This edition of Who Makes Millersville Special features Dr. Daniel O’Neill, professor of counseling and human development.
Q: Where are you originally from?
I was born in New York, but when I was three years old, my father who was a manager in an insurance brokerage firm, was transferred to Pittsburgh. I’ve always considered Pittsburgh home.
Q: What made you want to study psychology?
I grew up in the 60s and 70s in a Catholic and very liberal, democratic family. Social justice was an important value. My parents had a framed picture of John F. Kennedy on the breakfront and a poster of George McGovern on the wall. I knew I wanted to do something to be of service to other people, and clinical psychology seemed like it was a natural fit.
Q: Where did you study?
I got my bachelor’s degree at Haverford College and my doctorate at Hahnemann University, both in Philadelphia.
Q: How many years have you been at Millersville?
This is my 16th year.
Q: What is the most rewarding part about being a professor?
I enjoy getting to know students. Millersville students are amazing people—very hardworking and determined to overcome challenges to meet their goals. I love my work in the Counseling Center.
Q: Do you have a favorite course to teach?
Every fall, I teach a freshman seminar called Homes and Homelessness. Getting to know a new group of first year students and assisting them in getting settled in at Millersville is very rewarding.
Q: What is your favorite thing to do in your free time?
I like to pick things up and put them down. I love physical exercise–lifting weights, walking, running, hiking with my wife and kayaking. It’s a great stress reliever.
Q: Have you done any recent travel?
This summer, my wife and I spent a week at Rickett’s Glen State Park near Bloomsburg. The hiking trails take you down deep gorges and past the most amazing waterfalls—some of them are almost 100 feet high. Pennsylvania is such a beautiful state. We also love the ocean and have lots of happy family memories of Chincoteague, Va.
Q: What is something your colleagues and students would be surprised to learn about you?
When I was 45, I started taking piano lessons at MU. My teacher was an MU freshman in the music education department—Jon Shoff. I’m still working with him. He’s married now and has three children (I think he might have more to show for the years than I do!). I wish I had learned as a kid, but it’s been a dream come true to be able to play, even a little bit.
Q: Do you have a favorite book or genre?
Usually, the last book I read. I just finished reading Ta-Nehisi Coates’ book, “Between the World and Me,” which was tremendous, eye-opening and heartbreaking. It’s a powerful book.
Q: What is your favorite kind of music?
Anyone who knows me could tell you that I am a huge Carole King fan. She was the songwriter behind classic 60s hits — “Up on the Roof,” “One Fine Day,” and “Natural Woman” — who went on to have a big solo career in the 70s. I think I’ve owned a copy of Tapestry in all possible formats: vinyl, cassette, 8-track, CD and digital download. It’s hard to believe that album came out 45 years ago! I’ve seen her in concert many times. The last time when she toured with James Taylor in 2010. She’s an amazing live performer.
Q: What is your favorite quote?