John E. "Jack" Rooney, former U.S. Cellular CEO and longtime UCAN supporter


UCAN believes in the potential of young people and so did John E. "Jack" Rooney III, retired President and Chief Executive Officer of U.S. Cellular Corporation, who sadly passed away on July 22, 2011. Jack believed everyone, especially young people, should have the opportunity to succeed despite any personal challenges they face in life. According to Jack, the path to success is through a solid foundation in education.

Jack's passion for young people and education is why he and U.S. Cellular have been such devoted supporters of UCAN. As a Chicago business leader, he succeeded by creating value-based cultures in the companies he has run. The business model he used while at U.S. Cellular was based on effective leadership; he believed a company's culture should motivate employees to demonstrate customer focus, respect for employees, empowerment, pride, and ethics.

Over the years, Jack's support for UCAN has gone beyond making an annual corporate contribution. It has involved Jack's membership on our President's Board; encouraging U.S. Cellular's business partners to support UCAN financially; U.S. Cellular's sponsorship of the annual Youth Leadership Awards dinner; and in 2004, U.S. Cellular's establishment of the John E. Rooney Dynamic Scholarship and the John E. Rooney Dynamic Scholar of the Year Award. The award was created to honor Jack for his dynamic leadership and recognize young people for their tremendous determination, character and drive. Since 2004, the scholarship has given seven young men and women the chance to pursue their dreams of a college education and the opportunity to become successful leaders of tomorrow.

JER 2011 Dynamic Scholar Tony Holloman and Colleen Bradley, Jack's daughter
Jack's work with UCAN has also inspired his family to get involved in support of UCAN's mission. His daughter, Colleen Bradley, is a Managing Director at The PrivateBank and sits on UCAN's Advisory Board. She recently joined the Resource Development Committee and has also graciously hosted outings at The PrivateBank for our STARS interns.

The UCAN family is greatly saddened by the loss of Jack Rooney, who was not only a great man but also a longtime friend and champion of UCAN's work. We will always admire Jack for remembering the stories of adversity and accomplishment that so many young people shared with him; he forever cherished their tenacity and courage to succeed when others may have given up on them. Their determination motivated Jack to stay in contact with many of the young people from UCAN, and he often checked on them to offer encouragement.

 "Personally, Jack was a great mentor for me.  He taught me that I cannot teach my managers to be managers, the must be leaders of our organization, and my employees are not only my employees - they are my associates.  Jack was always available to give advice to not only myself but also to our youth."
- Tom Vanden Berk, UCAN's Chief Executive Officer

Jack's involvement with UCAN enabled him to play a role in helping to positively affect the futures of young people. It is a legacy, he said, that made his journey with UCAN truly rewarding, memorable and one that so many others are now continuing to support.
The Rooney family is very proud of the scholarship that bears Jack's name. Due to the fund's effect on the lives of UCAN's young people, the family has requested that donations be made to the scholarship in memory of Jack. Please click here to donate now.

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