Aquinas College plans $3.1M educational center in Ireland

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — A liberal arts college in Grand Rapids is planning a $3.1 million educational center for its study abroad program in Ireland.

Students attending Aquinas College’s four-month program are expected to have access to the International Residential Education Center in the village of Tullycross in the fall of 2019, MLive reported.

The privately-funded project will include a newly built education hub with a 50-seat auditorium, library, group study rooms, video conferencing facilities and meeting rooms. The center will also have nine renovated iconic thatched cottages to accommodate up to 40 students and faculty.

Connemara West, a locally managed community development organization that is based in Letterfrack, Ireland, is leading the project.

“This center is needed to accommodate the growing number of U.S. colleges who are bringing students and faculty to the village as part of Connemara West’s education-led tourism strategy,” said Connemara West Chairman Kevin Heanue.

The Residential Education Center will allow both students and now more faculty to live, learn, and research in Tullycross, which is on the Renvyle Peninsula in northwest Connemara, in County Galway. The cottages currently house up to 25 people.

“Our partnership between Aquinas College, Connemara West, and the Tullycross community is a concrete and wonderfully successful example of exposing our students to global opportunities and thereby promoting critical thinking,” said Steve Barrows, executive vice president, provost, and dean of faculty.

Aquinas College has sent students to study abroad in Ireland for nearly 45 years.

“The Aquinas College Ireland Study Abroad program reflects the best of a liberal arts education with a global perspective,” Barrows said.

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