Honoring Christi Matri Award Recipient Kerry O'Hara '70 Plain | Dream Flight 2018
SJND is proud to present Kerry O’Hara '70 Plain with the Christi Matri Award for Outstanding Service to SJND at this year’s Dream Flight Tuition Assistance Benefit Gala, which will take place at the Claremont Country Club on Saturday, October 13 at 5:30 p.m.
The youngest of three girls, Kerry was born in Berkeley and grew up in Alameda, attending St. Philip Neri Elementary School. Following in her sisters Patricia (Patty) ’67 and Maureen’s ’68 footsteps, Kerry attended Notre Dame High School, where she was involved in a number of activities, including Glee Club, Latin Club, Red Cross, Pep Club, Student Council, Model United Nations and class sports. Her fondest memories of NDH (SJND), she noted, were the community atmosphere and lifelong friends.
Kerry with her friend Cindy Rankin '70 Seibert.
“The O'Hara family represents Catholic education well,” Kerry said. “Both my parents attended Catholic elementary and high schools in Oakland…[My sisters and I] all attended Catholic elementary schools, SJND for high school, and while I am a graduate of St. Mary’s College, Maureen is a graduate of University of San Francisco, and Patty is a graduate of Santa Clara University and Notre Dame Law School,” she explained. Kerry’s son Jimmy would also attend Catholic elementary and high school and go on to study at Notre Dame de Namur University.
Kerry, Patty, Maureen and their mother.
In 1974, Kerry graduated from St. Mary’s with a Bachelor of Arts in History and Physical Education, as well as an elementary and secondary teaching credential. However, she explained, her career after college was a bit unexpected.
“Since the teaching profession was flooded in the early 70s, I took an entry-level order desk job for a wholesale floor covering distributor right out of college.”
This entry-level job propelled Kerry forward in the industry, and in 1994 she and her business partner purchased a small existing company, Bay Area Contract Carpets. In 2012, after years of successful business, Kerry sold her half of the company and retired.
In addition to her work with various community organizations, including Oakland Children’s Hospital, Kerry has long been a devoted alumni volunteer and donor to SJND.
“The foundation I received from Notre Dame, not only in the classroom but in my entire high school experience, set me up well for college and for life, and it’s easy to see that SJND still has that influence and encouragement to the students today. I want to be involved in helping with that in whatever capacity I can. I have a strong belief in Catholic education and happily contribute for financial aid to allow as many students as possible to have the Catholic education experience at SJND,” Kerry said.
Kerry in her senior year at Notre Dame High School.
Over the years, Kerry has served SJND in various capacities, including as a member of the Alumni Council, Mission Effectiveness Committee, and as a six-year member of the Board of Trustees. She jumps at opportunities to volunteer whenever needed, whether at events or even in the school office. Kerry has also opened her Alameda home to too many SJND alumni reunion parties to count, from classes spanning her own graduation year of 1970 and surrounding, to our most recent graduates.
“In my five plus years at SJND, there has always been a welcome and helping hand in Kerry,” said Mollie McFarland, Assistant Principal of Institutional Advancement. “Kerry exhibits a genuine care for SJND, our students, our alumni and the rich legacy of her school. Her willingness to volunteer for any event and committee, and answer calls for additional financial support when a student has been in need has amazed me. In the philanthropy profession, to witness Kerry’s generosity of spirit is not only a blessing, but truly humbling. She is an inspiring example of someone who lives to serve.”
Please join us in celebrating Kerry at the Fourth Annual Dream Flight Gala on Saturday, October 13 at 5:30 p.m. The goal of the Dream Flight Gala is to raise the vital funds needed for students who dream of an SJND education, but may not have the means to attend. Purchase your tickets today at at www.sjnd.org/dreamflight.
Unable to attend but wish to support? Please consider making a donation here or purchasing raffle tickets here.