CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – Since 1888, the Estate of Owen Connolly has helped thousands of Prince Edward Island students of Irish Catholic heritage gain a higher education. Leonard Cusack (St. Dunstan’s University (SDU) class of ’69) has written the rags-to-riches story of Owen Connolly, the remarkable man behind the money.
All are invited to celebrate the launch of the book, “Owen Connolly: The Making of a Legacy,” on Thursday, Nov. 30, at 7 p.m. at the P.E.I. Brewing Company in Charlottetown.
The event will feature the Irish group, Omos.
Connolly first stepped onto the docks in Charlottetown in 1839 as a poor young Irish immigrant, escaping the poverty and repression of his homeland. Forty years later, he was one of the wealthiest men on P.E.I.
Connolly was a special kind of entrepreneur; with little formal education, he could write well and was good with figures. When he died in 1887, he left almost all his fortune to provide bursaries to poor Irish Catholic students from P.E.I.
The Connolly bursary has funded more than $3 million to help Island students of Irish Catholic heritage gain a higher education, many of them at SDU or UPEI. But because the bursary was handled externally, there are no easy records of which students received it.
The UPEI alumni office is issuing a call to SDU and UPEI alumni who received a Connolly bursary, to contact Anthony Gill at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Soft cover and souvenir copies of the book will be available for sale and signing at the launch on Nov. 30. “Owen Connolly: The Making of a Legacy” is published by Island Studies Press and the estate of Owen Connolly.