Long-time supporter of the New York City St. Patrick’s Day parade to succeed Dr. John Lahey as chairman of the board.

Sean Lane, a long-time supporter of the New York City St. Patrick’s Day parade and co-founder of its chief fundraising arm, the St. Patrick’s Parade Foundation, was elected to succeed Dr. John Lahey as chairman of the board of the parade on Monday night during a meeting of the board in Manhattan.  Ryan Hanlon was elected to succeed Lane as the parade’s vice chairman.

Lane told the Irish Voice on Tuesday that he was “humbled and honored” by his selection to succeed Lahey, who will also retire as president of Quinnipiac University on June 30.  The vote in Lane’s favor was 11-8, and no proxies were used.

Lahey chaired the parade board since 2015 and was involved with the parade for more than 30 years. He was grand marshal in 1997.

“In Sean Lane and Ryan Hanlon, the New York City St. Patrick’s Day parade has found two leaders dedicated to our hallowed traditions of honoring St. Patrick and uniting Irish Americans promoting Irish values and culture,” said Lahey in a statement.  “This new leadership will help assure the financial stability which will allow us to continue these traditions and keep our beloved St. Patrick’s Day Parade marching into the future.”

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Lahey also revealed during Monday’s meeting that the parade’s finances are in “the strongest financial condition he has experienced in his 30 years of service,” the statement added.

“Independent auditors have provided a ‘clean audit’ of the consolidated finances of the Parade Board and the Parade Foundation, Lahey said, and all federal and state reporting requirements are on schedule.

“The largest single liability, legal fees, has been reduced to $200,000 and payments are ongoing, Lahey said.”

The appointment of Lane and Hanlon becomes official on July 1.   “I am very grateful to the St. Patrick’s Day parade board for this enormous honor and responsibility.  The primary duties of the chairman are to serve the parade community; to provide strategic leadership and to help ensure the future of the parade while remaining faithful to our mission of celebrating Irish faith, heritage and culture,” he said in a statement.

 “Thanks to John Lahey and the parade board and to the generous support of donors to the Parade Foundation, the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade has the biggest surplus ever.  This surplus has enabled us to revive the parade scholarship program, increasing the number of scholarships from six to nine, including three scholarships in Timothy Cardinal Dolan’s name to highlight the importance of catholic education. We want to greatly expand this program as we move forward.”

Lane was born in New York and raised in Co. Galway. He returned to New York in 1993 and worked as a bartender until he secured a job in the financial services industry.  He is now a senior vice president for a major Wall Street firm.           

He is an honorary member of the 69th Infantry Regiment, the Fighting 69th, and serves on the advisory board of the Regimental Trust.  He also serves on the U.S. board of the Irish National Theatre, the Galway University Foundation, and the Leadership Circle for the Northwell Health Department of Medicine.

Lane and his wife, Cielo, have two children, Sarah, 14, a lector at St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church in Garden City, Long Island, and Ryan, 12, an altar-server at St. Joseph’s.   e family lives in Garden City.

Hanlon, an attorney, is the son-in-law of John Fitzsimons, the parade board’s long-time vice chairman and vice chairman emeritus. He has been marching in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade for 10 years, often with the United Irish Counties, and has been serving on the parade Board of Directors for three years.

He and his wife, Elizabeth, live in Ho-ho-kus, New Jersey, with their children Jack, 4, and Eleanor, 1.

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New York St. Patrick's Day Parade. iStock