The University of Macerata has a wonderful Irishman: John Francis McCourt, Italy’s first foreign rector.

The University of Macerata has a wonderful Irishman: John Francis McCourt, Italy's first foreign rector.

From November 1 John Francis McCourtA professor of English literature and a well-known expert on Irish literature, he will be the first non-Italian rector of an Italian university, the small (more than 10 thousand students) but ancient and famous University of Macerata, founded in 1290. Tomorrow November 2 is scheduled for settlement with the passing of the baton from the outgoing Rector Francesco Adornato.

“A good challenge,” he told Anza McCourt, who was elected last June Francesca Spigarelli, Professor of Applied Economics. After the win he quoted a Nina Simone song: “It’s a new morning, it’s a new day, it’s a new life for me. I feel good”.

In the footsteps of Ulysses in Trieste

The 57-year-old Dubliner graduated from University College Dublin and has long been associated with Trieste, where he also founded the Trieste Joyce School. He is the author of many books James Joyce, President of the International James Joyce Foundation and sits on the board of Sligo’s Yeats Summer School. With the author of Ulysses There seems to be a predestination: “I studied at his own school and the same university”, and then moved to the city where the Irish writer spent many years.

March election

Between the central European atmosphere of Trieste and the landing site of the Marche hills there was also a period of Roma trail. Then “I won a competition, I didn’t know Macerata, it fascinated me, it was a choice of life. This university – he is excited – is unique in Italy, focusing on the humanities and social sciences. To understand the great changes we are going through, here we understand the meaning of a community of students and teachers.

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“We have a lot to work on – he underlines -, and I want to push all the departments to make a synthesis of the whole university”. Then strengthen the dialogue with other universities in March, “different and complementary, and to succeed together the challenge of the NRP”.

“I dream of a global university”

McCourt envisions a “glocal” university: a strong connection to territory (“this is also the earth Giacomo Leopardi“) and Macerata (“the university is the biggest company in the city, if one is good the other is good “), but also openness to European and international situations. An idea shared by the mayor. Sandro Parcarolispeaks of a university “always open to contamination and ready to make room for merit and merit.”

The Irish model dates from 1743

“We are discussing access to a network of about ten European universities”, meanwhile, announces the new rector. Although it has not yet been established, ties have already been established with Georgetown University, the German University of Mainz and the Irish University of Cork. McCourt was the first Irish head of a continental European university since James Smith became rector of the Charles University of Prague in 1743, and his election was enthusiastically welcomed by his colleagues in Italy.

“Another Shattered Glass Ceiling”

Michael MurphyCork, president of the European University Association and former president of University College, talks about another broken “glass ceiling”: “Universities are international institutions that, in order to succeed, need to attract the best talent in global leadership, which is an important sign that Maserata is moving in the right direction”.

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