Rita McTigue O'Connell, wife of Stephen C. O'Connell, was UF's First Lady from 1967-73. A native Iowan, she moved with her parents to Ft. Lauderdale where she met and married Stephen C. O'Connell. Although a self-described homebody, Mrs. O'Connell nevertheless hosted several functions a week in the president's home for various university groups, foreign and domestic dignitaries, and local service organizations. A diabetic since childhood, she was very active in the promotion of diabetes research. Following her death, Stephen C. O'Connell funded two more scholarships to be awarded by the UWC.
The Rita McTigue O'Connell Scholarships are awarded for excellence in academics and for special need