Alumnus to Receive Presidential Distinguished Service Award

November 2, 2022
Joseph Hassett

BUFFALO, NY ― Canisius College is proud to announce that Joseph M. Hassett, PhD, from the Class of 1964, is a recipient of Ireland’s Presidential Distinguished Service Award for the Irish Abroad.  Established in 2012, the award is conferred annually, and recognizes an individual’s distinguished and sustained contributions to Ireland, Irish communities abroad and Ireland’s international reputation.  Joe Hassett is one of 10 people from around the world to receive this prestigious honor for 2022.  

A significant contributor to the Irish cultural sphere, Hassett is the author of several literary works including Yeats Now: Echoing into Life and The Ulysses Trials: Beauty and Truth Meet the Law.  He also lectures widely on Yeats and other major figures in Irish literature at Catholic University in Washington, D.C., the James Joyce Summer School in Dublin, Oxford University and the National Library of Ireland.  Hassett also returns frequently to the Yeats International Summer School in Sligo, which he attended in 1963, to inspire a new generation of literary scholars.  

Canisius students are often beneficiaries of Hassett’s scholarship.  The annual Hassett Reading, which he established, brings prominent Irish literary figures to campus to read from their works.  Past speakers include Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney, Marina Carr, Alice McDermott, Eamon Grennan and Paul Muldoon.  

Hassett holds a bachelor's degree in English from Canisius and a law degree from Harvard University.  After graduation from law school, he became an associate (and later partner) at the prestigious D.C. law firm of Hogan & Hartson (now Hogan Lovells).  

In 1981, Hassett capitalized on the law firm’s sabbatical program and enrolled in the Anglo-Irish literature master’s degree program at University College in Dublin.  He graduated with honors in just one year and went on to earn his PhD.  

Canisius College is one of 27 Catholic, Jesuit colleges in the nation and the premier private college in Western New York.  Canisius prepares leaders – intelligent, caring, faithful individuals – able to promote excellence in their professions, their communities and their service to humanity.