An Extraordinary Evening of Music, Dance and Celebration of the “Story of the Irish”
The new Consul General of Ireland, Claire McCarthy, originally from Bandon, County Cork, Ireland, attended from Austin. John B. Kane, Honorary Consul General of Ireland, and his wife, Alayne Kane, also joined us for the evening.
This year, the Gala honored Dr. Patrick Herlihy, who is a member of the Center for Irish Studies Advisory Board. Dr. Herlihy is founding Chief of the Critical Care Service at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center and clinical staff of the Texas Heart Institute.
The Gala Chairs were Mary and Dr. James McDeavitt. Mary McDeavitt received a Master of Arts in Catholic Education at UST. Dr. McDeavitt serves as the Senior Vice President and Dean of Clinical Affairs at Baylor College of Medicine and is the Chief Integration Officer of CHI St. Luke’s Health.
Gloria Portela and her husband, Dick Evans, were the Honorary Chairs. Gloria is a former Chair of the University Board of Directors and a director of St. Luke’s Health System. Members of the medical community of Houston represented over half of the supporters of the 2019 Gala.
One of the highlights of the evening was Dr. Herlihy’s rendition of facts about key people of Irish or Scotch Irish descent who made contributions over the last 250 years to the province of New Spain known as Tejas, later the Republic of Texas, and now the State of Texas, through land settlement, ranching, energy discovery and production, politics, education, medicine and health care.
Guests enjoyed live traditional Irish music from The Selkie Girls, plus a delicious three-course meal, an Irish Whiskey Tasting and a Wine Pull. The Gala benefits the University of St. Thomas’ William J. Flynn Center for Irish Studies.
More than $300,000 Raised
The event raised more than $300,000, including $55,000 in scholarships and other support for students to study in Ireland and Northern Ireland.
Under the direction of Lori Gallagher J.D, the Center has awarded scholarships to students in excess of $775,000 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.
The University of St. Thomas 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 of the Irish and Irish Americans around the world.