Mercyhurst Magazine Summer 2016

President Michael T. Victor (center) welcomes 1990 graduates John Melody (left) and John Deasy back to campus during a May visit. Mercyhurst’s Irish trailblazers By Deborah W. Morton

Thirty years ago two Irish teens, both schoolmates and friends, set forth on their frst airplane ride and their inaugural trip to America.

to shoot pool is gone and their residences have been replaced by the bookstore and Audrey Hirt Academic Center, but the memories are forever forged in their minds. “When I went away to college, nobody back home knew that it was Mercyhurst or that it was in Erie, Pennsylvania; they just knew I came to America,” Melody said. “Now, I can’t walk down the streets of Dungarvan without somebody knowing somebody from Mercyhurst.” “The relationship has defnitely deepened,” said Deasy. “It’s not just Irish students coming to Mercyhurst and getting the American experience; it’s Mercyhurst students coming to Ireland and getting the European experience.” The success Deasy and Melody have achieved since going their separate ways after graduating from Mercyhurst in 1990 is remarkable. Still, get them together, and they are the same two college buddies, full of traditional Irish charm, warmth and wit. In fact, give them a game of golf and a pint of stout, and 30 years evaporate

While these were frsts for them, it was also a frst for Mercyhurst’s fedgling international recruiting program. These Irish lads, who graduated from St. Augustine’s in Dungarvan, County Waterford, were among the frst group of Irish students to study at Mercyhurst through the John F. Kennedy Irish Scholarship Competition. Flash forward and Mercyhurst is now home to students from more than 50 countries. But back in 1986, young John Deasy, a history major with political aspirations, and his buddy John Melody, a hospitality major with a passion for soccer, were blazing a new frontier at Mercyhurst. Earlier this year they reunited on the Erie campus at a lunch hosted by President Michael T. Victor. Deasy, a respected member of the Irish Parliament since 2002, and Melody, a well-known Erie restaurateur, refected on their days on the Hill. The student union where they used


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