By Stacy Smith

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Pittsburgh has always honored its great citizens.

There is the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, in honor of the former mayor.

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There is Art Rooney Avenue.

And now, at one of the busiest intersections in the city, there is Jim Rohr Way. A portion of Wood Street at Fifth Avenue that connects the PNC Complex has been renamed in honor of the now-retired CEO of PNC Financial.

“Jim Rohr has changed the landscape of Pittsburgh,” said Allegheny County Treasurer John Weinstein. “The footprint that he left here, future generations will realize that,” he added. “Because of Jim Rohr, this city is vibrant, it’s growing, it’s legendary.”

From government leaders, to academia, to corporate, to charities and foundations – they gathered to honor a man who helped to steer the city from its depth in 1983 to a city that is now the envy of others.

As Rohr says, at least 60 other cities have asked how the city did it.

“And they ask for a plan, and of course there is no plan,” said Rohr. “They ask for a messiah and we didn’t have a messiah.”

“But we had lots of people working together over a long period of time, whether it was the corporations, the public sector, the foundations, the universities, working to make Pittsburgh what it is today,” he added.

Through Rohr’s leadership, PNC has grown in size and is now one of the top 10 banks in the country. In the midst of the financial crisis, it not only weathered it, it grew.

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As CEO, Rohr, like his predecessors, was committed to keeping PNC in Pittsburgh. The financial giant has left a lasting imprint on the city’s skyline, including its newest building PNC Tower, which is said to be the greenest building the world.

But for Jim Rohr, it is more than just buildings.

“It’s about the people of Pittsburgh doing things together, the Pittsburgh way,” he said.

And working together for Rohr is not just about corporations and government. It includes the universities and foundations – and labor.

“It could only happen in Pittsburgh where the head of the largest private sector union in the country had a constructive relationship with the CEO of the one of one of the largest banks in the country,” said Leo Gerard, President of USWA. “It is a testimony to the city. It is a testimony to Jim.”

If you travel to just about any part of the city, you are touched by the changes in the city because of Rohr’s leadership.

From Point State Park, to the Fifth and Forbes corridor – and especially the Cultural District.

And he is the first to admit the vision of Jack Heinz to change Liberty Avenue from the city’s red light district into the cultural trust was the spark.

“If downtown Pittsburgh still had a big red light district, right in the middle of it, would the rest of what we are looking at, would people have put their buildings here, would PNC have put their buildings here, would we have put the stadium across the river. I’m not so sure,” said Rohr.

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