Congressman Tom Rooney '89 Named 2013 Distinguished Alumnus at Annual Alumni Luncheon

by Kathy Aiello, Ed. D.
The Benjamin School Alumni Council named United States Congressman Tom Rooney '89 its Distinguished Alumnus at the annual Alumni Luncheon hosted May 23 in the Healey Athletic Complex gymnasium.

Assistant Head for Advancement Turk Lewis and Head of School Bob Goldberg welcomed the class of 2013, faculty members, administrators, and alumni at the luncheon celebration. Alumni Council President Jason Pierman '96 extended warm greetings to the graduating seniors and honored guests.

In their introduction of the representative for Florida's 17th Congressional District, upper school faculty members Phyllis Wissner, Ron Ream, and Sara Misselhorn '91 shared fond memories of Congressman Rooney as a TBS student, athlete, and friend. Although the 1989 TBS alumnus was unable to attend the afternoon ceremony due to a critical Congressional vote requiring his attendance in Washington, DC, Representative Rooney delivered a video-taped message to the graduating seniors.

The Honorable Patrick Rooney, Jr., a member of the Florida House of Representatives representing the 85th District,accepted the Distinguished Alumnus Award on behalf of his brother. “Tom is deeply honored to receive this award, especially from his high school alma mater," said Representative Rooney. "Even though it's been nearly 25 years since he graduated, Tom still keeps in contact with several of his closest friends that were classmates and teammates with him here at Benjamin. This terrific school was instrumental in building the foundation to what my brother has become today."

"The Alumni Council is tremendously proud to honor Congressman Rooney this year," said Director of Alumni Relations Jessy Padon. "Tom’s outstanding accomplishments paired with his continued dedication to the School made him the ideal recipient of this award."

About Congressman Rooney
Tom Rooney was raised in Palm Beach Gardens and graduated from The Benjamin School in 1989.  He went on to play college football at Syracuse University and Washington and Jefferson College. After receiving his BA in English Literature, Tom worked for Senator Connie Mack in Washington, DC. 

Tom returned home to Florida to attend the University of Florida where he received a Masters Degree and the University of Miami, School of Law where he earned his J.D. and met his wife Tara.  The couple has three sons.
After graduation, Tom and Tara spent over four years in the United States Army JAG Corps. Most notably he served as Special Assistant U.S. Attorney on Fort Hood, TX prosecuting all civilian crimes on post. In 2002, Tom was selected to teach Constitutional and Criminal Law at the United States Military Academy at West Point.

In 2004, Tom returned to Florida and went to work as an Assistant Attorney General under Charlie Crist. After leaving the Attorney General's office, Tom became CEO of The Children's Place at Home Safe, a home for abused and neglected children. Tom was later appointed by Governor Bush to the Children's Services Council of Palm Beach County Board of Directors. In 2006, Tom entered private practice and joined a Stuart law firm.

November 4, 2008 Tom was elected to represent Florida's 16th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. He represents Florida's 17th District and sits on the House Appropriations Committee and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. He also serves as a Deputy Whip for the Majority.
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