Connections Past Issues

Alum Publishes Biography

Deirdre McKiernan Hetzler ’61 just published a biography of her father titled Irish America Reawakening: The Eoin McKiernan Story (Borealis Press, 2013). Considered one the greatest Irish-Americans of the 20th century, McKiernan was hailed by Niall O’Dowd, editor of Irish America magazine and The Irish Voice, as “one of the most powerful voices in the history of the Irish in America, a man who, perhaps more than any other, created the concept of Irish America as we know it today.”

Dr. John (Eoin) McKiernan, who once chaired the English Department at SUNY Geneseo, was a brilliant scholar and a champion of the Irish language. He is credited with laying the foundation for Irish Studies in the U.S., for raising the consciousness and pride of Irish Americans, and much more. McKiernan hosted two popular TV series on Ireland in the 1960s that aired on PBS all over the country. The response was so overwhelming that he was inspired to found, with his wife Jeannette and St. Paul philanthropist

Patrick Butler, the Irish American Cultural Institute (IACI). The purpose of the IACI is to promote an intelligent appreciation of Ireland and Irish and Irish-American culture.

McKiernan was guest lecturer at Nazareth College and the commencement speaker in 1961, where he was invited to present his daughter’s diploma himself.

Deidre Hetzler

Deirdre McKiernan Hetzler ’61