Robert “Bob” Currie is a leader in the Scottish American community and has been involved in ethnic affairs and historic preservation for the last 30 years.
Following an international call for nominations, he was unanimously elected Commander of the Name and Arms of the Currie family – a Scottish bardic dynasty dating back to the 13th century. The election was held in Glasgow, Scotland in 2017 and affirmed by the Lord Lyon, King of Arms in 2018 at a celebration in Edinburgh. Bob recently became a member of the Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs.
In his book, “Scottish Clans and Tartans,” noted author and historian Ian Grimble wrote, “Through the MacMhuirichs (Curries) the Literary Torch of in the Western Islands was preserved for generations. They were recognized as the as the most illustrious body of learned men who were specialists in the heroic literature and genealogy of the ancient Gaelic world.”
Currie, along with the support and guidance of the Scots Gaelic community reestablished the once famed literary dynasty by forming a family society in 1992. Now a “Learned Kindred” as opposed to a Highland Clan, the far-flung Curries have grown from strength to strength, now counting thousands in their membership rolls and multiple social media outlets on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter among others.
The Society’s signature events include “Tartan Day on Ellis Island” (founded in 2002) and the award-winning “Pipes of Christmas” concerts now in its 24th year. The Society has distributed thousands of dollars in scholarships to deserving students in the US, Canada, and Scotland.
The Society is also the Title Sponsor of the US National Scottish Harp Championship and was at the forefront of developing cultural heritage tents specifically for harp, fiddle and Gaelic singing at Scottish games in the United States.
In recognition of his years of service to the Scottish American community, Bob received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor in 2017. He has also received an Honorary Doctorate from Edinburgh Napier University in Scotland and was also the recipient of the Saltire Award from St. Andrew’s University in Laurinburg, North Carolina.
In November of 2017, Bob received the International Gaelic Leader Award from Scotland’s B rd na G idhlig – the departmental public body of the Scottish Government with responsibility for Gaelic. It was established in 2005 and is based in Inverness. Bob is also one of the inaugural Supporters of the new Lord Lyon Society in Edinburgh.
He earned his BS in Marketing (with honors) and MA in Corporate and Organizational Communications from Fairleigh Dickinson University in NJ.
While it is not widely known outside the NYC Area, of particular interest is the fact that Bob’s devotion to Ellis Island preservation efforts predated his creation of Tartan Day on Ellis Island, and in many ways facilitated it. From 1993 to 2002, Bob served as Chairman of the Ethnic Advisory Council for the State of New Jersey and in 1998 was appointed by then Governor Christine Todd Whitman to the NJ Advisory Committee on the Preservation and Use of Ellis Island. In 2000, the Committee’s work developed into the Save Ellis Island Foundation, where Currie served as Director and Secretary.