Posted: Tuesday May 14, 2013
May 14, 2013
James E. Rohr, executive chairman and former chief executive officer of the PNC Financial Services Group, one of the largest diversified financial services companies in the United States, was honored by Saint Vincent College during the 167th annual commencement exercises May 11 with the conferral of an honorary doctor of humane letters degree in recognition of his service to the community.
“Saint Vincent College is an academic community rooted in and profoundly shaped by the Catholic faith, Benedictine monastic tradition, the liberal arts and sciences… and the values inherent in our rich heritage,” Br. Norman W. Hipps, O.S.B., president, read from the citation. “Whenever we confer an honorary doctoral degree, we affirm publicly the values Saint Vincent upholds, and we assert that these values are not merely abstract ideals, but are in fact realities that can become manifest in the concrete circumstances of a person’s life.”
“Today Saint Vincent honors a person whose life exemplifies the ideals that we teach and seek to live, a person whose service to the community and generosity of spirit are evident in every stage and achievement of his life,” he continued. “The grandson of immigrants, James E. Rohr was born and grew up in Cleveland. He lost his father at the age of 10 and helped his widowed mother, working at a “fish house” in Cleveland, as she struggled to afford his education. He graduated from St. Ignatius Jesuit High School, received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Notre Dame and earned an MBA from The Ohio State University. He came to Pittsburgh from Cleveland at the age of 24, and has been a dynamic contributor to the community ever since. In a culture where the rugged individualist is often exalted, Jim has been a builder of consensus and community — not just a successful businessman, but a true and inspiring leader.”
“He has chaired the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, the Allegheny Conference on Community Development and the Greater Pittsburgh Council of the Boy Scouts,” Br. Norman read. “He has served as a director of the Heinz Endowments as well as the Committee for Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy. As chief executive officer of PNC, he established the Grow Up Great project, a $350 million initiative that began in 2004 to help prepare children — particularly underserved and disadvantaged children — from birth to age 5 for success in school and life. Through this project he has established an endowment in our Fred Rogers Center to support the Senior Fellows Program. Jim has also promoted protection of the environment at PNC, which has demonstrated its commitment to “Green Architecture.” Last year, he announced plans for the Tower at PNC Plaza in Pittsburgh. When it opens in 2015, it will, he promises, be the world’s largest green skyrise. Widely recognized for his civic leadership and invaluable contributions to community development, he has received the Woodrow Wilson Award for Corporate Citizenship, the Sesame Workshop Corporate Honoree Award and the Horatio Alger Distinguished Americans Award. “
He has served on the Boards of Directors of Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Notre Dame, and, for 11 years, was a member of the Board of Directors of Saint Vincent College, chairing the Finance Committee when Father John Murtha was college president.
He and his wife of 40 years, Sharon, have three children — Julie, Kristen and James Jr. — and five grandchildren.
Photo: James Rohr (center), executive chairman and former chief executive officer of the PNC Financial Services Group, was honored by Saint Vincent College for his community service with an honorary doctor of humane letters degree presented by Archabbot Douglas R. Nowicki, O.S.B., left, and Br. Norman W. Hipps, O.S.B., right.
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