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Fairfield beckoned for Brian

By Irish Echo Staff

Limerick native Brian Devenny packed his backs and headed for business school, not down the road, but across the ocean,

Fairfield University's Charles F. Dolan School of Business recently awarded Devenny the Rev. John M. Conlisk Irish Scholarship, worth about $55,000.

A full scholarship, it pays tuition, room and board, as well as medical insurance expenses for the time it takes to complete a graduate degree in business at Fairfield.

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Many of the scholarship committee members are first or second generation Irish Americans, and established it to help a deserving young Irish student, said a statement from the Connecticut university.

"I had to re-read the letter about ten times just to make sure that what I was reading was actually true," said Devenney, now pursuing a master's degree in finance.

Devenny is conscious of the fact that the chance to come to the United States to attend Fairfield came at a very opportune time.

"The lack of job opportunities has caused a large proportion of my generation to emigrate to places such as Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia, a number of my friends included," said Devenney, who is 23.

"Being awarded the Fr. Conlisk Scholarship is truly a blessing."

The scholarship was founded about 20 years ago when the Irish economy was also struggling. A group of Irish Americans led by Fairfield University trustee, Kevin M. Conlisk ('66) believed a scholarship would give an Irish student an opportunity to make business contacts. The scholarship is named for Mr. Conlisk's late brother, a 1954 Fairfield Prep graduate who served the Diocese of Bridgeport.

Devenney graduated from the University of Limerick where he studied business. One of three children, his mother is a nurse and his father is a planner at a large industrial plant.

On his agenda, according to the Fairfield release, Devenny is learning how to use the Dolan School's Bloomberg Terminals, a valuable asset for working in the financial industry. He's also immersing himself in courses in corporate finance and financial modeling with Dr. John McDermott, and investment analysis with Dr. Ying Zhang.

With an eye on graduating in 2014, Devenney's hope is to land a front or middle office position at one of the major investment banks or hedge funds, perhaps in the U.S.

"Everybody is really friendly and welcoming here, especially when they hear the Irish accent," he said.