Teresa "Tess" Posch O'Neill '76, P'07
When Tess O'Neill gets restless, she sets herself a professional challenge. The Connell School of Nursing graduate went on to earn her master's, and later a doctorate, in nursing and then added teaching at Our Lady of Holy Cross College in New Orleans to her work as a neonatal ICU nurse. Most recently, she spent a year in Amman, Jordan, on a Fulbright grant teaching in the doctoral nursing program at the University of Jordan.
"Each new challenge has renewed my passion for nursing," says O'Neill. "I've been able to do so many interesting things in my career, and I credit BC for that."
What has been the most satisfying moment of your professional life?
Earning my Ph.D. was the completion of my professional trajectory. I wanted to challenge myself, and I did!
In your personal life?
My marriage [to Brian '76 who passed away in 2008]. I had a very good marriage; we were each other's best friends, and I sorely miss him.
What is your next goal?
I'd like to teach in other countries. I bring a lot to it, and I really enjoy experiencing life in another country myself.
What is the secret to success?
Believe in yourself, do your prep work, be disciplined and organized.
Why did you decide to attend BC?
It was a great nursing school, and it was in Boston, a city I love.
What is one thing everyone should do while at BC?
Take advantage of Boston! Walk the Freedom Trail and do all the tourist things. Visit Cape Cod, Vermont, New Hampshire—the whole New England area. This is your heritage and culture.
What is your fondest BC memory?
I have magical memories of singing in the University Chorale, which my husband sang in, too.
Where is your favorite spot on the Heights?
I loved walking down Linden Lane. I remember in winter, I loved to sit in one of the little study carrels in Bapst, feeling the head blast on my cold feet and looking out through the stained glass windows.
How have you changed since graduation?
Naturally, one evolves. I became more assertive as I gained life and professional experience. I am still the same person.
Where did you live freshman year?
Cheverus Hall 202.
What was your favorite BC class?
Senior year, the year of America's Bicentennial, I took an elective called History of Boston that was fascinating. I also took a Baroque art class with Josephine von Henneberg, which was wonderful.
What was your favorite BC activity?
University Chorale. I was lucky enough to travel to Rome with the Chorale in 1975.
How much can you sing of the BC fight song?
The whole thing! I can sing the alma mater, too.
What was the best meal at the BC dining hall?
McElroy had the best banana bread.
What was your first job?
My very first job was at BC, working in McElroy. My first professional job was at Glencove Community Hospital, working nights. Within three months of graduation, I was charge nurse for a 33-bed floor.
How do you relax?
I read, I sing with the Symphony Chorus of New Orleans, and I garden all year round—one of the great things about living here.
What do you look forward to each day?
Getting up! Seeing the day and walking along the levee.
What is something your friends don't know about you?
My kids know this, but my friends probably don't: I love reading gloppy romance novels. They aren't the only thing I read, but they're fun.
Who would play you in the film version of yourself?
Either Meryl Streep or Gwyneth Paltrow.