After graduating from Fairfield with a degree in mathematics, Diane Oakley ’75 started on the technical side of the natural path that math majors often take — doing actuarial work — but her professional journey took a number of turns as she worked for TIAA-CREF for 28 years in marketing and consulting, lobbying, and management.
In 2014, Congressman Earl Pomeroy (ND) persuaded Oakley to work on his staff as his senior policy advisor on pensions, Social Security, taxes, and financial services. Working for a member of the powerful Ways and Means Committee and chairman of the Social Security Subcommittee, Oakley played an inside role protecting Social Security and developing legislation to expand pension coverage to more working Americans.
In her current role as the executive director of the National Institute on Retirement Security (NIRS), she draws on all of her experience as NIRS conducts economic research on the value of pensions and retirement savings. “With 10,000 baby boomers reaching retirement age each day,” Oakley said, “there is a lot of interest in our work.”
A member of the second class of women at the University, Oakley is credited with being a founder of Women’s Basketball at Fairfield. She was a key leader the year the team was organized, and played on the squad that went undefeated in 1974-75. She served as a University trustee from 1997 to 2004, and lives in Bethesda, Md.
Most Influential Fairfield Faculty
“My professor for calculus freshman and sophomore years, Dr. Ed O’Neill. I will never forget that shock at getting a D+ on my first calculus test, since math was always my easy A.
He helped me overcome doubts and elevate my calculus game to meet the demands of college level mathematics, and I finished that semester with a B+. Without that experience, I would have never made it to graduation as a math major, but Dr. O’Neill made sure that we had a sound foundation for my junior and senior years.”
First Gift to Fairfield
$25 in 1982
Most Recent Gift to Fairfield
$50,000 gift to establish The 40th Anniversary Endowment for Women’s Basketball at Fairfield University
• Academy of the Holy Angels
• Holy Trinity Church in Georgetown
• Kennedy Center
• Little Sisters of the Poor