February 20, 2006

British and Irish Graduates in America

Writing about web page http://www.biginamerica.org

On September 23, 2005, the first annual British and Irish Universities Ball was held in Cambridge, MA. This evening brought together over 200 British and Irish professionals, US alumni of British and Irish Universities, their families, and friends residing in the New England area for an evening of networking and celebration of their heritage.

The idea for this gala emerged from a conversation after a few whiskeys at the University of Edinburgh Burns' Supper in Boston. Realizing the number of Scottish, English, Welsh, and Irish university alumni in the area, the leaders of the Edinburgh alumni group brought several of them together to propose this event, to connect fellow ex-pats and alumni with friends old and new from back across the pond.

The Ball was held at the Marlowe Hotel in Cambridge on September 23, 2005. The evening began at 6:00PM with a cocktail hour accompanied by the celtic harpist, Kathryn Mannyng. Then after being "piped in" to dinner by the fabulous Phil Ferguson, the British Consul-General and Irish Consul-General welcomed guests to dinner. Following dinner and toasts, there was further musical entertainment from the band "Four Guys in Tuxes", as well as a DJ and the dancing continued until midnight. Throughout the evening there were numerous special door prizes awarded, including gift certificates for restaurants, and tickets for the theater and music.

The success of the Ball and feedback from those attending, sponsors and others underscored the existence of a strong community identity with an appetite for activities that bring members of the community together. There was also a demand for other networking and support opportunities, such as cocktail evenings, seminars, pub nights and online networking and support resources.

The volunteer planning committee that organized the Ball therefore decided not only to repeat the Ball in 2006 (and hopefully on an annual basis thereafter), but also to form a non-profit entity as a vehicle to explore and develop a whole range of acitivites and functions to support the community of British and Irish graduates in New England and further afield in the USA. Thus, British and Irish Graduates in America was born.

September 2023

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