NEWARK, NJ - Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. hosted the 11th Annual Essex County Irish Heritage Celebration on Thursday, March 13. During the afternoon ceremony, the County Executive presented Francis McEnerney, Budget Consultant for the Board of Chosen Freeholders and Managing Partner of McEnerney, Brady & Company LLC in Livingston, with the 2014 Essex County Irishman of the Year Award and Mary Sue Sweeney Price, retired Director and CEO of The Newark Museum, with the 2014 Essex County Irishwoman of the Year Award. The Irish Heritage event recognizes the impact Irish men and women have had on the cultural, civic, political, law enforcement and economic history of the County.
"As I travel throughout New Jersey, I constantly tell people that Essex County's strength is our diversity,” DiVincenzo said. “Highlighting the contributions that each ethnicity has made to our culture, economy and history helps create a better understanding of each other and develops a sense of community. Francis McEnerney and Mary Sue Sweeney Price are two individuals who have helped shape the quality of life in New Jersey through their legal and civic work," he added.
Francis McEnerney, 2014 Essex County Irishman of the Year Award Recipient
Francis McEnerney is currently the Budget Consultant for the Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders, a partner with McEnerney, Brady & Company, LLC, Certified Public Accountants and the Supervisor of Mutuals for the New Jersey Racing Commission. Mr. McEnerney is also a member of several boards and professional organizations. In addition, he currently serves as a board member and Treasurer of New Bridge Services Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing balance to people's lives through counseling, housing and education. Additionally, he holds memberships in the John J. Giblin Association, Irish American Society of the Oranges, the Order of the Friendly Sons of the Shillelagh, American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Association of Certified Fraud Examiners and the New Jersey Association of Registered Municipal Accountants.
Mr. McEnerney said he is extremely proud of his Irish Heritage and has received several honors, dating back to 1984, that recognized his contributions to the Irish community. He has been honored by the Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders and the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick as Irishman of the Year, and received several other honors from the Essex/West Hudson Labor Council, John Cryan Association, The Order of the Friendly Sons of the Shillelagh, Ancient Order of Hibernians Division #9 and the Irish American Society of the Oranges. He also served as Chairman, Grand Marshal and Deputy Grand Marshal of the West Orange St. Patrick's Day Parade.
Mr. McEnerney received a Bachelor's Degree in 1979 from William Paterson College (now William Paterson University). He is an Essex County native who has raised his family in West Orange, with his wife Jayne and five children; Jennifer, Brendan, Meghan, Bridget and Jessica.
"I grew up in West Orange and that community had a significant Irish presence. In addition to my family, it was because of these people that I got so heavily involved with my Irish heritage. The parade was my passion, the people that I worked alongside in this capacity were some of my first clients at my firm and this meant a lot to me," said McEnerney. "I want to thank the County Executive and the Board of Chosen Freeholders for this Irishman of the Year Award," he added.
Mary Sue Sweeney Price, 2014 Essex County Irishwoman of the Year Award Recipient
Mary Sue Sweeney Price was appointed as the sixth director of the Newark Museum in 1993, and retired in 2013, after two decades of service. The Museum, which celebrated its centennial in 2009, is nationally recognized for its collections, architecture, and historic commitment to education and access.
Mrs. Price oversaw several museum expansions, including the restoration and reinterpretation of the Victorian-era Ballantine House, a National Historic Landmark; the creation of interactive natural science galleries, "Dynamic Earth: Revealing Nature's Secrets;" and the Horizon Plaza, a new vista onto the three-acre campus, Michael Graves's most recent project with the museum. Among many important exhibitions organized under Mrs. Price's leadership were: "Crowning Glory: Images of the Virgin in the Arts of Portugal," "Wrapped in Pride: Ghanaian Kente and African American Identity," "Picturing America," the contextual reinstallation of the museum's outstanding American art collection; and "Constructive Spirit: Abstract Art in South and North America."
Price is a past president of the Association of Art Museum Directors, representing the major art museums in North America, and Past President of ArtTable Inc., the national organization for professional women leaders in the visual arts. She currently serves as a Trustee of ArtPride NJ, one of the most effective arts advocacy organizations in the country, and as a Commissioner of the American Alliance of Museums.
She is a graduate of Allegheny College and attended Harvard's Publishing Procedures program and the AFA/Getty Foundation Museum Leadership Institute. Mrs. Price has received honorary doctorates from Rutgers University, Drew University, Caldwell College and the New Jersey Institute of Technology and has been honored by the government of Portugal for contributions to cultural diplomacy. She and her husband, the historian Dr. Clement Alexander Price, Board of Governors Distinguished Professor at Rutgers University, live in Newark's historic Lincoln Park district.
"I want to thank the County Executive for this great honor today for Irish American Heritage Month,” said Price. “Being the Director of Newark Museum for over 20 years and having the ability to showcase so many cultures over the years is indeed my greatest honor. I am very proud of my Irish heritage, but we are all Irish, we are all African American, Latino, etc. I am so proud of the City of Newark because we represent all of that and, through the arts, we will rise to be the best we can be," she added.
"The arts is what describes where we come from, where we are and where we will go in the future. It is so important to preserve our art history," said Assemblywoman Sheila Y. Oliver. "Newark Museum is one of our premiere museums because of Mary Sue's dedication. She has brought leadership to every major arts organization in this State and is looked to across the country as an expert. We are indebted to her for all that she has done," she added.
The entertainment was provided by Paul Byrne and Jack McGarry of the Essex County Prosecutor's Office.
Essex County's Annual Irish Heritage Celebration is one of several cultural observances hosted by the Essex County Executive and the Essex County Office of Cultural Diversity and Affirmative Action. The events are held to raise awareness about the rich ethnic diversity and backgrounds of County employees.