|Dan and Patricia Rooney Headline Mount Aloysius Commencement||04/22/2013|
Cresson, Pa. – Mount Aloysius President Tom Foley has announced that Patricia R. Rooney will serve as the college’s Commencement Speaker for 2013. Mrs. Rooney is the wife of former Ambassador to Ireland, and Pittsburgh Steeler owner Dan Rooney. The 160th Commencement of Mount Aloysius will take place in the school’s Health and Physical Fitness Center on Saturday, May 11th at 10:00 a.m.
During the Mount Aloysius Commencement ceremonies, the College will confer four honorary degrees. Recipients include: Patricia R. and Dan Rooney, receiving Doctor of Social Justice degrees as a couple, honoris causa; MIT Professor Jim Walsh, Ph.D., receiving the doctor of Humane Letters degree honoris and Mrs. Shirley A. Pechter, of Altoona, receiving the Doctor of Social Justice degree, honoris causa.
Delivering the Invocation for Commencement will be Ms. April Tewksbury of Wyalusing, Pa., a cum laude graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration, specializing in Health Care Administration. Ms. Tewksbury is a Mercy Presidential Scholar.
Offering a Welcome message to the Commencement gathering will be Ms. Jennifer Smith of Claysburg, Pa. Ms. Smith is a summa cum laude graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology with a specialization in Counseling. She is a distinguished member of the Delta Epsilon Sigma Honor Society.
Student Speaker for the Mount Aloysius College 2013 Commencement is Ms. Jessica Seasoltz of Altoona, Pa. Ms. Seasoltz will graduate, magna cum laude, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology with a specialization in Pre-Health Professional. Ms. Seasoltz is a distinguished member of the Delta Epsilon Sigma Honor Society.
Mount Aloysius President Foley noted that the roster of honorary degree recipients reflects the need of the College to cite excellence across a spectrum of values. “In each honorary degree recipient we acknowledge substantial contributions to our world,” he said. “In honoring Patricia and Dan Rooney, we cite principled leadership, service to community and country, philanthropy and their deep commitment to excellence and ethics in athletics. Dr. Jim Walsh, an internationally acclaimed expert in terrorism, embraced the College’s yearlong theme of hospitality as our Moral Choices spring lecturer for 2013, successfully merging it with the intricacies of international diplomacy. And, for those who know Altoona’s own Shirley Pechter - her generosity and passion that drive her support of the arts, and her personal commitment to preventing teen suicide - understand the logic of her being our choice for this special honor. The faculty, staff, our Board of Trustees and our graduates are all looking forward to having these four exceptional people be part of our 2013 Commencement.”
Patricia R. Rooney
Mrs. Patricia R. Rooney’s community interests are multi-faceted and focused on improving the quality of life in the Pittsburgh and southwestern Pennsylvania region. She was instrumental in reviving the Women’s Auxiliary of the Salvation Army and was one of the early volunteers of Project Bundle-Up; a highly successful Salvation Army program aimed at providing warm winter clothing for needy children and the elderly. She recently completed service on the National Advisory Board of the Salvation Army and is a lifetime member of the Western Pennsylvania Advisory Board.
In 2004, Mrs. Rooney created the Rooney International Visiting Scholars Program. This initiative was created to enhance the richness and diversity of teaching and scholarly activities at Robert Morris University (RMU) by inviting qualified individuals to serve as visiting faculty. Visiting scholars from around the globe give RMU students and faculty a wider perspective on their chosen areas of interests. The program also increases collaboration on shared teaching and research activity.
A civic leader with broad interests, Mrs. Rooney has served on the Board of Advisors of the Pittsburgh Symphony, the International Poetry Forum, the National Center for Learning Disabilities, and The Rehabilitation Institute. She serves on the steering committee torestore and sustain Allegheny Commons - Pittsburgh’s oldest park. She has been recognized for her civic commitment with the Carlow University Women of Spirit Award and the Salvation Army Catherine Booth Award, among others.
Patricia Rooney is the 2011 recipient of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania’s (AICUP) Robert P. Casey Medal for Commitment to Independent Higher Education. Named for the late Pennsylvania Governor Robert P. Casey, who greatly strengthened need-based student-aid during his tenure, the medal is reserved for individuals or organizations that have shown an extraordinary commitment to the value of independent higher education.
Mrs. Rooney, earned both her bachelors and masters degrees from the University of Pittsburgh, and is a former adjunct professor in the Communication Skills program at RMU. A native of Pittsburgh’s North Side, Mrs. Rooney is the wife of Daniel M. Rooney, former U.S. ambassador to Ireland and chairman emeritus of the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Rooneys resided in Dublin during Mr. Rooney’s tenure as Ambassador and have now returned to Pittsburgh. Mrs. Rooney and her husband, Dan, have nine children: Art, Patricia, Kathleen (deceased), Rita, Dan, Mary Duffy, John, Jim and Joan and 18 grandchildren.
Daniel Milton Rooney
Dan Rooney was the United States Ambassador to Ireland from July 3, 2009 until he resigned in 2012. He is chairman emeritus of the Pittsburgh Steelers football team, founded by his father Art Rooney, in the National Football League (NFL). Dan Rooney was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2000 for his contributions to the game. He is credited with spearheading a requirement that NFL teams with head coach and general manager vacancies interview at least one minority candidate. This practice has become known as the "Rooney Rule."
During his tenure, Rooney implemented a philosophy and management style that emphasized open, practical and efficient management. The results have been spectacular. Since 1972, the Steelers have won 15 division championships, eight AFC Championships, and an NFL record six Super Bowl Championships. Rooney became the patriarch and controlling owner of the team in 1988, following the death of his father. Rooney is also co-founder of the Ireland-related fundraising organization The Ireland Funds.
Rooney was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the son of Kathleen McNulty and Pittsburgh Steelers' owner, Art Rooney. In the Steelers organization, Rooney has been involved in every aspect of the franchise since he was a young boy, often assisting his father at Pitt Stadium and Forbes Field. Like his wife, Patricia, he also grew up in the North Side neighborhood of Pittsburgh and attended North Catholic High School where he excelled as the team's quarterback. He was also the coach for the St. Peter's Elementary School football team, which was quarterbacked by future CIA Director and lifelong friend, Michael Hayden.
By early 1969, Rooney was managing the day-to-day operations of the team and personally selected Coach Chuck Noll. He was appointed team president in 1975 and was officially given full operational control of the franchise by his father who remained Chairman and President Emeritus, as well as the public face of the franchise until his death in 1988.
In 2003, Rooney followed in his father's footsteps by ceding day-to-day operations of the franchise to the next generation of the family. Although still chairman and to many fans the public face of the team, his son, Art Rooney II, has now assumed full operational control of the Steelers.
As Ambassador to Ireland, Rooney was well-known as one of the founders of the American Ireland Fund, dedicated to building bridges of peace, culture, and charity in Ireland and Northern Ireland. Ambassador Rooney also funded the annual Rooney Prize for Irish Literature to highlight the work of Irish writers under the age of 40. He has also been actively involved in charities in the U.S.
Among his community activities, Rooney was a board member for The United Way of America, The American Diabetes Association, The Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation, and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. In February 2000, Rooney was recognized by the prestigious Maxwell Football Club in Philadelphia by presenting with the Francis "Reds" Bagnell Award for "contributions to the game of football."
Rooney joined his father in August of 2000 as only the second father-son tandem to be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Dr. Jim Walsh
Dr. Jim Walsh is an expert on international security and a Research Associate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Security Studies Program (SSP). He was the former executive director, Project on Managing the Atom/Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program, 2002-2006; and former research fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University.
Dr. Walsh's research and writings focus on international security, and in particular, topics involving nuclear weapons and terrorism. Dr. Walsh has testified before the United States Senate on the issue of nuclear terrorism and on Iran’s nuclear program. He is one of a handful of Americans who has traveled to both Iran and North Korea for talks with officials about nuclear issues. The British newspaper, The Independent, named Dr. Walsh and his co-authors as having offered one of the 10 best and original ideas of 2008.
His comments and analysis have appeared in the New York Times, the “New York Review of Books,” Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, the Los Angeles Times, the Times of London, the Financial Times, Associated Press, Reuters, “Time Magazine,” US News and World Report, The Atlantic, The Economist, ABC news, CBS news, the Discovery Channel, MTV, and numerous other national and international media outlets. He acts as terrorism consultant for the NBC affiliate in Boston (WHDH, Ch 7), served as Iraq War analyst for WGBH (PBS, Boston), and regularly appears on Fox, CNN, NPR, and the BBC (over 500 appearances since 2001). His film credits include “Testament” (Paramount Pictures, 2004), “Meltdown” (FX channel, 2004), and “Fortress Australia” (Australia Broadcast Corporation, 2002).
Dr. Walsh’s recent publications include, “Egypt’s Nuclear Future: Proliferation or Restraint?” in Forecasting Proliferation, Stanford University Press, 2010 (forthcoming); “Sanctions Can’t Be the Centerpiece,” in Room for Debate, New York Times, September 25, 2009; “How to Deal with Iran” and "A Solution for the US-Iran Nuclear Standoff" with Thomas Pickering and William Luers in the ”New York Review of Books” (2008, 2009);“Iran's Nuclear Program: Motivations, Consequences, and Options” in Terrorist Attacks and Nuclear Proliferation: Strategies for Overlapping Dangers (Academy of Political Science, 2007), and “Learning from Past Success: The NPT and the Future of Non-proliferation” for the Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission chaired by Hans Blix (2006).
Dr. Walsh also served as editor for the book series, “Terrorism: Documents of International & Local Control” and his writings have appeared in several scholarly journals including “Political Science Quarterly,” “The Nonproliferation Review,” “ International Studies Review,” and “Contemporary Security Policy. “
Before coming to MIT, Dr. Walsh was executive director of the Managing the Atom Project at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and a visiting scholar at the Center for Global Security Research at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. He has taught at both Harvard University and MIT. Dr. Walsh received his doctoral degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Jim Walsh, Ph.D., served at the Mount Aloysius College’s Moral Choices lecturer this spring. His lecture entitled, “My Five Dinners with Ahmadinejad: Hospitality in the Context of Foreign Policy” took place on March 12th in historic Alumni Hall.
Mrs. Shirley A. Pechter
Born in Altoona in 1920, Shirley A. Pechter has given generously of her time, money, and creativity to many local, regional and national organizations. She is especially commended by Mount Aloysius College for her ongoing contributions to the prevention of teen suicide. Mrs. Pechter lost a grandson to suicide. Both she and her daughter are the founders and remain active supporters of the JED Foundation and raise funds each year for suicide awareness.
Mrs. Pechter has served on the board of directors of the American Cancer Society and is the recipient of their pinnacle Award. She has been associated with the American Cancer Society since 1965 and has been active in their Relay-For-Life; Jail-A-Thon, Rubber Duckie Derby, Daffodil Days, ACS Auction and their golf tournament. She previously served the Bon Secours Holy Family Hospital boards and those of the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art (SAMA), Altoona Symphony Orchestra and Home Nursing Agency.
She also has served in every executive position on the board of Temple Beth Israel. In 1999, Mrs. Pechter was selected as the first female president in the Temple's 125-year history and only the fifth for a reform temple in the United States Federation of Jewish Philanthropies.
Shirley A. Pechter was honored by the YWCA of Altoona as one of its Women of the Year in the Community Service Volunteer category.
Pechter has served on the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art's Board of Trustees for over 15 years.
This year Mount Aloysius College will honor 412 graduates. The college will confer 200 Associates degree; 191 Bachelor’s degrees and 24 Masters degrees. Three graduates will be receiving two degrees.
Mount Aloysius College graduates this year represent the states of Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia.