For Tim O’Malley, the decision to come to USD had nothing to do with the pristine beauty of the campus, the desirability of living in what some call “America’s Finest City” or the renowned weather. “The attraction was the university itself,” says O’Malley, who’s spent the past nine years at Oregon’s Pacific University as the school’s vice president for university relations. “USD’s mission resonates with my family’s personal values and faith tradition.”
College administration is a second career for O’Malley, who taught English at Catholic high schools for nine years before getting involved in development.
“I was recruited by my alma mater, the University of Portland, in 1983, and began as a foundation and corporate relations officer. Within a year, I became director of development.”
After nine years at the University of Portland, O’Malley moved to Washington State University, where he broadened his experience in major gifts solicitations before moving on to Pacific University in 1997.
O’Malley will be replacing Monsignor Daniel Dillabough ’70, who has been working double-duty for the past several years as head of both University Relations and Mission and Ministry. Dillabough scaled back to heading only Mission and Ministry on August 1, when O’Malley came on board at USD.
“As the newest member of my executive council, Dr. O’Malley provides our university with the breadth of his professional experience,” says USD president Mary E. Lyons. “His record of extensive leadership and success in all aspects of higher education advancement is certain to help us further our strategic goals.”
O’Malley is no stranger to the area, having traveled to San Diego for his work many times over the past two decades. He sees his position as head of University Relations at USD as an opportunity to strengthen the bonds between the school’s many stakeholders: “Primarily, my role is to oversee the efforts of the institution to deal with all of its external public. The bottom-line purpose of University Relations is to engage alumni and friends of the school in investing in and getting involved in the life of the university.”
He says that one word that colleagues have used to describe him in the past is “unflappable.”
“It’s because of the way I approach problem-solving,” O’Malley explains. “I try to put people at ease by being approachable. I want people to know they can come to me in confidence and that I’m there to facilitate and problem-solve.”
When asked what might surprise people to learn about him, O’Malley answers quickly: “My sense of humor.” Then he pauses, and reconsiders.
“Wait. If you put that in the magazine, people might meet me and say, ‘Hmph. He’s not as funny as he thinks he is’.”