The Irish Americans
Donald Keough was born in a small town in Iowa, but when the Depression hit, Keough’s father lost most of his money in the cattle market. The family had to move to Sioux City, where Keough’s father struggled to start over again.
The young Keough enlisted in the Navy and after serving two years, went to Creighton University on the G.I. Bill. He began his career in television and radio, and moved to marketing for a food company, which was acquired by Coca-Cola in 1964. Ten years later, Keough was named president of Coca-Cola.
He left Coca-Cola in 1993, having served as president, chief operating officer, and director of the worldwide Coca-Cola Company, and is now the chairman of the board of Allen & Company Incorporated, a New York investment banking firm.
After a career in corporate America, he turned to a venture of a different kind – investing in Irish studies. In 1993, with an endowment of $2.5 million he established the Keough Institute of Irish Studies at Notre Dame, his alma mater, and the Keough Notre Dame Centre in Dublin, Ireland. “Notre Dame didn’t have any type of academic Irish Studies program. It just seemed like a natural fit to me,” Keough said at the time. Notre Dame’s highest honor, the Laetare Medal, was presented to Keough in 1993.
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