The Hazelden Foundation, one of the world's largest and most respected private, not-for-profit alcohol and drug addiction treatment centers, announced today that the Rev. Michael J. O'Connell has been named the new chair of its Board of Trustees. O'Connell succeeds Norbert J. Conzemius, who served as chair for two years.
"The Rev. O'Connell has been a dedicated member of the Hazelden Board of Trustees since 2004, and we are delighted to work with him in his new capacity as board chair," said Mark Mishek, Hazelden's president and CEO. "We also thank Norbert for his valuable service and continuing commitment to Hazelden and its mission to help people sustain lifelong recovery from addiction to drugs and alcohol."
O'Connell currently serves as pastor at Church of the Ascension in North Minneapolis and is the former rector at Minneapolis' Basilica of Saint Mary, a parish noted for its pastoral care and work with the poor. O'Connell has spearheaded a number of local initiatives such as the Jeremiah Program, which helps single mothers attain self-sufficiency; worked closely with local Jewish, Christian and Islamic congregations to promote interfaith dialogue and understanding; led trips with Catholic and Jewish congregants to holy sites around the world; and commissioned a sacred Holocaust memorial oratorio, "To Be Certain of the Dawn," as a gift to the Jewish people in 2001.
O'Connell also serves as a board member for the Saint John's Graduate School of Theology, Greater Twin Cities United Way, Friends of Ascension School Board, Lundstrum Center for the Performing Arts, Friends of Catholic Urban Schools, and the Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi Foundation for Children. He holds a master's degree from the University of St. Thomas.
"It's an honor for me to serve in this important role since my lifelong work has always been about helping people," said Rev. O'Connell. "And I will continue to do so in supporting Hazelden's promise of offering the best opportunity for lifelong recovery for those seeking help for addiction."
Hazelden, a national nonprofit organization founded in 1949, helps people reclaim their lives from the disease of addiction. With nearly 60 years of knowledge and experience, Hazelden offers a comprehensive approach to addiction that addresses the full range of patient, family, and professional needs, including treatment and continuing care for youth and adults, research, higher learning, public education and advocacy, and publishing. It has facilities in Minnesota, Oregon, Illinois, and New York. For more information, visit www.hazelden.org.