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- The gift of education
A look at “Trippy” Professor O’Brien
In a crowded office in the Ed McMahon Mass Communications Center is a carefree man with silver-gray hair and glasses who likes to lean back in his chair with his legs crossed. He uses words like “trippy” and “wild” to describe everything he is passionate about, such as Ireland.
Professor William O’Brien sits in his dark office and checks his computer screen while gesturing enthusiastically with his hands.
O’Brien is an associate professor of communications at Quinnipiac University. A native of Hamden, Conn., he has taught at the university for three years.
O’Brien teaches a variety of communications courses, such as screenwriting, television production and film production, including documentary and narrative films.
This is O’Brien’s second year with the Quinnipiac in Ireland program, and he is full of praise for the program and the country.
“I just got back from teaching there for three weeks. It’s an amazing program,” O’Brien said. “There are Irish professors and a new QU professor every three weeks.”
The production course load appears to be heavy.
“The students are in class four to five hours a day and they shoot on weekends,” O’Brien said.
However, he adds that they go on various outtings during their stay in Ireland, touring Europe and enjoying the pubs in Tralee.
As a huge fan of the program, O’Brien recommends it to any students who are interested in getting away from campus for a few months.
“It doesn’t cost any more money, just insurance and the plane ticket. It’s like being here except you’re there,” O’Brien said. “It’s totally different there. The teachers are great, and the students seem very happy with the instruction.”
During his days as a student, O’Brien attended a variety of schools to obtain his three degrees.
He received a Bachelor of Arts from Fairfield University, a Master of Arts from the University of Rhode Island, and a Master of Fine Arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
O’Brien refers to the Art Institute of Chicago as being “the best art school in America.” “It’s a totally trippy place,” he said.
O’Brien also says that the Art Institute of Chicago is “the Midwest version of the Met.”
On campus, O’Brien is heavily involved with the Albert Schweitzer Institute and hopes to make a documentary on the philosopher’s life.
He is currently working on several documentaries and is in the midst of writing a screenplay.
It is no surprise that as the interview ended O’Brien quickly returned to his computer and began to tap the keys.