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Investiture of Dr. Maureen O'Connor as President of Palo Alto University


PAU Logo for Investiture


Saturday, October 29, 2016

10:00 a.m.
Stanford University
Frances C. Arrillaga Alumni Center


What is an Investiture?

An investiture is a formal ceremony at which someone is placed in an office or given an official rank, in this case, PAU's new President, Dr. Maureen O'Connor. In academia, the investiture ceremony is a tradition that is similar in formality and pageantry to commencement. The investiture ceremony is a time for Palo Alto University and the community at large to formally recognize Dr. O’Connor as the leader of our institution. An academic procession will take place that includes faculty members and trustees of Palo Alto University as well as representatives from other universities and the larger community. Many in the procession will be seen wearing academic gowns, hoods, and caps in the colors of their alma mater and degree. There will be greetings from university and community representatives, a presentation of the symbols of office (the "vestments", thus giving name to the "investiture" ceremony), and a presidential address.

Investiture Program, Photos, and Video

Investiture Event Program

Event Program Notes:

Erin Margolis offered greetings to Dr. O'Connor on behalf of the PGSP-Stanford Psy.D. Consortium students, in substitution for Yvette Rico.

The Processional music, performed by Marc Teicholz and Angela Lee, was Adagio from Christoph Schaffrath Duetto in C Major (arranged for Cello and Guitar by D. Bogdanovic). The Recessional was Allegretto from Franz Schubert Sonata in A Minor "Arpeggione" (arranged for Cello and Guitar by Marc Teicholz).


Video of Investiture

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Dr. Maureen O'Connor
Palo Alto University President

Before becoming the 3rd President of Palo Alto University, Dr. Maureen O’Connor had been at the City University of New York (CUNY) in New York City for 18 years. She was the 2014 recipient of the New York State Psychological Association's Margaret Floy Washburn Mentoring award. Dr. O’Connor remarks that “I am honored and excited to have been selected as the President of Palo Alto University. Its commitment to diversity and its strategic focus on education anchored in psychology puts it in a unique and excellent position to make a difference in our students’ lives, in Silicon Valley, and beyond.”

Maureen O'Conner

Dr. O’Connor completed a dual degree program in Psychology, Law, and Policy at the University of Arizona, earning both her Ph.D. and J.D. She is a member of the bar in Arizona and Washington, D.C., and clerked for the Honorable Patricia Wald, then Chief Judge of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. She has held numerous governance positions in the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues (SPSSI/APA Division 9), including as President, and is currently serving on SPSSI’s Task Force on Engaged Scholarship.

She served as Chair of the Psychology Department at John Jay College from 2002 – 2008, during which time she hired close to 30 faculty and built a leading program in law and psychology.  Since 2008 she has directed the Doctoral Program in Psychology at the City University of New York’s Graduate Center.  Through intensive strategic planning, she has supported the development of programs in Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience, Basic and Applied Social Psychology, Critical Psychology, and Health Psychology and Clinical Science, among others, and she has overseen the accreditation processes for three clinical training programs.  Her research and teaching interests are in the intersection of psychology, gender, and law, and in the use of scientific information and expert testimony in the legal system, particularly focused on gendered components of that process. She has been active in building a robust pedagogy development program for students, supporting the Society for the Teaching of Psychology's Graduate Student Teaching Association.

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History of Palo Alto University

Palo Alto University has served its students, faculty, staff and community for almost 40 years as a psychology-focused education institution. Learn more about the growth and evolution of PAU:

1975 - Pacific Graduate School of Psychology (PGSP) founded in Palo Alto by prospective students and faculty who wanted to develop their professional knowledge of clinical psychology; Robert Kantor is its first President.

1984 - Dr. Allen Calvin joined PGSP as President.

1986 - PGSP accredited by Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).

Palo Alto University Presidents

Robert Kantor

Allen Calvin

Maureen O'Connor

1988 - PGSP campus moves to East Meadow Drive, Palo Alto, CA.

1988 - The Kurt and Barbara Gronowski Clinic opens in Palo Alto, CA.

1988 - PGSP Ph.D. program receives APA accreditation.

2002 - PGSP-Stanford Psy.D. Consortium program begins.

2005 - Gronowski Clinic moves to Los Altos, CA.

2006 - PGSP-Standford Psy.D. Consortium receives APA accreditation.

2006 - The PAU Bachelor degree program in Psychology & Social Action (PSA) approved by WASC in the Spring and started at De Anza Community College in the Fall.

2009 - Second major in Business Psychology (BP) approved by WASC and enrolled its first cohort at Foothill Community College in the Fall of 2009.  The M.A. Counseling (originally M.A. Mental Health Counseling) program begins.

2011 - The Business Psychology and Psychology Social Action Hybrid (Evening/Online) format approved by WASC and started in Fall 2011. Both programs' evening classes are conducted at PAU campus. The M.A. Counseling Psychology program begins. The M.A. Counseling program begins serving students in China.

2013 - PAU developed a new partnership with the College of San Mateo, to offer both of its Bachelor degree programs.

2016 - Selection and investiture of Dr. Maureen O'Connor as PAU's 3rd president.

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PAU Mission, Vision, and Values

Mission Statement

Engaging Minds and Improving Lives Locally and Globally through Innovative Education.

Vision Statement

Through collaborative leadership we transform in measurable and accountable ways the quality of lives through psychological insights, scientific rigor and compassion for humanity.

Core Values

All existing and envisioned programs should embody the following core values:

  • Diversity in all endeavors 
  • Excellence and distinction in all aspects of programs and operations 
  • Innovation in the pursuit of science, evidence-based practice, and pedagogy 
  • Operational transparency 
  • Fiscal responsibility 
  • Strong, collaborative relationships with local, national, and international partners 
  • Commitment to each student’s personal and professional growth

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Regalia and Robing

The university regalia is inherited from the medieval universities of the eleventh and twelfth centuries when a university was an ecclesiastical community. Through long inheritance, the academic procedure of a modern university includes the ancient forms and ceremonies which are most noticeably marked in the dress of those who participate in academic convocations. Academic life, as we know it today, began in the Middle Ages at Oxford and Cambridge, Paris and Bologna, Edinburgh, and Louvain first in the Church, then in the guilds. The teaching guild was the Guild of the Master of Arts, where the Bachelor was the apprentice of the Master, and the dress was the outward sign of privilege and responsibility. The dress made visible in color and pattern the association of people of like purpose.

PAU faculty marching in ceremony

The principal features of the academic costume are:

THE CAP. The freed Roman slave won the privilege of wearing a cap. The academic cap is a sign of the freedom of scholarship and endows the wearer with new scholastic responsibilities and dignities. Old poetry suggests that the cap of scholarship is square to symbolize a book, although some authorities claim that the mortar board is a symbol of the masons, a privileged guild. The color of the tassel on the cap denotes the discipline. In some European universities a pudding- shaped cap, another guild symbol, is worn, while occasionally a cap similar to the one worn by the great scholar Erasmus is part of the costume. Black tassels are correct for all degrees, and colored tassels are worn only by preference. Gold metallic tassels may be worn by doctors or presidents of universities and colleges. The tassel should be worn draped over the left front quarter of the cap.

THE GOWN. The flowing gown comes from the twelfth century. Many believe it was worn as protection against the cold of unheated buildings. It has become symbolic of the democracy of scholarship, for it completely covers any dress of rank or social standing underneath. It is black for all degrees. The bachelors and masters degree gown are untrimmed. The doctoral gown is faced with velvet in front and has three bars of velvet across the sleeves in the color distinctive of the faculty or discipline to which the degree pertains.

THE HOOD.The hood is an inverted shield with one or more chevrons of a secondary color on the background of the primary color of the college. The color of the facing of the hood denotes the discipline represented by the degree; the color of the lining of the hood designates the university or college which granted the degree.

Following is a partial list of hood colors established by the Intercollegiate Code: Arts, Letters, Humanities, White; Counseling, Light Blue; Economics, Copper; Education, Light Blue; Engineering, Orange; Fine Arts, Brown; Journalism, Crimson; Law, Purple; Library Science, Lemon; Medicine, Green; Nursing, Apricot; Philosophy, Dark Blue; Psychology, Gold; Public Health, Salmon Pink; Science, Gold Yellow; Social Science, Citron; Theology or Divinity, Scarlet; Veterinary Science, Gray.

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Greetings from Professional Societies, National Associations and Others

“The University of San Francisco extends a warm welcome to Dr. Maureen O'Connor as she accepts the mantel of responsibility from the Board of Trustees to lead the university to new heights of excellence as its third president. We also extend best wishes and congratulations to our former colleague and perduring friend, Dr. Allen Calvin. May Palo Alto University thrive in its service to humankind.”

Rev. Paul J. Fitzgerald, S.J.

President, University of San Francisco


“The Wright Institute sends its respects, welcome greetings, and best wishes for success to Maureen O’Connor, J.D., Ph.D. on the occasion of her investiture as the third President of Palo Alto University.”

Dr. Peter Dybwad

President, The Wright Institute


"Congratulations from your SPSSI friends and colleagues. Palo Alto University is fortunate to have you as their next president, where we're sure you will be the same kind of excellent leader that you were at SPSSI."

Dr. Susan Clayton

President, Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues


“My warmest congratulations to Maureen and best wishes for a very successful tenure.  The school is fortunate indeed to have her at the helm.”

Dr. Susan H McDaniel

President, American Psychological Association


“My warm congratulations to Dr. O'Connor on her appointment.”

Dr. Nicholas B. Dirks

Chancellor, University of California, Berkeley


“The Western Psychological Association congratulates Dr. Maureen O’Connor on the occasion of her investiture as President of Palo Alto University.  Our Association has been proud to cooperate with Palo Alto University as host of our 92nd Annual Convention and we welcome Palo Alto University students and faculty who attend the convention each year to present their research and address convention attendees. The Western Psychological Association looks forward to continuing and strengthening our bonds with Palo Alto University in the years ahead under the leadership of Dr. O’Connor.”

Dr. Joan Tucker

President, Western Psychological Association


“Congratulations to Dr. O’Connor on her coming investiture as President of Palo Alto University.”

Donald Heller

Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs, University of San Francisco


"The Board of Trustees, President, Faculty, Staff, and Students of Notre Dame de Namur University extend cordial greetings and best wishes to Maureen O'Connor, J.D., Ph.D. on the occasion of her investiture as the third President of Palo Alto University"

Dr. Judith Maxwell Greig

President, Notre Dame de Namur University


“Dear President O’Connor,

Heartfelt congratulations to you as you become the President of Palo Alto University – what excellent news! I was thrilled and excited when I heard. You have such a heart for psychology and doing good in this world that I know you will make a significant contribution in your new role. PAU is so fortunate to have you! Congratulations and best wishes on your new position.”

Dr. Eve Brank

President, APA Division 41: American Psychology-Law Society


“On behalf of Mills College, I offer congratulations to you on your recent selection as the third President of Palo Alto University and on your October 2nd inauguration. Your appointment is testament to your accomplishments, hard work, dedication, and your willingness to step up during a challenging time in higher education.”


Dr. Elizabeth Hillman

President, Mills College

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PAU Board of Trustees

The Board of Trustees of Palo Alto University are your hosts for this Presidential Investiture.
Follow this link for more information on
the Members of the PAU Board of Trustees

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Members of the Investiture Committee

Chair, Elizabeth M. Hilt, Vice President of Student Services
Ana Castrillo, Director of the Office of Accessible Education and Associate Director,
Office of Student Services
Nancy Haug, Ph.D., Professor, PGSP-Stanford Psy.D. Consortium
Scott Hines, University Librarian and Director of Academic Technology
Iris Korol, Member of PAU’s Board of Trustees
Margaret Lamar, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, M.A. Counseling Program
Paul Marcille, Ph.D., Program Director and Professor, Undergraduate Programs
Maureen O'Connor, J.D., Ph. D., President of PAU
Reycine Thomas, Student, Psy.D. Program

Questions? Email investiture@paloaltou.edu

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