Mercyhurst University, a Catholic liberal arts college, in Erie, Pennsylvania, is looking to create a campus in Co. Waterford, Ireland. Last week, the college announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with Waterford County Council officials, authorizing a feasibility study for a new campus in Dungarvan, The Irish Examiner reports. Fine Gael TD John Deasy, a graduate of Mercyhurst, is behind the campaign, which comes after years of twinning initiatives between the college and Dungarvan, including the hosting of Mercyhurst’s Global Intelligence Forum every two years in the Co. Waterford town.

“This is the first step towards what will hopefully be the construction of a dedicated campus in Dungarvan,” said Deasy, who visited Erie earlier this year to meet the university’s president, Michael Victor.

“The aspiration has always been to make Dungarvan a university town. It’s taken eight years to get to this point and it’s fantastic to see the initial groundwork has been completed.

“When I went to Erie last March I could sense a new impetus had emerged within Mercyhurst and now we are beginning to see the manifestation of that, which I hope will change the face of the town of Dungarvan for the next 10 years,” he said.

Since Deasy’s visit, Victor and the university’s provost David Dausey have traveled to Dungarvan to meet Deputy Deasy, council officials, and Mercyhurst’s Irish board.

The Irish Examiner reports that the relationship between the Co. Waterford town and Mercyhurst goes back more than three decades, with educational links to St Augustine’s College, Abbeyside starting in the mid-1980s.

For six years, students from Erie have traveled to Dungarvan to study and use the coastal town as a base to explore Ireland and Europe.

The goal of the initiative is to establish Dungarvan as Mercyhurst’s European headquarters, catering for up to 350 students each year.

H/T: Irish Examiner