Former Vice President Joe Biden has been tapped to headline a star-studded tribute to Dan Rooney, the late chairman of the Pittsburgh Steelers and former U.S. ambassador to Ireland.
Biden, who served for two terms in the Obama administration, will be the keynote speaker at the daylong salute at Duquesne University on March 16.
The gala is being called "Slainte! Celebrating the Life and Legacy of Dan Rooney" – "Slainte" being the Irish Gaelic word used in toasts and meaning "cheers."
According to the Steelers' organization, the tribute will focus on "Rooney's impact on the things he loved, including Pittsburgh, Ireland, the Steelers and the NFL, and the Catholic Church."
Rooney, an alumnus of Duquesne, died in April 2017 at the age of 84. He took over the Steelers operation in the 1960s from his father, Art, who founded the franchise. In 2009, he was appointed ambassador to Ireland by President Barack Obama, remaining in the position until 2012.
He is maternal great-uncle of "House of Cards" star Kate Mara and "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" star Rooney Mara.
The event will feature panel discussions about Rooney's career, exploring his impact as U.S. ambassador to Ireland and in creating the NFL's Rooney Rule, a policy requiring teams to interview minority candidates for head coaching and senior football operations jobs.
Among Rooney's most famous quotes were calling the Steelers "the greatest football team that was ever put together" and stating about the Super Bowl game, "Getting there is good, but we're going there to win."
Moderators and panelists will include Steelers coach Mike Tomlin; "NFL Today" analyst Bill Cowher; former CIA and NSA director General Michael Hayden; Worldwide Ireland Funds CEO Kieran McLoughlin; NFL vice president Jeff Pash; and former Steelers Charlie Batch and Rocky Bleier.
The events, co-hosted by Duquesne and The Ireland Funds, are not open to the general public, but will be simulcast live at: www.Duq.edu/rooney-webcast.
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