Carlow College joins educational forces with US counterpart


A novel educational partnership has been established between two Carlow colleges, one in Carlow and the other in Pittsburgh in the US.

Carlow College in Ireland, which dates back to 1793 and is the second-oldest third-level institution in the State after Trinity College, will benefit from sharing resources and organising student exchanges with its Pittsburgh counterpart.

In the mid-1800s Mother Frances Ward, a Mercy sister from St Leo's convent, next door to Carlow College, emigrated to Pittsburgh where she founded the city's first Mercy convent.

The order went on to found a number of orphanages, hospitals and schools out of which emerged Carlow College, which is now a leading Catholic, women-centred college, with strengths in science, technology, healthcare and teacher training.

It is considered an ideal partner for Carlow College in Ireland, which specialises in the humanities, social care and theology. Father Kevin O'Neill, president of the college, says the link-up with its Pittsburgh counterpart is "very exciting because here we have two colleges linked by history, after 160 years finally realising their potential as partners."

Staff and students of the two colleges will share course facilities and resources and co-operate in course design and delivery. This will make each, effectively, an outreach centre for the other.

Establishing the partnership took more than two years and had the support of public representatives and officials, including the former chairman of Carlow County Council, Mr Michael Deering, and the county manager, Mr Tom Dowling.

Carlow College in Ireland has also just announced its millennium project, a library dedicated to the memory of one of its most distinguished staff members, Father P.J. Brophy, who died two years ago.

Father Brophy was well known through his syndicated local newspaper column and appearances on RTE television programmes ranging from The Late Late Show to Nightlight. The library will be used to house some 4,500 books bequeathed by him to Carlow College, as well as other volumes amassed over the years.

A P.J. Brophy memorial fund has been set up to support the project and donations can be made care of The Rev Bursar, Carlow College, College Street, Carlow.