Connect

07-2006 Press Releases

27/06/2006: Design Success for Queen's Formula Racing Team at International Formula Student Event
27/07/2006: Bigger than beckham
25/07/2006: Queen's Graduate Hosts Capitol Hill 'Forum for the Future' on US-Ireland Relationships
21/07/2006: Giants of US Basketball 'Playing for Peace' at Queen’s next week
20/07/2006: Growing International involvement broadens the learning experience for scholars at Byzantine Greek Summer School
14/07/2006: International Students arrive in NI to study NI Politics, History and Culture at Queen's
07/07/2006: Graduation celebrations take place at Queen's Univeristy
07/07/2006: Newry Grandmother, 37, Graduates from Queen's University today.
07/07/2006: NI Salvation Army's Director of Evangelism graduates
07/07/2006: Queen's honours Angela Feeney
07/07/2006: Northern Ireland born doctor wins Graduate of the Year
06/07/2006: Queen's University honours Harte
06/07/2006: Young doctors' life-saving scheme wins Student of the Year Award
06/07/2006: Citizenship "crucial to our future", Queen’s graduands told
06/07/2006: The West family make it a treble for Queen's graduates
05/07/2006: Derry's Waterside meets Belfast's Fane Street at Queen's
05/07/2006: From Brazil to Belfast in time for Graduation
05/07/2006: Leading US businessman honoured by Queen's
05/07/2006: Queen's honours international human rights expert
05/07/2006: Queen's Students Presented with £3,200 in Scholarships
05/07/2006: Environmental campaigners praise Queen's commitment to sustainable development
05/07/2006: Double delight for Hillsborough Sisters
04/07/2006: Queen's Student puts Skills to Good Use in Uganda
04/07/2006: Zambian Mission for Queen's Mathematics and Statistics Graduate
04/07/2006: Queen's honours Nobel-prize winning chemist and CBI Director General
04/07/2006: Another quantum leap for Queen's couple
04/07/2006: Leading neuroscientist and BP Chief Executive honoured by Queen's
04/07/2006: From microfiche to memory sticks: couple graduate 25 years after Meeting at Queen's
03/07/2006: Carer commends Lifelong Learning
03/07/2006: Mum leads the way with First Class Honours from Queen’s
03/07/2006: Distinguished journalist receives Queen’s honorary degree
03/07/2006: Extra special graduation for brother and sister at Queen's
03/07/2006: Champion Sisters Dance for Joy at Queen’s Graduation
03/07/2006: No mountain too high for Doctor battling diabetes
03/07/2006: Pharmaceutical leader honoured by Queen's
03/07/2006: Queen's honours Eamonn Holmes

Design Success for Queen's Formula Racing Team at International Formula Student Event
The Queen's Formula Racing Team, with next year’s Team Leader Bronagh Kelly from Belfast seated in the 2006 car
The Queen's Formula Racing Team, with next year’s Team Leader Bronagh Kelly from Belfast seated in the 2006 car
Queen's student John Taylor from Portrush takes the car around the track at Bruntingthorpe during the Formula Student Racing event.
Queen's student John Taylor from Portrush takes the car around the track at Bruntingthorpe during the Formula Student Racing event.

Students involved with Queen's Formula Racing have claimed second place in the Design category at the 2006 Student Formula Racing event which took place earlier this month at Bruntingthorpe Proving Ground, Leicestershire. The Queen’s University team was also the 3rd highest placed UK University and 8th overall out of over 70 university teams from across the globe. The overall winner was the University of Toronto.

The single seat, 600 cc motorcycle engine powered racer car was designed and constructed from scratch by 17 of the top Mechanical Engineering students from Queen's University Belfast, several of whom had to make a sprint finish to Bruntingthorpe, having graduated the day before the event with First Class Honours in their Masters in Mechanical and Manufacturing engineering.

Teams were required to present on their overall design and demonstrate their financial and business acumen before competing in sprint, endurance tests and acceleration, a category in which the Queen’s Formula Racing Team achieved the second fastest time overall, reaching 75 metres in 4.14 seconds.

Speaking about the event, the team’s Communications Director, Gavin Dunn from East Belfast said: "It's great to see all the late nights pay off, as last year we didn't manage to finish the event due to technical problems.

“It’s a great feeling when you see your car has actually lasted through the whole event, especially the tough endurance test. As a team we are very proud of what we have achieved and how we have represented Queen’s University and Belfast on an international stage. We couldn't have done it without the support from all our kind sponsors and lecturers so we would like to thank them."

The website for the event, featuring a breakdown of the results in various categories can be found at http://www.imeche.org.uk/formulastudent while the website for Queen’s Formula Racing can be found at http://www.queens-racing.com.

For further information please contact: Lisa Mitchell, Communications Office, 028 9097 5384
Photographs by Ciaran Branney

END.

Top of Page

Bigger than beckham
Mike Dunleavy of the Golden State Warriors signs autographs in the PEC
Mike Dunleavy of the Golden State Warriors signs autographs in the PEC

Mike Dunleavy of the Golden State Warriors and Brent Barry of the San Antonio Spurs took time out from their vacation in Ireland to visit the Physical Education Centre at Queen’s and support 'Playing for Peace' on Wednesday 26 July.

Six foot nine Dunleavy made international sport headlines last November when he signed a 5-year, $44 million contract extension with the Warriors. This put him on a par with other basketball giants such as Adonal Foyle and Derek Fisher and leaves many professional European soccer earners in the shade.

Matt Quinn, Project Director with the Washington DC based charity ‘Playing for Peace’ said: “The visit to Belfast and Queen’s has been a huge hit, not just because the two NBA stars gave up their time and generated a lot of media interest, but have helped launch the potential for more cross community activity between youngsters here in Belfast through basketball.”

The international basketball stars took a black taxi style tour of Belfast before the PEC event and were introduced to the George Best mural on the Cregagh estate, a soccer hero recognised before his untimely death with the award of an Honorary Degree by Queen's.

“The guys were genuinely taken aback by the use of murals as internal boundary markers in parts of the city. The visit has given them a better understanding of why we want to reinforce the playing of basketball to open new contact and dialogue and help bridge community divides here,” according to Matt Quinn.

Cross community basketball teams have already been established in Dungannon, Armagh, Portadown, Limavady and Derry with a contingent from the northwest’s Northstar Club at the PEC event to help get the Belfast initiative underway. Moving forward, the forty youngsters from Belfast’s Short Strand and Dee Street Community Centres who were treated to a master class in basketball dunking by the NBA stars, will now be on the invitation list for the two day follow up at Queen’s PEC in September and Belfast’s Lord Mayor has already confirmed his attendance.

For further information contact: Brendan Heaney, Communications Office 028 90975320 or m.quinn@playingforpeace.org

END.

Top of Page

Queen's Graduate Hosts Capitol Hill 'Forum for the Future' on US-Ireland Relationships

A young Queen's graduate has travelled to Washington DC this summer to find out from leading Congressmen what the future holds for US - Ireland relationships. The discussion comes as a result of the diminishing numbers of young people travelling to America from Ireland.

David Russell, 23, an MA (English) graduate, originally from Kilkee, Co. Clare, will host the unique ‘Forum on the Future of US-Ireland Relations’ on Capitol Hill tomorrow (Wednesday, 27 July). Chaired by the Irish Ambassador to the United States, Mr Noel Fahey, the Forum will also be addressed by the leader of the Irish Caucus Rep. James Walsh (R-NY), Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-NY), Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA) and Rep. Brian Higgins (D-NY).

Executive Director of the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland, Mr. Stephen Farry will also share his vision for the future.

Alongside Martina Callanan, a graduate from NUI Galway, David will be asking whether the Irish–American relationship is on the wane or not, driven by the diminishing amounts of young Irish people travelling to the US, as well as the vast socio-economic changes on the island of Ireland.

David explained: "We want to ask 'What do Ireland and the United States think of each other? What is it that continues to connect these distant and disperse groups of people? And will it continue to as Ireland and the US develop and change in the 21st Century?'"

Callanan added: "From Riverdance to the builders of the railroads, the Irish have helped to shape the US and inhabit the American imagination in a profound manner. This Forum is a celebration of this rich relationship as well as recognition of the need to continue developing these strong ties."

Both David and Martina have interned in Washington DC in the past two years as part of the Washington-Ireland Program for Service and Leadership.

The WIP program takes 30 diverse promising university students from the island of Ireland and brings them to Washington to engage in professional internships and intense team building in order to prepare Northern Ireland's and Ireland's next generation of leaders.

Five Queen’s students were chosen for the programme earlier this year and are currently undertaking internships in Congressman Peter King’s Office (Paul McNickle, Crumlin); the IFC Department of the World Bank (Neil Flanigan, Castlereagh); Congressman Jim Walsh’s Office (Karina Moore, Newry); the Northern Ireland Bureau (Amy Stewart) and Senator John McCain’s Office (Joanne Black, Dromore).

For further information please contact: Lisa Mitchell, Communications Office, 028 9097 5384 or Martina Callanan, Co-ordinator of Forum on Future of US-Ireland Relations, Washington-Ireland Program, 2006. Mobile 202-747-8865, Office: 202772-3824 or visit www.wiprogram.org.

END.

Top of Page

Giants of US Basketball 'Playing for Peace' at Queen’s next week

Queen's University Physical Education Centre (PEC), will be host to the international 'Playing for Peace' programme and two of America's best known basketball players next week.

Successful in America, South Africa, Israel, and in Northern Ireland, ‘Playing for Peace’ uses basketball to address sectarianism and foster mutual respect to bring young people together in regions of conflict around the world.

Next week National Basketball Association players Mike Dunleavy of the Golden State Warriors and Brent Barry of the San Antonio Spurs will be in Belfast to attend and participate in’ Playing for Peace’ at Queen’s.

From 1.00-3.00pm on Wednesday 26 July at Queen’s PEC, a special basketball demonstration involving two giants of the game will be held in front of an invited audience. The activities will involve fifty youngsters from the Short Strand and Dee Street Community Centres as well as the NBA stars who have taken an interest in the success of ‘Playing for Peace’. The event will reinforce how successful sports and open dialogue can be in bridging divides.

Mike Dunleavy created international sports headlines in November 2005 when he signed a 5-year, $44 million contract extension with the Golden State Warriors and Brent Barry is a previous winner of the NBA dunk contest during basketball’s All Star Weekend involving other giants of the game such as Michael Jordan.

As part of ‘Playing for Peace’ over 15,000 youngsters aged between 10 and 16 in Northern Ireland have already received coaching through the initiative and 25 young adults have been trained to become basketball coaches and youth mentors on a cross community basis. A partnership with the Ulster Basketball Association has also helped establish cross community basketball clubs in Dungannon, Armagh, Cookstown, Portadown/Craigavon, New Buildings, Claudy, Limavady and Derry.

For further information please contact: Brendan Heaney, Communications Office 028 9097 5320 Or Matt Quinn: m.quinn@playingforpeace.org Mobile 07704690756 and you can visit the website www.playingforpeace.org

Note for Editors:
Interview and Picture Opportunities There will be opportunities for interview and pictures of the players between 3.00-3.30pm on Wednesday at Queen’s Physical Education Centre with the Chief Executive Officer of Playing for Peace, Brendan Tuohey, who is travelling from the United States to Belfast on Wednesday 26 for the event and a reception afterwards.

END.

Top of Page

Growing International involvement broadens the learning experience for scholars at Byzantine Greek Summer School
Byzantine Greek Summer School Level 2 Course scholars view the highly decorated yard of the Institute of Byzantine Studies with Tutors Dr Anthony Hirst and Dr Dirk Krausmϋller.
Byzantine Greek Summer School Level 2 Course scholars view the highly decorated yard of the Institute of Byzantine Studies with Tutors Dr Anthony Hirst and Dr Dirk Krausmϋller.

The Fifth Annual Byzantine Greek Summer School at Queen’s University has attracted larger numbers than ever before from scholars wanting to learn more about the Greek language in the form it is used in texts from the Byzantine period (330-1453AD) and through that, more about their own countries and civilisation.

The Assistant Director of the Institute of Byzantine Studies Dr Anthony Hirst who teaches on the programme said: “This year we decided to offer both a first and a second level course running for four weeks and the international response has been very significant. The number of applicants and inquiries exhausted the bursaries available but we are delighted at the international spread of participants because it adds to the learning experience for everyone involved.”

“Every discovery of text from the Byzantine period has added new information about the history of many modern countries particularly in Eastern Europe and parts of Asia that were influenced by an empire which succeeded the Roman Empire and lasted longer in its influence,” Dr Hirst said.

Two Greek Cypriot participants at the School said they came to Queen’s to better understand the relationship between Byzantine Greek and the Modern Greek which they speak at home.

Two Albanian archaeologists wanted to be able to read Greek inscriptions from the many important Byzantine sites in Albania and to fill in gaps where their ancient written sources are silent.

Peter Pechnyo from Hungary was supported by a bursary from the Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies in London which enabled him to leave Hungary for the first time. He met half the course costs and his own travel to Belfast and now intends to carry his postgraduate work through to a Doctorate and teach Byzantine Studies.

Örg? Dalgic from Istanbul in Turkey is completing her PhD at New York University and found out about the Queen’s Summer School by a search on the Internet, saying: “There are summer schools in Greece for researchers and scholars but the course at Queen’s with an emphasis on the Byzantine period is more relevant to my work, and apart from the course, I have really enjoyed being in Belfast and Northern Ireland for the first time.”

Anne Marie Patzwahl a student at the Catholic University of Notre Dame in Indiana travelled outside the United States for the first time to attend the course at Queen’s saying: “As an Eastern Catholic of the Orthodox tradition, I have been studying Theology and Medieval Studies so the course at Queen’s is one of the few in Europe which will help me take my studies of the Byzantine period forward because I want to move forward to a PhD in Theology when I go back to the States.”

Mareus Mindrutau recently graduated from Arad in Romania studying Orthodox Theology and was one of the scholars coming back to Queen’s to complete Level 2 at this year’s Summer School, saying: “It is certainly an interesting time of year to be in Belfast and everyone on the course was treated to a fascinating tour by Dr Dominic Bryan, Director of the Institute of Irish Studies of historic Belfast sites and murals, with a timely lecture on the history of parades on the 11 July.”

END.

Top of Page

International Students arrive in NI to study NI Politics, History and Culture at Queen's

Northern Ireland politics, history and culture will be the subject of choice for over fifty International students this summer, when Queen’s University hosts its International Summer School. Now in its sixth year, the three-week programme has proven to be very popular and this year students from Australia, Argentina, Canada, the US, Japan, Finland, Sweden, Germany, Hungary, Romania and the Czech Republic will all participate in the programme.

The course, which is organised by the Institute of Irish Studies at Queen’s, touches on the history, politics, anthropology, film, theatre, language and the literature of Ireland, all of which allows students to get a taste of what the Institute has to offer.

Lectures and seminars are given by internationally-acclaimed scholars from Queen's University, while students are also given the opportunity to meet with some of Northern Ireland’s decision-makers. Excursions to archaeological, historical and cultural sites will also form part of the School.

Also on offer for the participants will be the opportunity to take part in three days of poetry, fiction and script-writing workshops with some of the most respected writers in the country such as Medbh McGuckian, Daragh Carville, Fran Brearton, Sinead Morrisey and Ciaran Carson, Director of the Heaney Centre at Queen’s, which co-runs the programme.

Other highlights of the 2006 programme include:

  • A guided tour of Belfast’s murals and interfaces.
  • A trip to Belfast’s Titanic Quarter with Stephen Cameron of the Belfast Titanic Society.
  • A field trip to the Centre for Migration Studies at the Ulster American Folk Park to visit the outdoor museum's Old and New World exhibits, which tell the story of emigrant life on both sides of the Atlantic.
  • A visit to East Belfast to meet police, including the Tactical Support Group. Students will learn about new community policing initiatives and the problems of policing in interface areas.

Dr David Grant of the School of Languages at Queen’s will also talk to the students on the tradition of Irish theatre in Ulster, while former NME scribe, Stuart Bailie, now with BBC Radio Ulster, will give a lecture on popular music in Ireland.

The International Summer School starts on Monday 17 July and finishes on Friday 04 August.

Anyone requiring further information on availability of places for the 2007 intake should contact Valerie Miller on 028 9097 3386.

For further information please contact Lisa Mitchell, Communications Office, 028 9097 5384.

END.

Top of Page

And the band played on
The clock at Queen's
Newry Grandmother, 37, Graduates from Queen's University today.
Fiona Maguire, 37, grandmother to 3yr old Jordan and mother to Melissa and Jason, pictured after her graduation from Queen's on Friday, 7 July with Melissa and husband Sean. Fiona is one of the first cohorts to graduate from the new Bachelor of Social Work degree at Queen's.
Fiona Maguire, 37, grandmother to 3yr old Jordan and mother to Melissa and Jason, pictured after her graduation from Queen's on Friday, 7 July with Melissa and husband Sean. Fiona is one of the first cohorts to graduate from the new Bachelor of Social Work degree at Queen's.

When grandmother Fiona Maguire, 37, from Newry, graduates today from Queen's she will be one of the first students to graduate from the new Bachelor in Social Work degree at the University.

Mother to Melissa, 20, Jason, 18 and grandmother to grandson Jordan, age 3, Fiona had previously graduated from Queen's in 2000 with a BA (Hons) in Sociology (Major) and Women's Studies (Minor) and decided to return to study Social Work at Queen’s after working as a Social Work Assistant in Newry.

Speaking at graduation, Fiona, who was accompanied to graduation by her husband Sean and daughter Melissa, who, herself studying part time at Newry College of Further and Higher Education, said: “I left education when I was quite young and always felt I could achieve more, so that’s what I’ve tried to do.

“I went back to Queen’s and graduated in 2000 and by then the study bug had bitten. Working as a Social Work Assistant made me realise I would really like to work as a Social Worker so I am delighted to have graduated.

“I couldn’t have done it without the support of my husband Sean and my family. My children have really only known me when I’ve been studying so it will be strange now for them and me to be able to leave the books behind. Though you never know, perhaps I will take them up again and at some time in the future return to study further some element of Social Work. I’ve had a fantastic time at Queen’s and I’m sure there’ll be a little tear in my eye today.”

For further information please contact the Communication Office, 028 9097 3091

END.

Top of Page

NI Salvation Army's Director of Evangelism graduates
Major Alan Watters, who graduated from Queen's on Friday, 7 July, with a Bachelor of Divinity and his daughter Deryn, who graduated from Queen's earlier this week with her degree in Medicine, Surgery and Obstetrics.
Major Alan Watters who graduated from Queen's on Friday, 7 July, with a Bachelor of Divinity and his daughter Deryn, who graduated from Queen's earlier this week with her degree in Medicine, Surgery and Obstetrics.
Major Alan Watters pictured with members of his family at his graduation at Queen's.
Major Alan Watters pictured with members of his family at his graduation at Queen's.

Major Alan Watters, Director of Evangelism with the Salvation Army Office in Northern Ireland, will today graduate with a Bachelor of Divinity from Queen's. It will be one of Alan's last public functions before he and his family leave Belfast to take up a new post as Minister of a large Salvation Church in Chelmsford, Essex.

Alan moved to Belfast seven years ago from Lincolnshire, after spending 35 years in Africa. His father Eric Watters was the Salvation Army’s Public Relations Officer in Northern Ireland for many years

He was joined by his wife Linda who is also a Salvation Army Officer and the couple set up home with their children, Kirsten and Deryn, both of whom are Queen’s graduates and their son Gareth.

Speaking about his graduation, said: “I have enjoyed my time at Queen’s and Union College immensely. It has been a very worthwhile experience for me, both personally and professionally, as I have met so many people from a wide range of church backgrounds.

“My wife and I will be sad to leave Belfast as we now almost feel part of the scenery around here, but I am sure we will be back to visit the city and Queen’s many times as my parents, Helen and Eric, still live here.”

For further information please contact the Communications Office, 028 9097 5384.

[Note: Major Alan Watters will be awarded his degree at the 2.30pm graduation ceremony on Friday 07 July]

END.

Top of Page

Queen's honours Angela Feeney
International soprano Angela Feeney, who was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Music for services to the performing arts.
International soprano Angela Feeney, who was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Music for services to the performing arts.

International soprano Belfast-born Angela Feeney was honoured by Queen's University this afternoon. She was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Music for services to the performing arts.

Born in west Belfast, Angela Feeney has enjoyed a glittering international career. She made her professional singing debut with the Irish National Opera as Cherubino in "The Marriage of Figaro" in 1977 and continued her studies at the Richard Strauss Conservatoire in Munich from which she received a first class honours degree.

She became the first Irish singer to be signed as a soloist by the Munich State Opera and went on to make guest appearances with the Bamberger Symphoniker and the Hamburg and Frankfurt State Opera companies.

Her career has been marked by many triumphs and successes, including performances such as her debut as Elvira in English Opera's ‘Don Giovanni’ and her appearance at the Wexford Festival in the highly-acclaimed ‘Un Giorna di Regno’ as Guilietta (recorded live for BBC Radio 3).

She opened Cork City Opera's inaugural season as Leonora in ‘Il Trovatore’ and returned the following year in ‘La Boheme’ as Mimi. She has since performed in ‘Madame Butterfly’ for Opera Northern Ireland, a success that was repeated at the Berlin State Opera. Other successes have been as Marie in the ‘Bartered Bride’, Michaela in ‘Carmen’ and Nedda in English Opera's ‘I Pagliacci. As founder of the cross-community Belfast Classical Music Bursary Scheme, she has also used her considerable talent to contribute to society closer to home.

In 2002 her contribution to the arts in Belfast was recognised when at the Belfast Arts Awards she was given a special award by the judges in recognition of her outstanding services.

Delivering the citation this afternoon, Queen’s Senator Brian Hanna said: “Angela is an international opera singer who has made an outstanding contribution to the arts both on the international stage and here in her native city where her name is synonymous with the West Belfast Classical Music Bursary Awards which began in 1994 and now continue as the Belfast Classical Music Bursaries.

“These bursaries are open to all classical musicians born on the island of Ireland. Since 1994 over £250,000 in prize money has been awarded to many young Irish musicians to assist them in pursuing their careers.”

For further information contact: Anne Langford, 028 9097 5310

[Note: Angela Feeney will be presented for her honorary degree at the 2.30pm graduation ceremony on Friday 07 July]

END.

Top of Page

Northern Ireland born doctor wins Graduate of the Year
Queen's Graduate of the Year Dr Wesley Finegan, with his daughter Sharon.
Queen's Graduate of the Year Dr Wesley Finegan, with his daughter Sharon.

A Northern Ireland born doctor and cancer survivor, whose late wife died from the disease and who wrote an award-winning book on caring for cancer patients, was honoured by Queen's University this morning.

Dr Wesley Finegan, a part time consultant in Medical Education to the Distance Learning Centre in the University of Dundee and a part time clinical research physician, received the University's Graduate of the Year Award.

Wesley Finegan, from Bangor, qualified from Queen's as a doctor in 1978 and started his career at Ards Hospital. He then undertook his GP training in Newtownards before pursuing his career in Sussex from 1982 to 1991, and then in Scotland where he became a consultant on palliative medicine, dealing on a daily basis with people living with cancer.

He spent three years at Strathcarron Hospice in Denny, Stirlingshire in the early 1990s, a position he had to retire from in 1994 when ironically he himself was diagnosed with the disease. As a result of his experiences he wrote the popular ‘Trust me I’m a Doctor Cancer Patient’, which offers practical advice to help cancer patients to deal with day-to-day issues.

In 2003, the year in which he suffered a recurrence of the disease, Wesley’s wife, Alice, also developed cancer. This prompted his second book, ‘Being a Cancer Patient’s Carer- a guide’ which offers tried and tested advice, based on personal experience. The book went on to win The Society of Authors and the Royal Society of Medicine Book Award in the category of Medical Book for the General Reader, and was also ‘Highly Commended’ in the 2005 BMA Medical Book Competition.

Tragically, Alice died last year not long before the gala event in London at which Wesley accepted his literary award. In a fitting tribute, Wesley donated the first prize of £600 to Falkirk Royal Infirmary, in memory of Alice.

Dr Finegan said: “I must admit I was very taken aback to find that I had won the Queen’s Graduate of the Year award but obviously I am very pleased. I hope my books can help other people to cope with living with cancer and with looking after loved ones’ suffering from the disease.

“They both resulted from a dream I had shortly after I was diagnosed. I dreamt that I was coming home from school in Bangor with my mother and I saw two people on a tandem. When I asked my mother what this machine was, she replied: ‘It’s a tandem , a bike which two people can ride. One steers but they both pedal.’ This seemed to illustrate both the relationship between doctor and patient, and carer and patient. One person takes the lead but both have to work together.”

Delivering the citation, President of Queen’s Graduates Association Paddy Skates said: “Dr Finegan has contributed – and will continue to do so – to the lives of many people. Both his publications have been acknowledged for their sensitivity, down-to-earth approach and easy to understand language.

“Wesley’s unique position as doctor, carer and patient has enabled him to write on the subject of cancer care with a depth and understanding that is proving to be massively influential. His books answer many of the questions most people are too scared to ask.

“As well as enjoying success in this country, there is also considerable interest in his work from around the globe as a number of developing countries seek to form cancer care programmes based on easy-to-translate western manuals.

“For his very special contribution to – and indeed lasting legacy for – so many others, in the face of the most trying personal circumstances, Dr Wesley Finegan is the worthy recipient of this honour today from his Alma Mater.”

The Graduate of the Year Award, sponsored by First Trust Bank, recognises excellence, achievement or service to others by Queen’s alumni.

For further information contact: Anne Langford,  028 9097 5310

[Note: The Graduate of the Year Award will be presented at the 10.30am graduation ceremony on Friday 07 July]

END.

Top of Page

Queen's University honours Harte
Tyrone's GAA managers, Mickey Harte was awarded an honorary Doctorate of the University for services to Gaelic Football. Queen's Registrar, James O’Kane delivered the citation.
Tyrone's GAA managers, Mickey Harte was awarded an honorary Doctorate of the University for services to Gaelic Football. Queen's Registrar, James O’Kane delivered the citation.
Mickey Harte with his daugter Michaela, who graduated with a BEd in the same ceremony.
Mickey Harte with his daugter Michaela, who graduated with a BEd in the same ceremony.

One of the most successful GAA managers of modern times, Tyrone's Mickey Harte, was today honoured by Queen's University.

At this afternoon's graduation ceremony he was awarded an honorary Doctorate of the University for services to Gaelic Football.

Born in Glencull, near Ballygawley in County Tyrone, Mickey was educated at the Christian Brothers Grammar School in Omagh. He then went to St Joseph’s College in Belfast (now St Mary’s), where he gained the necessary qualifications to embark upon a successful teaching career. He also obtained a Certificate in Educational Studies in 1977 and an advanced certificate in Youth and Community Studies in 1985 from Queen’s.

After spending the first five years of his teaching career De La Salle Boys School in Kircubben, he then moved to St Ciaran’s in Ballygawley, where he brought numerous Tyrone, Ulster and All-Ireland Vocational Schools titles to the school in his 22 years there, as well as a National League title and All-Ireland Minor and U21 victories for his county.

During his last year at the school, Mickey also brought another important trophy back to Tyrone, the Sam Maguire. The coveted Cup, which had eluded Tyrone since it began participating in the All-Ireland Championship almost 100 years ago, was finally won by the O’Neill County after a memorable All-Ireland Final which saw them defeat their neighbours Armagh, 0-12 to 0-9.

With many in Tyrone still basking in the glory of their 2003 win, Mickey then led his team to victory once again in the 2005 All-Ireland Final. His men defeated Kerry, 1-16 to 2-10, after playing an unprecedented ten matches on the way to lift Sam for a second time.

Delivering the citation, Queen’s Registrar, James O’Kane said: “Mickey Harte has now captured six national inter-county titles in seven finals as a manager, as many as his county had gained in the previous century.

“His leadership qualities have been instrumental in helping to guide his team and county through the highs of victory and also the lows, following the tragic loss of his team captain and former Queen’s footballer, Cormac McAnallen.

“His sporting feats have become legendary but they are merely a mirror image of the fulfilment he has experienced in other walks of his life. Mickey Harte is regarded as someone of outstanding integrity and honour, who conducts himself with the highest standards of decorum in everything he undertakes and this University today recognises his contribution and achievements.”

For further information contact: Anne Langford, 028 9097 5310

[Note: Mickey Harte will be presented for his honorary degree at the 2.30pm graduation ceremony on Thursday 06 July]

END.

Top of Page

Young doctors' life-saving scheme wins Student of the Year Award
Michael Connolly and Philip Toner with their Student of the Year Award.
Michael Connolly and Philip Toner with their Student of the Year Award.

Two of Northern Ireland's newest young doctors who developed an innovative scheme to teach life-saving skills to hundreds of local primary schoolchildren were honoured by Queen's University today.

Michael Connolly from Roslea in Fermanagh and Philip Toner from south Belfast, who graduated in Medicine at Queen’s on Monday, are this year’s joint winners of the University’s Student of the Year Award.

As members of MedSIN (the Medical Students International Network), an independent, student organisation raising awareness of global health issues locally, they created the ABC for Life scheme – the first of its type in the United Kingdom. Developed with the support of their fellow medical students, ABC for Life aims to instruct primary school teachers in basic resuscitation procedures. The teachers in turn pass on the knowledge and expertise to children in their schools. Already more than half of all primary schools in Northern Ireland have enrolled in the scheme. It is estimated that ABC for Life will result in up to 15 per cent of the Northern Ireland population gaining life-saving skills within 10 years.

Delivering the citation, Students’ Union President Ben Preston said: “Northern Ireland has the highest incidence of heart disease in the world, with around 8,000 people suffering a heart attack each year, resulting in upwards of 3,000 deaths. Many of these attacks happen suddenly and without warning and in a lot of cases the individual dies before medical help arrives. If immediate basic life support could be given to all of these victims, it is estimated that up to 1,800 lives could be saved each year.

“ABC will educate an entire generation of young people in Northern Ireland and will undoubtedly save lives, particularly in areas where expert advice isn’t always close at hand.”

The initiative is supported by many organisation, including the Cormac Trust which was formed following the death of Tyrone GAA star Cormac McAnallen, who posthumously received the Queen’s Graduate of the Year Award in 2004. The campaign has also received the backing of the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, the Department of Education, the Red Cross, and the Northern Ireland Chest, Heart and Stroke Association.

Ben Preston said: “ABC for Life, which continues to be rolled out across Northern Ireland, will undoubtedly make a major impact on the lives of those living in the province for many years to come and for that we owe the winners of the Student of the Year Award a huge debt of gratitude.”

The Graduate and Student of the Year Awards were launched in 1999 by the Queen’s Graduates Association and the University’s Development and Alumni Relations Office, with the support of First Trust Bank. The Awards aim to recognise excellence, achievement or service by Queen’s alumni and students, either to the University or to the wider community.

For further information contact: Anne Langford,  028 9097 5310

[Note: The Student of the Year Award will be presented at the 10.30am graduation ceremony on Thursday 06 July]

END.

Top of Page

Citizenship "crucial to our future", Queen’s graduands told

The value of citizenship in a global society cannot be over-estimated, Queen's students have been told. In his graduation address this morning, Queen's Pro-Vice-Chancellor Professor Ken Bell reminded students of their responsibility to shape the society in which they live.

He said: “It is important to keep on learning and there are endless opportunities for continuing professional development. However, it is also important to remember that skills are perceived to be for citizenship as much as for employability. You should not think that lifelong learning has to be all about acquisition of employability skills and being ‘productive’. The value of citizenship cannot be stressed strongly enough. Citizenship is not an individual skill, but is in fact based on an understanding of interaction with other citizens. It is crucial to the future development of this world in all its aspects.

“So as graduates you will have a particular responsibility to shape and inform the sort of society in which we live. You will provide the skills on which ultimately our society will rely for economic growth which will permit the raising of living standards, the reduction of inequalities, the improvements in the social services and the enrichment of civic life to which we all aspire.

“Yet above all, the future will need your input as people who are educated in the fullest sense of the word, tolerant, open-minded, impartial and capable of recognising that individual worth rests not on accidents of birth, race, or geography, but on personal human qualities.”

For further information contact: Anne Langford,  028 9097 5310

[Note: Professor Bell will deliver his graduation address at the 10.30am graduation ceremony on Thursday 06 July]

END.

Top of Page

The West family make it a treble for Queen's graduates

The West family from Maguiresbridge in County Fermanagh will have completed a Queen’s University treble today when 21 year old David receives his BSc Honours Degree in Geography. His mum is an established graduate in French and Spanish which took her into teaching and older sister Linda received a Bachelor of Dental Surgery with Honours on Monday of this week.

Linda knows where she is going with her vocational training year already organised in Dungannon saying, “I cannot believe that the five years of study at Queen’s went so quickly. It seems no time since I was at Enniskillen Collegiate and giving my dad a hand with the dairy farm.

“I am delighted for my brother David today even though it has meant two runs up and down the road to Belfast this week for our mum and dad. David has worked hard on his course and is still considering his options.”

For further information please contact the Communications Office, 028 9097 3091

[Note: David West will be presented his degree at the 10.30am graduation ceremony on Thursday 06 July]

END.

Top of Page

Derry's Waterside meets Belfast's Fane Street at Queen's

James Bradley walked up the steps at Queen's University to receive his BSc in Psychology and in doing so became the first student of Immaculate Conception College in Derry's Waterside to graduate from the University. Speaking about his achievement he said:

"I took a year out when I finished A Levels although most people seem to do it at the end of their degree. There was no tradition of going to university in my family and when I got my A levels I went to work in the local Tesco.

“Following this I decided to apply for Psychology at Queen’s. This got me involved in a few new things like Young Enterprise which took me into Fane Street Primary School off Belfast’s Lisburn Road introducing Business Studies to the primary school children as part of our school link. Families in that part of South Belfast were just like the Waterside where there was limited expectation of what to get from education and little or no experience of getting a place at university.

“I have now applied to study Social Work at Galway University and am also considering going to Australia. I might be the first Bradley from the Waterside to get north of Alice Springs, who knows?”

For further information please contact Communications Office,028 9097 3091

[Note: James Bradley will be awarded a BSc in Psychology at the 10.30am graduation ceremony on Wednesday 05 July]

END.

Top of Page

From Brazil to Belfast in time for Graduation

David Finlay from Teemore, Co. Fermanagh has gone from Brazil to Belfast just in time to receive his BSc in Management at Queen’s University. David returned from Brazil last Friday after working with the poor and needy over the last month as a volunteer with Tearfund, saying: “Brazil is a long way from here and has become a very violent society with gang murders and kidnapping a feature of daily life, poverty is prevalent and there is much to be done.”

“I came to Belfast to study and joined the Church of Ireland Society at Queen’s which allowed me to go to less well off countries as a volunteer.

“At Recife in Brazil we had to build a bigger and stronger wall for the local school just to keep out intruders and protect the schoolchildren during the school day. Six people died in a gang shoot-out in the barrio next door while I was there.

“Today is one of celebration for me but I haven’t forgotten the poor of Brazil who have taught me different lessons in life that were not available in lectures.”

For further information please contact Communications Office028 9097 3091

[Note: David Finlay will receive the award of BSc in Management at the 10.30am graduation ceremony on Wednesday 5 July]

END.

Top of Page

Leading US businessman honoured by Queen's
David Figgins pictured at Queen's University
David Figgins pictured at Queen's University

A former President of the Students' Union at Queen’s University, now one of the most successful businessmen in the United States, returned to the campus today to be awarded an honorary degree.

At this evening’s graduation ceremony, David Figgins, former CEO of the Mellon Stuart Company, was awarded a Doctorate of Science (Engineering) for distinction in engineering and services to business and commerce.

Pro-Chancellor Sir David Fell, delivering the citation, said: “David Figgins is a distinguished engineer, a respected and successful businessman, a patron of the arts, a moving force in the world of sport, and a significant contributor to social and economic development, both in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he has made his home for nearly the last 50 years, and also in his native Northern Ireland, with which he has never lost touch.”

David Figgins joined Mellon Stuart, a small construction company based in Pittsburgh, in 1957. When he retired as Chairman and CEO 31 years after joining the company, it was one of the top 10 construction firms in the USA. He subsequently became Chairman and CEO of Trafalgar House Construction Inc.

He served successively as President of the Pittsburgh Chapter, and then the Pennsylvania Society of Professional Engineers, and as Director of the National Society of Professional Engineers in America for a full five years. Even after his retirement, he continues to be active in the business.

David Figgins has also made a major contribution as a patron of the arts, He has been a Director of the Pittsburgh Opera, of the Pittsburgh Symphony, and of the Pittsburgh Irish and Classical Theatre. He was the Founder, and first Chairman of the River City Brass Band, which represented the USA at the Australian bicentennial, along with the world-renowned Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and the Chicago Symphony.

With a keen interest in sport, he has been Chairman for nearly two decades of the Three Rivers Rowing Association, which he founded, and a Trustee of the Ohio Regatta Committee. As a former Rugby player himself, he has served as Chairman of the Pittsburgh Harlequins Rugby Union Association.

Sir David said: “David Figgins has been involved in social and economic development here through his long-standing association with the American Ireland Fund, and for 10 years as a member of the Invest Northern Ireland International Advisory Board. He has, furthermore, worked extensively for the benefit of this University, helping to raise funding support from North America, acting as an influential ambassador for the University, and raising its international profile through the extensive and influential range of contacts he has made throughout his distinguished career. He is a graduate of this University of whom we can all be immensely proud.”

For further information contact: Anne Langford, 028 9097 5310

[Note: David Figgins will be presented for his honorary degree at the 7.00pm graduation ceremony on Wednesday 05 July]

END.

Top of Page

Queen's honours international human rights expert
Professor Christopher McCrudden pictured after receiving his Honorary Degree from Queen's
Professor Christopher McCrudden pictured after receiving his Honorary Degree from Queen's

Leading human rights and equality lawyer and Queen's graduate Professor Christopher McCrudden was today honoured by his Alma Mater.

At this afternoon's graduation ceremony, he was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Laws for services to the legal profession.

Born in Belfast, and educated at Queen’s, Yale and Oxford, Professor McCrudden has made an outstanding international contribution to the development of equality law, particularly human rights law. Currently Professor in Human Rights Law at Oxford, he has had, and continues to have, considerable influence on official thinking and practice, having served on several government committees including the Northern Ireland Standing Advisory Commission on Human Rights and the European Commission’s group of legal experts on equality law.

He is also a member of the Advisory Board of the Human Rights Centre at Queen’s and continues to be instrumental in shaping the development of equality law and practice in Northern Ireland, ensuring it is in line with best international and comparative practice. He was called to the Bar in England in May 1996 and to the Northern Ireland Bar in October 2005. In his distinguished academic career Professor McCrudden has established himself as a scholar of international standing and his publications and other contributions have shaped understandings of equality and discrimination law nationally and internationally.

Delivering the citation, Professor Colin Harvey of Queen’s School of Law said: “In addition to the extensive public and professional recognition he has received, Professor McCrudden has always been prepared to lend his intellectual skills and legal rigour to the service of this community, including to trade unions, the community and voluntary sector and within the political realm more generally. He helped to ensure that the human rights and equality commitments contained in the Belfast Agreement were accurately reflected in the Northern Ireland Act 1998.”

When Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, visited Belfast in December 1998 she singled Professor McCrudden out for praise, saying: “You have been fortunate to be able to call on the experience and ability of Dr Christopher McCrudden, an acknowledged expert on discrimination law who has contributed his intellectual clarity to the problem of discrimination over two decades”.

Professor Harvey said: “Northern Ireland has benefited greatly from Professor McCrudden’s contribution over at least the last two decades. He continues to be an inspiration. As a graduate of this University who has gone on to establish a global reputation for his outstanding work on equality, discrimination and human rights law it is only right that this, his home institution, honours him.”

For further information contact: Anne Langford, 028 9097 5310

[Note: Professor McCrudden will be presented for his honorary degree at the 2.30pm graduation ceremony on Wednesday 05 July]

END.

Top of Page

Queen's Students Presented with £3,200 in Scholarships

Three talented students from the School of Law at Queen's University will today also be awarded scholarships totalling £3,200 by James Leslie, the High Sheriff of County Antrim.

The three students are: Hamill Clawson, from Carrickfergus graduating with LLB Single Honours, who will be putting his £1,000 scholarship towards attending the Legal Practice course at Northumbria University; Gerard M Conway from Limerick who was awarded his £1,200 Scholarship to help with a six week research period at the Library and Documentation Centre of the International Institute for the Sociology of Law in Onati, Spain for his PhD thesis; and Aisling McDowell from Belfast, who will be graduating with LLB Single Honours, is planning to use her scholarship to attend the Legal Practice Course at the University of the West of England, Bristol.

The scholarships are awarded annually from the County Antrim Grand Jury Bursary fund, which according to the trust deed in 1972, was funded by the sale of pictures, silver and other valuable goods, when the County Antrim Grand Jury was abolished. The money was then invested in shares and each year students from Queen’s can apply for the bursaries to assist with meeting expenses incurred or to be incurred by the applicant in visiting any place outside Northern Ireland in connection with their legal studies.

Also being awarded an Honorary Degree at this afternoon’s graduation ceremony is leading international lawyer and Queen’s graduate, Professor Christopher McCrudden. Professor McCrudden will receive an honorary Doctorate of Laws for services to the legal profession.

Born in Belfast, and educated at Queen’s, Yale and Oxford, Professor McCrudden has made an outstanding international contribution to the development of equality law, particularly human rights law. Currently Professor of Human Rights Law at Oxford, he has had, and continues to have, considerable influence on official thinking and practice, having served on several government committees including the Northern Ireland Standing Advisory Committee on Human Rights and the European Commission’s group of legal experts on equality law.

For further information please contact the Communications Office, 028 9097 3091

[Note: The students will be awarded their degrees at the 2.30pm graduation ceremony on Wednesday 05 July]

END.

Top of Page

Environmental campaigners praise Queen's commitment to sustainable development

Queen's University's commitment to sustainable development has received high praise from two of the United Kingdom’s most high-profile environmental campaigners, on whom the University conferred honorary degrees today.

Sara Parkin and Jonathon Porritt, co-founders (with Paul Ekins) of the UK’s leading educational charity and think tank, Forum for the Future, were both awarded Doctorates of the University for distinction in sustainable development.

Speaking at the ceremony, they commended Queen’s for its foresight in launching a Leadership for Sustainable Development Masters degree at the University’s Gibson Institute for Land, Food and Environment. The degree is based on the programme run in Forum for the Future but tailored to the economy and culture of Northern Ireland.

They said: “The first group of students are sure to be a credit to the course and to the University. More importantly still, they will join the growing, but still far too small, new generation of sustainability literate leaders.

“Queen’s is one of the few universities to take seriously the sort of education that will equip graduates with good enough knowledge about sustainability, sound leadership skills and real-life experience in different sectors.

“Our challenge to you is to make sure your flagship course continues to attract the brightest and most passionate recruits, and for it to inspire all the other Queen’s courses to include just a bit of sustainability literacy as well – because when it comes to things like tackling climate change and the inequality of all sorts of opportunities experienced by so many people, every single one of us has something to contribute – in the workplace and at home.

“We are delighted that Queen’s will be working with Forum for the Future to help make that happen.”

While at Queen’s, Sara Parkin will deliver a masterclass to students on the Leadership for Sustainable Development Masters programme.

Sara Parkin

Programme Director of Forum for the Future, Sara Parkin was born in Aberdeen and trained as a nurse before moving to England. There she became involved in the UK Green Party. In 1989 she led the Party to its famous 15 per cent vote in the European elections of that year and contributed significantly to the growth and co-ordination of the European Green parties. In 1996 she co-founded the educational charity and think tank Forum for the Future, with Jonathan Porritt and Paul Ekins. She also pioneered the influential Engineer of the 21st Century initiative.

She is a member of many influential environmental bodies, including the Natural Environment Research Council, the Scientific Advisory Committee for the Research Councils Sustainable Energy Programme, and the DTI/OSI Energy and Natural Resources Foresight Panel, Chair of the Real World Coalition and a Board member of the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education.

Delivering the citations, Queen’s Dean of Engineering and Physical Sciences Professor Tom Millar said: “Sara Parkin has brought a tremendous intellectual challenge both to her own work and to successive Governments and our views on the world, its resources and its sustainability. She has been involved in energy, conservation, climate change, waste management, fair trade, transport and citizenship, and to these has brought the force of sound evidence-based argument. She is driving forward a major paradigm change in our attitude to the natural world and recognises the importance of engaging all in this change.

“2005 was the inaugural year of the UN Decade for Education for Sustainable Development. It is a decade of challenge for Queen’s as an establishment, both in terms of research and teaching, with a number of new Masters degrees in sustainability to be started in the next two years and a major new activity the ‘Institute for a Sustainable World’ about to be launched with funding of at least £6million. We would not be where we are – aware of our problems, taking the first steps towards their solutions – were it not for individuals like Sara Parkin. She is an environmentalist whose work is driven by putting people first. It is no surprise that she is involved in developing links between the environment and peace-making, working with ethnic communities and advising peace-building experts, with the recognition those realistic concerns about the future of the planet can enable local differences to be put into perspective.”

Jonathon Porritt

Jonathon Porritt studied modern languages at Oxford before spending ten years teaching at a comprehensive school in London. During this time he became active in what was then a minor political party, the Ecology Party, now the Green Party, of which he was co-Chair from 1980-1983. He was a Director of Friends of the Earth from 1984-1990.

Professor Millar said: “Jonathon Porritt’s approach has been to engage directly with government and business through Forum for the Future of which he was co-founder in 1996, to challenge current economic models, to ask awkward questions and to suggest solutions to the complex environmental challenges facing us today. The Government appointed him, while still a member of the Green Party, as Chair of the UK Sustainable Development Commission in 2000, a post since renewed. The Commission is the Government’s principle source of advice across the whole sustainable development agenda, and it is a measure of the man that the Prime Minister turns to Mr Porritt for independent advice.

“Mr Porritt is a Board member of the South West Regional Development Agency, a co-Director of the Prince of Wales’s Business and Environment Programme, and a non-executive Director of Wessex Water. Through his role as Chair of the Sustainable Development Commission he advises the Northern Ireland Executive and Assembly. He is an active supporter of the policy developments in Northern Ireland and we are looking forward to meeting him again in September when Queen’s hosts the annual meeting of the Sustainable Development Commission.

“Like Mrs Parkin, Jonathon Porritt’s life-long engagement in environmental activity is driven not only by his concern for the environment but also through his passion for people – for social justice, equality and survival, and which includes mankind’s relationship with Nature. This involves challenging the traditional view of government and business from one in which the environmental approach is a hindrance and a constraint to economic development to one in which sustainability becomes an economic driver. The change in behaviour needed is enormous.

“Forum for the Future has been a remarkably successful venture. Mr Porritt’s role in engaging some 100 partner organisations, including many of the world’s leading companies, has been vital in ensuring that the Forum’s work is not only of a high quality but that it identifies best practice that can be embedded into business and industry worldwide.”

For further information contact: Anne Langford, 028 9097 5310

[Note: Jonathon Porritt and Sara Parkin will be presented for their honorary degrees at the 10.30am graduation ceremony on Wednesday 05 July]

END.

Top of Page

Double delight for Hillsborough Sisters

Roberta and David Hutchinson from Hillsborough will look on with pride during this morning’s graduation ceremony at Queen's as not one, but two of their daughters will be receiving their degrees in the same ceremony.

Janet Hutchinson, 22, will be graduating in Psychology, while her sister Karen, 21, will be graduating in Economics and the girls are looking forward to a very memorable day.

According to Janet: ”When you’ve grown up together, played together, and studied together, you still never think you are going to get to graduate together. So when Karen and I found out we would both be graduating on the same day we were over the moon.

“We’ve shared so much in our lives, so to be able to watch each other walk up and receive our degrees in the same ceremony is really special.”

Karen added: “I hope today will always be a memorable one, not just for Janet and me, but for our mum and dad as well. They’ve supported us so much during our time at Queen’s and I know we wouldn’t have done quite so well without their help and patience.”

David Hutchinson, proud father of both girls said: “Watching one daughter graduate would make any father a very proud man, but for my wife Roberta and I to see both our girls receive their degrees in the same ceremony makes us feel very lucky indeed. It’s definitely a day for the family album, that’s for sure.”

Karen is hoping to work for the Government Economist Service in London, while Janet is applying for a career in the Civil Service.

For further information please contact the Communications Office, 028 9097 3091

[Note: Janet and Karen Hutchinson will be awarded their degrees at the 10.30am graduation ceremony on Wednesday 05 July]

END.

Top of Page

Queen's Student puts Skills to Good Use in Uganda
Gareth McLoughlin, a former pupil of St Malachy's College, Belfast, pictured with his girlfriend Cathy Grattan at Queen's graduation this afternoon.
Gareth McLoughlin, a former pupil of St Malachy's College, Belfast, pictured with his girlfriend Cathy Grattan at Queen's graduation this afternoon.

Belfast student, Gareth McLoughlin, who graduates today with a Masters in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from Queen's University, will be putting his skills to good use later this week, when he jets off to Uganda to build houses with the charity, Habitat for Humanity.

Gareth, who attended St Malachy's College, Belfast, was earlier this year presented with a cheque for €8,000 by the BBC's Dragon's Den presenter Doug Richard at the Student Enterprise Awards jointly organised by Enterprise Ireland, Invest NI and Ulster Bank. His team's project, Rewop-ARC, can be used to instantly locate faults on overhead power lines and the group were awarded €5,000 as overall runners-up and another €3,000 after they won the Most Technologically Innovative Award.

Gareth, who leaves for Uganda on Sunday, will also be back in the limelight in October, when he and his team-mates will be participating in the Northern Ireland Enterprise Awards at City Hall, Belfast. A £10,000 prize is up for grabs at the event and Gareth will be competing against nine other teams.

Commenting on his busy summer, Gareth said: "Between graduating from Queen’s today and then heading off to Uganda, this is certainly going to be a week to remember for me. I’ve learned a lot and really enjoyed my time at Queen's. It will be great to be able to work alongside other Queen's students to help the community we're going to in Uganda."

For further information please contact the Communications Office, 028 9097 3091

END.

Top of Page

Zambian Mission for Queen's Mathematics and Statistics Graduate
Ciara Rodgers, who graduated with First Class Honours in her BSc Mathematics and Statistics degree from Queen's and is travelling to Zambia with South Down Youth Mission for four weeks. Ciara is pictured with her boyfriend Gareth Malley, also from Newcastle
Ciara Rodgers, who graduated with First Class Honours in her BSc Mathematics and Statistics degree from Queen's and is travelling to Zambia with South Down Youth Mission for four weeks. Ciara is pictured with her boyfriend Gareth Malley, also from Newcastle

Ciara Rodgers from Newcastle, Co. Down, who graduates today from Queen’s University with First Class Honours in BSc Mathematics and Statistics, will be swapping her graduation gown for more practical clothing tomorrow as she prepares to travel to Zambia for a month with the South Down Youth Mission.

Ciara will be joining 20 other young people between the ages of 18 and 21 and Youth Leader, Francis McNarry, as they travel to Zambia to work in various orphanages, schools, nutrition centres and with children with AIDS.

This is the second year the group has taken on the fundraising task and this year they will be taking with them £30,000 after months of fundraising activities, which included Nights at the Races, various raffles and a May Ball at the Slieve Donard earlier this month.

Speaking about her graduation and her forthcoming venture, Ciara, who paid £500 for her own flight to Zambia, said: “This has been a very exciting month. I found out that I’d gotten First Class Honours in my degree, today I get to graduate from Queen’s and then tomorrow I’m going to Zambia.

“I’ve loved my time at Queen’s and I hope my time in Zambia will give me and my friends from the South Down Youth Mission many more great memories. I’d just like to say a big thank you to everyone who contributed to our fundraising campaign and assure them that their money will make a big difference to the area we are visiting.”

Ciara was joined at her graduation today by her parents John and Imelda and her boyfriend Gareth Malley.

For further information please contact the Communications Office, 028 90 97 3091

[Note: Ciara Rodgers will be presented with her degree at the 2.30pm graduation ceremony on Tuesday, 4 July]

END.

Top of Page

Queen's honours Nobel-prize winning chemist and CBI Director General
Sir Digby Jones, pictured after receiving his Honorary Doctorate, (DSc Econ), for services to business and commerce from Queen's University.
Sir Digby Jones, pictured after receiving his Honorary Doctorate, (DSc Econ), for services to business and commerce from Queen's University.
Sir Harry Kroto, pictured after receiving his Honorary Doctorate (DSc) for distinction in Chemistry from Queen's University.
Sir Harry Kroto, pictured after receiving his Honorary Doctorate (DSc) for distinction in Chemistry from Queen's University.

Sir Harry Kroto, one of the leading chemists of his generation, and the United Kingdom's 'voice of business' Sir Digby Jones have been awarded honorary degrees by Queen’s University.

At this afternoon’s ceremony, Sir Harry Kroto was awarded a Doctorate of Science for distinction in chemistry, while a Doctorate of Science (Economics) was conferred on Sir Digby Jones for services to business and commerce.

Sir Harry Kroto

Sir Harry Kroto was born in 1939 in Cambridgeshire, the son of refugees from Nazi Germany, and educated at the University of Sheffield from where he received his PhD in 1964. After two years of postdoctoral research at the National Research Centre in Ottawa, followed by a year at Bell Telephone Labs in the USA, he commenced his academic career at the University of Sussex in 1967. He became Professor in 1985 and a Royal Society Research Professor in 1991. In 1996 he was awarded the Nobel prize for chemistry, primarily for the discovery of buckminsterfullerene.

Queen’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor Professor John Mann, delivering the citation for Sir Harry Kroto, said: “The importance of this discovery was that this was a completely new form of carbon to add to the well known graphite and diamond, which have very different structures and properties. Sir Harry has assured his place in history and now spends much of his time lecturing on the public understanding of science.”

A former President of the Royal Society of Chemistry, Sir Harry has won a series of prestigious international awards and is the author of more than 300 publications.

Sir Digby Jones

A graduate of University College London, Sir Digby Jones started his career in corporate finance and client development with law firm Edge and Ellison. He was involved in most of the major management buy-outs and merger and acquisition activity in the West Midlands in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

He was made deputy senior partner in 1990 and senior partner in 1995. In 1998 he joined KPMG as vice-chairman of corporate finance where he acted as a close advisor to many public companies across the United Kingdom and in KPMG’s global markets. He became Director-General of the CBI in 2000.

Delivering the citation for Sir Digby Jones, Queen’s Pro-Chancellor Chris Gibson said: “The position of Director General is usually held for five years but such was his success that this was extended, by popular acclaim, for a further two years. This was a troubled period for British business and having a lawyer at the centre was important as corporate governance and executive pay, were big issues. Sir Digby led the drawing up of tough guidelines to control excesses and ensure an exemplary code of conduct.”

For further information contact: Anne Langford,  028 9097 5310

[Note: Sir Harry Kroto and Sir Digby Jones will be presented for their honorary degrees at the 2.30pm graduation ceremony on Tuesday 04 July]

END.

Top of Page

Another quantum leap for Queen's couple
Husband and wife, Helen and Jonny McAneny from Bangor, who both graduated from Queen's today with their Doctorates. The couple first met at Queen's and also used the University as a backdrop for their wedding pictures.
Husband and wife, Helen and Jonny McAneny from Bangor, who both graduated from Queen's today with their Doctorates. The couple first met at Queen's and also used the University as a backdrop for their wedding pictures.

The last time Dr Helen McAneney wore a gown at Queen's University, it was her wedding gown. Helen chose to use the University as the official backdrop of her wedding pictures to husband Dr Jonny McAneney, five years after they first met at Queen's as undergraduates.

Today, both Helen and Jonny, will be participating in another ceremony together when they both graduate with PhDs. Jonny, who previously received a BSc First Class Honours in Physics with Astrophysics from Queen’s will today receive his doctorate in Experimental Physics, while Helen, who has an MSci (1st) in Mathematics, will receive her doctorate in Quantum Information Physics.

The couple, who live in Bangor, but are originally from Belfast and Scarva, Co. Armagh, first met in May 1998, when they were completing their Level One exams and according to Helen they have helped each other through their studies ever since.

Speaking about their joint graduation Helen said: “Jonny and I have been able to lean on each other for help and support with our studies and research over the last eight years so graduating together today is the icing on the cake, particularly when the last time we were having pictures taken on the quad was on our wedding day.

“Jonny and I met each other at Queen’s, we’ve achieved our qualifications at Queen’s and I’m delighted that I am getting the opportunity to stay here as a Post Doc for the next three years. Jonny is hoping to become a teacher of Physics and to undertake the PGCE course at the University. I’m sure we’ll both find it strange when he eventually leaves to take up his teaching post, but Queen’s will always have a special place in our hearts.”

For further information please contact the Communications Office, 028 9097 3091

[Note: Dr Helen McAneney and Dr Jonny McAneney will be awarded their degrees at the 2.30pm graduation ceremony on Tuesday 04 July

END.

Top of Page

Leading neuroscientist and BP Chief Executive honoured by Queen's
Lord Browne of Madingley was awarded a Doctorate of Science, Engineering, for distinction in engineering and services to business and commerce.
Lord Browne of Madingley was awarded a Doctorate of Science, Engineering, for distinction in engineering and services to business and commerce.
A Doctorate of Science was conferred on Baroness Greenfield for distinction in pharmacology and for public service.
A Doctorate of Science was conferred on Baroness Greenfield for distinction in pharmacology and for public service.

The President-elect of the Royal Academy of Engineering, Lord Browne of Madingley, and Baroness Susan Greenfield, widely regarded as the most Influential female scientists In the United Kingdom today, were this morning honoured by Queen's University.

Lord Browne of Madingley was awarded a Doctorate of Science, Engineering, for distinction in engineering and services to business and commerce while a Doctorate of Science was conferred on Baroness Greenfield for distinction in pharmacology and for public service.

Lord Browne of Madingley

Delivering the citation for Lord Browne of Madingley, Professor Sir Bernard Crossland said: “He has made an extraordinary contribution to the wealth and prosperity of the UK in developing a truly international company as well as contributing more generally to society.”

Lord Browne was born in 1948. In 1966 he joined BP as a university apprentice studying physics at St John’s College, Cambridge, obtaining an MA hons. Subsequently he studied at Stanford University obtaining an MS in Business.

In 1984 he became Group Treasurer and Chief Executive of BP Finance International and in 1986 took up the position of Executive Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer of Standard Oil in Cleveland, Ohio. Following the BP/Standard Oil merger in 1987 he was appointed Chief Executive of Standard Oil Production Company. In 1989 he became Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of BP Exploration and in 1991 he also joined the Board of the British Petroleum Company plc as Managing Director. Four years later he was appointed Group Chief Executive and, following the merger of BP and Amoco in 1998, he became Group Chief Executive of BP Amoco.

Sir Bernard said: “During Lord Browne’s long period with BP it has grown from being the 7th largest oil company in the world to 2nd. This is attributed by many to Lord Browne’s business acumen. The list of mergers and takeovers is impressive. Clearly he heads up a truly global company.

“But there is much more to the man. Lord Browne has taken a real stand for the environment, openly acknowledging that global warming exists. BP has invested heavily in developing renewable energy sources and in particular solar cells in which they are world leaders.”

Lord Browne has received many academic honours including honorary Fellowships of the Institution of Chemical Engineering, the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and the Royal Society of Chemistry. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Physics, a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering who awarded him their highest accolade, the Prince Philip Medal, in 2002. A Fellow of the Royal Society, he is a Director of many major international companies and involved in many charitable organisations. In 2005 he received the World Petroleum Congress Dewhurst Award and Management Today voted him Most Advanced CEO from 1999-2002.

Baroness Susan Greenfield

Described in Harpers and Queen as one of the 50 most inspirational women in the world, Baroness Greenfield is Director of the Royal Institute of Great Britain and Professor of Pharmacology at Oxford University.

Delivering the citation for Baroness Greenfield, Queen's Senior Pro-Chancellor Brenda McLaughlin said: "By any definition, she is a star, a neuroscientist recognised equally for her ground-breaking research into the genetics of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases and as a high profile writer and broadcaster, who possesses a unique ability to communicate highly specialised knowledge to a wide general audience."

Born in west London, Baroness Greenfield won a place at St Hilda's College Oxford, reading Classics but then turned to science.

Her PhD was followed by Research Fellowships in Physiology at Oxford, at the College de France in Paris and the NYU Medical Centre, New York. Appointed University Lecturer in Pharmacology at Lincoln College Oxford in 1985, she also held a visiting Research Fellowship at the Institute of Neuroscience, La Jolla in the United States. The title Professor of Synaptic Pharmacology at Oxford was conferred in 1996 and only two years later, in 1998, she became the first woman and the first non-chemist to be appointed Director of the Royal Institute of Great Britain.

She has played a leading role in the new entrepreneurial culture at Oxford, as Founding Director of three spin-out research and technology companies developing a range of approaches to brain diseases and investigating non-pharmaceutical treatments for Alzheimer’s, which involves mental stimulation and exercise rather than pills.

A best-selling author, she is a prolific broadcaster whose credits include the popular BBC 2 series, ‘Brain Story’, in 2000, which she wrote and presented. In 1994 she was the first woman to give the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures.

In 1998, she was awarded both the Michael Faraday Medal from The Royal Society, for her contribution to the public understanding of science, and the ‘Woman of Distinction’ award from Jewish Care. In 2000, she was voted ‘Woman of the Year” by the Observer and one of the ‘100 Most Influential Women in Britain’ by the Daily Mail in 2003. She was awarded the French Legion d’Honneur in 2003.

Brenda McLaughlin said: “Baroness Greenfield is a distinctive and distinguished leader among her scientific peers, fearless in her pursuit of new challenges and endlessly creative in how she meets them. Today this University recognises and honours the contribution and achievement of this unique and remarkable woman.”

For further information contact: Anne Langford,  028 9097 5310

[Note: Lord Browne of Madingley and Baroness Greenfield will be presented for their honorary degrees at the 10.30am graduation ceremony on Tuesday 4 July]

END.

Top of Page

From microfiche to memory sticks: couple graduate 25 years after Meeting at Queen's
Rev. Dr. Stewart Jones, Minister at Donemana Presbyterian Church, and his wife Patricia, who both graduated from Queen's today with their Masters in Computer Based Learning.
Rev. Dr. Stewart Jones, Minister at Donemana Presbyterian Church, and his wife Patricia, who both graduated from Queen's today with their Masters in Computer Based Learning.

Twenty-five years on from when they first met at Queen’s University, married couple Stewart and Patricia Jones will today graduate again, this time each with a MSc in Computer Based Learning from the University. Rev.

Dr. Stewart Jones, 48, now the Minister at Donemana Presbyterian Church, in the beautiful surroundings of the Sperrins, and his wife Patricia, 46, first met at Queen’s in their undergraduate years in 1981. Stewart was undertaking studies at Union Theological College and Patricia was completing her BA Hons in History and English.

Since then they have had three children, Anna, 18; Esther, 16 and Rachel, 14 and decided to return to study at Queen’s as both their jobs involved the extensive use of computers. Explaining their decision further, Stewart, who is originally from Bessbrook in Co. Armagh said: “Perhaps not many people would associate being a Presbyterian Minister with the need for an extensive knowledge of computers and technology, but every day now I find myself either seeking out information on missions on the other side of the world, preparing a PowerPoint presentation or helping others with some aspect of technology they don’t understand.

“Also, for the past two years Patricia has been teaching at Limavady Central Primary School and the children there were becoming more and more familiar with technology at a much younger age. As our children were all teenagers, we joked it would be a good excuse to spend some time together. We ended up spending more that we’d thought as when we started the course we were based in Bangor and I then moved to Donemana to take up my new post. Though it did cause some juggling, I’m glad to report that the miles on the clock were worth it.

“The changes on campus at Queen’s were fantastic. So many new facilities, computers and students. When I think back to 25 years ago, student life has come a really long way from the microfiche to the memory stick. But today, Patricia and I get to graduate together and this time as husband and wife. I can’t think of any better way.”

For further information please contact the Communications Office, 028 9097 3091

[Note: Stewart and Patricia Jones will be awarded their degrees at the 10.30am graduation ceremony on Tuesday 04 July]

END.

Top of Page

Carer commends Lifelong Learning

"Lifelong learning should be in the front of every carers mind even if you need to fight to get it," according to Queen's graduand Laura Collins, from Belfast.

Laura represents an estimated 250,000 carers in Northern Ireland, as Chairperson of the Carers Northern Ireland organisation and became a carer for her son David when he was diagnosed autistic at age two in 1983. Speaking about this she said: “There is a one in five chance of becoming the carer of a relative in Northern Ireland. That should frighten all of us because the figures are going up.”

On her studies Laura said: “The part-time degree at Queen’s gave me an important break from caring and a challenging form of respite. I really commend Lifelong Learning as a value system for everyone in our fast changing world, but to carers in particular.” Laura will graduate this evening with an Honours BA in Management and Business.

For further information please contact the Communications Office, 028 9097 3091

[Note: Laura Collins will be awarded her degree at the 7.00pm graduation ceremony on Monday 03 July]

Top of Page

Mum leads the way with First Class Honours from Queen’s

Sheila Fitzgerald, Regional Manager of the Civil Service Benevolent Fund in Northern Ireland, will be taking time off from her duties today to graduate with a BSc First Class Honours Degree in Social Sciences from Queen’s, in what she hopes will be the first graduation ceremony out of a possible seven in her family from now until 2013.

Her daughters Aoife and Aisling are both currently studying at Queen’s, while her son Conor, hopes to come to Queen’s after completing his ‘A’ Levels at Abbey Grammar, Newry. Between the four of them and their plans for Undergraduate, Masters and PhD studies, Sheila hopes she will be attending a graduation ceremony at Queen’s every year for the next seven years.

Originally from New York, Sheila has been living in Rostrevor, Co. Down, for the last 12 years and she plans to return to Queen’s in September to complete an MA in Anthropology alongside her daughter, Aoife. Already, both ladies have been asked to complete a joint submission for the Winter edition of the US Magazine, Practicing Anthropolgy.

Following the successful completion of her Masters, Sheila, who is a member of the Anthropological Association of Ireland, then hopes to stay at Queen’s to undertake a PhD, possibly to further her research on ‘Gender and Public Disorder’.

Speaking about achieving First Class Honours and future studies, Sheila said: “Graduating with First Class Honours as a mature student is something I am extremely proud of. I have had tremendous support from my family and I am delighted that I am going to be able to return to Queen’s to continue my studies alongside all my children.”

For further information please contact the Communications Office, 028 9097 3091

[Note: Sheila Fitzgerald will be awarded her degree at the 7.00pm graduation ceremony on Monday 03 July]

END.

Top of Page

Distinguished journalist receives Queen’s honorary degree
Robert Fisk who received an honorary degree from Queen's for distinguished contribution to journalism.
Robert Fisk who received an honorary degree from Queen's for distinguished contribution to journalism.

The world's most decorated foreign correspondent, the Independent's Middle East correspondent Robert Fisk, has been honoured by Queen's University.

At this evening's graduation ceremony, he was awarded a Doctorate of the University for services to journalism.

Described in the citation by Queen’s Professor of Politics Richard English as “a world-renowned and pioneering journalist, whose achievements have deservedly gained him the greatest international respect and admiration, both within and beyond the journalistic and political communities”, Robert Fisk was Ireland correspondent for the Times between 1972 and 1975.

Robert Fisk gained a BA in English and Classics at Lancaster University, and a PhD in Political Science from Trinity College Dublin. He was the Times’ Middle East correspondent until the late 1980s, and since 1989 has been the Middle East correspondent for the Independent. He is a frequent visitor to Northern Ireland and to the University, where he was a speaker at the 2005 Belfast Festival at Queen’s.

Professor English said: “Through all of this, he has been a British journalist with an unrivalled international reputation. The New York Times has described him as ‘probably the most famous foreign correspondent in Britain’; and for over three decades Robert Fisk has been a truly outstanding journalist and writer, a prize-winning analyst of some of the most complex and important of international political situations.

“In particular, his well-deserved reputation has been built on work carried out in places of major conflict: the Iran-Iraq War, the Civil Wars in Lebanon and in Algeria, the first and second Gulf Wars, the violence in what had formerly been Yugoslavia. Such settings have required the very highest of journalistic and political skills, and Fisk’s journalism has indeed been characterised by an uncompromising commitment to first-hand exploration of the evidence on the ground, and by the resolute pursuit of the conclusions – comfortable or otherwise – to which such evidence actually points.”

The world’s most decorated foreign correspondent, Robert Fisk has won the British Press ‘International Journalist of the Year’ Award seven times. He has been awarded numerous other prestigious prizes, including the Amnesty International UK Press Award, the Martha Gellhorn Award, and the British Press ‘Reporter of the Year’ Award. He is also the author of several major books.

Professor English said: “Robert Fisk has been prepared to offer criticism where he has considered it appropriate, no matter who the subject of such criticism might be. In his own words, he believes in the need for journalists to ‘challenge authority – all authority’; in doing so with such determination and skill, he has helped to sustain one of the key elements of an open democracy, namely the maintaining of scrutiny over the powerful, and a preparedness to hold people on all sides in a conflict to account for their actions.”

For further information contact: Anne Langford, 028 9097 5310

[Note: Robert Fisk will be presented for his honorary degree at the 7.00pm graduation ceremony on Monday 03 July]

END.

Top of Page

Extra special graduation for brother and sister at Queen's
Brother and sister, Catherine and Eugene Brennan from Garvagh, who graduate from Queen's this week. Catherine has received her MB in Medicine, while Eugene has received a DPhil in Engineering.
Brother and sister, Catherine and Eugene Brennan from Garvagh, who graduate from Queen's this week. Catherine has received her MB in Medicine, while Eugene has received a DPhil in Engineering.

Brother and sister, Catherine and Eugene Brennan, will have an extra reason to smile during their graduations at Queen's this week. Their younger sister Roisin, who has just completed her first year of Medicine at the University, has been given the all-clear after a year long battle with cancer.

From Garvagh, Co, Derry, Catherine will be graduating today in Medicine, while Eugene will be graduating tomorrow (Tuesday) with a DPhil in Engineering.

Speaking about their graduation, Catherine said: “The last two years have been a testing time for our family and even though Eugene and I are the ones graduating, it is Roisin we are all especially proud off.

“She was diagnosed in her first year of studying medicine at Queen’s and had to defer. But now she has successfully completed her first year and received the fantastic news that she has been given the all clear. We all live in the same house together and are a very close family, so Roisin’s good news will make both our graduations from Queen’s an even happier occasion. It’s going to be an emotional day but one I know our family will treasure for a long time.”

Catherine will take up a position as Junior House Doctor in Musgrave Park Hospital in August, where she will be concentrating on care of the elderly for her first few months. Eugene, is remaining at Queen’s, where he will continue his work as part of the High Frequency Group at ECIT, the world-leading Electronics Communications and Information Technology Institute established by the University and which is based in the Northern Ireland Science and Technology Park.

For further information please contact the Communications Office, 028 9097 3091

[Note: Catherine will be awarded her degree at the 2.30pm graduation ceremony on Monday 3 July and Eugene Brennan at 10.30 Tuesday 04 July]

END.

Top of Page

Champion Sisters Dance for Joy at Queen’s Graduation
Champion Irish Dancers, the Vernon sisters of Armagh City. Fionnuala (L) graduated in Medicine and Roisin (R) graduated with First Class Honours in Pharmacy. They were joined by Fionnuala's boyfriend, GAA star Sean Cavanagh of Tyrone and their brother, Charlie Vernon of Armagh Senior GAA Team. Also joining them were parents Catherine and Charles and younger brother, John.
Champion Irish Dancers, the Vernon sisters of Armagh City. Fionnuala (L) graduated in Medicine and Roisin (R) graduated with First Class Honours in Pharmacy. They were joined by Fionnuala's boyfriend, GAA star Sean Cavanagh of Tyrone and their brother, Charlie Vernon of Armagh Senior GAA Team. Also joining them were parents Catherine and Charles and younger brother, John.

One family set to do a dance for joy at today’s graduations are Champion Irish Dancers and sisters Fionnuala and Roisin Vernon from Armagh City. Fionnuala will graduate in Medicine, while Roisin, who competed in the Worlds and took third place in the Ulster Irish Dancing Championships at the Waterfront Hall recently, will graduate with a First Class Honours degree in Pharmacy.

Previously Head Girls of St Catherine’s College in Armagh, they will be joined on the day by their brother Charlie Vernon, a well-known member of the Armagh Senior GAA team and Fionnuala’s boyfriend, Sean Cavanagh, All-Star footballer and a twice All-Ireland winner with Tyrone’s Senior GAA team.

Speaking about their life at Queen’s, Roisin said: “We’ve really enjoyed our time at Queen’s so today is a little sad in one way, but Charlie is still studying here and he plays for Queen’s Sigerson Cup team, so I’m sure we’ll be back to cheer him on.”

Fionnuala added: “It was a real benefit having each other to talk to as there were quite a few aspects of our course that we could seek advice from the other on. The fact we are now getting to graduate together as well will make this a day to remember for many years to come.

Fionnuala will take up a position as Junior House Doctor at the Royal Hospital in Belfast in the cardiology unit, while Roisin will be completing her Pre-Reg year at McKeever’s Chemist in Armagh.

For further information contact the Communications Office, 028 9097 3091

[Note: Fionnuala and Roisin Vernon will be awarded their degrees at the 2.30pm graduation ceremony on Monday 03 July]

END.

Top of Page

Pharmaceutical leader honoured by Queen's
Dr John King who received an Honorary Degree from Queen's for services to the pharmaceutical industry in Northern Ireland.
Dr John King who received an Honorary Degree from Queen's for services to the pharmaceutical industry in Northern Ireland.

Former Chief Executive of Galen Holdings Dr John King was today honoured by Queen's University. At this afternoon’s graduation ceremony, he was awarded a Doctorate of Science for services to the pharmaceutical industry in Northern Ireland.

Delivering the citation, Professor Sean Gorman, head of Queen’s School of Pharmacy said: “During the 20 years from joining Galen to its listing on the stock exchange John King was responsible for growing a small local manufacturing unit in Craigavon to a multi-site, transatlantic specialty pharmaceuticals company. He engineered the development of Galen through a judicious mixture of organic growth and strategic acquisitions. Over time, Dr King developed the business from a manufacturing to a genuine research-based company that also contained a strong services sector providing chemical manufacturing and specialised clinical trials supplies to the multinational pharmaceutical industry.

“The transformation of the company was by no means complete at this stage though. In May 2000, Galen acquired the US-based drugs company Warner Chilcott taking the market value of Galen over £1billion for the first time. This acquisition provided Galen with a substantial distribution network in the US for its expanding drug delivery product range targeted at women’s healthcare and dermatology. Galen was now recognised as a substantial national and international pharmaceutical company and, inevitably, attracted a number of suitors. In November 2004 the company was acquired for £1.6 billion.”

John King graduated from Queen’s in 1971 with a first class honours degree in Pharmacy, also receiving the prestigious Gold Medal of the Pharmaceutical Society of NI. He embarked upon his PhD studies, and in 1972, Queen’s appointed him to a Lectureship in Pharmaceutical Chemistry in the Department. In 1976 he became Academic Secretary of FIP, the International Pharmaceutical Federation. He left the University in 1978 to begin his long association with Galen, which he joined as Technical Manager. becoming Technical Director and, in 1985, Managing Director. He subsequently became Chief Executive Officer and prepared the company for its successful stock market flotation in 1997 becoming Executive Chairman in 2000.

Professor Gorman said that during Dr King’s highly successful career, he continued to maintain his connections with Queen’s.

He said: “He fostered close ties with the University through research and business alliances with the School of Pharmacy, where a specialist Drug Delivery Research Unit was established in 1996, and the School of Chemistry, through the purchase of a major interest in QUCHEM Ltd. As the company grew, it also became a major employer of highly skilled graduates from Queen’s and elsewhere. John King has also seen the School of Pharmacy at Queen’s grow substantially since he left in 1978. Recognising the potential for further growth, Dr King has this year made a significant donation allowing the creation of a Chair and research team in Pharmaceutical Chemistry – his original research interest.”

For further information contact: Anne Langford, 028 9097 5310

[Note: Dr King will be presented for his honorary degree at the 2.30pm graduation ceremony on Monday 03 July]

 

Top of Page

No mountain too high for Doctor battling diabetes
Francesca Doherty, who received her PhD in Psychiatry and Neuroscience at Queen’s today (Monday, 3 July). Francesca, who is a diabetic, has climbed Everest and trekked the Andes to raise funds for Diabetes UK.
Francesca Doherty, who received her PhD in Psychiatry and Neuroscience at Queen’s today (Monday, 3 July). Francesca, who is a diabetic, has climbed Everest and trekked the Andes to raise funds for Diabetes UK.

Francesca Doherty will receive her PhD today in Psychiatry and Neuroscience at Queen’s but was literally climbing Everest within weeks of submitting her thesis last September. The 28 year old from Belfast is no stranger to mountains: she has also climbed in the Peruvian Andes and completed the Dublin marathon, all to raise funds for Diabetes UK.

"From the 26 who set out to reach the Kalapatthar summit last October, only twelve of us made it to the top at 18,200 feet and I was the only woman to complete the whole trek. It was worth the effort, we raised £150,000 which is all being used to fund research projects in diabetes. Anyone wishing to donate can still do so online at https://www.BMyCharity.com/EverestChallenge as the battle against diabetes is one that can be won, and the sooner the better,” Francesca said.

Diabetes is something she knows about, she has had the condition for 22 years, even before she went to Rathmore Grammar School and set out to become a scientist.

"Being a diabetic requires some extra planning and organisation in order to undertake tasks, including climbing mountains. I have made sure my diabetes has not prevented me from attaining any of my goals. I have used that knowledge and experience to work with diabetic children because they will need positive role models in their life enabling them to manage their condition.”

Francesca is an Assistant Clinical Psychologist now working in Belfast but is considering further study while she looks for more mountains to climb to raise funds for research into diabetes.

For further information please contact the Communications Office 028 9097 3091

[Note: Francesca Doherty will be awarded her degree at the 2.30pm graduation ceremony on Monday 03 July]

END.

Top of Page

Queen's honours Eamonn Holmes
Eamonn Holmes was awarded an honorary Doctorate of the University for services to broadcasting by Queen's University today.
Eamonn Holmes was awarded an honorary Doctorate of the University for services to broadcasting by Queen's University today.
Eamonn Holmes with Queen’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor Professor Gerry McCormac who delivered his citation in the Whitla Hall at Queen's this morning.
Eamonn Holmes with Queen’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor Professor Gerry McCormac who delivered his citation in the Whitla Hall at Queen's this morning.

One of the best-known faces on UK television, Belfast-born Eamonn Holmes, was today honoured by Queen's University.

At this morning's graduation ceremony, he was awarded an honorary Doctorate of the University for services to broadcasting.

Educated at St Malachy’s College and the Belfast College of Business Studies, where he qualified as a journalist, Eamonn Holmes became the youngest-ever anchorman in the ITV regions when, at the age of 21, he became the host of UTV’s hour-long evening news programme ‘Good Evening Ulster’.

In 1986 he helped launch daytime television on BBC One, with the daily phone-in programme ‘Open Air’, and during the late 1980s and early 1990s he hosted a series of programmes for the corporation, including ‘Garden Party’ in 1988-89 and ‘Holiday’, which he co-presented for four years.

In January 1993 he co-launched ITV’s GMTV breakfast show with which he remained until May 2005, becoming the longest-running host of a breakfast news programme in the UK. He recently joined Sky News to present the ‘Sunrise’ programme.

He is also a quiz show host and sports broadcaster and continues to present landmark programming in Northern Ireland and to promote local charities, including the fundraising campaign in support of the Grand Opera House Trust’s new development, ACT II.

Delivering the citation, Queen’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor Professor Gerry McCormac said: “Being himself is always what Eamonn Holmes has done best, and he has done it with humour, energy, intelligence and flair. He is fearless and has always accepted that the way forward in both life and his career requires vision, perseverance and self belief.

“Although he’s now a celebrity he has never forgotten his roots. He has never forgotten his family, friends or indeed any of us who live here in Northern Ireland. He uses his influence to promote this small but wonderful part of the world. Eamonn is a unique and remarkable man and this University today recognises his contribution and achievements.”

For further information contact: Anne Langford, 028 9097 5310

[Note: Eamonn Holmes will be presented for his honorary degree at the 10.30am graduation ceremony on Monday 03 July]

END.

Top of Page