Thomas O’Neill

Tom-ONeil-tnVentura College Professor
Longest Serving Faculty Member of Ventura College

” In its 82 years I believe Tom was Ventura College’s most significant faculty member … ”




Thomas O’Neill was Boston born, Irish Catholic and graduated from Notre Dame. He worshipped and reveled in the prowess of “fighting Irish” football. He was the ultimate leprechaun and looked the part in an oversized persona.

In many ways, O’Neill was Ventura College’s most signifi cant faculty member and had there been such a position he would have been, without doubt “Dean of the Faculty.” O’Neill taught a demanding and ever changing microbiology course throughout his career and as a result was a vital adjunct to the Nursing Program where micro was the most important prerequisite course for Program entry.

Through this course O’Neill took great pride in helping set the standard of excellence the Nursing Program is renowned for. As first faculty member elected to the Ventura College Foundation, O’Neill generously endowed a major nursing scholarship fund ($100,000.00).

O’Neill regularly eschewed administration opportunities for what he believed was “the higher calling of teaching.” O’Neill’s leadership influence, educational values, and engaging charm contributed powerfully to the culture and traditions that have become Ventura College. O’Neill was the “everyman” and in many ways the heart and soul of what has been the best about Ventura College.

• U.S. Navy, Pacific Theater, World War II, Purple Heart recipient
• BA, University of Notre Dame
• PhD, University of California, Davis
• Ventura College Biology Professor, 1955-2000 (longest serving faculty member, 45 years)
• Part-time research microbiologist, Navy Department, Port Hueneme, paralleling teaching career. Discovered oil consuming bacteria usable in oil spill clean-up and means for preserving submerged wood materials.
• Founding Academic Senate President, served two terms
• Chaired all Ventura College accreditation teams during his tenure
• Served yearly on high school and community college visiting accreditation teams for Western Association of Schools and Colleges
• Biological Sciences Department Chair, mid-1970’s to mid-1990’s