2020 Recipients

DAA Recipients

Connie Blass O’Neill ’77

A passionate volunteer and selfless leader, Connie Blass O’Neill ’77 has dedicated much of her life to public service on behalf of her alma mater and the Dallas community.

Connie Blass O’Neill ’77

As a student, O’Neill was SMU Homecoming queen, an officer of the Student Foundation, a member of Mortar Board and co-chair of her Senior Class Gift committee. She served as president and rush chairman of Chi Omega sorority and was named Outstanding Active. She graduated summa cum laude and was honored as the Outstanding Business Student in 1977.

O’Neill put her talent to work at Ernst & Young from 1977 to 1985 as a certified public accountant. She is a member of the Texas Society of CPAs, and senior manager in audit and tax department member.

Through the years, O’Neill has been an indefatigable volunteer for the University. She has been a member of the SMU Board of Trustees since 2012, where she has served on the Development and External Affairs, Academic Affairs, Audit, and Building and Grounds standing committees, and was voted Outstanding Trustee for 2015–16. In addition, she is co-chair of the Simmons School of Education and Human Development Executive Board and a member of the Cox School of Business Executive Board. Her past SMU service includes membership on The Second Century Campaign Simmons School of Education Campaign Steering Committee; president of the SMU Alumni Board and SMU Young Alumni; chair of SMU’s Homecoming and Reunion Committee; and co-chair of the SMU Parent Leadership Council from 2015–19 with her husband, Chris ’75.

While her contributions to SMU have been legion, her philanthropic leadership transcends the Hilltop. Currently a trustee with the Communities Foundation of Texas, O’Neill also has chaired the boards of Children’s Medical Center Foundation, the Susan G. Komen Foundation and the Highland Park Education Foundation. She also is a member of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center President’s Advisory Board and Foundation Board, as well as UTSW’s Audit Committee and Student Life Advisory Committee.

With a focus on improving medical and educational infrastructure to help families and strengthen communities, O’Neill also serves or has served on the boards of Children’s Health System, The Senior Source, the Dallas Woman’s Club, St. Mark’s School of Texas, Presbyterian Hospital Foundation of Dallas, National Charity League and Momentous Institute. She is a former president of the Junior League of Dallas, the Highland Park Education Foundation and La Fiesta de las Seis Banderas. In addition, she chaired the Crystal Charity Ball from 2010 to 2011.

In 2018, O’Neill was one of three women invited to join the historically all-male Salesmanship Club of Dallas.

Her generous spirit has been recognized with the 2012 Citizen of the Year Award by University Park, the 2014 Hearts of Texas Lifetime Achievement Award from Volunteer Center of North Texas and numerous other accolades.

O’Neill and her family are steeped in SMU tradition. She is married to Chris, an SMU graduate.   They have four children, Amanda, Kristen, Isabel and Jack ’19.