UCL Department of Geography


Dr Tony O’Connor, 1939-2019

2 July 2019

Dedicated to improving understanding of Africa

Dr Tony O’Connor, 1939-2019

Dr A.M. (Tony) O’Connor, a long-serving member of the UCL Geography staff, died on June 24th.

After postgraduate research and lecturing in Uganda, he came to UCL in 1967, retiring in 2004.

Early tributes summarise the qualities admired in him by colleagues and students:

‘His lifelong passion was for improving understanding of Africa, and of the nature and extent of global poverty, which underpinned both his teaching and his research… he was at heart an educator. He devoted his working life to spreading knowledge, encouraging curiosity and thoughtfulness, and challenging assumptions.’

‘As a colleague there was much to admire about Tony’s commitment, not just in a purely academic sense but as an advocate for dealing with poverty and inequality. I know that his students were overwhelmingly positive towards what he had to say and did.’

‘He was of course very engaged with the students, always helping, discussing and challenging. They could see first-hand that here was someone who loved Geography and revelled in thinking about the importance of place, especially in a field context.’

Long before it became voguish, Tony believed strongly in the capacity of African scholars to undertake the key research work on Africa and in the importance of European researchers taking a more subsidiary and modest role.’

Read Dr O'Connor's obituary (.pdf)