PBS NewsHour Host Mark Shields To Give Commencement Address in 200th Year of Allegheny College

Honorary Degrees Also To Be Awarded to Daniel and Patricia Rooney and John Herbert Niles

April 29, 2015 – Political commentator and PBS NewsHour host Mark Shields will deliver the Commencement address at Allegheny College on Saturday, May 9 at 2 p.m. in a celebration of approximately 470 graduating seniors and 200 years of Allegheny history.

During the college’s bicentennial year, Allegheny will award honorary degrees to Shields; to Daniel Rooney, former ambassador to Ireland and chairman of the Pittsburgh Steelers; to Patricia Rooney, a strong supporter of higher education and the liberal arts; and to John Herbert Niles, an Allegheny graduate who is known for his work advocating for the health of women and children in the Washington, D.C. area.

Over the past 40 years, Mark Shields has steadily built one of the most respected reputations in the country for fair-minded and thoughtful political analysis. He is a nationally known columnist and commentator, perhaps best known for his political analysis and commentary on PBS’s award-winning “The PBS News Hour.” He was also a regular panelist on “Inside Washington,” the weekly public affairs show broadcast on both ABC and PBS, and on CNN’s “The Capital Gang.”

He and his PBS NewsHour partner, David Brooks, were the recipients, in 2012, of the first Allegheny College Prize for Civility in Public Life.

Daniel Rooney was appointed ambassador to Ireland in 2009. During more than three years as ambassador, Rooney used his skills as both a diplomat and a businessman to boost the Irish economy and to strengthen relations between the U.S. and Ireland. He is one of the founders of the American Ireland Funds, which are dedicated to building bridges of peace, culture and charity in Ireland and Northern Ireland. He has also funded the annual Rooney Prize for Irish Literature, which provides recognition to Irish writers under the age of 40.

Patricia Rooney’s philanthropic work is woven throughout the fabric of Pittsburgh, from her work on behalf of the Pittsburgh Symphony to the International Poetry Forum, the National Center for Learning Disabilities, the Rehabilitation Institute, the Salvation Army and the restoration of Pittsburgh’s oldest park, the Allegheny Commons. In 2011 Rooney received the Robert P. Casey Medal for Commitment to Independent Higher Education.

John Herbert Niles, a member of the Allegheny College Board of Trustees, has chaired two groundbreaking task forces in Washington, D.C.: the Mayor’s Advisory Board of Maternal and Child Health in the early 1980s and the Mayor’s Committee to Reduce Teen Pregnancy in 1997. His work on those task forces, and as the founder of the Teen Health Center at the Columbia Hospital for Women in 1986, dramatically improved the healthcare available to women and children in the nation’s capital.

The Commencement ceremony on May 9 will take place on Bentley Hall lawn, weather permitting. Tickets are required for admission only if the ceremony is held indoors in the Wise Center.