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Ireland And U.S.

March 31, 2016
by Jane Whitmore , Emmetsburg News

John Deasy, our dignitary visiting from Ireland, was no stranger to the United State. He attended Mercyhurst College in Erie, PA, on a golfing scholarship.

We talked with Mr. Deasy about his education in the United States and the work positions he held in the U.S. before returning to Ireland. How did all this come about?

"This guy from my hometown went to Mercyhurst College and he did really well. The (college) president at that time was Irish American. He wanted kids from some country to make the place a bit more cosmopolitan He went straight back to Mike's high school, my high school, and four of us went from there," Deasy explained. "It was an amazing opportunity. It lead to a lot of things. I spent four years there and I wanted to get into something political because I'm from a political family."

Deasy earned a Bachelor of Arts in History and Communications from Mercyhurst College.

"Liberal arts education is a very good thing," said Deasy. "It's very practical in Ireland we deal with specialties and the sciences - it's very practical - this is what you need to get on in life. What I took from American college was - they build you up a little a little bit differently - it makes you think about who you are and the role in life and your principles. I don't think you would have got that kind of education Ireland. They develop a person as opposed to a skill."

After graduating, Deasy did indeed get into something political. He was employed as a legislative assistant in the United States Senate, handling trade and a foreign affairs for Republican Senator John Heinz. The following year he became manager of public affairs for a multinational waste company. Deasy was also legislative assistant in the United States House of Representatives, handing trade, foreign affairs, energy, environment, banking, economic development, immigration and human rights for Representative Ronald Machtley.

Deasy returned to Ireland and studied at University College Cork, qualifying with a degree in law.

On his return trip to Ireland, after leaving Emmetsburg, John stopped at his alma mater in Pennsylvania.

"Mercyhurst has a presence for the last five years in my home town. We'll probably bring over two groups, 35 to 40 undergraduates. The plan is to expand that over the next three or four years so that maybe 350 from Mercyhurst would go through my hometown. That would entail building a campus in my hometown. So, that's why I'm going to Mercyhurst, to meet the new president and the provost. I'm going to meet these guys. I know some of the people there, the faculty, and I've got friends there. I'm going to make the connection again.It's something very worth while."

Deasy said he knows America fairly well, especially Pennsylvania. "There are a lot of featureless towns in America, but this (Emmetsburg) isn't one of them. The lake really dominates your perspective and it gives the town a completely different dimension that hits you immediately. As far as Emmetsburg is concerned, I've been blown away by the warm welcome from the St. Pat's committee. We're struck by the community spirit here. Everyone seems to be proactive with regard to the town. People are trying to make the most of things. That civic element is very clear. Sometimes you don't find that in smaller towns.There's a good deal of unity here, with regard to getting stuff done."

Those are good words to hear from our guest from Ireland. Hats off to John Deasy and to St. Pat's for bringing him to Emmetsburg.



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