Sean Connolly ’92 knows something about duty. Having joined the Army R.O.T.C. while a student at John Carroll University, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant upon graduation in 1996. After additional training, he went to his permanent assignment with 3rd Squadron, 4th United States Cavalry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division, Hawaii, where he served as the Squadron Chemical Officer, and then Executive Officer of the Headquarters Troop.
Sean finished active duty in the summer of 1999, and returned to Illinois to attend law school at Northern Illinois University and joined the Illinois National Guard. In 2000, he joined the Army Reserve, where he still serves today. In January 2003, Sean was recalled to active duty and deployed to Kuwait in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, too. He received the Bronze Star Medal for exceptionally meritorious service in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Sean returned home in July 2003 and resumed his job as a prosecutor with the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office. He is currently a lieutenant colonel and serves as the Command Judge Advocate for the 86th Training Division, Fort McCoy, Wis. In this role, he is the chief legal advisor to the commanding general, the general’s staff, and the Soldiers assigned to the 86th Division.
In 2007, Sean left the State’s Attorney to practice private law. By 2009, he took over his father’s law practice. He works a criminal defense attorney, and also practices civil litigation.
His commitment to duty mirrored his commitment to his faith. “The Army is an organization that fully supports a Soldier’s faith,” Sean explained. “As a Catholic Soldier, I was afforded the opportunity to attend Mass, even when I was deployed to Kuwait. This was important to me, and it meant so much to know that even when I was deployed in a war zone, the military made sure I had the resources available to practice my faith. My faith has helped me get through the good times and the bad, both in the military and my civilian life.”
His faith, formed first with his family, was strengthened while at Marist. “Br. Hank Hammer and Br. Rene Roy were such great examples to me. They love God, they love Marist, and they love the students,” Sean explained. “Both of them believed in me, and as a result, I believed in myself.” He recalls that he and others respected Br. Hank out of respect, not fear. “The true sign of a leader,” Sean stated. As for Br. Rene Roy, who he still keeps in touch with, Sean said, “I’ve never met a man who is more humble and devoted to God. He is an exceptional example to every Christian.”
Sean cites attending Marist as one of the best decisions of his life, and to this day deeply values Catholic education which he feels is a “complete education”. “Children also have much more freedom in Catholic schools,” he said. “They can pray, learn about God, Jesus, and the Saints, without criticism. Each day in Catholic school should teach and prepare young people how to live life with dignity and holiness.”
Sean is involved in professional and veteran related associations. He lives in Burr Ridge with his son, Sean, and they spend much of their free time fishing.
Back to event homepage