Did someone say gold and green? Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney today - St. Patrick's Day - was named U.S. Amabassador to Ireland by President Obama.
“I am honored and grateful that such a dedicated and accomplished individual has agreed to serve as the representative of the United States to the Irish people," Obama said in a statement. "Dan Rooney is an unwavering supporter of Irish peace, culture, and education, and I have every confidence that he and Secretary Clinton will ensure America’s continued close and unique partnership with Ireland in the years ahead.”
Praise flowed in like green beer from fellow Irishman and Pennsylvania Democratic Party chairman T.J. Rooney.
"Dan Rooney is not only a well-known businessman and philanthropic giant in Pennsylvania, but he is also well-respected in Ireland for his many contributions to the betterment of the country," Rooney said.
Dan Rooney. 76, is the recent recipient of the American Ireland Fund’s Lifetime Achievement Award and honorary Commander of the British Empire for contributions to peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland, has played an integral role in the Irish peace process since the early 1970s. In 1976, Rooney co-founded the American Ireland Fund, an organization which to date has raised over $300 million for peace and education programs in Ireland. Rooney founded the annual prize for Irish Literature in 1987 and co-founded the Ireland Institution of Pittsburgh in 1989. In 1993, the “Rooney Fellowship” was created to honor his generosity and charitable works.
Chairman of the Pittsburgh Steelers, the winners of Super Bowl XLIII, Rooney was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2000. He has been the recipient of various awards in relation to his work within the community and for his involvement with the National Football League over the last 26 years, including: the Sporting News NFL Executive of the Year in 1972 and 2001, the Maxwell Football Club Reds Bagwell Award in 1999, and, in 2008, the YWCA Racial Justice Award and the Ellis Island Medal of Honor presented by the National Ethnic Coalition. Rooney also led the sports world’s efforts to include diversity beyond the field and into the front office through the “Rooney Rule," which requires any team with a head coaching vacancy to interview at least one minority candidate.
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