UCD has a long and distinguished history in the teaching of American Studies. A Chair in Modern English and American Literature was held by Professor Denis Donoghue as far back as 1960. In more recent years the university has fostered a unique range of expertise and experience in the teaching and research of various aspects of American culture, including history, politics, literature, music, film, philosophy, economics, and sociology. It has established Ireland’s first Professorship of American Studies and annually awards the prestigious Mary Ball Washington Chair of American History to a distinguished visiting American Scholars.
In May 2001, the Government of Ireland recommended that an Institute for American Studies should be established in Ireland. It also decided that it should be named for the 42nd President of the United States, President William Jefferson Clinton, in recognition of his own crucial and personal role, as well as those of the United States Government, Congress and people, in the Irish Peace Process.
University College Dublin successfully tendered for the project and the UCD Clinton Institute for American Studies has been formally established at UCD, which recognises the need to develop a resource for the island of Ireland as a whole, as well as to interact with other networks of excellence in American Studies in the United States, European Union and beyond.