Hall of Fame – 2014 – Irish America https://irishamerica.com Irish America Magazine Mon, 15 Jul 2019 20:00:35 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.10 82361074 Brian Stack https://irishamerica.com/2014/03/brian-stack-2/ https://irishamerica.com/2014/03/brian-stack-2/#respond Tue, 11 Mar 2014 23:07:57 +0000 http://irishamerica.com/?p=18584 Read more..]]> Brian W. Stack is managing director of CIE Tours International, one of the largest producers of tourists to Ireland, Scotland, and many other areas of Europe. 2013 marks the 82nd anniversary of CIE, and is also the company’s most successful year to date. He is also president of the Ireland-U.S Council for Commerce and Industry. In both these positions, Brian is at the forefront of promoting closer connections between Ireland and the U.S.

Born in Dublin, Brian developed a knack for travel at an early age, vacationing with his family all around Europe. He joined Aer Lingus, Ireland’s national airline, in the 1960s working in every aspect from airport and cabin service to reservations. He eventually became a sales manager for Aer Lingus and relocated to England.

Later, he joined the Irish Tourist Board based out of New York, and then moved to Florida where he worked for the Ocean Reef Club for six years prior to joining CIE in 1990. He has served as chairman of the United States Tour Operators Association, was president of the Society of Incentive Travel Executives, is vice chairman of the Irish American Cultural Institute, and is president of the Ireland-U.S. Council for Commerce and Industry.

Of the tours CIE offers, Brian is passionate. “There are a lot of Irish Americans who have done very well and rather than just dying and leaving money to your kids, to have the experience of traveling with them and spending the money while you’re alive, enjoying the company of your family, is really lovely.”

His awards also include “Man of the Year” from the Incentive Travel Industry and “International Executive of the Year” by the World Congress on Marketing and Incentive Travel, in addition to previously being honored in the Top 100 Irish Americans by Irish America.

Brian resides in New York with his wife, Anne-Marie and they have two grown children.

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Pat Ryan https://irishamerica.com/2014/03/pat-ryan/ https://irishamerica.com/2014/03/pat-ryan/#respond Tue, 11 Mar 2014 23:06:15 +0000 http://irishamerica.com/?p=18581 Read more..]]> Patrick Ryan is the chairman and CEO of Ryan Specialty Group, a company which he founded in 2010 to provide specialty services to insurance brokers, agents, and carriers. A life-long entrepreneur, Ryan founded Pat Ryan & Associates in 1964, just a few years after graduating with a Bachelor’s from Northwestern University. Following a series of mergers and acquisitions, Ryan continued to grow his company and it was renamed Aon in 1987. “Aon” is a Gaelic word meaning “oneness.”

In an article published in the company’s internal magazine on the occasion of his retirement in 2008, Ryan remembered the poignancy of choosing the Irish word. “At that time we were bringing several companies together through organic growth coupled with strategic acquisition into one entity. Therefore, the name Aon was a perfect fit.” When Patrick retired in 2008, Aon was one of the largest insurance brokerage firms in the world, with over 500 offices in 120 countries, including Ireland.

Ryan was born the son of an Irish-American Ford dealer in a Milwaukee suburb and made Chicago his adopted home after graduating from Northwestern University in 1959. He was chairman of the board of trustees of Northwestern University for 14 years and in 2009 received an honorary Doctorate from the university.

In Chicago, Patrick has been recognized for his numerous philanthropic contributions to the city of Chicago, including purchasing 20 percent of the Chicago Bears when they were in need of financial support, and backing the Modern Wing of the Chicago Art Institute, which opened in 2009. In 1989 he and his wife Shirley (née Walsh) co-founded the Pathways Center for Children and the Pathways Awareness Foundation, which pro- motes early detection and treatment for movement disorders such as cerebral palsy. Ryan was also the chairman and CEO of the Chicago 2016 Olympic bid committee and has been awarded the Order of Lincoln Medallion, the highest award granted by the state of Illinois.

He and his wife Shirley have three adult children.

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Bill O’Reilly https://irishamerica.com/2014/03/bill-oreilly/ https://irishamerica.com/2014/03/bill-oreilly/#respond Tue, 11 Mar 2014 23:05:20 +0000 http://irishamerica.com/?p=18577 Read more..]]> Since the inception of the Fox News Channel in 1996, Bill O’Reilly has served as the anchor for “The O’Reilly Factor,” the most watched cable news program on the air.

Born in New York in 1949, Bill grew up on Long Island in the blue-collar Irish suburb of Levittown. His father traces his lineage back to at least the early 18th century in County Cavan, and his mother’s side is from Northern Ireland. Bill recognizes the impact that heritage has on his upbringing and his current ideologies and practices.

“My people were Kennedys, McLaughlins and O’Reillys, and because I had that strain going back 80 or 90 years since my people came over, those lessons I was taught as a child made a tremendous impression on me,” he told our partner publication, the Irish Voice, in 2008.

“Whenever you get people in a working-class environment you get people who have a tremendous loyalty to their country, who are opposed to dramatic change. They don’t want it; they don’t know why it’s necessary. They have a strong loyalty to tradition. That’s still there.”

After attending Catholic school, he graduated from Marist College in 1971 with a Bachelor’s in history. “Whatever I have done or will do in this life,” O’Reilly wrote in his first best- selling book, The O’ Reilly Factor, “I’ m working-class Irish American.”

O’Reilly later received a Master’s in broadcast journalism from Boston University and since then has been on the air. In 1989, he became the host of “Inside Edition,” before joining Fox for its inaugural season. O’Reilly also holds a Master’s in public administration from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

In addition to anchoring “The O’Reilly Factor,” O’Reilly has published a novel, five works of non-fiction based on his program, one best-selling memoir, A Bold Fresh Piece of Humanity, and a series of well-received works of history, most recently Killing Jesus. All three history books have reached number one on the New York Times Best Sellers list and in 2013 Killing Kennedy was adapted by the History Channel to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the assassination.

O’Reilly has a daughter, Madeline (born 1998), and a son, Spencer (born 2003), with his former wife, Maureen E. McPhilmy.

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Martin O’Malley https://irishamerica.com/2014/03/martin-omalley/ https://irishamerica.com/2014/03/martin-omalley/#respond Tue, 11 Mar 2014 23:04:58 +0000 http://irishamerica.com/?p=18573 Read more..]]> Martin O’Malley is the governor of Maryland and the former mayor of Baltimore. He is also seen by many as viable contender for the Democratic nomination for president in 2016.

In 1999, at the age of 37, O’Malley became the mayor of Baltimore. After two terms the city’s crime rate was the low- est it had been in over three decades, and investment at an all time high. In 2005, Business Week featured O’Malley as one of the “new stars” in the Democratic party. In 2006, he ran against a Republican incumbent governor and won, and was re-elected in 2010.

Called “arguably the best manager in government” by Washington Monthly magazine, O’Malley has championed education (MD has the #1 ranking for best public schools in America), entrepreneurship (one of the top two states for science and technology), and environment – the creation of thousands of green energy sector jobs, and has still cut state spending more than any previous governor in Maryland’s history. He has also expanded health care to 400,000 previously uninsured, been vocal on immigration reform and raising the minimum wage, and signed legislation on same-sex marriage.

He was born, one of six children, in Washington, D.C. to Barbara and Thomas O’Malley, a former U.S Army Air Force pilot. It was his family who gave him the spark to enter public service. His dad’s father was a ward leader in Pittsburgh during the Roosevelt years.

As a young boy he checked out all of the Irish history books at his local library, and remains connected to his Connemara roots through song, culture, and his cousins in Ireland. O’Malley is a gifted musician who still performs with his band O’Malley’s March.

Educated by the Jesuits, O’Malley quotes Georgetown historian Carroll Quigley: “Tomorrow can be better than today and that each of us has a personal and moral respon- sibility to make it so.”

O’Malley is married to Catherine Curran, who has roots in Co. Kilkenny, and was a former Assistant State Attorney and is now a Maryland state judge. They have been married since 1990 and have four children: Grace (named for Grace O’Malley, the Pirate Queen), Tara, William, and Jack.

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Andrew McKenna https://irishamerica.com/2014/03/andrew-mckenna-4/ https://irishamerica.com/2014/03/andrew-mckenna-4/#respond Tue, 11 Mar 2014 23:03:22 +0000 http://irishamerica.com/?p=18570 Read more..]]> Andrew McKenna is one of Chicago’s premier businessmen. He is nicknamed “St. Andrew of the Boardroom” because most of his work happens behind the scenes and he is a highly sought-after figure in the field of corporate governance.

Currently, Andrew serves as chairman of McDonald’s Corporation and Schwarz Supply Source (a position he has held since 1964). He is also a director of Ryan Specialty Group, McDonald’s Corporation, the Chicago Bears Football Club and Skyline Corporation.

The father of seven and grandfather of 24, Andrew is a native Chicagoan who himself is one of six children. His father, Andrew J. McKenna, Sr., was a first- generation Irish American, with roots in Mayo and Monaghan, who joined the Dunn Coal Company in 1917 as a clerk and worked his way up the corporate rungs until he retired in 1971 as its president and CEO. He and his family were highly active in the Catholic community in Chicago and that balance of family, religion, and civic service is one that Andy still holds today. “I think family life is very important,” He said in an interview with Leaders magazine. “There is probably never a weekend when we don’t have some family experience.”

In addition to his private sector positions, he is a director of the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, the Big Shoulders Fund, the Ireland Economic Advisory Board, Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Museum of Science and Industry, Civic Committee and the United Way of Metropolitan Chicago.

And he has called for other corporate leaders to involve themselves with the community around them. “All of us need to recognize there are community needs we must respond to, and while it may be personally fulfilling to help, it’s also critically important to do so,” he says.

A graduate of the University of Notre Dame with a B.S. in business administration, McKenna was awarded the university’s Laetare Medal in 2000. He served as the chairman of the board of trustees from 1992-2000 and continues on the board today. McKenna is a graduate of the DePaul University Law School where he received a Doctor of Jurisprudence.

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The McDonald Family https://irishamerica.com/2014/03/the-mcdonald-family/ https://irishamerica.com/2014/03/the-mcdonald-family/#respond Tue, 11 Mar 2014 23:02:36 +0000 http://irishamerica.com/?p=18567 Read more..]]> A gunshot changed Steven McDonald’s life forever.  As a young NYPD detective he was shot on July 12, 1986 when questioning a 15-year old about possible bicycle thefts. The shooting left him a quadriplegic. But with the help of family and friends, notably his wife Patti who was pregnant with their son Conor at the time, he turned tragedy into inspiration and went on to become a noted public speaker, notably on behalf of the NYPD, peace initiatives in Northern Ireland, the U.S. Navy (he was a hospital corpsman) and speaking with students about violence and forgiveness.

In 1998, as Northern Ireland was experiencing the worst sectarian violence in years, Steven spoke in both Protestant and Catholic neighborhoods and returned the following year with his message of “Faith and Forgiveness.”

“I spent part of four summers up in the North, and people there helped me more in my situation than I’ve helped them,” he says. “We went in 1998, ’99, and 2000 and we went back in 2008.”

His wife of over twenty-seven years, Patricia Ann McDonald, was elected Mayor of Malverne on Long Island in March 2007 and his son, Conor McDonald, joined the NYPD in 2010.

Both Patti Ann and Steven grew up on Long Island – Patti in Malverne, where her father taught English at a local high school, Steven in nearby Rockville Centre. He was one of eight children and both his father and maternal grandfather were New York City cops. After a stint in the Navy, he followed in their path and joined the NYPD.

As a cop, Conor says it’s tough to deal with a lot of things but that he’s lucky to have had people ahead of him who taught him the right way. “You do your best to protect and serve. I work with men and women who take that seriously. There’s a lot of people who need help. That’s why you have your first responders; you have the NYPD and the FDNY. You have your EMS – some of the hardest working guys in the city.”

“We are in this together, as a family,” Steven said speaking on the phone to Irish America. And we are proud to honor the McDonalds as the first family to be inducted into the Irish America Hall of Fame.

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Chris Matthews https://irishamerica.com/2014/03/chris-matthews/ https://irishamerica.com/2014/03/chris-matthews/#respond Tue, 11 Mar 2014 23:01:32 +0000 http://irishamerica.com/?p=18564 Read more..]]> Chris Matthews has been the host of “Hardball,” an hour-long political show that airs weeknights MSNBC, since 1997.  He was also the host of “The Chris Matthews Show” from 2002 -2013, a NBC-syndicated half-hour weekly Sunday program.

Matthews was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Mary Teresa (née Shields) and Herb Matthews, a court reporter. His father was a Protestant of English and Northern Irish ancestry, and his mother was from an Irish Catholic family.

Chris fondly remembers his paternal grand- mother, an immigrant from Northern Ireland who, once widowed, single-handedly built a successful laundry service. “She spoke with an Irish accent and conveyed a strong, upbeat, fun-loving attitude her whole life,” he said.

Raised Irish Catholic, Matthews attended Holy Cross College, and after a stint in the Peace Corps moved to Washington in 1971. He worked for various politicians including Tip O’Neill and Ralph Nader and went on to become a speechwriter for Democratic president Jimmy Carter. He turned to journalism after that and soon became the Washington bureau chief for the San Francisco Chronicle, and his fiery on-air style as a commentator on shows such as the McLaughlin Group earned him his own show.

Matthews is the author of numerous books including his latest, Tip and the Gipper is about the relationship between Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill and President Ronald Reagan. He holds honorary degrees from numerous universities and colleges, including Washington University, Howard University, College of Holy Cross, and Fordham.

Matthews is married to Kathleen Matthews (née Cunningham), Executive Vice President of Marriott International.

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Christine Kinealy https://irishamerica.com/2014/03/christine-kinealy-2/ https://irishamerica.com/2014/03/christine-kinealy-2/#respond Tue, 11 Mar 2014 23:00:41 +0000 http://irishamerica.com/?p=18560 Read more..]]> World-renowned Irish historian and prolific author, Professor Christine Kinealy is founding director of the Ireland’s Great Hunger Institute at Quinnipiac University, a scholarly resource for the study of the Great Hunger. She has also been appointed professor of history at Quinnipiac.

While Kinealy is an authority on Irish history, she was raised in Liverpool and never learned Irish history in school. She says of her youth, “Irish people living in Britain lived under the tremendous strain of trying to remain invisible.” It was not until she began her Ph.D. at Trinity College that the voices of Irish history denied in her youth were heard.

Beginning with her Ph.D dissertation at Trinity College on the Irish workhouse system and continuing with her breakthrough book This Great Calamity: The Irish Famine 1845-52 (Irish Post Book of the Year 1995), Kinealy has been an influential authority on Ireland. Her most recent book, Charity and the Great Hunger in Ireland: The Kindness of Strangers (2014), sheds a groundbreaking light on some of the many donations that were made to Ireland during the Famine.

As founding director of Ireland’s Great Hunger Institute, she is responsible for developing new scholarship about this tragic period in Ireland’s history. Her 2014 public programs at IGHI include a significant new exhibition, The Lady Sligo Papers (April), and hosting the XX Ulster American Heritage Symposium (June), the first time this prestigious event has been held in a northern US state.

Of her Irish heritage, Kinealy says: “The Kinealys (and our family spelled it in many ways – my grandparents on this side were illiterate) were from Tipperary; and on my mum’s side, Mayo – Ballycastle and Castlebar. I love Tipperary, but when I return to Mayo, which is often, I feel I am home. Both my parents are now dead – I was the youngest child and, typically, now regret not asking more questions when they were around.”

Her daughter Siobhan was born in Dublin and is currently a law student at Rutgers University in Newark, New Jersey. Her son Ciaran was born in Belfast and currently lives in New York with his wife.

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