2017 Ringmaster


The Barnum Festival is pleased to welcome its 69th annual Ringmaster, Terry O’Connor, to the “big show.” Terry wholly embodies the values of the Barnum Festival and shares in its vision and mission. As a devoted server of the local community, Terry understands the importance of coming together to celebrate, support, and give back.

As executive director of both the Cardinal Shehan Center and McGivney Community Center, Terry dedicates his time to enriching the lives of local youths and helping to meet their educational, recreational, and social needs.

Terry joined the Shehan Center in 1992, and since then has helped raise over $25 million to support kids and low-income families in lower Fairfield County. Since taking on the additional role of executive director of the McGivney Community Center in 2012, Terry has overseen renovations of the gymnasium and additional projects to aid the youth population.

Terry has served on a number of organizations’ boards, including New England CYO, Bridgeport Regional Business Council, Leadership Greater Bridgeport, United Way of Eastern Fairfield County, Association of Fundraising Professionals, and the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Committee.

In addition, Terry has been recognized for his dedication to the community as the recipient of many awards, including the 1995 American Diabetes Association Humanitarian Award, 1997 United Way Norman Leeds Award of Outstanding Campaign Leadership, 2004 Bridgeport Regional Business Council Volunteer of the Year Award, 2005 Bridgeport Regional Business Council Regional Leadership Award, and the 2009 Greater Bridgeport Athletic Association (Old Timers) Outstanding Sportsman Award. He was also named the Professional Fundraiser of the Year by the Association of Fundraising Professionals in 2009, the 32nd Grand Marshal of the Greater Bridgeport Saint Patrick’s Day Parade in 2014, and was given the Distinguished Citizen Award by Housatonic Community College in 2016.

Terry and his wife of 45 years, Mary Ann, have two adult sons—Ryan and Paul.

Please join us in welcoming Terry as this year’s Barnum Festival Ringmaster!