Honorary Degrees
1918 - Present

James Francis Thaddeus O'Connor 
Doctor of Laws  1935

Judge James Francis Thaddeus O'Connor was a practicing lawyer who had the opportunity to have a significant influence on the United States government in the 1930's as the United States Comptroller of the Currency. Born in Grand Forks, North Dakota in 1884, he graduated with a B.A. degree from the University of North Dakota and received his M.A. degree from Yale University. As part of the North Dakota legislature from 1916 to 1919 he was known for his strong position against the radicalism of the Farmer's Non-Partisan League. His stand won him the Democrat-Republican (fusion) nomination for governor of North Dakota in 1920; however, in 1925, after unsuccessful campaigns for both the North Dakota Governor and Senator, O'Conner moved to Southern California where he successfully practiced law. As a close friend and advisor to Franklin D. Roosevelt, Roosevelt appointed him as the Comptroller of the Currency in 1933 where he successfully restored the banks during the 1930's banking crisis and helped organized the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporate. In his address to the 1935 graduates of SMU O'Conner espoused the values of integrity and loyalty. In recognition of those qualities which he displayed throughout his career and in recognition of his achievements, Southern Methodist University was honored to confer upon Judge J.F. T. O'Conner the degree of Doctors of Laws, honoris causa.

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