Mary McAleese. Photo provided by Salve Regina University.

Mary McAleese, who served as Ireland’s eighth president from 1997 to 2011, will participate in a public conversation covering a wide range of topics when she visits Salve Regina University on May 17.  

McAleese, the first person hailing from Northern Ireland to serve as Ireland’s president, will discuss her longstanding interests in issues such as justice, equality, social inclusion, anti-sectarianism and reconciliation when she sits down with Salve Regina President Kelli Armstrong on Wednesday, May 17 at 2:30 p.m. Free and open to the public, those interested in attending are asked to register at

The conversation will be presented in a tent on the oceanside lawn of McAuley Hall on Salve Regina’s historic Newport, R.I. campus. It is one of several special events the university planned throughout the 2022-2023 academic year to commemorate its 75th anniversary. Salve Regina was founded by the Sisters of Mercy in 1947 in the tradition of Catherine McAuley, who opened the first House of Mercy on Baggot Street in Dublin, Ireland in 1827. 

“Salve Regina’s connections to Ireland are an important part of our history,” Armstrong said. “Mary McAleese is an inspiring person and a model of how to lead with great integrity. She was mercy-educated and will undoubtedly be a fascinating speaker. We very much look forward to welcoming her on her first trip to Newport.”  

Currently chancellor of Trinity College Dublin, McAleese is also professor of children, law and religion at the University of Glasgow. She holds a doctorate and licentiate in canon law from the Pontifical Gregorian University Rome and a master’s degree in canon law from the National University of Ireland. 

She graduated in Law from the Queen’s University of Belfast in 1973 and was called to the bar of the Inn of Court of Northern Ireland and the King’s Inns Dublin. In 1975, she was appointed Reid Professor of Criminal Law, Criminology and Penology at Trinity College Dublin and in 1987, she returned to her alma mater to become Director of the Institute of Professional Legal Studies. In 1994, she became the first female Pro-Vice Chancellor of the Queen’s University of Belfast.  

She is also an experienced broadcaster, having worked as a current affairs journalist and presenter in radio and television. 

Salve Regina recognizes the commitment of its corporate partners for advancing the university’s mercy mission throughout its 75th anniversary celebration, including Berkshire Bank, 1829 Legacy Fund, Peregrine Group, Bank Newport, BankRI as well as AR Global, Delta Dental RI, Farrar Associates, iDesignEdu, Metropolitan Wealth Management, Navigant Credit Union, PepsiCo, Sodexo Tufts Health Plan, a Point32Health Company and Washington Trust. 

Source: Salve Regina University

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