A nationally-recognized cardiac surgeon who was born in Holyoke, an author and filmmaker, and five outstanding members of the St. Patrick’s Parade Committee of Holyoke are among this year’s award winners who will wear their green in the line of march during the annual Holyoke St. Patrick’s Parade on March 18.
This year’s prestigious John F. Kennedy National Award recipient is retired cardiac surgeon Arthur “Archie” Roberts, who before entering the operating room was on the playing field for the Miami Dolphins and Cleveland Browns.
Originally presented in 1958 as the Outstanding American of Irish Descent award, it was renamed in 1964 to honor its first recipient, John F. Kennedy, who at the time was a senator and soon to be the President of the United States.
Other than the John F. Kennedy National Award recipient and the Ambassador Award, which is being presented to author and filmmaker Mary Pat Kelly, the remaining five awards recognize members of the St. Patrick’s Parade Committee of Holyoke. David “Archie” Donoghue has been named Grand Marshal, Paul F. Hogan is the Citizenship Award winner, Hayley M. Dunn is the Thomas F. Rohan Award winner, William Quesnel is the George E. O’Connell Award recipient, and David W. Griffin, Sr. is the Daniel J. Gallivant Award recipient.
“The Parade Committee is thrilled to present the 67th St. Patrick’s Parade down the streets of Holyoke on March 18. Among the thousands of marchers, bands, floats, colleens and Mummers, we are proud to welcome home, Dr. Archie Roberts, as our JFK National Award recipient. A Holyoke native, Dr. Roberts’ achievements in sports and medicine make him duly qualified for this prestigious award,” said parade president Timothy O’Grady.
“Our parade would not be successful without the dedicated efforts of our Parade Committee members, some of whom will be marching as award recipients. Irish eyes will be smiling on March 18 and I can’t wait to see everyone along the parade route,” he added.
2018 John F. Kennedy National Award Recipient: Arthur “Archie” Roberts
(The John Fitzgerald Kennedy Award is presented annually to an American of Irish descent who has distinguished themselves in their chosen field.)
Born in Holyoke, Arthur “Archie” Roberts would make a name for himself in sports before turning to saving lives.
Roberts was a standout athlete at Columbia University, lettering in three sports – football, basketball and baseball. He was named the 1964 ECAC Co-Eastern Football Player of the Year, set 17 Columbia and 14 Ivy League records and was voted first team All-Ivy three times, while playing full-time on both offense at quarterback and on defense as a defensive back. He was a member of the 1964 Playboy All-American Team and was selected for the prestigious Coaches All-America Football Game as one of three quarterbacks. He was also 6th in the Heisman Trophy balloting in 1964. Roberts was the 1965 Met Player of the Year and was scheduled to be drafted by the Kansas City Athletics as the first pick in the draft, but chose pro football and medical school instead. He was signed by the Cleveland Browns as a back-up quarterback and then later played for the Miami Dolphins.
Holyoke High School’s outdoor sports complex, Roberts Field, is named in his family’s honor.
A graduate of Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Dr. Roberts is recognized nationally for his work in cardiac surgery. He performed over 5,000 open heart surgeries and trained dozens of young doctors in the art of cardiothoracic surgery before his retirement. He trained at Yale, the National Institute of Health and Cornell New York Hospital and practiced as a heart surgeon at six hospitals around the country, including a period as professor and chairman of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Boston University. He has published over 120 peer reviewed articles and written five books.
Dr. Roberts is the Founder of the Living Heart Foundation (LHF), a 501(c)(3) national organization dedicated to combating cardiovascular disease and obesity. LHF was invited by New York City police officers to perform heart and lung health screening of over 1,500 officers following the 911 World Trade Center terrorist act.
His many awards and recognitions include, Visiting International Professor to China and India, Columbia College John Jay Award for Distinguished Achievement, Silver Anniversary National NCAA Award for Distinguished Lifetime Contribution, American Heart Association Humanitarian Award 2012 (Washington, DC area) for preventative health, and the National Football Foundation’s 2011 Distinguished American Award for leadership, teaching, research clinical excellence and motivation skills.
He currently lives in Silver City, New Jersey. He and his wife Nancy are the proud parents of six children – Jennifer, Kristin, Dorothea, Scott, Jonathan and Arthur.