Robert K. O’Brien ’58 Scholarship
Criteria: (Amount Equal to One Full Annual Tuition Award) The Robert K. O’Brien ’58 Scholarship will be awarded in accordance with the following priorities: A full-time student who has demonstrated a high degree of industriousness and has declared a minor in secondary education. (In the event that there is more than one qualified candidate, the Scholarship Review Committee will give preference to an applicant who has plans to teach Math or Science.) Included with the scholarship application, candidates shall submit a short essay attesting to his/her qualifications for this scholarship. It should be noted that this scholarship is awarded on an annual basis and recipients are encouraged to apply each academic year.
Robert K. O’Brien ’58 has been a steadfast and generous supporter of Worcester State University for many years. He and his wife, Barbara (Hickey)’57 O’Brien, established four scholarships at the University in memory of their parents, and Mrs. O’Brien created a fifth scholarship in her own name to support students at her alma mater. This sixth scholarship is a striking testament to the remarkable commitment and loyalty that Mr. O’Brien feels towards Worcester State University students.
Mr. O’Brien, whose parents set an example of integrity and hard work, grew up in Worcester, Mass. An industrious person, he started his business career as a newspaper boy at the age of nine. By the age of 11, he was handling three daily and one Sunday paper route. He worked full-time throughout high school and college, graduating from Worcester State Teachers College with a degree in Education on June 8, 1958. On the next day, Mr. O’Brien went to work as a trainee at the State Mutual Life Assurance Company of America, now known as Hanover Insurance. He rose steadily through the ranks, retiring from State Mutual as Vice President, Reinsurance, on December 31, 1989.
In 1990, Mr. O’Brien founded a reinsurance management company, Health Reinsurance Management, Inc., from which he retired in 2003 at the age of 69. This company, along with some 10 other associated companies that Mr. O’Brien created, employed more than 300 people. Now “semi-retired,” Mr. O’Brien continues to provide leadership for several organizations. He is Chief Financial Officer of O.G.R.E., a software developer for landlords, and President of HRMI, a venture capital firm that also handles mortgages. In addition, he serves on the Board of Directors of American Security Life Insurance Company, headquartered in Uruguay, and an administration company based in Miami.
Mr. O’Brien, who has two children and two delightful grandchildren, says of his Worcester State University education, “I graduated knowing how to think, and that led me to make good decisions throughout the rest of my life. Good decision making is the key to success.”
Because Mr. O’Brien values hard work, this scholarship is designed specifically to assist students who are themselves industrious and hardworking. Mr. O’Brien further shares, “I have had to sacrifice in my life, and I’ve worked hard. But now I’m able to make a difference at the college that gave me my start. I believe that everyone ought to do something to help others succeed.”