The 2014 Gold Medal will be presented to Mr. Ross during the organization’s 117th Annual Dinner on Thursday, November 6th at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City. The Society’s highest honor, the Gold Medal, is awarded to individuals who make an especially meritorious contribution to Irish American Life.
Previous AIHS Gold Medalist honorees include: Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan; Cardinal John O’Connor of New York; musician Bono; actor Liam Neeson; Loretta Brennan Glucksman, Chairman Emeritus of the American Ireland Fund; Author Mary Higgins Clark; Donald Keough, Chairman of the Board of Allen & Co. and former president and CEO of the Coca-Cola Company; former New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, who will serve as this year’s Dinner Chairman, and many others.
Wilbur L. Ross, Jr., Chairman and Chief Strategy Officer of WL Ross & Co. LLC, may be one of the best known private equity investors in the U.S. His private equity funds bought Bethlehem Steel and several other bankrupt producers, and revitalized them into the largest U.S. producer before merging them with Mittal Steel for $4.5 billion. He remains a director of what is now ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steel company.
Mr. Ross also created and chairs International Textile Group, the most global American company in that industry, and International Auto Components Group, a $4.5 billion producer of instrument panels and other interior components operating in 17 countries. He is the Chairman of Diamond S Shipping and previously chaired International Coal Group, which was sold to Arch Coal for $3.4 billion. He is a member of the boards of Assured Guaranty, EXCO, Ocwen and Navigator, all NYSE listed. He is also a member of the board of Sun Bancorp, and Talmer Bancorp which are listed on the NASDAQ.
Mr. Ross is member of many boards of distinction including Yale University School of Management, the Dean’s Advisory Board of Harvard Business School and The Brookings Institution. Mr. Ross has also been on Irish America magazine's Business 100 list since 2012.
In 2011, Mr. Ross led a consortium of investors as part of a significant transaction which saw them take a stake in one of Ireland's pillar banks, Bank of Ireland. This pioneering investment not only reduced the risk the Irish state had to take on board, it also signaled confidence in Ireland's ability to recover. Since then, Mr. Ross has continued to contribute to Ireland's recovery as an active investor in the country. Attending the Ireland Day Summit at NYSE this March, Mr. Ross reiterated that Ireland’s best days remained ahead.
Graciously accepting the Gold Medal nomination, Mr. Ross expressed his appreciation to the Society and paid tribute to the legacy of previous medalists, “I am honored to be receiving this award and to join the ranks of the distinguished recipients who have preceded me. Their contributions and achievements have ensured the continued strength and vibrancy of Irish American life.”
About the American Irish Historical Society
Founded in 1897, the AIHS is an international center of scholarship, education, and cultural enrichment dedicated to promoting significant, on-going contributions to the United States of America made by Irish immigrants and their descendants.
The society maintains an extensive collection of Irish and American Irish books, newspapers, archives, and memorabilia in its landmark headquarters on Fifth Avenue’s Museum Mile. Its highly acclaimed literary journal, The Recorder, chronicles the creativity of Irish writers on both sides of the Atlantic.
A center of the contemporary American experience, the organization sponsors public programs to explore current issues and celebrates the renaissance in Irish culture from its weekly lectures, visual art exhibits, and concerts. The Society has been, from inception, both non-partisan and non-sectarian.