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Dr. Brian O’Connell Sr. Scholarship established to support OHS graduates


OLEAN, N.Y., January 16, 2023 — Dr. Brian O’Connell Sr. was a constant figure in the education field in the Olean City School District, where he worked for 36 years of his illustrious 40-year educational career.

The Dr. Brian O’Connell Sr. Memorial Scholarship will honor O’Connell’s long tenure in the district and his dedication to education by supporting an annual scholarship award for a high school senior or graduate of Olean High School currently enrolled in or planning to attend college to pursue a degree in an education related field of study.

Applicants will be asked to complete an essay about their goals and aspirations in pursuing a career in an education related field, community service and commitment to improve the lives of others – honoring O’Connell’s service to the Olean area through his volunteerism and dedication to the youth of this community.

The scholarship fund will make its first award in 2023. Students can apply beginning February 1 at

O’Connell began his career in the district as a teacher and coach. He would go on to become an administrator, holding principal positions at Washington West Elementary, Ivers J. Norton Elementary and Olean Middle School. He also served as the director of community schools for the district.

O’Connell also served as an adjunct professor in the education department at St. Bonaventure University, served as a supervisor for student teachers at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford and was part of the graduate school teaching practicum at SUNY Buffalo.

Additionally, O’Connell authored several publications in the education field. In recognition of his work, he was the recipient of the Good News Education Award presented by the Greater Olean Area Chamber of Commerce.

While studying at Roberts Wesleyan College, O’Connell was a two-sport scholarship athlete in basketball and soccer. He coached football in the Olean City School District and basketball at the Cattaraugus County Campus of Jamestown Community College. He served as an IAABO basketball referee. He also volunteered to coach Olean Little League and Olean Midget Football League.

O’Connell was elected to the Cattaraugus County Legislature. He was a founding member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians. He also served on the Olean Schools Foundation board of directors.

When O’Connell passed in December of 2021, his family thought the scholarship fund a fitting way to preserve his memory in the Olean community.

“Brian, as a dedicated husband and father, always put the needs of others before himself. Affectionately known as “Dr. O” throughout the community, we felt the establishment of this scholarship in his honor would be a great way to help others pursue their career path in an education related field,” said the O’Connell family.

For the family, this seemed a fitting way to remember a man who was first and foremost a family man. An avid outdoorsman, some of the O’Connell family’s most cherished memories were those spent outdoors with Brian.

Whether it was hunting deer at home or pursuing elk in the west, fishing the Kinzua Creek (PA) or a river in Montana, the thing that made many of those outdoor pursuits so special was time spent with family and friends.

“This scholarship fund is a beautiful tribute to Dr. O’Connell and his legacy in the community,” said CRCF Executive Director Karen Niemic Buchheit. “Dr. O’Connell poured his passion into education, athletics, community, and family. It is an honor for CRCF to play a part in preserving the memory of such a special man.”

Donations can be made to the Dr. Brian O’Connell Sr. Memorial Scholarship at the Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation, 301 North Union St., Suite 203, Olean, NY 14760 or online at

The Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation is the area’s supportive, responsive, and trusted community foundation. Established in 1994, CRCF is growing good by connecting donors to the causes they care about most in the region. Grants from the foundation support many areas, including education, scholarships, health care, the arts, community development, human service, and youth development. To learn more, call (716) 301-CRCF (2723), email, or visit online at CRCF is also on Facebook ( and Twitter (@CattFoundation).

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