St. John Fisher College to Host Irish Studies Program Conference March 16
St. John Fisher College will host its first-ever Irish Studies Program Conference on Friday, March 16, to mark the launch of the College’s new Irish Studies Program, set to begin this fall. The event is free and open to the public.
The conference, “Ireland Today: History and Heritage in an Ever-Changing World,” will include a full day of sessions centered around Irish ancestry, heritage, history, and Rochester’s sister-city relationship with Waterford, Ireland. Additionally, speakers will focus on the role which Irish Studies plays in several different disciplines at the College including English, history, nursing, communications, sociology, religious studies, and philosophy. According to Dr. Timothy Madigan, assistant professor in the College’s Philosophy Department, special emphasis will be given to the changes which Ireland as a nation has undergone in the past decade, especially with regard to the peace process between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.
“We have long honored Irish history and heritage here at St. John Fisher College,” said Dr. Donald Bain, president of St. John Fisher College. “Our recent partnership initiatives with the Waterford Institute of Technology, combined with the launch of the new Irish Studies program, will certainly serve to continue that tradition.”
The conference schedule includes:
Session One: 9:00 a.m.-9:50 a.m.
- “Frederick Douglass and Ireland: The Unexpected Irish Connection of Rochester’s Most Noted Civil Rights Leader” - Tim Madigan, Director, Irish Studies Program and Assistant Professor of Philosophy
- “James Joyce’s Dubliners as a Tool for Creative Writing” - Fionnuala Regan, Adjunct Professor of English
- “Waterford and Rochester: Partners in Business and Education” - Thomas O’Connell, President, Rochester/Waterford Sister City Committee
- “The Peace Accords in Northern Ireland: A Student’s Perspective” - Samantha Adams, International Studies Graduate Student
Session Two: 10:10 a.m.-11:00 a.m
- “Kate Wheelwright: Rochester Resident and Mother of Eamon de Valera” - Patricia Carey, Researcher
- “The Irish Children’s Program: Bringing Children from Belfast to Rochester” - Suzanne Roscoe, Admissions Processing Specialist
- “The Irish American Experience in Upstate New York” - Carolyn Vacca, Associate Professor of History and Monroe County Historian
Session Three: 11:15 a.m.-12:10 p.m.
- “St. John Fisher College in Ireland” - Greetings from Limerick by students in the study abroad program at the University of Limerick
- “Researching One’s Irish Heritage” - Michael McCarthy, Director of Safety and Security and author of two books on the Irish experience coming to America
- “How to Begin Researching One’s Irish Ancestry”- Dennis Hogan, Professional Genealogist and St. John Fisher College Alumnus
- “The Book of Kells at the Lavery Library” - Melissa Jadlos, Director of the Lavery Library
In addition, the Right Honourable Alex Maskey and former Congressman James Walsh will serve as the afternoon keynote speakers at 1:45 p.m. Maskey is a member of Northern Ireland’s Legislative Assembly, and the former Lord Mayor of Belfast, Ireland. Walsh is currently Government Affairs Counselor, K&L Gates LLP, and was formerly Chair of the Congressional Irish Caucus. They will present, “Celtic Tiger Redux,” and will speak about the ongoing peace process and the ways in which Irish-Americans can foster continued economic and cultural ties with the Irish.
All sessions, including the keynote address, will take place in Basil 135.
The day will end with a closing reception at 3:45 p.m., with entertainment provided by the Dady Brothers, the popular and local Irish music duo.
The Rochester-Waterford Sister Cities Golf Tournament presented the College with a $20,000 grant last summer to help jumpstart the new Irish Studies program, which will be led by Madigan.
The program will be housed in the School of Arts and Sciences, and will offer students an opportunity to explore the literary, social, political, religious, and cultural traditions of Ireland's past and present. The curriculum will draw upon new and existing courses offered in a variety of academic departments at the College. There will also be opportunities for students to study abroad in Waterford, Ireland.