Patricia O’Brien


A university faculty member and administrator for 34 years, Patricia O’Brien is the former Professor and Executive Dean of the College of Letters and Science, the largest unit on the UCLA campus, where she was chief academic officer and responsible for the College budget, strategic planning and active fundraising. When she retired after four years in 2008, the College was successfully raising over $50 million annually and exceeded its target for the UCLA campaign.

Previously she was Dean of the College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences at UC Riverside and worked to advance the visibility and rankings of the various departments by leveraging growth resources strategically. She was also involved in high-profile recruiting of candidates of excellence and diversity. At UC Irvine she held numerous positions, including Chair of the UC Humanities Initiative, Acting Vice Chancellor for Research, Chair of the History Department and Acting Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies.

O’Brien is a graduate of Regis College and earned her Master’s and Ph.D. degrees from Columbia University. She began her teaching career as an instructor and assistant professor at Yale University, and also held faculty positions at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris, UC Irvine, UC Riverside and UCLA. She has received numerous awards and grants and is widely published with academic books and articles.