The immigrant experience in America is about building a better tomorrow while giving back to society and to those who have helped us along the way. The driving force behind this endeavor is the pride of heritage brought to the US by new arrivals, a pride of heritage that is strong as it spans many generations and can touch countless lives.
The Irish Emigrantin partnership with IrishCentral and the Irish Voice are proud to present the inaugural Irish Leaders of New England Awards, recognizing Irish immigrantsandAmericans of Irish descent who, through their endeavors, have lead the way to a better future for so many others.
Each of our honorees personify all that is good in the Irish American experience. They have shared their wisdom, created jobs, helped those in need, and most important of all, they have made us proud to be Irish.
In a joint statement, Connell Gallagher, Publisher of The Irish Emigrant and Niall O’Dowd, Publisher of IrishCentral and Irish Voice, stated, “We are delighted and honored to present the Irish leaders in New England awards which will be an annual event. The extraordinary accomplishments of this year’s honorees show what a successful, vital, and caring community the Irish throughout New England are.
“We believe this type of recognition is long overdue. With so many individuals and organizations worthy of gratitude and honor, it was a difficult task to narrow the list to just a few recipients. Our congratulations to the Irish Leaders of New England, 2012.”
The Inaugural Irish Leaders List for 2012 is:
Irish Person of the Year - Dr. John L. Lahey, President of Quinnipiac University, CT, Founder, Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum
Leader in Business - Dave Greaney, Synergy Investments
Leader in Law - Aidan Browne, Sullivan & Worcester LLP
Leader in Irish Hospitality - John J. Somers, Somers Pubs
Leader of Tomorrow - Joseph P. Kennedy, III - candidate for congress
Leader in Community Service - Sr. Marguerite Kelly & Fr. John McCarthy, Irish Pastoral Centre
Leader in Bridging Communities - Sr. Lena Deevy, IIIC
Irish Person of the Year
Dr. John Lahey, Quinnipiac University
Dr. John Laheyis the president of Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut. President for the past 25 years, Lahey has distinguished himself as an innovative and dynamic leader who has spearheaded Quinnipiac’s emergence as one of the leading institutions in the Northeast. (More than half - 53% - of Quinnipiac students come from New England.)
As 1997 grand marshal of the NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Laheydevoted much of his time that year to educating the public about the historic implications of Ireland’s Great Hunger. He has been at the forefront of a movement to require schools to include the Irish Famine in school curricula as a human rights violation.
In September 2012, under Lahey’s leadership, Quinnipiac opened Ireland’s Great HungerMuseum, Músaem an Ghorta Mhóir, which contains the world’s largest collection of visual art, artifacts and ephemera dedicated to this tragic period in Irish history. “The museum will preserve, build and present its art collection in order to stimulate reflection, inspire imagination and advance awareness of Ireland’s Great Hunger and its long aftermath on both sides of the Atlantic,” said Lahey.
Lahey also received the Ambassador of Ireland Award for the Holyoke St. Patrick’s Day Parade in 2010. He was named the 2011 Irish American of the Year by Irish America as a leading educator and keeper of Irish heritage. In 2000 he also was named one of the 10 outstanding grand marshals of the 20th century.
Lahey, a native of Bronx, NY, received undergraduate and master's degrees in philosophy from the University of Dayton, a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Miami, and a second master’s degree in higher education administration from Columbia University.
Lahey also is a leader in the community, serving as a member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, Division 4, New York County; director and vice chairman of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Inc.; a member of the Knights of St. Patrick; and on the board of directors for Yale-New Haven Hospital, United Illuminating Company, Independence Holding Company and the Alliance for Cancer Gene Therapy.
Lahey resides in Cheshire, Connecticut, with his wife Judy, and has two sons, Brent and Robert.
Lahey’s paternal grandfather hails from Knockglossmore, Co. Kerry. His paternal grandmother hails from Co. Cork and his maternal grandmother from Co. Clare.
Leader of Tomorrow
Joseph P. Kennedy III, Candidate for Congress