University of Notre Dame President Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., joined host Charlie Rose and three others in a remembrance of Donald Keough, chair emeritus of the Notre Dame Board of Trustees, chair of Allen & Company and former president and chief operating officer of the Coca-Cola Company who died at age 88 in January. The show aired on PBS in March.
Father Jenkins spoke of Keough’s natural leadership and generosity, and his role in making Notre Dame a premier institute of Irish studies. “One of the things Don gives you is that he’s very generous with his resources, but most importantly he was generous with his vision. He challenged you to be better. And he had an inspirational way about him that made us better. That’s why we have one of the great Irish study centers, because Don insisted on it, because he was a proud Irishman. We went from zero to the best because of Don, because of his generosity, because of his vision.”
Rose spoke with Father Jenkins; Muhtar Kent, CEO of Coca-Cola; Timothy Shriver, chairman of the Special Olympics; and Warren Buffett, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway. The group noted Keough’s warmth and friendliness and remembered him for his commitment to family. While talking to Buffett, Rose asked what Keough’s passions were. “Coca-Cola, friendship and Notre Dame” was the answer.
Father Jenkins said, “In Don you look for technique or some trick he did, but it wasn’t that, it was Don. It was who he was, the values he espoused and lived by, the way in which he connected with people on a deep level. That gave him the power of being a great leader. It wasn’t any gimmick, it was Don. That’s what he taught me.”