Marijo Russell O’Gradyhails from Western New York, Chautauqua County. She received her bachelor of science and master of science from State University College at Buffalo in art education with a concentration in art therapy. She worked in residential life during her undergraduate and graduate tenure at SUC at Buffalo. O'Grady worked at North Adams State College as a residence director, then moved to Rivier College in Nashua, NH as the director of student activities/assistant director of residents. She moved to New York City in 1989 and began a PhD program in higher education administration at New York University, while working full-time in housing and residential life, as the coordinator of residential student development. Her dissertation was centered around racial identity theory and first year African-American students at a predominantly shite institutions and completed in 1999.
O'Grady has served as the dean for students at Pace University since June 1998 and oversees the areas of Student Development and Campus Activities, orientation, Housing and Residential Life, counseling services including including disabilities and wellness, Multicultural Affairs, the student information desk, and judicial affairs.