News Story

March 20, 2017

Frank Coonelly to Deliver 52nd Commencement Address at La Roche College

Frank CoonellyPITTSBURGH, March 20, 2017 – La Roche College is pleased to announce Frank Coonelly, president of the Pittsburgh Pirates, as its 52nd commencement speaker.

“My own education at a Catholic institution went a long way in shaping my professional career in such a positive way that I am thrilled to have the opportunity to address the young men and women who have completed their studies at La Roche this spring,” Mr. Coonelly said.

Mr. Coonelly will receive an Honorary Doctorate of Business Administration and deliver the commencement address at La Roche’s commencement ceremony at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 6, in the Kerr Fitness & Sports Center in McCandless Township.

“As a strong Catholic businessman, Mr. Coonelly is an individual whose career and personal life reflect the values we espouse,” La Roche President Sister Candace Introcaso, CDP, Ph.D., said. “His successful efforts to turn the Pirates around in a small market, his leadership in Pirates Charities and in supporting other charitable causes in the greater Pittsburgh and western Pennsylvania community, all support his choice to speak to our graduates and to receive an honorary doctorate of business administration degree.”

As president of the Pirates, Mr. Coonelly is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the organization, leads the senior management team and is accountable for the organization’s success on and off the field.

Prior to joining the Pirates on Sept. 13, 2007, Mr. Coonelly served as senior vice president and general counsel of labor in the commissioner’s office, where he negotiated and administered collective bargaining agreements with the Major League Baseball Players Association and the World Umpires Association. He also led a staff of attorneys who represented the commissioner and the 30 clubs in the litigation and arbitration of labor matters, and provided contract and economic advice to the 30 clubs.

Previously Mr. Coonelly practiced labor and employment law as a partner in the Washington, D.C. office of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius. A large part of his practice at Morgan Lewis consisted of the representation of Major League Baseball as outside labor counsel. In this role he assisted the commissioner in collective bargaining and other litigation matters. He also represented several individual clubs in salary arbitration matters.

In the community Mr. Coonelly serves on the boards for Pirates Charities, Allegheny Conference, Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce, and Make-a-Wish of Greater Pennsylvania and West Virginia. He also is a member of the Advisory Council of the Hillman Cancer Center, and mentors Penn State liberal arts students through the University’s Alumni Mentoring Program.

Previously Mr. Coonelly served as the revenue chair (2010) and honorary chair (2011) for the March of Dimes, was the honoree for the Big Brothers/Big Sisters Corporate Roast (2011), and the honorary chair for the Autism Connection Gala. He and his wife, Debbie, served as co-chairs for the Hillman Cancer Center Gala in 2015.

In 2016 Mr. Coonelly was named the Man of the Year by The Circus Saints and Sinners Club of America Inc. He was honored, along with the Pirates, by the Chuck Cooper Foundation, with the 2014 Career Achievement in Leadership, Diversity and Community Service Award.

Born in Philadelphia, Pa., Mr. Coonelly earned a bachelor’s degree in public service from Penn State University in 1983, where he later received the Alumni Fellow Award in 2016. He obtained his J.D. from Catholic University Law School in Washington, D.C. (1986), where he earned the faculty award for graduating with the highest grade point average. He and his wife have four children: Erin (29), Tara (27), Kelley (26) and Kyle (23).

About La Roche College: A private liberal arts college in the North Hills of Pittsburgh, La Roche College offers more than 50 undergraduate majors, six graduate degree programs and one doctoral program, with particular strengths in education, business, criminal justice, psychology, and health and medical sciences as well as interior design and graphic design. This residential college provides a vibrant campus community for more than 1,500 men and women enjoying 30-plus student organizations and an exciting NCAA Div. III athletics program. Founded by the Sisters of Divine Providence in 1963, La Roche College embraces its Catholic heritage while welcoming people of all faiths and backgrounds. With a legacy of social justice and a commitment to international exchange, La Roche College educates students to be lifelong learners and achievers in an increasingly diverse and global society.