Modern Family star to speak at YSU commencement

February 21, 2013  |  
Ed O'Neill is a Youngstown native and will speak at Youngstown State University's 2013 spring commencement ceremony.

Ed O’Neill

Youngstown native and television star Ed O’Neill, who is currently featured in the hit show Modern Family, will receive an honorary Doctor of Arts degree at Youngstown State University’s spring commencement 10 a.m. Saturday, May 18, in Beeghly Center on the YSU campus.

About 1,000 undergraduate students will receive diplomas at the ceremony. To ensure adequate seating and to best accommodate the increasing number of those wishing to attend commencement exercises, tickets will be required for entry. Each graduate to be awarded a degree will be allotted tickets. More details will be forthcoming.

YSU President Cynthia E. Anderson, who retires June 30, will speak at the graduate commencement, scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Saturday, May 18, also in Beeghly Center. Nearly 200 graduate students will receive degrees. Due to the smaller number of students receiving graduate diplomas, tickets are not required for the afternoon ceremony.

O’Neill attended Ursuline High School in Youngstown, Ohio University and YSU. While at YSU, he earned many accolades for his performances in productions of the YSU theater department and community theaters. He played linebacker for the YSU Penguins under the university’s first football coach, Dike Beede. In 1996, O’Neill was recognized as the YSU Penguin of the Year. Signed by the Pittsburgh Steelers, he was cut during training camp, subsequently working as a social studies teacher at Hayes Middle School in Youngstown before becoming an actor.

He is best known for the role of Al Bundy on the sitcom Married…with Children. His other television credits include roles in Dragnet, Miami Vice, The West Wing, Big Apple and John from Cincinnati. His starring role as the patriarch on Modern Family garnered him an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series. He received nominations for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor and the Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Supporting Actor. He also appeared in numerous movies, including The Bone Collector, Little Giants, Dutch and the Wayne’s World series, and performed on Broadway in Knockout, Lakeboat and Keep Your Pantheon. He married actress Catherine Rusoff in 1986. They have two daughters, Claire and Sophia.

Anderson became YSU’s seventh president on July 1, 2010. She is the first Mahoning Valley resident, the first YSU graduate and the first woman to lead the university.  Anderson served in a succession of faculty and administrative positions at the university for 31 years before moving into the president’s office.

After five years of teaching business education at Westerville South High School, she joined the YSU faculty in 1979 as an instructor of business education and technology. She was named assistant professor in 1985, associate professor in 1990, associate professor of marketing and public relations in 1994, and was promoted to professor of marketing and public relations in 2000, a post that she currently retains. She was assistant provost for academic planning from 1993 to 1995 and was named vice president for student affairs in 1995, a position she held until becoming president.