Alumni office holds virtual St Patrick’s Day celebrations across the US

Devin Sean Martin

The DCU Alumni Office held its international St Patrick’s day celebrations with events taking place throughout last week.

The office hosted virtual meetings for their alumni networks in San Francisco, Washington DC, and New York City, which included panel discussions from alumni and networking events for the attendees.

“In a crisis, bad organisations fail, good organisations survive, and really great organisations flourish, and I think as a university that we have flourished,” said DCU President Daire Keogh at the beginning of his address during the New York chapter.

“Our mission is always to transform lives, and alumni certainly play a role in that. I could ask anybody around the table, how did you transform lives and societies this year? And each and every one of you could give us a unique story” he said.

The events are the first alumni St Patrick’s Day celebrations the university has held in over two years, since last year’s were cancelled on short notice as the pandemic began to take hold around the world.

“These events are a way to develop two-way mutual support with graduates,” said Ross Munnelly, Director of Alumni Relations at DCU.

“During St. Patrick’s week, it’s nice for all of our Irish abroad to be able to connect and give them a little bit of a taste of home,” added Liam Kane, Alumni events assistant.

During the events, Alumni Relations Officer and host Leanne Hanafin highlighted one of DCU’s fastest-growing programmes throughout the pandemic.

“We’ve seen record numbers of participants on out structured mentorship programme, with over 600 taking part this year” she said

Ciara Cronin, who worked as a mentor this year and was one of the panelists for the New York panel discussion, echoed how much the programme has thrived.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to participate in the mentorship programme for a few years, and I have to say this has actually been the most rewarding one yet,” she said.

Cronin has always done the programme virtually given that she lives in Seattle, but said now that the entire programme has gone virtual, it has opened up more doors for mentorship opportunities.

“Were doing more casual Q&A sessions where we’re able to share ideas and lessons learned, touching on things like goal setting, career development, video interviews, and remote onboarding.”

The Sunday Times awarded DCU with their University of the year award in 2020,  recognising DCU’s adaption to Covid-19 with their mentorship programme and how it was able to adapt to students’ new needs during the pandemic.

Keogh mentioned the award at each meeting, paying credit to the Alumni for helping foster DCU’s culture of growth and development.

“It is extraordinary, just that instinctive response of people from DCU to the crisis, and the kind of values and the way that all of you around the table that I know have helped people, it is extraordinary,” he said.

Across the events, The star-studded DCU alumni panelists included Consul General of Ireland, Robert O’Driscoll, and Vice Consul General at the Irish Embassy in New York, Dermot Fitzpatrick. The group also included prominent business figures such as Clodagh Boyle, Vice President of Irish American Partnership, and Rhona O’Leary, Senior Vice President at Genentech.

Keogh told the alumni that DCU will host an in-person celebration as soon as it is safe.

“When you come to campus, the kettle is always boiling here, you are always welcome,” he said.

Devin Sean Martin

Image Credit: Jonathan Lynam