Irish America magazine has announced the Irish America Hall of Fame Class of 2014.
Governor Martin O'Malley and TV personalities Bill O'Reilly and Chris Matthews are included in this year’s honorees.
The induction ceremony is to be held on Wednesday, March 12 at the Metropolitan Club in New York City. For more information on the Irish America Hall of Fame, click here.
The Class of 2014 are: Christine Kinealy, the renowned authority on Ireland's Great Hunger; Patrick Ryan, philanthropist and founder of Aon, the worldwide insurance giant; Andrew McKenna, businessman and Chicago civic leader; Brian Stack, managing director of CIE Tours International, who has led the way in promoting tourism to Ireland; Governor O'Malley, the top-rated Irish politician in the U.S., Chris Matthews, whose TV show, "Hardball," airs on MSNBC and is the leading political commentary show on television, and Bill O'Reilly, the outspoken host of the syndicated "O'Reilly Factor" and America's most watched broadcaster.
The McDonald family will be the first family to be inducted into the Irish America Hall of Fame.
"We are in this together, as a family,” Steven said, speaking on the phone to Irish America about the upcoming induction.
Officer Steven McDonald 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, the family has turned tragedy into inspiration. Steven went on to become a noted public speaker and a proponent of conflict resolution. Patti is now the mayor of Malverne on Long Island, and his son, Conor joined the NYPD in 2010.
"Our Irish America Hall of Fame motto is 'Cuimhnígí ar na daoine as ar tháinig sibh,' which translated from Irish means, 'Remember the people from whom you came.' Our distinguished honorees, while making significant contributions to American life, continue to take pride in their Irish heritage and promote the land of their ancestors. We are delighted to honor such a diverse group of Irish Americans," said Patricia Harty, Co-Founder and Editor of Irish America magazine.
The Irish America Hall of Fame celebrates its honorees’ diverse and significant contributions to American and Irish society, and their personal commitment to safeguarding their Irish heritage. The hall is housed at the Dunbrody Famine Ship and National Emigration Centre in New Ross, Co. Wexford, the ancestral town of John F. Kennedy.
Past inductees include President Bill Clinton (2011), Vice President Joe Biden (2013), former congressman Bruce Morrison (2013), author Mary Higgins Clark (2011), actresses Maureen O’Hara (2011) and Fionnula Flanagan (2012), dancer and choreographer Michael Flatley (2011), former Coca-Cola head Don Keough (2010) and executive chairman of Ford Motor Co. Bill Ford, Jr. (2011).
More about the 2014 inductees:
Christine Kinealy – Authority on Ireland's Great Hunger
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.
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. Throughout her work as writer and teacher, she has expertly tackled issues like the Irish Famine, the abolitionist movement, the revolutions of 1848, and Northern Ireland.
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.
The McDonald Family
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.
His wife of over twenty 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. “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.
Chris Matthews – Lifelong Political Advisor and Pundit
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.
Born into an Irish Catholic family in North Philadelphia in 1945, Chris 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. He 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 Regan.
Andrew McKenna – Businessman and Civic Leader
Andrew McKenna is chairman of McDonald’s Corporation and Schwarz Supply Source. He serves as a director of Ryan Specialty Group, McDonald’s Corporation, the Chicago Bears Football Club and Skyline Corporation. 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.
A graduate of the University of Notre Dame with a BS 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. A second-generation Irish American, he is a graduate of the DePaul University Law School where he received a Doctor of Jurisprudence.
Martin O’Malley – Governor of Maryland
Martin Joseph O'Malley, seen by many as viable contender for the Democratic nomination for president in 2016, is serving the people of Maryland in his second term as governor. 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 healthcare to 380,000 previously uninsured, been vocal on immigration reform and raising the minimum wage, and signed legislation on same-sex marriage.
Proud of his west of Ireland roots, O’Malley is a gifted musician who still performs with his band O’Malley’s March.
Bill O’Reilly – America's Most-Watched Broadcaster
Since the inception of the Fox News Chanel in 1996, Bill O'Reilly has served as the anchor for "The O'Reilly Factor," the most watched cable news program on the air. The program is famous for what O'Reilly coined as the "No Spin Zone," and features a range of programming from investigative journalism to hard-hitting interviews with conservatives and liberals alike.
Born in New York in 1949, Bill grew up on Long Island in the blue-collar Irish suburb of Levittown. After attending Catholic school, Bill graduated from Marist College in 1971 with a Bachelor's in history. He 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. He also holds a Master's in public administration from Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government.
In addition to anchoring "The Factor," Bill 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. Bill currently lives on Long Island.
Patrick Ryan – Entrepreneur and Worldwide Insurance Leader
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, Patrick 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, Patrick continued to grow his company and it was renamed Aon in 1987. "Aon" is a Gaelic word meaning "oneness." Patrick served as chairman and CEO for the cooperation until his retirement in 2008, overseeing its expansion into the largest insurance brokerage in the world.
Patrick was also the chairman of the board of trustees of Northwestern University for 14 years and in 2009 received an honorary Doctorate from the university. A Chicago native, Patrick 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.
Brian Stack – Visionary Tourism Promotor
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.
Prior to joining CIE, Brian worked with Aer Lingus, The Irish Tourist Board, and Ocean Reef Club in Florida. Brian 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. 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.
About Irish America:
Irish America magazine is the leading national glossy publication of Irish interest in North America. Since its inception in October 1985, Irish America has become a powerful vehicle for expression on a range of political, economic, social and cultural themes that are of paramount importance to the Irish in the United States. It has helped re-establish the Irish ethnic identity in the U.S. (34.7 million according to the last U.S. census) and highlights the best political and business leaders, organizations, artists, writers and community figures among the Irish in America, such as superstar and humanitarian Bono, former president of Coca-Cola and chairman of Allen & Company Donald R. Keough, comedian Kathy Griffin, and silver screen legend Maureen O’Hara.