Wife of Steelers owner to give Mount address

CRESSON – The wife of Steelers owner Dan Rooney will deliver the commencement address for the Class of 2013 at Mount Aloysius College.

Patricia Rooney, whose husband is also the former U.S. Ambassador to Ireland, will speak at the college’s graduation ceremony at 10 a.m. May 11.

The Rooneys will each be awarded an honorary Doctor of Social Justice degree, Mount Aloysius President Tom Foley said in a press release.

“In each honorary degree recipient we acknowledge substantial contributions to our world,” Foley 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.”

A graduate of the University of Pittsburgh and a former adjunct professor at Robert Morris University, Patricia Rooney is focused on community initiatives and has worked as a volunteer with the Salvation Army. She is credited with launching the Rooney International Visiting Scholars Program, which brings international faculty to teach at Robert Morris University.

Her husband Dan Rooney served as the U.S. Ambassador to Ireland from 2009 to 2012. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2000 and has been recognized for his philanthropy efforts through various charities.

Mount Aloysius officials praised the Rooneys’ commitment to community service and higher education.

In addition to the Rooneys, the college will award two other individuals with honorary degrees.

Dr. Jim Walsh, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor and foreign relations expert, will be presented with a Doctor of Human Letters degree.

Walsh spoke at the college in March as part of the moral choices spring lecture series. His talk focused on U.S. foreign relations between North Korea and Iran.

“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,” Foley said.

Shirley Pechter of Altoona will also be honored during the ceremony with an honorary Doctor of Social Justice degree.

“Those who know Altoona’s own Shirley Pechter … understand the logic of her being our choice for this special honor,” Foley said.

Foley said Pechter is a generous person and is deeply committed to preventing teen suicide. Pechter was named one of the Altoona YMCA’s Women of the Year for her community service work and has served on the board of directors of the American Cancer Society.

A total of 412 students from eight states will graduate from the college during the spring commencement ceremony.

Mirror Staff Writer Zach Geiger is at 946-7535.