Dr. Kennedy shares his love of Irish history with students


Associate Professor of History Dr. Christopher Kennedy came to FMU in 2006. He has a passion for Irish history in particular.

Veronica Stark, Assistant Editor

Dr. Christopher Kennedy, an associate professor of hist-ory, has recently published a book and is currently under contract. He shows his passion for history every day at Francis Marion University.

Kennedy has worked at FMU for six years and moved to South Carolina because he liked the warm weather and the hospitality of the people.

Kennedy is also the faculty adviser of the Phi Alpha Theta, the history honors society on campus, which participates in food sales and lecture series. Phi Alpha Theta has won Best Chapter award from their district for the past two years. Kennedy said that they’re hoping to win again “as a threepeat.”

Kennedy received his degree from the Providence College in Rhode Island and spent four years at the University College Cork in Ireland for his Ph.D.

Kennedy’s greatest accomplishment is his book, “Genesis of the Rising 1912-1916,” on the Easter Rising. This book is sold at Barnes and Nobles and The Patriot Bookstore.

“I’ve stirred up some controversy with my views on the Easter Rising, because I revised the accepted history of it,” Kennedy said.

Kennedy’s second book is also about the Easter Rising but takes a different approach. The book is going through a diary and explaining the history at a more personal level.

2016 is the centennial anniversary of the Easter Rising of 1916, and Kennedy hopes to have his second book out by then. It is a continuation of his first book that covers nationalist opinion and the Rising.

“I have been told that there will be major celebrations and academic conferences in Ireland and Dublin to commemorate the Rising,”he said. “I hope to be a part of those events.”

He decided to change his major from marine biology to history because of his travels and true passion for history, and he chose to focus on Irish history because he loved his heritage. His dad was the last of seven sons born in Ireland. When he wanted to become an Irish historian, his father thought he was crazy.

“My father thought of it as a stigma, and I saw it as embracing your ethnicity,” Kennedy said.

One way Kennedy expresses his love of history is through teaching at FMU. He gets excited when a new group of students come in every semester.

“I try to help my history students be better thinkers in general,” Kennedy said.

Kennedy is motivated to teach history because of its relevance at any point in life.

“Hopefully, I am giving students a clue on how we can use the study of history to help us in the present and to plan for a better future,” Kennedy said.

Haley Sims, a junior mass communication major, enjoyed his unique approach in teaching history.

“He’s very upbeat, and keeps it interesting,” Sims said.

One of his memorable moments here at FMU was when he was attended his first graduation. The graduating student was the first person from his family to receive higher education. The student pulled him aside and wanted to thank him. His whole family hugged Kennedy and was excited to finally meet him.

“When you get stuff like that, you realize you’re helping people,” Kennedy said.

The biggest life lesson that Kennedy has learned throughout his profession teaching and writing is learning to appreciate delayed gratification.

“Put in the hard work, and stuff will come; don’t expect instant gratification,” Kennedy said.