Ellis Island Medal of Honor Database

Rocco Commisso

Chairman & CEO

Society member 65d0fef93a218aa2b9b45a97f12447ce56f27ecef809fc2856d3348106491836 Society Member*


Rocco B. Commisso is one of the most successful Italian immigrant entrepreneurs in our nation's history. He is the Founder, Chairman, and Chief Executive Officer of Mediacom Communications Corporation, a recognized leader in providing advanced residential and business broadband services to rural and small metropolitan areas in 22 states, including high definition television, high-speed internet access, and digital telephone.

Mr. Commisso formed Mediacom in the basement of his home in 1995, and oversaw an initial public offering in 2000, providing him the financial resources to engineer the company's dramatic growth into the nation's 8th largest cable television operator, with current annual revenues in excess of $1.6 billion. In March 2011, he successfully executed a go-private transaction , and, today, Mediacom is wholly-owned by Mr. Commisso

Prior to founding Mediacom, Mr. Commisso was Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Director of Cablevision Industries Corporation (CVI) from 1986 to 1995. He joined .CVI following a decade in the financial community, initially at The Chase Manhattan Bank and then at Royal Bank of Canada, where he led the bank's U.S. lending activities to companies in the media and communications sectors. Mr. Commisso began his business career at Pfizer Inc. in 1971.

A graduate of Columbia University, Mr. Commisso earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Industrial Engineering, and a Master of Business Administration. He was elected president of the business school student body, and was the recipient of the prestigious Business School Service Award. He also was co-captain of the Columbia men's varsity soccer team, was named a three-time All-Ivy League honoree, and was invited to participate in the 1972 U.S. Olympic Soccer Team trials.

Having immigrated to the United States from his native Calabria, Italy at age 12, Mr. Commisso has always made it a priority to preserve and celebrate the history, traditions, and values of his ancestry, while at the same time becoming a productive citizen of the U.S. He has served on the Board of the National Italian American Foundation (NIAF), an organization with a mission to serve as a resource for the Italian American Community; to preserve the Italian American heritage and culture; to promote and inspire a positive image and legacy of Italian Americans; and to strengthen and empower ties between the United States and Italy. In 2006, Mr. Commisso was awarded the NIAF Lifetime Achievement Award.

Recognizing that his success in life was a direct result of the educational opportunities afforded to him as a young man, Mr. Commisso has poured millions of dollars of personal and corporate resources into programs th;:1t help deserving students achieve their academic goals. Through the Mediacom World Class Scholarship Program, the September 11th Memorial Scholarship Fund and the Mediacom Entrepreneur of Tomorrow Award, Mr. Commisso and Mediacom have provided more than 1,300 college scholarships to residents in the. 22 states where his company does business. By creating the Mediacom Internship Program more than a decade ago, Mr. Commisso has provided over 100 college students with paid opportunities to receive real world experience in a variety of work disciplines. Most recently, he endowed several scholarships at his high school alma mater, Mount Saint Michael Academy, in the Bronx. The Rocco B. Commisso American Dream Scholarships are designed to build a diversified cadre of successful future leaders and are awarded to students, many from immigrant families, who have achieved academic and/or athletic success while displaying leadership and entrepreneurial qualities.

Over the years, Mr. Commisso has received numerous business and humanitarian awards. On the 2501h anniversary of Columbia University's founding, the Columbia Daily Spectator student newspaper listed Mr. Commisso among the 250 greatest undergraduate alumni of all time. In 2013, Columbia recognized his more than 40 years of contributions to its soccer program by naming its soccer venue at the school's Baker Athletics Complex as the Rocco B. Commisso Soccer Stadium.

In 2010, the SUNY New Paltz School of Business welcomed Mr. Commisso into its Hall of Fame, and also named him Business Person of the Year. He is a past recipient of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award. In addition, Mr. Commisso has received a number of industry accolades, including The Vanguard Award for Distinguished Leadership, the cable television industry's highest individual honor, and inductions into both the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame and the Cable Center Hall of Fame. Under his guidance, Mediacom was named the nation's best cable company of 2009 by Cab/eFAX Magazine.

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