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The Spirit of Cristo Rey Award Presented to John E. O’Shea
Brenda Morris

The Cristo Rey Network recently bestowed John E. O’Shea with The Spirit of Cristo Rey Award at the 2024 Annual Meeting in Dallas. Board Chair Jane E. Genster presented O’Shea with the recognition in celebration of his faith-based, steadfast, and influential activism aimed at ensuring that Cristo Rey schools provide transformational educational opportunities to thousands of deserving young men and women.

Joined by O’Shea’s family and 350+ participating Cristo Rey school leaders, Genster introduced the honor by highlighting his deep engagement with and impact on the Cristo Rey movement that exceeds 15 years.

The Spirit of Cristo Rey Citation

The Spirit of Cristo Rey Award is periodically conferred by the Cristo Rey Network Board of Directors on an individual or an institution that has demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to advancing the mission and success of the Cristo Rey Network.

Today, we are delighted to confer The Spirit of Cristo Rey Award on John E. O’Shea in honor of his extraordinary leadership and catalytic philanthropy, locally and nationally, which have expanded opportunity for young men and women who aspire to break through barriers to educational and economic achievement.

Informed by decades of experience developing, acquiring, and operating growth businesses in the oil and natural gas midstream sectors, animated by deeply-ingrained Ignatian values, and characterized by sharp intellect and disarming humility, John’s entrepreneurial instincts and philanthropic mind-set have supported the growth, self-assessment, innovation and impact of the Cristo Rey movement for more than fifteen years.

John’s Cristo Rey commitment began in Houston where he was instrumental in the start-up and success of Cristo Rey Jesuit College Preparatory School —as a leader of the feasibility study that led to the school’s creation and 2009 opening, as a founding member of the school’s board of trustees, and as a close collaborator of the school’s founding President, Rev. T.J. Martinez, S.J.

John’s local leadership scaled nationally in 2013 when he joined the Cristo Rey Network Board of Directors. He has since responded affirmatively and served masterfully in multiple national leadership roles, including an unexpected and critical six-month stint as the Network’s Interim President in 2014, a two-year term as Chair of the Finance Committee, and most recently a three-year term as Board Chair.

John’s sustained engagement on the Board has demonstrably strengthened the national office’s financial position and robust fundraising program. He and his family have demonstrated their profound belief in our students and trust in the Cristo Rey movement by investing in multiple strategic initiatives designed to increase the college and career readiness of our students. In addition to building the capacity of national office operations, the O’Shea family has equipped schools with resources to deliver best-in-class test preparation programming, to develop and operate hybrid and remote Corporate Work Study offices, and to train and support workplace supervisors.

John E. O’Shea today becomes the twelfth recipient of the Cristo Rey Network’s highest honor. We proudly present The Spirit of Cristo Rey Award to him in recognition of his faith-based, steadfast and influential activism aimed at ensuring that Cristo Rey schools deliver on our mission to provide transformational educational opportunities to thousands of deserving young men and women across the nation. We welcome and look forward to John’s continued partnership in the audacious work of building the Kingdom of God here on Earth.

Since the award’s inception in 2008, the following individuals and institutions have received The Spirit of Cristo Rey Award:

  • John E. O’Shea

  • Elizabeth Goettl

  • John P. Foley, SJ

  • Wilson Sheehan Foundation

  • Nick Howley and The Howley Foundation

  • Jane E. Genster

  • Fr. Antonio “T.J.” Martinez, SJ (Posthumously)

  • Fr. Joe Parkes, SJ

  • DePaul University

  • Loyola University of Chicago 

  • Dr. Jack DeGioia

  • Dame Mary Richardson