Mediacom Communications founder, chairman and CEO Rocco Commisso was one of 38 people honored on July 4 as a Carnegie Corp. “Great Immigrant, Great American” an annual program that highlights the contributions made to American culture by naturalized citizens.
Commisso, who came to the U.S. from Calabria, Italy, when he was 12 years old, founded Mediacom in 1995 and grew it into the fifth largest cable company in the country. A graduate of Columbia University, Commisso has given extensively to educational and other concerns.
Commisso, owner of the New York Cosmos NASL soccer club, also is reportedly in negotiations with Chinese businessman Li Yonghong to purchase a controlling interest in Italy's AC Milan soccer club. Commisso is in competition for the team with the Ricketts family -- owner of Major League Baseball's Chicago Cubs -- who have also expressed an interest.
Among Commisso’s fellow honorees were Nobel Prize winners Joachim Frank and Shuji Nakamura; Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi; actor Kumail Nanjiani; New York State Supreme Court Justice, District 11 Carmen R. Velasquez; singer/songwriter Regina Spektor; and author Imbolo Mbue.
“Andrew Carnegie understood that immigrants come here to be a part of America, not apart from America” Carnegie Corp. of New York president Vartan Gregorian said in a statement. “In their faith, their love of family, and their patriotism for their adopted land, these Great Immigrants have done so much — and will do so much more in the future. For this, and for all their contributions, we respect, admire, and celebrate them.”