Making HER Story: Sheila Horan ’69

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On April 3, 2018, Sheila Horan ’69 returned to the University of Saint Joseph (USJ) to discuss her 29-year career as former FBI Deputy Assistant Director on WNPR’s “Making HER Story.” Horan sat down with the host of WNPR’s “Where We Live,” Lucy Nalpathanchil, at the Bruyette Athenaeum on USJ’s West Hartford campus.

Horan rose to be one of the FBI’s top-ranking women. However, in 1972 she was one of the first women to join the FBI, which was considered an unusual career for women at the time. When asked how USJ influenced her unconventional career trajectory, Horan stated that she had given much thought to the question over the years.

“Our Sisters of Mercy, who established this university back in the 30s, back when we were here were in full regalia, full habit, they were symbols, more than symbols, of what is right in the world and dedication to job, dedication to us, dedication to God, and they very clearly represented the right way to be,” remarked Horan.

“I wasn’t going to be a sister, but I recognized and appreciated what they were giving to the community and to themselves. It’s wonderful to think back on those days, to those women who were such beacons and sentinels really for what came to me much later is to go into law enforcement.”

Horan’s storied career started in Buffalo, NY where she was later transferred to the NYC office. She was a part of the team that oversaw the investigation into the 1998 US Embassy bombing in Nairobi, Kenya. She spent the majority of her career heading counterterrorism investigation in the FBI’s Washington Office and stayed with the department after 9-11 to assist in investigatory efforts before her retirement in 2002.

After leaving the Bureau, Horan was hired alongside a colleague to lead the Office of Child and Youth Protection (OCYP). Created by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, the OCYP was tasked with overseeing the dioceses adherence to policy changes, created after the Boston Globe exposed the catholic sex abuse scandal. Horan has led a successful career and encourages men and women to follow their dreams.