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Connecticut university president tops list of Irish-Americans

Irish America magazine names John L Lahey of Quinnipiac University as its top Irish-American of 2011. So who is he?

John L Lahey (left) speaks with former US president Jimmy Carter before an event at the former's Quinnipiac University.
John L Lahey (left) speaks with former US president Jimmy Carter before an event at the former's Quinnipiac University.
Image: Bob Child/AP

THE PRESIDENT OF a university in Connecticut has been ranked as the top Irish-American of 2011 by Irish American magazine.

Dr John L Lahey, who has been president of Quinnipiac University since 1987, is given the top billing for the “unprecedented” growth in the university’s national ranking, enrolment and prestige in the 24 years since he took the position.

Lahey combines his administrative role with an occasional teaching position, taking one class a semester in his chosen field of Philosophy, specialising in logical reasoning and social philosophy.

He has also been a regular organiser of the New York City St Patrick’s Day parade, currently serving as vice-chairman of the organising committee, and works to correct misunderstandings (or “whitehwashings”, as he himself terms them) of retellings of the Great Famine.

Lahey is a second-generation Irishman – his grandfather Daniel was a native Kerryman and an immigrant bricklayer.

The Top 100 list for 2011, sponsored by Tourism Ireland, mixes some of the better-known Irish diaspora of the United States with some lesser-known figures – or others whose Irish ancestry might not be well known at all.

Here are some other well- and lesser-known figures in the (unordered) Top 100, alongside their descriptions from their bios:

Connecticut university president tops list of Irish-Americans
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  • (1) James Conlon

  • (2) Will Ferrell

  • (3) Elle and Dakota Fanning

  • (4) Samantha Bee

  • (5) Ryan Murphy

  • (6) Regis Philbin

  • (7) Jane Lynch

  • (8) Muffet McGraw

  • (9) William Daley

  • (10) Judy Collins

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About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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