As a young boy, Pittsburgh attorney John R. “Jack” McGinley Jr. would stay at St. Bonaventure University to visit one of his uncles and watch the Pittsburgh Steelers practice during training camp.
That uncle — Fr. Silas (Dan) Rooney, O.F.M. — proved to be a “strong presence” in McGinley’s life and also within the large, tight-knit McGinley/Rooney family where athletics were encouraged and education valued.
Now, as Jack McGinley celebrates 50 years as a Bona alumnus, he and his family and the Rita M. McGinley Foundation of which he is chair have committed $2 million to enhance University Ministries at St. Bonaventure.
The gift will primarily be used to create a renewed ministries center on campus.
“Jack McGinley, like his father and mother, always recognizes the strength that comes to us when we belong to communities of faith,” said Sr. Margaret Carney, O.S.F., S.T.D., university president. “This gift will create a fitting center and expression of this fundamental creed: We must celebrate the bedrock beliefs that form our characters and we must support the ministers who keep the torch burning in each generation.”
The legacy of the McGinley family at St. Bonaventure began when one of McGinley’s uncles, Daniel M. Rooney, transferred to St. Bonaventure to prepare for life as a friar of Holy Name Province. He was a legendary athlete in the 1920s at both Duquesne and St. Bonaventure and is a member of each university’s Athletics Hall of Fame. He graduated in 1929 and returned in 1946.
Ordained as the Rev. Silas Rooney, O.F.M., he served the missions in China, the nation as chaplain through World War II, and the university first as assistant athletics director. When Fr. Silas became director of athletics, he arranged through his older brother, Steelers owner Arthur J. Rooney Sr., for Pittsburgh to hold its training camp on campus (from 1952 to 1957).
“We were a close family,” McGinley said, fondly recalling his grandparents and the many aunts, uncles and cousins he and his siblings grew up with.
His mother, Marie, often referred to her brother Silas as the “Pride of the Clan” notwithstanding the achievements of his older brother Art as its “Chief.” Faith, family, sports and education mattered most within their interwoven circle. While the public often referred to Art as “the Chief,” his mother and her sister Margaret always referred to him as “Arthur.” McGinley’s grandfather, Barney, was Art’s partner in Rooney McGinley Boxing Club and the Pittsburgh Steelers Football Club.
McGinley’s $2 million gift is made in appreciation of his uncle Silas; his grandparents, Katherine and Bernard McGinley and Margaret and Daniel Rooney; his aunt Rita M. McGinley, a longtime educator and philanthropist in Pittsburgh; and his parents, Jack McGinley Sr. and Marie Rooney McGinley. Without the legacy that they bestowed, this gift would not have been possible, he said.
The gift also honors the Franciscan friars and sisters and the men and women of the faculty and administration who have graced the campus with their service, McGinley said.
“What I know best about St. Bonaventure is that the men and women of the faculty and the administration strive very hard to give students a quality education that is values based,” said McGinley. “The Franciscan presence here is one of the primary things that differentiate the university.
“A lot of places can provide education, but the ministries program at St. Bonaventure inculcates values and creates a bond with the university that is evident in the alumni,” McGinley added. “My family is hopeful that this gift continues the vibrancy of the ministries programs and creates a first-class structure on campus to house the ministries center.”
McGinley, an attorney with Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott, LLC, in Pittsburgh, served on St. Bonaventure’s Board of Trustees for 10 years in the 1990s and as chair from 2004 to 2012. He graduated from St. Bonaventure in 1965 and the Duquesne University School of Law in 1968, and has been a trial attorney for more than 30 years. He has extensive experience in corporate, business, real estate and professional liability matters. He is a member of the Board of Directors and chairs the Executive Committee at Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott, LLC.
A director at Duquesne University and a member of the Century Club of Distinguished Duquesne University Alumni, McGinley is also a proud member of the Hall of Fame at Pittsburgh’s Central Catholic High School. He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters by St. Bonaventure in 2012.
Pictured above: (top right) John R. "Jack" McGinley Jr.; (middle left photo, from l to r) Sr. Margaret Carney, O.S.F., university president; Fr. Francis Di Spigno, O.F.M., executive director, University Ministries; Pittsburgh attorney John R. "Jack" McGinley, Jr.; and Fr. Dan Riley, O.F.M., founder of Mt. Irenaeus; and (bottom right) Fr. Silas (Dan) Rooney, O.F.M.
by Susan Anderson
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