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U.S. President Bill Clinton congratulated Quinnipiac University President John L. Lahey who was presented with the Irish American of the Year Award by Irish America Magazine at a luncheon ceremony at the New York Yacht Club on March 15.
"This is one of the greatest days of my life,” said President Lahey, who was honored for his work in pioneering collegiate study of Ireland's Great Hunger and his remarkable commitment to promoting Irish-American heritage. Lahey, who has been involved with the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade for more than 30 years, currently serves as vice chairman of the Parade Committee. He also was the grand marshal of the parade in 1997.
“I am deeply honored to be recognized with such a remarkable group of people," said President Lahey of Cheshire.
In addition to honoring President Lahey, Irish America Magazine inducted the following Irish luminaries into its Hall of Fame: Dr. Kevin Cahill, president-general of the American Irish Historical Society, U.S. President Bill Clinton, Mary Higgins Clark, leading suspense novelist and grand marshal of the 2011 New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Charles Feeney, who “Time” magazine recognized as one of the greatest philanthropists of the 20th century, Michael Flatley, creator of “Lord of the Dance” and one of the originators of “Riverdance,” William J. Flynn, former chairman and CEO of Mutual of America, Denis Kelleher, founder and chairman of Wall Street Access, Jean Kennedy Smith, former ambassador to Ireland, and Dr. James Watson, the scientist who won the Nobel Prize for his co-discovery of DNA, which has been described as the most important scientific breakthrough of the 20th century.
President Lahey presented President Clinton with a copy of the Quinnipiac University Press book, “Celebrating 250 Years of the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade,” which chronicles the Irish-American pride that has fueled 250 years of the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Filled with historical accounts and gorgeous photos, this book preserves the past and celebrates the present.