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John O’Leary Speaker Event - “On Fire”

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

John O'Leary

John O'Leary (CBS ‘99), SLU alumnus and author of "On Fire: The 7 Choices to Ignite a Radically Inspired Life."

In his talk “On Fire,” alumnus John O'Leary (CBS ‘99) returns to Saint Louis University to help faculty and staff consider how constant change and distractions can be intentionally transformed into the gift of possibility and impact.

Expected to die, O’Leary now teaches others how to truly live.

In 1987, he was a curious nine-year-old boy. Playing with fire and gasoline in his garage, he created a massive explosion and sustained burns to 100 percent of his body. Given less than 1 percent chance of survival, O'Leary is proof of the power of the human spirit. His unlikely recovery meant a journey of pain and loss that could have easily been insurmountable. However, far from being an example of someone who merely endured tragedy, he is a luminous example of thriving through adversity.

Surprisingly, this “survivor” story isn’t focused on O'Leary – instead, it is a celebration of heroes who intimately served him and his family.

From a dedicated Hall of Fame sports announcer to a visionary burn nurse (and countless others), every individual involved his story  teaches us this truth: a single person can make a profound difference in the lives of others. With emotional storytelling and unexpected humor, O'Leary reminds audiences of the significance of daily attitudes, the power of gratitude, and the impact of serving others with courage. He reawakens audiences to realize the gift of today and the possibility of tomorrow.

O'Leary is consistently referenced as “the best speaker we’ve ever had” – earning five-star reviews and inspiring more than 50,000 individuals at over 100 events each year.

His book, On Fire: The 7 Choices to Ignite a Radically Inspired Life was an instant  national bestseller in 2016.

Learn More About John O'Leary

Read the Universitas Profile of John O'Leary


John will give two talks to accommodate work schedules:

  • 7:00 a.m. - 7:45 a.m. at the Learning Resource Center in the Pitlyk Auditorium
  • 9:45 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. in the Center for Global Citizenship (prior to the Cannonball picnic held from 11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.)

All Saint Louis University faculty and staff are invited to attend. Space is limited. Register to reserve your seat and be entered in a raffle to receive a complimentary John O'Leary inspired gift.


We encourage teams and departments to attend together. To help facilitate group registration, access the Group Registration form with instructions.

Resources for a Successful Team Experience

  • Group Reflection Guide: This guide includes group activities to support a successful team-building experience.


Register for the event online or by launching SkillSoft through the MyTools tab in mySLU.