The Irish American Hall of Fame would have celebrated 10 years of recognizing outstanding Irish Americans in April 2020. Obviously, due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the restrictions on large gatherings, that couldn’t happen either in 2020 or even in 2021! The next Hall of Fame Gala will be held on April 30, 2022. We look forward to gathering once again with the best of the Chicago Irish community to recognize the eight outstanding 2020 inductees and Hometown Hero listed below. This esteemed group will join the 86 Irish Americans previously inducted into the Hall of Fame.
The Irish American Hall of Fame is national in scope and operated under the auspices of the Irish American Heritage Center in Chicago. The Hall of Fame seeks to preserve the “story” of the Irish in America by recognizing and honoring the outstanding contributions of Irish Americans to society. Over 400 nominations were considered from throughout the U.S. and a rigorous screening process applied to produce a final slate of 47 candidates. A voting body 100+ prominent Irish Americans from across the country elected this year’s inductees.
To purchase tickets to the Awards Gala, please visit www.iahof.org or call 773.282.7035, X10.
Arts & Humanities
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. 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.
Conan Christopher O’Brien (born April 18, 1963) is an American television host, comedian, writer, and producer. He is best known for hosting several late-night talk shows; since 2010, he has hosted Conan on the cable channel TBS. O’Brien was born in Brookline, Massachusetts and was raised in an Irish Catholic family.
Business & Industry
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.
Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith (1928-2020) was the 8th child of Joseph and Rose Kennedy, younger sister to President John Kennedy and Senators Robert Kennedy and Ted Kennedy. She was the founder of “Very Special Arts” known as VSA, a not-for-profit international organization on art and disabilities. She served as U.S. Ambassador to Ireland from 1993-98.
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.
John F. McDonough (born May 19, 1953) is a sports and marketing visionary who has presided over two of the greatest professional team success stories in Chicago history, the Chicago Cubs and the Chicago Blackhawks. He has been widely recognized throughout his 40-year career for his innovation, leadership and civic contributions. He graduated from Notre Dame College Prep High School and St. Mary’s College in Winona, Minnesota.
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, and until 1969 he was also the rector of Loyola's Jesuit Community. During his term, Father Maguire led the university through a period of growth and expansion. By 1970, Loyola had become the largest Catholic university in the United States.
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.
2020 Hometown Hero
James F. Coyne is Business Manager for Chicago Journeyman’s Plumbers Local 130 UA and long-time General Chairman of the Chicago St. Patrick’s Day parade and the annual St. Patrick’s Day Queen Contest. Jim serves as Vice President for the Irish Fellowship Club of Chicago.
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