Arts & Humanities

Conan O"Brien

Conan O'Brien

Conan O’Brien has carved out a career based on humor and silliness combined with determination, drive and a commitment to kindness. O’Brien was born in Brookline, Massachusetts and was raised in an Irish Catholic family.

Conan entered Harvard University where he studied History and Literature. As a freshman, O’Brien began submitting pieces to the legendary humor magazine, the Harvard Lampoon. He was accepted to the staff and served as the Lampoon’s President during his sophomore and junior years.

After graduating from Harvard, O’Brien moved to Los Angeles where he was a writer for Not Necessarily the News and other shows. He performed with the famous improv troupe The Groundlings. In 1988 O’Brien was hired as a writer for Saturday Night Live. After three years Conan left SNL and joined the writing staff of The Simpsons where he was responsible for some of the show’s most acclaimed episodes. In 1993 Conan was tapped by Lorne Michaels to take over Late Night when David Letterman left NBC.

Young people gravitated to his quirky self-deprecating humor, off beat sketches and rapport with sidekick Andy Richter. The show was routinely nominated for Emmy awards and won in 2007. Conan had a short run as host of The Tonight Show before debuting Conan on TBS in 2010. He has hosted such events as the Emmy Awards and Christmas in Washington.

O’Brien has been the subject of a documentary, Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop (2011), and has also hosted a 32-city live comedy tour. With the retirement of David Letterman on May 20, 2015, O’Brien became the longest-working of all current late-night talk show hosts in the United States, at 22 years.
Liz Caroll

Liz Carroll

Liz Carroll (born September 19, 1956) is an Irish fiddler, composer, and recording artist. Liz has toured as a solo artist and with the Greenfields of America, Trian, as the duo Liz Carroll & John Doyle, String Sisters, and now as a duo with guitarist and pianist Jake Charron.

Since she was 18, when she astounded the Celtic music world by winning the Senior All-Ireland Championship, Liz and her fiddle have been amazing audiences around the globe. She has been honored with many accolades, including a nomination for a 2010 Grammy, with John Doyle, for their duet album, Double Play. Liz was given 2010 iBAM award for Music and in April of 2011, she was awarded the Cumadóir TG4, the first American-born composer honored with Ireland's most significant traditional music prize.

Liz's recordings are in the majority her own compositions, and they have given her a stature equal to that of her playing. 2016 saw the release of a new collaborative album, produced as companion music to an exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago - "Ireland: Crossroads of Art and Design, 1690-1840 – The Music.” Liz published a book of her compositions in 2010. Collected, now in its second printing, compiles the music that she began composing when just a child.

In 1994, the National Endowment for the Arts awarded Liz a National Heritage Fellowship for her great influence on Irish music in America, as a performer and a composer. First Lady Hillary Clinton presented the award which bestows national recognition on artists of international stature.

Liz was born in Chicago of Irish parents. Her father Kevin was from Brocca, County Offaly, and her mother Eileen was from Ballyhahill, West Limerick.

Business & Industry

Kathleen Kennedy

Kathleen Kennedy

Kathleen Kennedy (born June 5, 1953) , co-founder of Amblin Entertainment with Steven Spielberg in 1982 and currently the President of Lucasfilms LTD, is one of the most successful and respected producers and executives in the film industry today.

Among Kennedy’s credits are four of the highest grossing films in motion picture history: E.T. The Extra Terrestrial, Jurassic Park, The Sixth Sense and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Her production credits include over 70 films including the Back to the Future trilogy, the Indiana Jones series, The Bourne Identity series, Twister, Schindler’s List, The Color Purple, Munich, War of the Worlds, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, and Lincoln. Kennedy is the recipient of the Producers Guild of America’s prestigious David O. Selznick Award for Career Achievement and is currently on the Board of Governors for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

In June 2012 she joined George Lucas as Co-Chairman of Lucasfilm Ltd., to lead one of the most innovative and successful film and entertainment companies in the world. Kennedy has collaborated with George Lucas on movies such as Indiana Jones: The Kindom of the Crystal Skull and she is tasked with carrying Lucas’s vision into the future. Kennedy, the daughter of a judge and attorney and a theatre actress, grew up in Berkeley, California, and began her career in entertainment with a local TV station in San Diego where she held a number of technical roles including video editor, camera operator and floor director. She then moved to Los Angeles where she produced a local TV talk show.

Her break in the movies came when she got her first film production job working with John Milius who at the time was making Steven Spielberg’s 1941. Impressed, Spielberg hired Kennedy as his secretary. She received her first full producer’s credit with E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial in 1982 and her work on the Indiana Jones films propelled her to become one of the top producers in Hollywood. More collaborations with Spielberg followed and she was executive producer both for Jurassic Park and Schindler’s List. Kennedy has worked with some of Hollywood’s top directors including Martin Scorsese, Robert Zemeckis, Barry Levinson and Clint Eastwood.

Kennedy is a beacon for other women who want to work in Hollywood at an executive level rather than being out in front of the camera and has helped dispel the myth of Hollywood being a male-dominated powerbase.

Public Service

Jean Kennedy Smith new

Jean Kennedy Smith

Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith (1928 - 2020) was the 8th child of Joseph and Rose Kennedy. She was the founder of "Very Special Arts" known as VSA, a not-for-profit international organization on art and disabilities. She was the author of Chronicles of Courage and Very Special Artists. She served as U.S. Ambassador to Ireland 1993-98.

She successfully advocated for Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams to be granted a visa to come to America in 1994 and was reprimanded by the Secretary of State for her challenging of two foreign service employees at the embassy In Dublin who were against the visa being given to Gerry Adams. Kennedy Smith worked closely with President Clinton's staff to discover a breakthrough in the Northern Ireland stalemate of the time and assisted in the peace negotiations representing the United States.

She retired as Ambassador seven months after the historic Good Friday Agreement was signed. In 1998, then President of Ireland, Mary McAleese, conferred an Honorary Irish Citizenship on her, and at the ceremony, the Taoiseach of Ireland, Bertie Ahern, stated "You have helped bring about a better life for everyone throughout Ireland."

Smith won several awards for her work in Ireland and in the disability community. In 2007, Smith received the Gold Medal Award from the Éire Society of Boston for her peace efforts in Northern Ireland and for her humanitarian work with disabled children.

In 2009, Smith and Ted Kennedy were honored with the Tipperary Peace Prize for their support of the peace process in Northern Ireland. In February 2011, President Barack Obama awarded Smith the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, for her work with people with disabilities. In October 2016, Smith published The Nine of Us: Growing Up Kennedy, a memoir of the Kennedy clan.

On May 19, 1956, Jean Kennedy married businessman Stephen Edward Smith (1956-1990) in a small chapel of the Roman Catholic St. Patrick's Cathedral, New York. The Smiths have two sons, attorney Stephen Edward Smith Jr. and physician William Kennedy Smith, and two daughters, Amanda Smith Hood. Ph.D. and Kym Smith.

Sports

John McDonough New

John F. McDonough

John F. McDonough is a sports and marketing visionary who has presided over two of the greatest professional team success stories in Chicago history and has been widely recognized throughout his 40-year career for his innovation, leadership and civic contributions.

McDonough was named President of the Chicago Blackhawks in 2007 and became President and Chief Executive Officer in 2011, building the franchise into one of the most recognized and respected brands in the sports world, both in the U.S. and abroad, over the course of his 12 ½-year tenure. He spearheaded the team’s seismic cultural change and the profile and performance explosion that attracted a massive new fan base. He oversaw hockey operations, leading the way to Stanley Cup titles in 2010, 2013 and 2015. The Blackhawks became the first National Hockey League team to capture three championships in the salary cap era. In January 2020, the NHL named the organization “Franchise of the Decade” for the 2010s. The team led the league in attendance for a historic 12 straight seasons and achieved 531 consecutive sellout crowds at the United Center.

Prior to joining the Blackhawks, McDonough served as President of the Chicago Cubs during the 2007 season, when the team captured the National League Central Division Championship. He played a key role in the Cubs becoming one of the most high-profile and popular professional sports franchises in America, during his 24-year career with the team. Before becoming President, he served in several capacities, including Senior Vice President of Marketing and Broadcasting. During his tenure, the Cubs routinely broke attendance and revenue records, while Wrigley Field became one of the ultimate sports destinations.

McDonough’s career in professional sports began 40 years ago with the Chicago Sting North American Soccer League team, where he served as Vice President of Marketing from 1980 to 1983.

McDonough received Major League Baseball's Marketing Excellence Award and was named Chicago Baseball Executive of the Year. He was named to The Hockey News list of "100 People of Power and Influence” and has been inducted into the Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame and Notre Dame College Prep Hall of Fame. He received the Saint Mary's University of Minnesota Presidential Medal for Outstanding Merit, the Bill Veeck Lifetime Achievement Award and a Leadership Award from The Ireland Funds. In 2018, he was awarded the first-ever John F. McDonough Humanitarian Award by St. Juliana Parish in Edison Park, Ill. He has spoken at hundreds of events across the country, including giving commencement addresses at Notre Dame College Prep, Loyola University Chicago in 2011 and DePaul University in 2019. He was Grand Marshal of Chicago's St. Patrick's Day Parade in 2014.

A Chicago native, McDonough is a graduate of Saint Mary's University of Minnesota and Notre Dame College Prep in Niles, Ill. He resides in the Chicago area and is the proud father of Colleen (Pete), Ryan (Katie) and Michael and proud grandfather of Riley, Connor and Luke.

Religion

Monsignor Jack Egan

Monsignor John "Jack" Egan

Monsignor John "Jack" Egan (1916-2001) was a Catholic priest who fought for issues of social justice, racial equality and human dignity. Ordained in Chicago in 1943, Msgr. Egan lived his life as an activist priest for he believed that “the primary responsibility of the church [was] to be on the side of the poor.” In that light, he challenged racial discrimination, unfair housing, predatory lending, and unfair labor policies. He responded to Dr. Martin Luther King’s appeal to members of the clergy to march in Selma, Alabama in 1965 and joined King in Selma in support for the voting rights of African Americans.

He also worked on issues of ecumenism, lay leadership within church, interracial initiatives, and the church’s commitment to urban ministry. Although Jack was based in Chicago, his tireless efforts made him one of the country’s best-known and admired priests. As Rabbi Robert Marx, the founder of the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs, stated, “[Msgr. Egan’s work was] much larger than the walls of any church. In the world of action for social justice, he played a role that spanned religious beliefs and influenced an entire nation.” For many years he was a member of the board of trustees of the Industrial Areas Foundation. The Egan Office of Urban Education and Community Partnerships is named in his honor.

Despite his deep identification with Chicago, Monsignor Egan was born in Manhattan, on 134th Street in what was then an Irish section of Harlem. His father, a bus driver, and his mother, a dressmaker, were immigrants from Ireland, and moved to Chicago when John was 6. After initially studying business at DePaul University, he transferred to Archbishop Quigley Preparatory Seminary, completing his studies at the University of St. Mary of the Lake.

Education

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Father James F. Maguire, S.J.

Father James F. Maguire, S.J. (1904-2000) began his tenure as Loyola University's 20th president in July, 1955. He served as president for fifteen years. During his term, Fr. Maguire led the university through a period of growth and expansion. By 1970, Loyola had become the largest Catholic university in the U.S.

The number of students doubled, from just under 7,000 in 1955 to 14,000 in 1970. Ten new buildings were constructed on the Lake Shore, Water Tower, and Medical Center campuses, and the university's operating budget grew from $4 million to $37 million. Father Maguire established Loyola's Rome Center for the Liberal Arts in 1962, and was instrumental in securing funding for the Loyola University Medical Center, which opened in 1969. In his role as head of University development, Father Maguire developed relationships with many of Chicago's business and civic leaders, and created several annual giving programs.

In February of 1970, the Board of Trustees appointed Father Maguire as Loyola's first chancellor. Father Maguire's duties as Chancellor included developing financial support from alumni, private donors, and corporations, and acting as the University's public representative. Father Maguire as continued as Chancellor until 1976, when he was named Chancellor Emeritus. He continued to serve the University, cultivating a smaller number of donors, until his official retirement in 1994. Father Maguire died in 2000 at the age of 95.

Science

Rachel Louise Carson

Rachel Louise Carson

Rachel Louise Carson (1907 – 1964) is an American marine biologist, author, and conservationist whose book Silent Spring and other writings are credited with advancing the global environmental movement.

Carson began her career as an aquatic biologist in the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries, and became a full-time nature writer in the 1950s. Her widely praised 1951 bestseller The Sea Around Us won her a U.S. National Book Award, recognition as a gifted writer, and financial security. Her next book, The Edge of the Sea, and the reissued version of her first book, Under the Sea Wind, were also bestsellers. This sea trilogy explores the whole of ocean life from the shores to the depths.

Late in the 1950s, Carson turned her attention to conservation, especially some problems that she believed were caused by synthetic pesticides. The result was the book Silent Spring (1962), which brought environmental concerns to an unprecedented share of the American people. Although Silent Spring was met with fierce opposition by chemical companies, it spurred a reversal in national pesticide policy, which led to a nationwide ban on DDT and other pesticides. It also inspired a grassroots environmental movement that led to the creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Carson was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Jimmy Carter.

Carson was born on May 27, 1907, on a family farm near Springdale, Pennsylvania, just up the Allegheny River from Pittsburgh. She was the daughter of Maria Frazier (McLean) and Robert Warden Carson, an insurance salesman.

Hometown Hero

James F Coyne

James F. Coyne

James F. Coyne is the Business Manager of Plumbers Local Union 130 UA. Jim is a 42-year member of the Union and in his first 25 years of his plumbing career, he worked on many commercial buildings and high rises in downtown Chicago. In 1987, Jim was appointed a part-time officer. He held multiple part-time positions until the year 2000 when Business Manager Gerald M. Sullivan, his mentor, appointed Jim to a full-time position as Recording Secretary. In 2002, Jim was appointed as the Financial Secretary-Treasurer where he served for the next 10 years. In 2012, Jim was elected as the Business Manager in the largest plumbing local within the United Association and has a jurisdiction of 17 counties in northern Illinois. In 2018, Jim and his slate of officers were re-elected to another term by “white ticket.”

In 2017, Jim and the Local 130 JAC Trustees constructed a new 50,000 square-foot State of the Art Training Center on the Local 130 campus in the West Loop. In 2018, the members of Local 130 approved Jim’s plans to construct a multi-use parking garage on the northside of Plumbers Hall. On August 1, 2019, Plumbers Local 130 celebrated the opening of their first Wellness and Vision Center in Lemont, Illinois. Local 130’s motto is “The Plumbers Protect the Health of the Nation,” and Jim feels it is important to protect the health of our members as well. In fact, the health and well-being of Local 130 members is his top priority. Healthcare will be affordable and accessible to all Local 130 members and their families with zero co-pays and no deductibles.

The Plumbers Local 130 Business Manager serves as the General Chairman of the Chicago St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee which produces the annual downtown parade. The Plumbers Union hosts the annual Parade Queen Contest as well as the annual parade fundraiser, the Corned Beef and Cabbage Dinner and this year’s event heralded the highest attendance ever in history. Jim and the Board of Directors are currently planning for the 65th Anniversary Chicago St. Patrick’s Day Parade celebration in March of 2020.

For more than six decades, the Plumbers Local 130, UA has dyed the Chicago River a beautiful shade of green. This annual tradition has attracted hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world. The dyeing of the river is the largest tradition as the kick-off to Chicago’s St. Patrick’s Day events.

Jim is humbled by the special honors presented to him recently which include the prestigious Irish Labor Leaders Award (Irish Echo Newspaper) in 2018, Irish Person of the Year (Emerald Society) in 2019 and the Irish American Hall of Fame - Hometown Hero (Irish American Heritage Center) in 2020.

Jim was born and raised in Chicago by his parents Geraldine and James J. who is a 72-year Local 130 member. Jim’s Irish roots trace back to his grandfather who emigrated from County Galway and his grandmother who hailed from County Mayo.

Jim and his wife Michele reside with their dog Roxie in Chicago. They have one son and three daughters, one daughter-in-law and two son-in-law’s and are the extremely proud grandparents of 11 grandchildren, ranging from one to fourteen years of age.