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Former president of Ireland named visiting scholar at Boston College

Posted by Your Town  March 18, 2013 02:00 PM

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Former president of Ireland Mary McAleese will join Boston College as a visiting scholar this fall, university officials announced today in a statement.

McAleese, who will serve as the Burns Library Visiting Scholar in Irish Studies, said in the statement that “coming to Boston, using that wonderful Burns Library, talking with students and faculty members from a variety of disciplines, including my beloved Irish Studies will be for me a seminal opportunity to enrich and deepen the insights I can bring to my own research and also hopefully to add a little to the insights of others.”

According to the statement, McAleese became the first Northern Irish native to be elected president when she took office in 1997. She served as president until 2011.

“Believing the tides of history were changing, McAleese proclaimed ‘Building Bridges’ as the theme of her presidency and advocated for peace and reconciliation through regular trips to Northern Ireland and by hosting visitors from the North at her official residence,” the statement said.

In 1998, McAleese visited Boston College for the opening of the Connolly House, which is the headquarters for the university’s Irish programs, the statement said. She also consulted with members of the Irish Institute and the Irish Studies Program.

“Our institution's journey, from modest Irish immigrant roots to that of a globally distinguished university mirrors Mary's own life in which she persisted from early adversity to the pinnacle position of head of state in her native country,” Center for Irish Programs Executive Director and University Professor Thomas Hachey said in the statement. “And in that career she has unfailingly projected the Jesuit focus on being ‘men and women for others.’"

Katherine Landergan can be reached at klandergan@globe.com. For campus news updates, follow her on Twitter @klandergan.

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