Irish Studies Program Coming to St. John Fisher College
A new Irish Studies Program is slated to begin at St. John Fisher College in fall 2012.
A $20,000 grant from the 2011 Rochester-Waterford Sister Cities Golf Tournament has been given to the College to jumpstart the program, which will be led by Dr. Timothy Madigan, assistant professor in the College's Philosophy Department. The check presentation was made on August 17.
The biannual tournament, which took place in June, has alternated host cities between Rochester and Waterford since 1985. It has enabled citizens of the sister cities to develop relationships in support of tourism, education, commerce, and charity. The 2011 tournament was co-chaired by Jim Growney, a Fisher alum and member of the College's Board of Trustees, and Burke McCarthy.
The Irish Studies 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.
Fisher President Donald Bain, the 2011 Grand Marshall of the Rochester St. Patrick's Day Parade, expressed his gratitude to the organizers of the Sister Cities Tournament and his delight about the new program.
"We have long honored Irish history and heritage here at St. John Fisher College, so the opportunity to bring this program to our students to continue that tradition is very exciting," he said. "We are most grateful that the tournament organizers chose to support our vision for this program."
In the spring of 2012, the College will host an Irish Studies conference that will officially launch the new program. The conference theme, "Ireland Today: History and Heritage in an Ever-Changing World," will feature speakers who focus on the role which Irish Studies plays across the College's disciplines including English, history, economics, business, nursing, sociology, religious studies, communications, and philosophy. A noted keynote speaker will give an evening lecture on the history of the peace process and the future prospects for peace in Ireland.
"I'm delighted that St. John Fisher College will be furthering its connections to Irish institutions and individuals, and I look forward to working with faculty and students to encourage courses, conferences and travel experiences that will highlight the longstanding relationships the College has had with Irish and Irish-American topics," said Madigan.
In the past, the College has offered Irish-specific courses such as "Acting Out Ireland" and "Modern Irish Literature." Two memorials on campus, including the Book of Kells memorial and the Great Famine Monument, also show the College's celebration of Irish culture.
Through the new program, the College hopes to build upon its strong relationship with the City of Waterford and expand its students' knowledge of Ireland from a multidisciplinary perspective.