Villanova, PA – Four students in Villanova University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences have received scholarships for study abroad in Ireland this summer. Three of the four will take part in the Abbey Theatre Summer Studio, a partnership between the world-renowned Abbey Theatre in Dublin and Villanova University’s Center for Irish Studies. The fourth, graduating senior Maria McGeary, will serve as one of Villanova inaugural educational internships at the Jackie Clarke Museum and Library in Ballina, County Mayo.
Brian King '18 and Maria McGeary '17 have each received awards from the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick Endowed Fund for Experiential Education in Ireland, in memory of Stephen P. Stanton. Founded in 1771, in Philadelphia, the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick promotes Irish culture and education and provides aid in the form of scholarships and benevolence, as well as through events and activities. The Friendly Sons of St. Patrick are generous supporters of Villanova’s Center for Irish Studies.
Maria Lovina '18 and Margaret Carter '19 have each received the Ponturo Experiential Learning Scholarship to study at the Abbey Theatre Summer Studio. Mr. Ponturo, a 1974 graduate of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, is managing partner in the Kirmser Ponturo Group, LLC, a company that produces and promotes projects at the crossroads of sports and entertainment. A longtime supporter of the study of theatre and the Villanova/Abbey Theatre Exchange Program, he is also a two-time Tony Award winner and a member of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Dean’s Advisory Council.
The Abbey Theatre Summer Studio program offers students the opportunity to study the workings and history of Ireland's world-class national theatre while developing their own theatre skills, knowledge, and practice. Students from Villanova work alongside students from Irish and other universities and are taught by practitioners and professors from the U.S. and Ireland. Student work will culminate in a showing of final work on the Abbey Theatre’s Peacock stage.
Established in 2011, The Villanova University/Abbey Theatre Exchange Program links Villanova’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences with the prestigious National Theatre of Ireland. Through lectures, workshops, and other activities, the Exchange Program advances dialogue between audiences, students, playwrights, scholars, and theater practitioners—strengthening the University’s bond with Ireland and the Abbey Theatre’s bond with America.
Villanova University’s Center for Irish Studies, housed in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, was founded in 1979 and elevated to a Center in 2016 thanks to the generosity of the Connelly Foundation. The Center provides innovative courses in seven disciplines open to all University students to study Ireland and its diaspora.