Hodges University announced today that Ambassador Francis Rooney, former United States Ambassador to the Holy See, will deliver the keynote speech at Hodges University’s 20th Annual Commencement Ceremony, June 6th, at Germain Arena in Estero.
Appointed by President George W. Bush, Rooney served as Ambassador from 2005 to 2008. The expression "the Holy See" is normally used in international relations and as Ambassador, Rooney was charged with maintaining the relationship between the United States and the Vatican.
Currently, Rooney is founder and Chief Executive Officer of Rooney Holdings, Inc. Rooney Holdings, through Manhattan Construction and other subsidiaries, builds hospitals, schools, government buildings, roads and bridges, and sports facilities, including Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas, with the first retractable roof stadium in the NFL; the Dallas Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, TX; and the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center in Washington, D.C., which sees nearly three million visitors per year. The family of companies offers construction management, general contracting and design/build services in the United States, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean.
Ambassador Rooney has served on countless community projects, including serving as Chair of the annual Naples Winter Wine Festival and as a trustee for the Naples Children & Education Foundation, whose vision is to make a profound and sustaining difference in the quality of children’s lives in our area.
“Ambassador Rooney’s depth of industry knowledge and proven experience in growing companies into stronger, healthier businesses exemplifies the qualities that we work to instill in our students,” said Dr. Terry McMahan, President of Hodges University. “The leadership skills he has shown throughout his career are exemplary, and as an institution focused on educating the next generation of leaders in our community, he is a perfect choice for commencement speaker.
“His dedication to the various charities that he works with should also serve as an inspiration to our students to give back to the community in which they live with the education they have received from Hodges. I believe he will bring a unique perspective on the world to our students.”
Ambassador Rooney serves on the Board of Advisors for the Panama Canal Authority, Republic of Panama. He is a Director of the Trust for the National Mall, a Trustee of the Center for the Presidency, and is a member of the Council of American Ambassadors, all in Washington, D.C. He received his Juris Doctorate degree from Georgetown University in 1975 and graduated from Georgetown University Law Center in 1978.
Hodges will confer degrees to over 600 graduates, the largest graduating class since the founding of the school in 1990. Additional information can be obtained by calling (239) 513-1122.