Irish eyes will me smiling on tomorrow’s St. Patrick’s Day parade as far as the weather is concerned. Grand Marshalls Don and Bridget McSweegan and Person of the Year Kathleen Lynch Bolduc will lead the procession along with Gov. Dannel Malloy and Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman.

There is a pre-parade breakfast / fundraiser at the Black Bear Saloon on Allyn St. in Hartford from 7 am to 11 am. And for those who would like to forego the big green, foam hats, green beer and silly outfits for a while, there is a St. Patrick’s Day Mass tonight at 7 p.m. at St. Peter’s Church on Main Street. The Mass will celebrate the parade’s participants, grand marshals and the person of the year.

The Hartford Courant has a nice article on the parade and some very smart parade-viewing tips.

A little more about this year’s Person of the Year:
Kate Bolduc is resident of South Windsor and Chief Executive Officer of the Greater Hartford Arts Council (GHAC).

The GHAC, an organization that supports more than 150 arts and heritage organizations in 34 towns in the capital region of Connecticut, is ranked in the country’s Top 10 United Arts funds by Americans for the Arts and is also New England’s largest independent arts council. Bolduc was recruited to leave her corporate position to take on this challenge during one of the most difficult economic times, leveraging her business experience and passion for the Arts and the Greater Hartford Community.

Bolduc and her brother, Michael Lynch, are the children of Michael and Teresa (Murray) Lynch. Her father, Michael, from Athy, County Kildare, immigrated on the Mauretania in May 1949. Her mother, Teresa, from Athlone, County Westmeath arrived on the Queen Mary in January 1950. The two met at the very first location of the Irish American Home Society “Lyric Hall” on the corner of Park and Broad Street in Hartford and married in 1951. As all immigrants have and still do, Bolduc’s parents struggled with multiple jobs to give their children a better life. They instilled a strong work ethic, moral values and a bit of “traditional” Irish discipline into their children.

At a young age, Bolduc became very active in Irish step dancing, drama, playing the guitar, singing (Irish songs being her favorite of course) swimming, cheerleading and giving back to the community through her work with the disabled, the elderly and the homeless. Bolduc and her daughter, Tara Preston, still support these causes to this day.

Bolduc has always been extremely proud of her Irish Heritage and her extended family. She credits her family including her aunts, uncles and close friends both here and abroad, for the strong connections she has with her culture. She describes herself as being part of one very large extended family, were the door is always open.

Bolduc attended Trinity College in Dublin when she was a junior in college and very much enjoyed living and studying Irish history and politics. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration and psychology from Marymount College in Tarrytown, N.Y., and a master’s degree in economics from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut.

Bolduc has always been active in the Hartford community. In addition to her primary business responsibilities she served as Vice Chairman of the Travelers Foundation, which supports initiatives that involve education, arts and culture and community development programs around the country. She also envisioned and implemented Travelers’ Education Access Initiative in the Hartford region to create broad access to highly desired, entry-level opportunities within the Insurance and Financial Services Sector for economically underserved community college students. The successful program has had a positive impact on many motivated, talented students who would otherwise have had limited career options because of the obstacles they face in life.

While at Travelers, Bolduc served on the Board of Journey Home, a local coalition to end homelessness. She also served on the Executive Committee of the Greater Hartford Arts Council and the Hartford Stage Board.

Congratulations, Kate.