Ed ONeill receives honorary degree, speaks at YSU commencement

Ed O'Neill at Youngstown State University

Youngstown native and TV star Ed O’Neill speaks at YSU’s spring commencement.

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

Watch the commencement address at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I01XKRkhvd0.

About 6,000 family, friends and supporters attended the undergraduate ceremony where approximately 1,000 students received diplomas and O’Neill shared memories of Youngstown and YSU.

Later in the day, YSU President Cynthia E. Anderson, who retires June 30, spoke at the graduate commencement, also in Beeghly Center.

Ed O'Neill at Youngstown State University

Ed O’Neill and Harry Meshel, former Ohio state senator and a member of the YSU Board of Trustees, visit after commencement.

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.

Ed O'Neill at Youngstown State University

Ed O’Neill fist pumps a graduate during YSU’s spring commencement.

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.

Ed O'Neill at Youngstown State University

Ed O’Neill speaks at a news conference after YSU’s spring commencement.