The Robert D. O'Brien Chair of Business in the Albers School of Business and Economics was established in 1984 to recognize Mr. O'Brien's many years of service to the university. Bob, a longtime respected member of the Seattle business community, played an important role in the development of the university during the 1960's and 70's. He was first appointed to Seattle University's Board of Regents in 1963 and was named chairman in 1964. In 1969, the university honored Mr. O'Brien with an honorary degree. He was also the founding chairman of the Board of Trustees for Seattle University and served on the board continually from 1971. He served as chairman until 1967. Bob stepped down from the board in May of 1999. He is now a trustee emeritus. Mr. O'Brien is given major credit for helping Seattle University through financial difficulties it experienced in the 1970s.
Robert O'Brien had a lengthy career with Kenworth Motor Truck company, 1943-58, and PACCAR, 1958-78. He retired from PACCAR as chairman in 1978. Over the years, he also served on many corporate and civic boards, as well as a few government boards. In 1997, Bob stepped down from the Microsoft board where he had served since 1986.
To provide support and scholarly growth opportunities for a member of Seattle University's business faculty.
BankAmerica, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Kenworth Truck Company, Microsoft, PACCAR, Puget Sound Bancorp, Puget Sound Energy, Qwest, Skinner Corporation, Univar, US West, Weyerhaeuser
First gift received 1984. Chair first occupied in 1985.
Current Chair holder
- Geneva Lasprogata, PhD 2016 - 2018
Former Chair holders
- Bridget Hiedemann, PhD 2014 - 2016
- Niranjan Chipalkatti, PhD 2011-2013
- Greg Prussia, PhD 2009-2011
- Jot Yau, PhD 2007-2009
- Peter Brous, PhD 2005-2007
- Chris Weber, PhD 2003-2005
- Susan Weihrich, PhD 2001-2003
- Barbara Parker, PhD 1999-2001
- Diane Lockwood, PhD 1997-1999
- Len Mandelbaum, PhD 1995-1997
- Harriet Stephenson, PhD 1993-1995
- Rex Toh, PhD 1992-1993
- William Weis, PhD 1990-1992
- Patrick Fleenor, PhD 1988-1990
- David Tinius, PhD 1985-1987