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RMU Trustee Patricia Rooney Receives the Robert P. Casey Medal

Thursday, May 12, 2011
Pittsburgh – Patricia R. Rooney is the 2011 recipient of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania’s (AICUP) Robert P. Casey Medal for Commitment to Independent Higher Education. Named for the late Pennsylvania Governor Robert P. Casey, who greatly strengthened need-based student aid during his tenure, the medal is reserved for individuals or organizations that have shown an extraordinary commitment to the value of independent higher education. 

Mrs. Rooney was nominated for the award by Robert Morris University President Gregory Dell’Omo in recognition of her longtime service and support of RMU, including 28 years as a member of the university’s Board of Trustees. Mrs. Rooney, who holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Pittsburgh, also is a former adjunct professor in the Communication Skills program at RMU.

Dell'Omo presented Mrs. Rooney with the award at a dinner April 4 in Harrisburg at the annual meeting of the 84 presidents of AICUP's member institutions.

“Patricia Rooney has been an active board member and an extremely generous donor to Robert Morris, in addition to being a passionate advocate for the university in the Pittsburgh community,” said Dell’Omo.

In 2004 Mrs. Rooney created the Rooney International Visiting Scholars Program, which seeks to enhance the richness and diversity of teaching and scholarly activities at RMU by inviting qualified individuals to serve as visiting faculty members. International visiting scholars offer a unique opportunity for faculty and students at the university to learn about the theory and practice of their discipline in other countries by collaborating on mutual teaching and research activities.

“I am humbled and honored to be given the Robert P. Casey Medal for Commitment to Independent Higher Education,” she said.  “My Irish heritage has implanted in me a devotion to education for all people.”

Mrs. Rooney’s other community interests are diversified and typical of her personal commitment to improving the quality of life in the Pittsburgh area. She was instrumental in reviving the Women’s Auxiliary of the Salvation Army and was one of the early volunteers of Project Bundle-Up, a highly successful Salvation Army program to provide winter clothing for needy children and the elderly. She recently completed service on the National Advisory Board of the Salvation Army and is a lifetime member of the Western Pennsylvania Advisory Board.

In addition, Mrs. Rooney has served on the Board of Advisors of the Pittsburgh Symphony, the International Poetry Forum, the National Center for Learning Disabilities, and The Rehabilitation Institute.  A favorite project is serving on the steering committee to restore and sustain Allegheny Commons, Pittsburgh’s oldest park. She has been recognized for her civic commitment with the Carlow University Women of Spirit Award and the Salvation Army Catherine Booth Award, among others.

A native of Pittsburgh’s North Side, Mrs. Rooney is the wife of Daniel M. Rooney, the U.S. ambassador to Ireland and chairman emeritus of the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Rooneys reside in Dublin. The couple has nine children and 18 grandchildren.