Mediacom Communications founder, chairman and CEO Rocco Commisso was recently recognized for his humanitarian efforts, receiving top honors from the Ellis Island Foundation and his alma mater, Mount Saint Michael Academy.
Commisso, who has given generously to several private and public institutions over the years, was awarded the Ellis Island Medals of Honor, joining 100 other recipients including retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, talk show host Meredith Vieira, New York Yankees legend Mariano Rivera, U.S. Navy Admiral Mark E. Ferguson III, and Washington, D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier in a ceremony at the historic landmark on May 9.
The Ellis Island Medals of Honor were established in 1986 and rank among the most prestigious civilian honors in the country. The award recognizes individuals who share with those less fortunate their knowledge, courage, compassion, unique talents and generosity, all while maintaining the traditions of their ethnic heritage as they uphold the ideals and spirit of America. Past recipients include six U.S. Presidents; Nobel Prize recipient Elie Wiesel; Generals Norman Schwarzkopf, Colin Powell and Raymond Odierno; Hon. Hillary Clinton; Sen. John McCain; Muhammad Ali; Frank Sinatra; Barbara Walters; Mike Wallace; and Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.
Commisso was lauded for, among other things, providing college scholarships to 1,300 students nationwide. During his remarks, Commisso described the struggles his family faced in war-torn Italy in the 1950’s. He thanked America for opening its doors to his father, a World War II prisoner of war, and for giving his family boundless opportunities to succeed by simply working hard, pursuing an education, and relying on self-initiative to get ahead.
On Thursday evening (May 14) Commisso is scheduled to be inducted into Mount St. Michael Academy’s “Legends of the Mount,” with five other alumni at a ceremony at the New York Athletic Club in Pelham, N.Y.
Commisso, a graduate of the school in the 1960s, established the Rocco B. Commisso American Dream Fund at the school in 2014 to provide a number of scholarships to Mount students for the next 50 years.