Bill Demchak ‘84 Receives Highest Honor from The Ireland Fund

It was a sea of green and black elegance at The Ireland Funds Pittsburgh Gala 2024. In the midst of that palette was a table full of navy and gold. Bill Demchak ‘84 was the evening’s honoree, and his former Allegheny fraternity brothers and their wives, along with Bill’s family, came to celebrate. 

The event is part of a global philanthropic network established in 1976 by Dan Rooney, then-owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Its aim is to promote and support peace, culture, education, and community development throughout the island of Ireland and Irish-related causes around the world. With chapters in 12 countries, The Ireland Funds has raised over $600 million for deserving causes, benefitting more than 3,200 different organizations. 

Demchak received the Daniel M. Rooney Ambassador’s Award, presented to those who reflect Ambassador Rooney’s leadership, love of Pittsburgh, and contributions to the community. As the top leader for PNC Bank for more than a decade, the Fund noted that Demchak “has embodied those attributes to lead the organization into a national banking powerhouse with a major impact across our community.” Pittsburgh Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin presented the award and introduced Demchak.

Bill and Alumni

His contributions to the region are significant. Demchak and his wife Debbie personally fund a scholarship program through the Pittsburgh Promise to get more Black educators into the Pittsburgh Public School system. He serves on the boards of directors of the Extra Mile Education Foundation, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust and the Allegheny Conference on Community Development. An example of this leadership can be found in Second Avenue Commons, a low-barrier homeless shelter for adults who are experiencing homelessness. 

Because the Pittsburgh event staff was led by John Woderak ‘93 of the Steelers special events office, he knew making an Allegheny connection part of Demchak’s biography was important.  The wheels leapt into motion, and from across the Atlantic former fraternity brother Dag Skattum ‘84 helped gather old friends to travel to Pittsburgh for the honor. 

As always, the strong bond among alumni and between alumni and the College resulted in a joyful success, bringing together old friends. In attendance were: Bill ’84 and Debbie Demchak, Bill’s mother, Tina Demchak, Dag Skattum ’84, Paul Malone ’85, Brian Held ’84, Jerry Goodrick ’82 and Lisa Matson Goodrick ’81, Dusty Kirk ’75, Maureen Fertig ’84, Ted Black ’87, Amy Eozzo Black ’87, Chris ’87 and Christina Brussalis.

While at Allegheny College, Demchak developed his leadership skills as a member of student government and as a member of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity. Ever unpretentious, Demchak’s philosophy, reflected in the event program, mirrors what could also be said of the Allegheny College approach to life. “Learn from your failures and surround yourself with people who challenge you.” 

The evening’s other honorees, Charlie and Latitia Batch, were recipients of the Patricia R. Rooney Community Impact Award.