Meet ND Philly’s 2019 Person of the Year
Our 2019 Prodehl Award honoree is Jerry O’Grady. Jerry is the 58th individual to receive this award. The Prodehl Award is the highest honor presented by the Notre Dame Club of Philadelphia. It is presented annually to a club member who has made an outstanding contribution to the club through extraordinary effort and leadership. Jerry truly exemplifies these ideals.
Jerry O’Grady graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1963 and earned an M.B.A from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1965.
Jerry and his wife Kay came to Philadelphia from Indianapolis and after Jerry graduation from Penn they made Philadelphia their home. Here they raised three sons, Perry, Paul, and Chris. Chris followed Jerry in graduating from Notre Dame in 1990. Jerry has 8 grandchildren including two who currently attend Notre Dame.
Jerry’s successful business career was highlighted by long stints at Goldman Sachs, Jefferies and Coda Capital Management. His service to the Philadelphia community includes serving as a Director for the Philadelphia Orchestra and a capital campaign chairman for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
Jerry’s long track record of service to Notre Dame and our Club is an impressive one. Jerry co-founded the Notre Dame Summer Scholars Program together with Jim Nolen in 2003. Jerry’s leadership and partnership with the Connelly Foundation paired with the generous support of over 30 Notre Dame Alumni in the Philadelphia region has enabled hundreds of area students to attend Notre Dame’s summer program. In addition, Jerry created the Philadelphia STEM scholarship to provide tuition assistance each year to a deserving Philadelphia area student to study in the STEM field. To date, five O’Grady scholars have received this scholarship.
Jerry also serves as an advisor and mentor to high school juniors and seniors who are considering Notre Dame.
Background on the Prodehl Award:
The Clifford E. Prodehl ’32 Award of the Year is the highest honor presented by the Notre Dame Club of Philadelphia. It is presented annually to a club member who has made an outstanding contribution to the club through extraordinary effort and leadership.
Cliff Prodehl’s days at Notre Dame began in the midst of the Great Depression when a priest at Saint Joseph’s College suggested that he give up his life in Brewerytown and his job as a steelworker to become a student in South Bend at the age of 22. With the priest’s help, he began living and working on campus at Saint Mary’s and walking to class at ND. After moving into off-campus housing, Cliff was picked up regularly by Knute Rockne for a ride to class. Cliff was there in 1930 when the original stadium was first opened, for the back-to-back National Championships in 1929 and 1930, and for Coach Rockne’s funeral in 1931. He also served as Alumni President of the Class of 1932.
Cliff Prodehl was active in the Notre Dame Club of Philadelphia for over 65 years. More than three generations! He served as President in 1938 and became the singular thread of continuity which kept our Club intact during World War II and other troubled times when distractions stole everyone else’s attention. Because of his enormous role in the history of the club, Cliff had been honored as the Chairman of our Club, a title which he held until his death in 1999. After Cliff’s death in 1999, the Club renamed the Award of the Year to the Clifford E. Prodehl ’32 Award.