Mercyhurst Dungarvan collaborate on new academic initiatives

Building on Erie’s Sister City relationship with Dungarvan, Ireland, Mercyhurst College will launch a new study program in this thriving seaside market town on the southeast coast of Ireland beginning next year, Mercyhurst President Dr. Thomas J. Gamble announced today.

The program, which is a natural extension of Mercyhurst’s existing relationship with Dungarvan, where it has actively recruited Irish students for the John F. Kennedy Scholarship Program since 1985, will afford Mercyhurst students the opportunity to study in Dungarvan. Plans are under way to launch the program spring term 2010. The following academic year, it is anticipated that students will have the option of completing an entire year of study in Dungarvan.

Mercyhurst Vice President of Advancement Dr. David Livingston; Dr. Heidi Hosey, director of international education; and the advancement team’s newest member, John Melody, himself a Dungarvan native; have been working out the details of the collaboration with Dungarvan officials.

“We are excited about this program for several reasons,” Gamble said. “First, it brings full circle the legacy of the Sisters of Mercy, who were founded in Ireland and maintain a presence in Dungarvan. Second, it is an ideal location for our students to explore the rich history and culture of the Emerald Isle, and to access Britain and continental Europe.”

Dungarvan has a population of 9,000. Another 15,000 live in the surrounding farms and villages of County Waterford. Although dramatically different in population from Erie, Dungarvan is an industrious community on the water that bears similarities to Erie.

“This program will further strengthen our ties to Ireland, and will provide a great opportunity for our students and faculty,” said Dr. Michael Lyden, vice president of enrollment. “Since Mercyhurst will operate the program, our students will be able to attend classes in Ireland for basically the same cost as classes in Erie.”

Gamble said the new study program, which is consistent with the college’s strategic plan to promote diversity and global engagement, represents the first step toward what is hoped to be a more prominent Mercyhurst presence in Ireland.

“We envision a full campus operation in Dungarvan in the future, and are currently working with county and national officials, including Mercyhurst alumnus John Deasy ’90, who is now a prominent member of the Irish Parliament, to explore several interesting options, including a center for research and advanced studies.”

The Irish Times carried news of the collaboration in its Tuesday, Jan. 20, issue. Read at:
http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2009/0120/1232059662097.html.

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