Thanks to pledges of $500,000 each from Concordia and the governments of Canada and Quebec, the Canadian Irish Studies Foundation has reached its fundraising goal of $3.3 million. These contributions build on a pledge last spring of $200,000 by the government of Ireland and funds raised over a three-year period.
Campaign chair Brian Gallery and Foundation chair Peter O'Brien expressed their gratitude to the people who worked so hard on the project for the past three years, and to those across Canada who gave generously to the fund. Rector Frederick Lowy, who has backed the development of Irish studies at the university, congratulated the fundraisers.
Professor Michael Kenneally teaches Irish literature in Concordia's English Department, and has organized many complimentary film and lectures series at the university. As executive director of the Foundation and someone who was involved in the project since the beginning, he looks forward to the formal implementation of the program.
The Faculty of Arts and Science has offered courses in its Irish Studies cluster every year over the last decade. The completion of the fundraising campaign means that these courses will be expanded into a program through which students can study the Irish experience in Quebec and throughout Canada, as well as the history and culture of Ireland itself.
The campaign will end on March 16, the eve of St. Patrick's Day, with a concert in St. Patrick's Basilica by the Notre Dame University Concert Band. This event is being organized by the United Irish Societies of Montreal.