On Wednesday, March 15, Irish America magazine will induct five new members to the Irish America Hall of Fame.
The distinguished 2017 Hall of Fame inductees include Nobel laureate Dr. William C. Campbell; Michael Dowling, CEO of Northwell Health and grand marshal of the 2017 NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade; Sister Teresa Fitzgerald, founder of the nonprofit Hour Children which helps incarcerated and formerly incarcerated mothers and their children; labor leader Terry O’Sullivan, general president of the Laborers’ International Union of North America; and Kevin White, award-winning athletic director at Duke University and a member of the board of directors of the U.S. Olympic Committee.
Founded in 2010 in celebration of Irish America magazine’s 25th anniversary, the Irish America Hall of Fame honors the extraordinary achievements of Irish-American leaders, from their significant accomplishments and contributions to American society to the personal commitment to safeguarding their Irish heritage and the betterment of Ireland.
The Irish America Hall of Fame is housed at the Dunbrody Famine Ship Experience in New Ross, Co. Wexford.
Sister Teresa Fitzgerald
Sister Tesa Fitzgerald is the founder and executive director of Hour Children, a nonprofit based in Queens that helps incarcerated and previously incarcerated mothers and their children when the women are released from jail. The nonprofit was founded in 1992 in an effort to end the cycle of intergenerational incarceration.
Born and raised on Long Island, Sister Tesa’s parents were working class Irish immigrants – her mother was from Donegal and her father from Kerry. Though the family wasn’t wealthy – the family lived in a two-bedroom bungalow – she attended private Catholic schools and at 17 joined the Sisters of St. Joseph in Brentwood, NY. Following college, she spent time teaching in Puerto Rico and later in several schools in Queens and Brooklyn, eventually taking on responsibility for the oversight of Catholic emelentary schools in the Diocese of Brooklyn.
In addition to being an educator, Sister Tesa is a Certified Foster Care Trainer and has been named a CNN Hero (2012), a White House Champion of Change (2013), the 2014 winner of the Opus Prize, and in 2015 was awarded the Cross Pro-Ecclesia et Pontifice.