The Diocese of Owensboro announces Tom Lilly as President of Owensboro Catholic Schools (OCS), effective June 11, 2018.
“What a pleasure it is to welcome Tom Lilly as President of OCS,” said Fr. J. Patrick Reynolds, Episcopal Vicar for OCS. “My first experience with Tom was watching him lead high school retreats three decades ago. I witnessed a very spiritual man who loved sharing his Catholic faith – and who also connected well with young people. Since then I have witnessed his great social skills, financial acumen, wonderful family life and his devotion to OCS and the well-rounded education it provides our children. Tom is one of those rare people who brings joy to all with whom he meets.”
Lilly formerly worked for the Diocese for 15 years as the Executive Director of the Catholic Foundation of Western Kentucky and was the Diocesan Coordinator of Staff before leaving in 2003 to join the senior executive team at St. Mary’s Medical Center. Lilly is currently a Vice President at Old National Bank in the Wealth Management Division as a client advisor and trust officer.
“We think he brings the right skill sets to this position,” said Ann Flaherty, Superintendent of the Diocese of Owensboro Catholic School System. “Tom is a known quantity who served this system in various volunteer and professional capacities for many years. He’s also served a broad range of not for profit organizations throughout the country. We think he will be a passionate, effective leader for the organization.”
Lilly moved his family to Owensboro in 1988 to start the development program at Owensboro Catholic High School. He also served with a local group of businessmen and educators at the time who spent two years studying Catholic School finances and who established a parish funding formula. He was asked to join the diocesan effort in 1991 and he helped establish the Catholic Foundation of Western Kentucky and grew the Foundation by establishing parish and school endowments as well as an annual diocesan appeal. During his last five years with the Diocese he also served as a consultant on a variety of not for profit efforts throughout the country. His four children were educated in the Owensboro Catholic School System and his oldest daughter, Sarah Lilly Malone, taught and coached in the system.
In 2003 Lilly joined St. Mary’s Medical Center as a Vice President and Executive Director of the hospital foundation. He was soon named to the six-person senior executive team where his responsibilities eventually expanded to facilities management, ancillary construction, security, biomed, government advocacy and social services. He worked to bring a Ronald McDonald House to the region that serves parents of seriously ill children and helped fund a department of mental health services for children and more comprehensive services for people living with bipolar spectrum disorder. His office provided over $1 million in funding to help bring magnet status for nurses to the campus and he was part of the administrative efforts that improved the emergency room services to a Level II Trauma Center.
Lilly graduated from the University of Southern Indiana in 1980. In 2007 he was selected to participate in a two-year master’s equivalent program for healthcare executives designed by Ascension Health on the campus of Washington University in St. Louis. He later received certificates of achievement from Harvard University and the Madison Institute at the University of Wisconsin with studies emphasis in organizational management and financial development.
“Catholic education provides a unique opportunity for our children. No family has benefited more than mine,” said Lilly. “Teachers are always the most powerful influence in an educational system, but that’s especially true in a Catholic School where we’re free to integrate faith with knowledge.” He said that he’s stepping into a position where “the schools are already known for their academics and their quality of people. I’m going to try and help build an efficient structure and try to provide resources that schools need to maximize these children’s potential.”
He said there are also significant financial challenges facing the system. “As a parent I was always aware that regardless of what tuition rates were or what fees we were charged, my children’s education was being subsidized by a much larger community. Our parishes provide financial help. We solicit generosity from donors. And there’s the significant contribution that teachers and staff make with lower wage scales. But it’s a system that’s produced powerful results for this community for many years. And now I feel extremely blessed to be part of it.”