2017 Barnum Festival Ringmaster Selected

Terry O’Connor, executive director of the Cardinal Shehan Center and McGivney Community Center, has been named the 2017 Ringmaster of the Barnum Festival.

“The Barnum Festival is proud and honored to have Terry O’Connor as the 2017 Ringmaster. I know he will be as big an asset to the Barnum Festival as he has been to the City of Bridgeport. Terry has done great things for Bridgeport and the Barnum Festival is lucky to have his support. I’m looking forward to watching Terry work his magic on the festival,” Frank J. Carroll, the Barnum Festival’s Board of Directors president, said in a release.

The announcement was made Thursday at Aquarion Water Company’s offices on Main Street in Bridgeport.

“It’s an honor to be named ringmaster and follow in the footsteps of 68 other distinguished Ringmasters, especially Herman Steinkraus, creator of the Barnum Festival and the president and board chairman of the Bridgeport Brass Company,” said O’Connor. “The building the Cardinal Shehan Center has called home for over 50 years was also the home of Bridgeport Brass Company. Being named the 69th ringmaster is especially exciting for me because five past Shehan Center board members were also ringmasters, George SantaCorty PhillipsPaul MillerMike Bisceglia and Mike Niedermeier, as well as longtime friend and supporter of the Shehan Center David D’Addario,” said O’Connor, who is 69 years old.

According to a Barnum Festival release, O’Connor began his professional career in the field of athletics coaching basketball and holding administrative positions on the high school, collegiate and professional levels. In 1992, he was named the Executive Director of Cardinal Shehan Center.

 “Regarded as a top fundraising professional in the Bridgeport area, O’Connor has raised over $25 million since arriving at the Shehan Center. In 2012, O’Connor took on the added responsibility of Executive Director of McGivney Community Center. In the four years since joining McGivney O’Connor has overseen the renovation of the gym and numerous other rooms,”

Throughout his professional career, O’Connor has served our community by sitting on boards and volunteering his time. He has served on the boards of many organizations including New England CYO, Bridgeport Regional Business Council, Leadership Greater Bridgeport, United Way of Eastern Fairfield County, and Association of Fundraising Professionals.

O’Connor received the 1997 United Way Norman Leeds Award of Outstanding Campaign Leadership. He was honored by the Bridgeport Regional Business Council in 2004 with the Volunteer of the Year Award and in 2005 with the Regional Leadership Award. In 2009, Association of Fundraising Professionals recognized O’Connor as the Professional Fundraiser of the Year. The Greater Bridgeport Athletic Association (Old Timers) presented O’Connor with the Outstanding Sportsman Award in 2009. In 2014, O’Connor was named the 32nd Grand Marshal of the Greater Bridgeport Saint Patrick’s Day Parade. Most recently, O’Connor was given the Distinguished Citizen Award by Housatonic Community Collegein May 2016.

As published in the CT Post; written by Jim Shay