Christine Kinealy, founding director of Ireland’s Great Hunger Institute at Quinnipiac, to receive Greater New Haven St. Patrick’s Day Committee’s highest honor

Courtney Lundgren Connors, Christine Kinealy and Ann Werner stand together for a photo.

Honoring a community treasure

Courtney Lundgren Connors, the 2019 grand marshal of the Greater New Haven St. Patrick’s Day Parade; Christine Kinealy, a history professor and founding director of Ireland’s Great Hunger Institute at Quinnipiac; and Ann Werner, parade ball chairwoman.

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hristine Kinealy, a history professor and founding director of Ireland’s Great Hunger Institute at Quinnipiac University, will receive the Greater New Haven St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee’s highest honor.

Kinealy will receive the James J. Dinnan Distinguished Service Award at the parade’s Grand Ball on Saturday, March 2, at Anthony’s Ocean View in New Haven.

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“From the moment we first met Christine, she has impressed us in every way,” said Courtney Lundgren Connors, the 2019 parade grand marshal. “Someone of her stature and international acclaim is truly a treasure to have in our community.”

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The James J. Dinnan Distinguished Service Award is the parade committee's most prestigious award and its highest recognition of a community champion. Dinnan dedicated many years on the parade committee, serving as the chairman of the executive committee and parade coordinator. Under his leadership, the New Haven St. Patrick's Day Parade has become one of the most successful and noteworthy parades in New England. In recognition of his unwavering and devoted service, the committee presents their Distinguished Service Award in his honor annually.

                “I am truly honored and humbled to be given this award, and I am particularly pleased that they have referenced that most of my history work has been about social justice,” Kinealy said. “This is my sixth year at Quinnipiac and living in Connecticut. This is my home. To be honored by neighbors, colleagues and friends is very meaningful.”

Kinealy is a graduate of Trinity College Dublin, where she completed her doctorate on the introduction of the Poor Law to Ireland. She then worked in educational and research institutes in Dublin, Belfast and Liverpool.

She has published extensively on the impact of the Great Irish Famine and has lectured on the relationship between poverty and famine in India, Spain, Canada, France, Finland and New Zealand. She also has spoken to invited audiences in the British Parliament and in the U.S. Congress.

Kinealy was named one of the most influential Irish-Americans in 2011 by "Irish America" Magazine. In 2013, she received the Holyoke, Massachusetts St. Patrick's Day Parade's Ambassador Award. In March 2014, she was inducted into the Irish America Hall of Fame.

Past recipients of the Dinnan award include:  Henry C. Lee, world-renowned forensic scientist; Lawrence DeNardis, president of the University of New Haven; Julia McNamara, president of Albertus Magnus College; Congressman Bruce Morrison; Robert Lane, supreme secretary of the Knights of Columbus and vice president of the Hospital of St. Raphael’s Foundation; and John L. Lahey, president emeritus of Quinnipiac University.

Ann Werner, ball chairwoman, said the event is the parade committee’s largest fundraiser.

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“This is our crown jewel event,” she said. “We are honoring the past, present and future of our Irish heritage. I cannot imagine anyone who is more deserving of the award than Christine Kinealy.”

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Ireland's Great Hunger Institute is a scholarly resource for the study of modern Ireland. Through a program of lectures, conferences, courses and publications, the institute offers a deeper understanding of the causes and consequences of the Irish Famine, also known as An Gorta Mór. The institute also fosters an appreciation for Irish culture and history.