Loras College Alumni Kevin O'Brien ('11) On Campus In Dubuque, Iowa

Pro Deo et Patria: A Motto to Take to Heart

May Duhawk Dozen

Kevin O’Brien (’11)
Spanish, International Studies & Politics 

The blog aptly titled, in all caps, “I’m Kevin! Iowa Native, Loras College Grad, and now Peace Corps Volunteer Headed to Mozambique!” perfectly sums up 2011 graduate, Kevin O’Brien. Kevin’s love of Loras has been building for a lifetime. He was born in Davenport, Iowa and grew up with frequent visits to the Loras campus. Following in the footsteps of his father, Kevin O’Brien (’72), and other family members, Kevin found success as a Duhawk. “I had a lot of examples in front of me,” said Kevin. “It was a long journey to end up at the school I had always known was the right fit for me.” Following his time as an involved student, Kevin started his professional career as the Special Projects Manager in the Loras College Admission Office. In this position, Kevin was able to find a great deal of success as it was positioned at the intersection of his love for Loras and his love of helping others.

Though Kevin announced the phrase “DCU: Dubuque, center of the universe,” in a Loras College video years ago, he has had the great joy of traveling far and wide for his studies and his professional career. He has spent time learning and helping others in Spain, Honduras, Mozambique and Jerusalem; just to name a few places he has called home since leaving Loras. There were countless lessons learned and opportunities taken advantage of along the way. “I didn’t see myself traveling to so many places while I was at Loras,” Kevin started, “but after the amazing study abroad opportunities and service trips, it whet my appetite for more travel for my work and personal life.” While spanning the globe, the pillars of health and community have been his guiding light from job to job. “Having a lot of connections through service work and Campus Ministry helped me see how service and giving back could be incorporated to my professional life.” Kevin has had a great deal of depth on his resume and has learned a lot from his experiences. One of his greatest takeaways has been “always lead and find the adventure.”

Kevin and our March recipient, Nick Coleman (’15), have something in common: their younger siblings followed in their footsteps as Duhawks. There was one key difference, Kevin and his brother, Tim O’Brien (’15), never had any overlap as students. Being the older brother and seasoned Loras veteran, he did have some sage words of wisdom that he shared with Tim and was able to follow along his journey from a distance. As previously mentioned, Loras was always a part of Kevin’s life and his family. Purple and Gold were woven into generations of Duhawks including his dad, uncles, brother and most notably his grandfather. “Having the opportunity to retrace my grandpa’s footprints at Loras was really special to me,” Kevin shared of his late Grandfather. “It would hit me that I was sharing in the experience of so many different relatives.” You can see the passion that Kevin has for Loras across the personal, familial and professional spheres of his life. He summed it up best in his 2015 blog post, A Motto to Take to Heart: “what I hold as important to me, starts in small moments, and they all bring me back to Loras.”

Kevin has spent his time as a Graduate Of the Last Decade (GOLD) staying involved and giving back to the Loras community. He worked at Loras, was a member of the Young Alumni Advisory Board (YAAB) and served on the Class of 2011 Reunion Committee this past Fall. As he gears up for Homecoming 2022, he had some advice to share with those preparing for their own reunions: “Try to invite everybody on an individual basis because that direct invite means a lot to people that were so formative in your life.” Join Kevin back on campus for Homecoming on October 7, 8 and 9, 2022.

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