US philanthropist fourth annual Tip O’Neill Award

Minister Jimmy Deeninhan presents the Award to Loretta Brennan Glucksman
Minister Jimmy Deeninhan presents the Award to Loretta Brennan Glucksman

US philanthropist Loretta Brennan Glucksman has been named the recipient of the annual Tip O’Neill Irish Diaspora Award for 2015.

The presentation of this year’s award took place at the Inishowen Gateway Hotel, Buncrana on Friday, September 25. This event is the centre piece in a weekend of events marking the life and times of the late Tip O’Neill, an illustrious grandson of a Donegal emigrant, and an eminent member of the Irish Diaspora

This year’s award winner, Loretta Brennan Glucksman, has been involved in philanthropic endeavours for more than two decades, focusing on education, the arts, healthcare and peace initiatives in both the United States and Ireland, a passion she shared with her late husband Lew Glucksman.

Her grandfather, David Brennan, hailed from Inishowen fishing port, Greencastle and her grandmother was Alice Moore from Co Leitrim.

Ms Glucksman is the Chairman Emeritus of The American Ireland Fund (AIF), where she served as its Chairman for 18 years before stepping down in December 2013. During that time, the AIF exceeded its goal of raising $100 million under the Promising Ireland Campaign and reset the target to $200 million.

She is Co-Chair of Glucksman Ireland House founded in 1993, the centre for Irish Studies at New York University (NYU), and she serves on the Board of Arts and Sciences at NYU. She also is Chairman of the University of Limerick Foundation. Loretta is also a long-time staunch supporter of FACES (Finding A Cure for Epilepsy and Seizures), which is affiliated with the NYU Langone Medical Center.

Mr and Mrs Glucksman established the Glucksman Chair of English and American Letters at NYU and the Glucksman Chair of Irish and Scottish Studies at the University of Aberdeen. In 2002, University College Cork officially opened the Lewis Glucksman Gallery; in 2001, the couple established the Map Conservation Library at Trinity College, Dublin and in 1998 they helped build the Glucksman Library at University Limerick.

In Ireland, Ms Glucksman served on numerous boards including IDA Ireland, The National Gallery of Ireland, The National Library, The National Concert Hall, The Abbey Theatre, Trinity College, University College Cork, The Royal College of Surgeons, Smurfit School of Business at the University of Dublin, and Cork Airport Authority.

In 2002, she was conferred an Honorary Commander of the British Empire by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, the highest honour for a non-British citizen, for her work toward peace in Northern Ireland. She also received honorary degrees from the Universities of Scranton, Fairfield, Trinity and Cork and she is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Irish Academy, The Royal Dublin Society and the Royal Irish Academy of Music.

Ms Glucksman has hosted radio programs in New York City and delivered speeches to groups in the U.S. and abroad. Earlier in her career, she was a television producer and on-air host for news and public affairs with PBS. She was also a lecturer in English literature at several universities.

Chair of the Tip O’Neill Irish Diaspora Committee, Cllr. Nicholas Crossan is delighted that Ms. Loretta Brennan Glucksman has been named at this years recipient of the Tip O’Neill Irish Diaspora Award stating “Ms. Loretta Brennan Glucksman’s resumé speaks for itself and it is a privilege to be in a position to honour her outstanding contributions not only to the United States but also to Ireland.”

Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council, Cllr Ciaran Brogan said Donegal County Council has been to the fore in reaching out to our global community and the Tip O’Neill Irish Diaspora Award highlights the important contribution that the Irish Diaspora has made across the world.

“The Tip O’Neill Irish Diaspora award is a prestigious award that recognises achievements of members of the Irish Diaspora and the global impact of Irish people everywhere and it is fitting that Ms. Loretta Brennan Glucksman is to be this years recipient of the award,” he said.

Speaking about this years recipient Cllr. Brogan said: “Loretta Brennan Glucksman is a person with a very large heart who has remained true to the traditional Irish values that were instilled in her from both her parents.  Her grandparents were both Irish and her grandfather was David Brennan who hailed from Greencastle.”

Donegal County Council Chief Executive, Seamus Neely said: “This has become on of the most important events in Donegal’s calendar as we honour a member of the broad Diaspora for her work and achievement on behalf of the Irish community in the US and here in Ireland”.

He added: “The Donegal Diaspora Project is an important project for Donegal County Council and our partner organisations.  Through this project we are reaching out to the broad Donegal community and this includes people with any link to or interest in Donegal no matter where in the world they may be living.”

Previous Winners

The inaugural Tip O’Neill Irish Diaspora Award in 2012 was presented to Niall O’Dowd.  Niall O’Dowd is an Irish, New York based journalist and publisher. The second Tip O’Neill Irish Diaspora Award in 2013 was awarded to the former Governor of Montana, Brian Schweitzer. Senator Therese Murray former President of the Massachusetts Senate received the Tip O’Neill Irish Diaspora award last year, 2014, from the President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins.

Other events over the Tip O’Neill Diaspora Awards weekend included the Tip O’Neill Diaspora Lecture by Prof Rónan Fanning on Saturday, September 26 in the Sliabh Sneacht Centre, Drumfries and the Inishowen Schools Diaspora competition.

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