UNH scholar and practitioner of public administration remembered

Monday, February 6, 2023

PRofessor Lawrence O'Connell in 1994 (Photo Courtesy of UNH archives).

Lawrence O’Connell, UNH associate professor emeritus of political science, passed away on December 28, 2022.

O’Connell served UNH for over 30 years, from 1966 until his retirement in 1999. As a teacher and scholar of public administration, he taught courses in public programming and budgeting; public personnel administration; planning, development and evaluation in public programs; and cases in public management, among others. He was one of the department’s principal contributors to the Master in Public Administration program during his tenure.

While concentrating on the study of public administration in the classroom, O’Connell compiled an extraordinary record of public service as a practitioner, particularly in the area of medicine. He was a trustee of Portsmouth Regional Hospital for 10 years and subsequently appointed to the New Hampshire state medical board, where he eventually served as president, the first non-physician to be elected to that position. He was also a member of the Federation of State Medical Boards and one of only six American representatives invited to the First International Conference on Medical Licensure/Registration and Discipline.

O’Connell was also active in the Town of Durham, where he was a selectman for nearly 10 years and held several positions on boards and commissions. He continued to serve local governments in a variety of ways throughout his career.

O’Connell continually integrated his practice of public administration into his courses, bringing insights from the field into the classroom. He also made real-world connections that allowed him to facilitate internships for his students. O’Connell helped shape legions of young public administrators who benefited from his commitment to the field as both scholar and practitioner. One of his lasting legacies can be found in more effective and efficient governments across the country.

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