A St. Patrick’s Day Toast to Influential Irish-Americans

St. Patrick’s Day began as a religious feast for the patron saint of Ireland and has since grown into a global celebration of the vibrant country and its people. In the 2010 U.S. Census, 34.7 million residents of the United States claimed Irish ancestry, which is seven times Ireland’s current population. Irish immigrants have contributed much to American politics, business, art, and literature. Today, we celebrate these notable Irish-Americans.

Joe Biden, Vice President of the United States

Joe Biden was born on November 20, 1942 in Scranton, Pennsylvania—a heavily Irish town. At the age of 29, he became one of the youngest citizens elected to the United States Senate. Biden is proud of his Irish heritage and was inaugurated into the Irish America Hall of Fame in 2013. Since taking office as Vice President in 2008, he has used the secret service codename “Celtic.”

Jack Dorsey, co-founder and CEO of Twitter and CEO of Square

Jack Dorsey was born on November 19, 1976 in Fairmont City, Illinois. He attended the Catholic High School at Bishop DuBourg High School and then went on to New York University, where dropped out to pursue multiple talents—from fashion design to tech—and ultimately conceived of Twitter. He has recognized his family’s Irish ancestry and often visits the country.

Peggy Noonan, Columnist, Wall Street Journal

Peggy Noonan was born in 1950 in Brooklyn, New York, and is of Irish descent. Known for her weekly Wall Street Journal column, Noonan is a prolific journalist and author of eight books on American politics, history, and culture. She started her career as a producer for CBS News, and then turned to speechwriting for the Ronald Reagan administration, as well as George H.W. Bush’s presidential bid. In 2010, she was honored by the living recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor with the Award for Media Excellence.

Samantha Power, United States Ambassador to the United Nations

Born in Castleknock, Ireland in 1970, Samantha Power lived in Dublin until the age of nine before her parents moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. A graduate of Yale University and Harvard Law School, she started her career as a war journalist and went on to author four books, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide. Power has served as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights at the National Security Council, and is currently the U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations and a member of President Obama’s Cabinet.

Paul Ryan, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives

Paul Ryan was born in 1970 in Janesville, Wisconsin, and is the youngest of four children—his father is of Irish descent. Ryan graduated with a degree in economics and political science from Miami University in Ohio, and he has committed his life to “advocating for real solutions that will expand opportunity for all Americans.” Serving his ninth term in Congress, Ryan was elected to the position of Speaker of the House in October of 2015.

About NAE

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