William O'Brien; Boston State College; Class of 1971

commentary by Rep. Timothy Horrigan; May 29, 2012

Oops! It turns out it's a different William O'Brien

New Hampshire House Speaker Bill O'Brien says he got his bachelors degree from Framingham State College (now a University) in 1974, and I am sure he is telling the truth. I have no doubt that Framingham State is a fine institution which offers many excellent educational opportunities— but if you were going to go to the trouble of faking a college degree, you wouldn't bother faking one from a place as unprestigious as Framingham State.

I accidentally ran across the following picture on p.126 of the 1971 edition of Lampas, the yearbook of Boston State College. This William O'Brien is 41 years younger than Speaker O'Brien, and he lacks a beard, but it looks like the same guy to me:

Boston State was a somewhat better school than Framingham State, and it is one of several colleges which merged a few years after 1971 to become UMass-Boston, which is a great institution. In the wake of the academic flameout of his protegee DJ Bettencourt, I am now wondering how O'Brien ended up in Boston State's yearbook without getting his degree there. However, I am sure there is a perfectly logical explanation. (Like, maybe it's not the same guy!)

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