December 05, 2017

University community mourns the loss of Lawrence O'Shaughnessy, benefactor and trustee emeritus

O'Shaughnessy, named to the "Centennial 100" list of the most influential people in the University's first 100 years, died Sunday at the age of 96.

Lawrence "Larry" O’Shaughnessy, a St. Catherine University trustee emeritus and benefactor, died on December 3, 2017 at age 96. O'Shaughnessy served St. Kate's as a trustee from 1961-1984 and was board chair from 1981-1984.

Born January 20, 1921, in St. Paul, O’Shaughnessy graduated from St. Thomas Academy in 1939. He attended the College of St. Thomas for two years before transferring to Yale University, where he earned a bachelor of arts degree in 1944.

O’Shaughnessy was the commencement speaker at St. Kate's in 1987, and was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters at that time. In 1996, he received an honorary doctorate from the University of St. Thomas, where he was a trustee from 1966 to 1980.

In 1991, O'Shaughnessy established the Elizabeth Ann Beatson O’Shaughnessy Endowed Scholarship Fund, named for his first wife who died in 1989. Elizabeth was a 1943 graduate of St. Kate's. The scholarship gives full funding to a deserving student with high academic credentials over her four years at the University.

O’Shaughnessy is the last living child of Ignatius Aloysius O’Shaughnessy, a 1907 graduate of St. Thomas and legendary benefactor to both his alma mater and St. Kate's. I.A. O’Shaughnessy's giving supported the building of the The O’Shaughnessy, a performing arts center on the St. Kate's campus. The I.A. O'Shaughnessy Foundation, under the leadership of Larry O'Shaughnessy, also made a $1 million gift to help build the Butler Center during the Campaign for St. Catherine.

When St. Catherine University celebrated its centennial in 2005, Larry O'Shaughnessy was named one of the "Centennial 100" as one of the most influential people in the first 100 years of St. Kate's history.

O'Shaughnessy was actively involved at the University of St. Thomas as well. As president of the I.A. O’Shaughnessy Foundation from 1981 to 2004, he supported several projects at St. Thomas, including the construction of O’Shaughnessy Science Hall. He was featured in the 2009 book, 125 Years, a series of profiles on interesting and influential people in the history of St. Thomas.

O’Shaughnessy’s survivors include his wife Bonnie; five children, Eileen, Terry, Molly, Larry Jr. and Jim; 10 grandchildren; and 11 great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his first wife, Elizabeth; a daughter, Lael; and his parents, I.A. and Lillian.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be at 10 a.m. on Saturday, December 9 in the Chapel of St. Thomas Aquinas on the St. Thomas campus. Visitation will be held on Friday from 4-8 p.m. at O’Halloran and Murphy Funeral Home, 575 S. Snelling Ave., St. Paul.