Prof. Richard Finnegan '64 Named Fulbright Distinguished Chair
March 23, 2010
In being selected a Fulbright Distinguished Chair, Professor and Chair of the Political Science Department Richard B. Finnegan '64 [pictured left] has become the first faculty member in Stonehill history to receive this honor.
Among the most prestigious appointments within the Fulbright Scholar Program, the Distinguished Chairs are highly competitive, with only 40 Chairs out of the 800 Fulbright awards given annually. Recipients must be eminent scholars with significant publication and teaching records.
In the spring 2011 semester, Finnegan will hold the Fulbright Distinguished Chair at Masaryk University in the Brno, Czech Republic. Established in 1919, Masaryk is the second-largest public university in the Czech Republic and one of the most selective in central Europe. It has nine faculties with more than 200 departments, institutes and clinics
At Masaryk, Finnegan will be based in the Department of International Relations and European Studies, which is a part of the Faculty of Social Studies. There, he will teach courses on American Foreign Policy and on European Politics, with a special focus on comparing the Irish and Czech processes of political development.
He will also advise graduate students, give general lectures to the broader Masaryk University community, lecture at the invitation of other universities as well as advise on curricular matters.
Finnegan will also spend the fall 2010 semester as a Visiting Research Professor in the Centre for Religion, Culture and Society at Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium. While there, he will be researching the influence of the European Union on church and state relations in Ireland.
"Richard Finnegan's scholarly achievement is simply staggering," said Katie Conboy, provost and vice president for academic affairs at Stonehill. "Moreover, his impact on students is both profound and sustained, and his service to Stonehill College is legendary."
"I am very pleased that the Fulbright Commission has granted me the opportunity to study and work in the Czech Republic, a country that in its more recent political and economic development can instructively be compared to Ireland's development decades earlier. This appointment is not only intellectually challenging, but it also allows me to embark on a new academic and personal adventure," said Finnegan.
An international relations scholar and an authority on Irish Studies, Finnegan has taught at Stonehill since 1968. He has spent two sabbaticals in Ireland, one in Dublin as a Visiting Scholar at University College Dublin in 1976 and the other as the Irish American Cultural Institute Research Fellow at the Centre for Irish Studies, National University of Ireland, Galway in 2003.
The former Director of the College's Semester in Irish Studies, he co-founded, with Economic Professor James Wiles, the Archive of Irish Government Documents at Stonehill.
He has been a Visiting Professor of International Relations at Boston University's overseas graduate program in Germany and a visiting scholar at Harvard University, where he taught a course on Irish Politics from 2004 to 2006. From 2001 to 2005, he was a Senior Fulbright Specialist.
In 2006, Finnegan was part of a Group Fulbright Hays Award that sent eight Stonehill faculty members to China. He has also received grants from the National Science Foundation and the Department of Education (Title VIB), as well as six awards from the National Endowment for the Humanities and two from the Whiting Foundation.
At Stonehill, he has long served as Chair of the Political Science Department and Director of the Irish Studies and International Studies Programs. He has also been the Director of the Honors Program and interim Dean of the Faculty.
The author or co-author of six books on Ireland, Finnegan's research interests include the development of democracy in Ireland in the twentieth century. On the occasion of Stonehill's 50th anniversary in 1998, he was awarded the Moreau Medal for Distinguished Contribution to the College during its first half century.
Finnegan is active in the Irish American community in Boston and, in 2009, the Irish Voice newspaper included him in its list of the Top 100 Irish American Educators.
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