O’Connor chuckles when asked what he does for fun. “I’m a plow horse,” he said. “I’ll plow my field for which I am responsible, and if you don’t stop me, I’ll plow your field and keep on going.”
Fun? He loves what he does. For him, work and fun are as entwined as leadership and integrity. In the hours when he isn’t building safer communities in his day job, he’s building his family and caring for his land. While his children, Thomas O’Connor ’11 and Jane Crawford ’05, both have careers outside of agriculture, he is intentional about involving them in the ranch. “I told my children it matters not where you go and what you do in your life, but your heart and soul need to remain on the ranch and be a part of that legacy and carry it on,” he said. Annually, O’Connor and his wife, LuAnn, host their children and friends for a week of cowboy camp they call O’Frontier Days, a celebration of the land and their family.
While the challenges ahead for the next generation on the ranch are immense, O’Connor has hope when he sees his children learning to love the land as he does. “It couldn’t be a better world,” he said with a smile.
If you’d like to learn more about supporting the Center for Grazinglands and Ranch Management in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences or supporting the Thomas M. O’Connor Professorship in Range Science, contact Scott Jarvis ’00 at the bottom of this page.
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