he serves on the board of the St. Patrick’s Day Foundation. He is a member of the New York State Bar Association, and a member of the Westchester Bar Association, where he served on the Professional Ethics Committee and was editor-in-chief of the Westchester Bar Law Journal. He is a founding member and chairman of the High Yield Debt and Investment Forum at CREFC, the leading industry trade association for the commercial real estate finance industry.

Mr. O’Connor is a member of the Board of the Galway University Foundation, which generates financial support for the National University of Ireland at Galway. “Bill is a devoted and extraordinary steward of many civic and charitable organizations that share a history and purpose with the College,” said Charles L. Flynn, Mount Saint Vincent’s president. “In his work on behalf of the Galway University Foundation, he shares the College’s commitment to expanding the benefits of higher education to all qualified, determined students.”

Mr. O’Connor holds a J.D. from Fordham University School of Law and a B.S. from Fordham University. He was an elected councilman of the Town of Pelham, N.Y., from 1997 to 2013. A skilled writer and public speaker, he has authored numerous published articles on industry topics.

Sgt. Cheryl C. Shea, who graduated first in her class of 1,097 at the Police Academy, joined the New York City Police force in 2007. In her current role in the Office of the Deputy Commissioner of Training, she coordinates a comprehensive six-month field training program for 884 probationary police officers, a Herculean task that involves nearly 500 field training officers and more than 300 community partners. Her role, which includes the development of academic curriculum for the training of police academy recruits, and assisting with the implementation of NYPD’s reengineering efforts as they pertain to the Training Bureau and her role as trusted advisor charged with briefing the Deputy Commissioner and Commanding Officer, speaks to her embodiment of the College’s mission seeking the development of the whole person.

“Cheryl’s star has been rising ever since her days as a top scholar/athlete at Harvard,” said Dr. Flynn. “Aside from her extraordinary personal and professional accomplishments and the integrity she brings to her daily interactions, her civic leadership and her commitment to the most pressing needs of society—values that the College of Mount Saint Vincent holds in the highest esteem—affirms her place among the Mount’s most honored supporters.”

After earning a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University, where she won national awards for her athletic prowess, including Ivy League Rookie of the Year, Sgt. Shea went on to earn a master’s degree in forensic psychology from John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York. She entered the New York City Police Academy in 2003, and at graduation accomplished the rare feat of winning both the Mayor’s Award for academic achievement and the Chief of Department Award, given to the academy’s fittest cadet. Upon entering the NYPD, she was assigned the Bronx’s high-crime 46th Precinct, where she set about making an impressive 147 arrests in her first 18 months on the job.

Thus began a swift upward trajectory of Sgt. Shea’s career. After a two-year stint as a patrol officer in the 46th Precinct, she rose to the rank of detective in 2009 and was promoted to sergeant in 2013. That same year she was recruited by NYPD’s Office of Management, Analysis and Planning (OMAP), whereupon her duties expanded to include an assignment to Special Projects, where she was the only female in a unit made up of Ivy League graduates and valedictorians. As part of her role, she developed policies and guidelines on several topics, including use-of-force guidelines for uniformed officers in the performance of duty. In 2011 Marie Claire magazine tapped her as the nation’s “Top Crime Fighter” for its annual “Women at the Top” list, which recognizes the nation’s “most inspirational innovators and game-changers.”

Sgt. Shea is a member of the Harvard Club of New York, where she serves on the Board of Managers, the Program Committee, and the HCNY Foundation Events Committee. In 2011 she was inducted into her high school’s Athletic Hall of Fame, and she has continued to coach local girls’ soccer teams and to be active in NYPD athletic clubs.

Tickets for this event are still available. To purchase a ticket or to support the event, visit Support the Mount/Scholarship Tribute Dinner.

About the College of Mount Saint Vincent
Founded in 1847 by the Sisters of Charity, the College of Mount Saint Vincent offers nationally recognized liberal arts education and a select array of professional fields of study on a landmark campus overlooking the Hudson River. Committed to the education of the whole person, and enriched by the unparalleled cultural, educational and career opportunities of New York City, the College equips students with the knowledge, skills and experiences necessary for lives of achievement, professional accomplishment and leadership in the 21st century.