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2021 University of St. Thomas Irish Gala: “Celebrating the Gifts of Ireland”

More than 250 friends of the University of St. Thomas William J. Flynn Center for Irish Studies attended its Annual Irish Gala “Celebrating the Gifts of Ireland” on Nov. 12, 2021, at The Houstonian Hotel. This year marks the 18th anniversary of the Center for Irish Studies.

Consul General of Ireland, Claire McCarthy, attended from Austin.

This year, the Gala honored Rev. Sean P. Horrigan, ’98, who is a member of the Center for Irish Studies Advisory Board. Rev. Horrigan is the pastor at Christ the Redeemer Catholic Church.

The Gala Chairs were Jes Hagale and Gloria Kalman. Jes currently serves on the William J. Flynn Center for Irish Studies Advisory Board and received a Master in Liberal Arts from UST. Gloria currently serves on the UST Board of Directors.

His Eminence Daniel Cardinal DiNardo, The Most Reverend Joseph A. Fiorenza and The Most Reverend Brendan J. Cahill, ’85 were the Honorary Chairs for the 2021 Gala.

Guests were greeted by beautiful Irish harp music performed by Laurie Meister. They further enjoyed live traditional Irish music from The Piper Jones Band and a wonderful display of Irish dance by Clann Kelly Dancers. The Gala benefits the University of St. Thomas William J. Flynn Center for Irish Studies.

A delicious three-course meal was followed by the witty remarks presented by the Most Rev. Brendan Cahill, who led the now traditional “Roast and Toast”.

The event raised over $312,950, including $84,500 in scholarships and other support for students to take Irish Studies courses.

Under the direction of Lori Gallagher J.D, the Center has awarded scholarships to students in excess of $840,000 since 2006. The Center also sponsors monthly cultural events open to the public. These lectures, concerts and storytelling events highlight all aspects of Ireland, Northern Ireland and Irish America.

UST’s William J. Flynn Center for Irish Studies is rated among the top 10 Irish Studies programs in the country.

UST named the Center in honor of William J. Flynn, Chairman Emeritus of Mutual of America Life Insurance Company in New York, for his outstanding contributions to the Northern Ireland Peace Process.

The primary goals of the William J. Flynn Center for Irish Studies are to preserve Irish heritage and culture, to promote peace and reconciliation and to deepen the appreciation of the contributions by the Irish and Irish Americans around the world.