Dr. Jo Ann Rooney is the Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness. She is the deputy senior policy advisor to the Secretary of Defense on recruitment, career development, pay and benefits for 1.4 million active duty military personnel, 1.3 million Guard and Reserve personnel, 680,000 DoD civilians, and is responsible for overseeing the overall state of military readiness. The President appointed Dr. Rooney as the Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness on June 2, 2011, following her confirmation by the Senate. Dr. Rooney served as Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness from November 2011 to June 2012.
Before assuming her current position, Dr. Rooney was President of Mount Ida College from July 2010 until December 2010 following a successful tenure as the President of Spalding University for eight years from 2002-2010. At Spalding, she was credited with leading a successful financial turnaround and implemented a unique block scheduling system, achieved significant academic improvements and expansion of programs, put in place major IT infrastructure initiatives, significantly expanded enrollment and completed both a new academic building and laboratory and health science classroom facility.
From 1996 to 2002, she served as chief counsel, chief operating officer, chief financial officer, and partner of The Lyons Companies in Waltham, Massachusetts. That firm maintained a national practice specializing in estate planning, capital advising, charitable planning, executive compensation, business succession planning, and benefits planning and administration for corporations, individuals and nonprofit organizations. Prior to the Lyons Companies, she practiced tax law in the Boston area and was a founding partner of the consulting firm of Stearns, Rooney & Associates in Hingham, Massachusetts. In addition to practicing law in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Florida, U.S. District Court and U.S. Tax Court, Rooney is a member of the Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Florida and American Bar Associations.
Throughout her career, Dr. Rooney has been a leader in education and had a passion for service. Until her appointment as the Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, she served as Vice Chair of the Jewish St Mary’s Health Care System and was a member of the Board of Trustees at Regis University, Denver, Colorado, in addition to numerous other civic and community involvement. In 2010, she was honored with the Mayor’s citation for community service and the Lucy Award from Louisville Scholar House – its highest community leadership award. She also received the Today’s Woman Magazine 2006 Most Admired Woman in Education Award, the Business and Professional Women/River City, Woman of Achievement Award and the Business First, Partners in Health Care Award for 5 consecutive years. She has been a national speaker and presenter at the American Council on Education (ACE), the Association of Governing Boards (AGB), the CIC President’s Institute, Southern Association of College and Schools (SACS) annual conference and CAP/CAEL Conferences.
Dr. Rooney earned an Ed.D. from the University of Pennsylvania, a Master of Laws (LL.M.) in taxation, from Boston University’s School of Law, the Juris Doctor (J.D.) from Suffolk University Law School and the Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (summa cum laude) from Boston University.