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Spring 2023: Asian, African, and European Exploration

Michael Connolly

St. Joseph's College of Maine

Dr. Michael C. Connolly (Mike), along with his partner Becky Hitchcock, has sailed with Semester at Sea on three previous voyages, Spring 2004, Spring 2011, and Fall 2017. He obviously loves SAS and its core concepts of experiential learning and the close contact it fosters between the teaching faculty, staff and students. These concepts are hallmarks of the Semester at Sea experience, and for many participants, if not most, this voyage will become “the time of their lives.”

Mike earned his BA in Social Sciences at Florida Southern College (1973), a campus largely designed by the world-famous American architect, Frank Lloyd Wright. His senior year was spent in a year-abroad program in Dublin, mostly at Trinity College, where he learned the value of “study away.” His MA in Modern Irish History was earned at University College Dublin (1977), and his Ph.D. in American Immigration History was completed at Boston College (1988).

In one of his previous Semester at Sea classes, a student made a bet that he couldn’t go through an entire lecture without once mentioning either “Ireland” or “Irish.” Mike lost that bet!  As promised, he purchased a Snickers bar for the victorious, and very self-satisfied, student at the end of the lecture, much to the delight of the entire class.  He should never have taken that bet. Since retirement Mike has authored a work of historical fiction and has another on the way – he considers these a reward to himself.

Mike loves the study of history. All SAS voyages directly demonstrate how a nation’s or a region’s history is so clearly reflected in its current condition, thus bringing clarity and insight to us all during our brief visits there – something that his three courses in Spring 2023 will attempt to illustrate. One aspect of Semester at Sea voyages that he particularly admires is the opportunity to participate in service-related field trips. It is humbling to learn how much so many of us have when compared to those that we will meet. This is humbling to an incredible degree.

Mike is honored to be able to stay in close contact with former students along with two Semester at Sea luminaries who also live in Maine, Max Brandt and Dan Garvey. It is true that Semester at Sea voyagers have each other’s backs, and often, even without realizing it, we make life-long friendships and lasting impressions upon each other.