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Frederick Douglass Irish Studies Conference Attracts 450 to Campus


Frederick Douglass Irish Studies Conference Attracts 450 to Campus

“Frederick Douglass in Ireland,” the 2nd annual Irish Studies Conference, brought about 450 people to campus on February 22, including Douglass himself.

The conference provided a full day of interesting sessions focused on Douglass’ time in Ireland, his legacy, and his role as a human rights advocate in the 1800s. Several members of the College led sessions, including: Dr. Carolyn Vacca, Associate Professor of History; Melissa Jadlos, Director, Lavery Library; Dr. David Baronov, Professor and Chair of Sociology; Dr. Richard DeJesús-Rueff, Vice President for Student Affairs and Diversity Initiatives; Yantee Slobert, Director of Multicultural Affairs; and Dr. Timothy Madigan, Director, Irish Studies Program and Associate Professor of Philosophy.

David Anderson, Community Scholar in Residence at Nazareth College and Douglass impersonator, interacted with the audience, sharing stories as Douglass.

In addition, students from School No. 12’s Frederick Douglass Club came to recite excerpts from Douglass’ speeches. Siblings Delia, Niamh, and Campbell McDade-Clay, along with Yasir Phipps and Eric Daniels, all performed for the audience.

Douglass Conference

Delia, Niamh, and Campbell McDade-Clay from School No. 12 perform.

Douglass Conference

Yasir Phipps and Eric Daniels play Douglass in two different roles.

The conference also included a private luncheon, where over 40 attendees had an opportunity to hear more about the College’s Irish Studies Program from Madigan. Dr. Donald Bain, President, addressed attendees and welcomed Erin McMahon, Professor of the Irish Language at McQuaid Jesuit High School, who performed the blessing in Irish Gaelic with her students.

Douglass Conference

Dr. Bain makes remarks at the luncheon.

“I was delighted by the great turnout and by the obvious enthusiasm shown by the attendees who wanted to learn more about Douglass’s time in Ireland, and the influence it had upon him. The Irish Studies Program at St. John Fisher College will continue to explore this important connection to one of Rochester’s most prominent historical persons,” said Madigan.

The conference was funded by a grant from the New York Council for the Humanities.

Douglass Conference

Dr. Timothy Madigan introduces Ann Coughlan, Ph.D. Candidate in English at University College in Cork, Ireland and Dr. Patricia Ferreira, Professor of English at Norwich University.

Douglass Conference

The sessions attracted students, faculty, staff, and community members.

Douglass Conference

David Anderson as Frederick Douglass.

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