Robert O'Donnell

Robert O’Donnell

Trustee

Robert O’Donnell was a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives for 19 years, where he rose through the ranks of leadership, serving as caucus chairman, majority whip, majority leader, and Speaker of the House. While in public service, he developed a reputation as a thoughtful, dynamic, and intellectually honest member of the House. His legislative accomplishments include municipal pension reform, a college tuition savings plan, and comprehensive insurance reform. He was responsible for the establishment of the Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority (PICA) which was crucial to the solvency of the City of Philadelphia. At the time of its introduction the PICA bill was controversial, but O’Donnell, though the only sponsor on introduction, assured its passage – a testament to his legislative capacity, focus and commitment. He is generally regarded as an expert on urban politics and the legal relationships of local, state and national governments. Mr. O’Donnell has traveled extensively in Western Europe and has also been a part of study missions to Egypt, Israel and Germany as well as trade missions to Taiwan and Chile. As a trainer he has participated in a US State Department sponsored program for Journalists and Non-Government Organizations in Ukraine as well as a National Democratic Institute legislative governance program in the Republic of Georgia. Mr. O’Donnell has also conducted study programs for the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School in the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and Japan. He currently participates in the Department of State supported International Visitor’s Council, hosting legislative, business and government leaders from around the globe, including delegations from Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Croatia, Japan, Italy, Korea, Portugal, Poland, Spain, Slovenia, Tunisia, Uzbekistan, Uganda, the United Kingdom, and the European Union. Mr. O’Donnell serves as an adviser to the City Controller of Philadelphia on pension related matters and to the Amerihealth Caritas family of companies on issues of political risk. He also serves as an advisor to Weaver C. Barksdale & Associates, Inc. a registered investment adviser. Mr. O’Donnell has served as a member of Public Employees Retirement Study Commission, the Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh, the Board of Trustees of the University of Pittsburgh, the Mayor’s Tax Budget and Advisory Committee (Philadelphia), the Chesapeake Bay Commission, the General State Authority, the Mayor’s Economic Recovery Task Force (Philadelphia), the Milrite Council and the Philadelphia Port Corporation Board of Directors. Mr. O’Donnell is a graduate of Temple University and its law school and attended The Hague Academy of International Law. Honorary degrees have been awarded to Mr. O’Donnell by Arcadia College and Philadelphia University. He has received many public awards including citations from the Pennsylvania League of Cities, and Common Cause. He resides in Chestnut Hill with his wife, Dr. Donna Gentile O’Donnell.