By Paddy Henry
NUI Galway have announced the 11 recipients of honorary degrees from the University this year.
The recipients joined over 6,000 people in graduating from the University last week. Prominent figures in the fields of architecture, broadcasting, politics and public activism were awarded the distinguished accolade.
NUI Galway’s very own Seamus O’Grady was conferred with an honorary degree for his contribution to adult learning in the university. The Centre for Adult Learning and Professional Development spoke of their delight with the news, stating; “Over Seamus’ working life at the University he was committed to the principle of access and participation for all learners. He is known to generations of NUI Galway alumni in Ireland and around the world whose contact with the University was through Extra-Mural Studies, Adult and Continuing Education and, latterly, the Access Programme”.
Fergus Finlay, former CEO of children’s charity Barnardos , BBC Journalist Orla Guerin, directors of Grafton architects Shelly McNamara and Yvonne Farrell, former Director General of RTÉ Cathal Goon, founding President of the Roots of Empathy Programme Mary Gordon, national manager for IBM, Paul Farrell, LGBT+ advocate Nuala Ward, Director of the Operational Division at the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, John Ging and former Head of Raidió na Gaeltachta, Breandán Feiritéar joined O’Grady in graduating with honorary degrees from the University.
NUI Galway President, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh spoke of the contribution the recipients of honorary degrees have made to deserve the accolade, stating: “NUI Galway is fortunate to be associated with many outstanding honorary graduates throughout its history and those being honoured this year form a particularly distinguished group. Each one has made an excellent and distinctive contribution to the diverse fields of adult and continuing education; children’s rights, journalism and broadcasting; international social entrepreneurship; research, development and innovation; activism for social change; contribution to society, human rights and our defence forces”.
He continued, “NUI Galway is very pleased to be in a position to respect and recognise these exceptional individuals. Each of those we honour also have a special bond with our region – drawing on the unique experiences, strengths and challenges with which we as a University also engage – our proud record of achievement in widening access to education, this year marking the 50th anniversary of the establishment of Adult and Continuing Education; our strong association with the Defence Forces since 1969; our profile on international human rights, and our emphasis on creativity and innovation. In honouring these exceptional individuals, we also signal what we value in areas that matter to us and to our society”.
Professor Ó hÓgartaigh also congratulated the 6,000 students graduating for the university, “We are delighted that our honorary graduands are being honoured at the same time as we celebrate the achievements of over 6,000 of our students across our four Colleges. On behalf of NUI Galway, I am delighted to honour all of our graduates and their achievements, a great occasion for everyone involved.” he said.