In recent years, Fairfield’s relationship internationally has remained strong with a number of students studying abroad each year in Galway, Ireland. Now, the school is paying it forward by offering students in the country a chance to get their Master’s degree in the Charles F. Dolan School of Business free of charge thanks to the Reverend John M. Conlisk Irish Scholarship.

This scholarship has been awarded to one business student from Ireland, where unemployment rates are high, seeking a Master’s degree every fall for the past 22 years. Originally enacted when the Irish economy was struggling over two decades ago by a group of Irish-Americans led by Fairfield University trustee Kevin M. Conlisk, its purpose has not changed: to give an Irish student an opportunity to make business contacts and enhance his/her options. This year’s recipient, University of Limerick graduate Maeve-Ellen Moyles, was announced this summer.

“The scholarship was founded by the Conlisk family,” explained Mark Ligas, associate dean and director of Graduate Programs at DSB, “specifically Kevin and Marybeth Conlisk, in memory of Father Conlisk,” Kevin Conlisk’s late brother. “It is set up specifically to attract a high-achieving student from anywhere in Ireland to our graduate program here in business,” said Ligas.

Speaking on the founders of the scholarship, Moyles said, “Kevin and Marybeth are unbelievably kind and generous. They’ve done so much for us already by setting up this scholarship, but they also have gone above and beyond to make me feel so welcome and at home in Fairfield.”

As the time for thinking about graduate programs arrives, Ligas hopes to see more of an influx of Irish applicants to Fairfield, although there has recently been a general shortage of applicants. Last year only five students applied, and the year before that, only six.

Ligas, who sends out application materials to various schools in Ireland, believes that this lack of applicants may be due to a different mindset outside of the United States.

“I think part of [the reason for so few applicants] is that the mindset may be a bit different in Ireland with regard to graduate education. It’s certainly very much a focus here in the United States, more so now than ever before given the fluctuation in the economy. There seems to be a need to go on to a graduate degree. I’m not sure that push has reached other parts of the world as it has here.”

Moyles, who is studying to be a management consultant, feels very grateful for the opportunity to study in the graduate program at DSB.

“It’s been really amazing,” she said. “The town itself is so lovely. The University facilities are great, the grounds are beautiful and everyone is very friendly. My house is fabulous and just across from the University, and my roommates are brilliant.”

Moyles also spoke on the opportunity of making connections in the business world and having the benefit of getting international exposure to that world.

“I have the opportunity to network with so many interesting people,” she commented, “It’s great to have the chance to meet so many new people and make connections in the U.S.”

When asked if she would recommend the scholarship to other Irish students, Moyles answered in the affirmative without hesitation.

She said, “I can’t understand why every single person doesn’t apply. It is the best opportunity you can get after getting a business degree.”

The majority of students who apply for the scholarship come from the University of Limerick, due in large part to the involvement of University of Limerick’s Gavin O’Connell, who is very active in seeking out prospective Conlisk scholars.

When considering the applicants to the scholarship, Ligas considers both academic and community involvement factors.

“The nice thing about this scholarship is it really has a much broader reach in terms of not only rewarding the academic side of the individual, but also the social humanitarian side of the individual,” he said.

The scholarship pays for three semesters of study in the MBA program in the School of Business. It covers costs of tuition, registration and books, room and board and health insurance.

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