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07- 2007 Press Releases

31/07/2007: Queen's and AFBI to study the genetics of susceptibility to TB in cattle
30/07/2007: Special PEC membership rates for recent Queen's graduates
27/07/2007: Italians 'roam' into Queen's
20/07/07: Tennis legend Cash cuts a dash at Queen's PEC
18/07/2007: Queen's ratifies special relationship with Bombardier
17/07/2007: International summer school kicks off at Queen's
10/07/2007: Queen's chemists work with NASA to put telescope on the moon
06/07/2007: Niamh, the Derry Rose graduates
06/07/2007: Queen's honours award-winning Irish journalist
06/07/2007: Trombone to go - to Germany and beyond
06/07/2007: Former Arts Minister and eminent philosopher honored by Queen's
06/07/2007: All roads lead to - and from - Queen's
06/07/2007: Exploring the big questions of life for local journalist
06/07/2207: Ain't no hurdle high enough
06/07/2007: Scoring an international music success
05/07/2007: Doctors in life-saving expedition win Queen's award
05/07/2007: Award Winning Nurses at Queen's
05/07/2007: Local business leader honoured by Queen's
05/07/2007: Will of iron helps student graduate
05/07/2007: Mixing it up - hands on help from Belfast to Romania
04/07/2007: Belfast-born space scientist honoured by his Alma Mater
04/07/2007: Irish-American businesswoman honoured by Queen's
04/07/2007: Role swap for Queen's Esquire Bedell
04/07/2007: Sigerson squad members swap training gear for gowns at Queen's
04/07/2007: Dancing queen
04/07/2007: Belfast Internet entrepreneur set to graduate
03/07/2007: Queen's honours distinguished cancer researcher
03/07/2007: Green chemistry pioneer honoured by Queen's
03/07/2007: Degree number 11 for McIvor family
03/07/2007: Studying at Queen's all adds up for 69 year old graduate
03/07/2007: Drama Beauty Queens Big Day Out
03/07/2007: Queen's honours Archbishop Tutu
03/07/2007: Graduation time for new student leaders
03/07/2007: Age is no bar to learning
03/07/2007: Put your mind to it ... and nowt's impossible
02/07/2007: Rugby loving Galbraith family graduations
02/07/2007: With a little help from my friends
02/07/2007: Queen's graduates "underpin Northern Ireland's future" - Gregson
02/07/2007: Cystic Fibrosis research student graduates
02/07/2007: Family Affair at Queen's
02/07/2007: Armagh girl battles against adversity
02/07/2007: Successful anniversary
02/07/2007: World-leading HIV scientist and neuroscientist honoured by Queen's
02/07/2007: Graduation's a family affair
02/07/2007: Bangor mother and daughter graduate in the same week
02/07/2007: Life in the fast lane – the juggled road to success
02/07/2007: Queen's honours leading British historian






Queen's and AFBI to study the genetics of susceptibility to TB in cattle

A research group in the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) and Queen’s University Belfast has been awarded £350,000 as part of a major grant from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) to a consortium, led by the Roslin Institute in Edinburgh, to investigate the genetics of the susceptibility of cattle to tuberculosis.

Dr Robin Skuce of AFBI’s Veterinary Sciences Division will lead the Belfast project team and said, “I am delighted that we have won this highly competitive BBSRC award in partnership with the Roslin Institute. This is an innovative, multi-disciplinary research project which will exploit recent scientific advances to investigate bovine TB and extend the international reputation of AFBI for research on this disease.”

Bovine TB presents a barrier to local, national and international trade. Despite sustained implementation of costly eradication programmes over many decades, bovine TB has not yet been eradicated from the UK or Ireland.

This project will investigate whether the outcome of infection with TB is influenced by the genetics of the host animal and by the molecular sub-type of the TB organism.  The Belfast team firstly propose to investigate whether the progeny of certain sires are more likely to develop TB than other cattle. 

Dr Skuce said, “This work could provide evidence that susceptibility to TB in cattle is at least partially inherited.  We propose to compare the DNA of a large number of cattle that have TB with that of a large number that do not and investigate whether variation in certain cattle genes is significantly associated with TB.  This will identify cattle genes that contribute to TB resistance.” 

The AFBI team has developed new methods to detect different molecular sub-types of TB bacteria and will use these methods to investigate whether the sub-type influences the outcome of infection in cattle and their responses to the skin test for TB.  The molecular sub-typing of TB isolates is also a powerful new tool for investigating sources of infection and routes of transmission in outbreaks of TB.  The AFBI team is recognised internationally for pioneering work on understanding the disease process and the immune response as it relates to improved diagnostic test formats.

The results of the project will help determine whether or not selective breeding of cattle could increase resistance to TB. They will also improve diagnostic methods for bovine TB and inform possible vaccination strategies for the control of this disease.

Media enquiries to Lisa Mitchell, Press and PR Unit on (028) 9097 5384 or Dr Robin Skuce, AFBI, on (028) 9052 5771.

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Special PEC membership rates for recent Queen's graduates
Queen's graduate and NI Commonwealth Rower,  Alison Graham.
Queen's graduate and NI Commonwealth Rower, Alison Graham.

Queen's University's PEC has announced details of a special new membership offer for recent graduates. Those students who graduated in December '06 and July '07 can now gain access to all the PEC's facilities and drop-in classes for only £18.67 per month or just £200 for the year.

Helping to promote the new membership rate was recent Queen's graduate, NI Commonwealth rower Alison Graham from Moneyreagh, South Belfast.

Speaking about the new offer, Alison said: "Dame Kelly Holmes declared the PEC a ‘world-class’ facility when she opened the Centre’s new £7 million extension earlier this year and she wasn’t wrong. For recent graduates of Queen’s such as myself, being able to continue accessing such facilities for under £19 a month is a fantastic opportunity and one not to be missed.”

Sponsored by Orion Recruitment, Alison was at the PEC before participating in the Home Internationals in Ballincollig, Co. Cork, where she took second place in both the eights and coxed four. Along with London’s Andrea Finn, Alison also finished fourth in last year’s coxless pairs at the Commonwealth Games.

Further details on the new graduate membership package are available by telephoning 028 9068 1126 or visiting www.qub.ac.uk/sport.

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Notes to Editors

Images of Alison Graham have been sent to all picture desks to accompany this news release.

Media enquiries to Lisa Mitchell, Press and PR Unit on 028 9097 5384 or email lisa.mitchell@qub.ac.uk .

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Italians 'roam' into Queen's
Pro-Vice-Chancellor Professor Gerry McCormac and MD of ATC Language and Travel, Pia Greevy, pictured with Italian students Laura Bernardi and Matteo Luise.
Pro-Vice-Chancellor Professor Gerry McCormac and MD of ATC Language and Travel, Pia Greevy, pictured with Italian students Laura Bernardi and Matteo Luise.

Hundreds of Italian students are sampling the sights and sounds of Northern Ireland this summer as they undertake an intensive English language educational and cultural programme at Queen's University.

The visits have been organised by ATC Language and Travel, in conjunction with Queen's Student Plus Directorate. This summer is the first time ATC have brought students to Northern Ireland in over 35 years of business.

Many of those visiting Queen's are travelling as part of an Italian Government contract (Inpdap), while other student groups choosing to come to Queen’s are from a range of private schools.

Speaking about the new departure by ATC in bringing students to Northern Ireland, Professor Gerry McCormac, Pro-Vice-Chancellor at Queen’s said: “The current political climate has provided added impetus to efforts by Queen’s to promote the University and Northern Ireland as a premium location for European students wishing to improve their English language skills.

"Gaining the Italian state contract via ATC, and their work with Euro Master Studio, acknowledges the high value placed upon Queen’s as an approved venue for summer schools of this nature. Importantly, the new arrangement will also be a valuable boost to Northern Ireland’s tourist economy.

“We wish all our visitors a memorable and stimulating visit to Northern Ireland and hope they enjoy the excellent teaching, accommodation, social and cultural facilities at Queen’s.”

Explaining her company’s decision to bring students to Northern Ireland, Pia Greevy, Managing Director of ATC Language and Travel, said: “In conjunction with Queen’s University I am delighted we are now able to offer our visiting students the Northern Ireland experience. I have favoured such a move for a long time. Our visitors will now see that the Belfast and Northern Ireland of today are very different to that witnessed in years gone by.”

In addition to learning the English language each morning, the students will then take part in various cultural events and trips to Northern Ireland’s favourite visitor attractions.

Welcoming the students to Northern Ireland, Alan Clarke, Chief Executive at NITB added: “This is an excellent initiative which encourages international students to see the best that we have to offer as a tourist destination. The students will have the opportunity to see some of our top visitor attractions while also learning about our unique culture and heritage.”

Notes to editors
Photographs to accompany this story have been issued to all Picture Desks. Alternatively, photographs are available by emailing comms.office@qub.ac.uk.

Media enquiries to Lisa Mitchell, Press and PR Unit on 028 9097 5384 or email lisa.mitchell@qub.ac.uk

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Tennis legend Cash cuts a dash at Queen's PEC
Pat Cash pictured at the PEC
Pat Cash pictured at the PEC

Tennis legend Pat Cash is pictured at the StopGo Café in Queen's University's PEC in Botanic Park, Belfast, between takes for a new BBC drama due to air in the autumn.

The £7 million facility opened by Dame Kelly Holmes in February of this year is the setting for a new BBC drama starring tennis legend, Pat Cash, Life on Mars star, Lee Ingleby and former Eastenders actor, Shaun Williamson.

Entitled ‘Rapunzel’, the drama will appear in the BBC’s Fairy Tales series due to air in the autumn. The popular sports centre will appear as the backdrop for the British Tennis Open at Rampion.

Users of Queen’s ‘Degree Fitness’ will see a section of their gym transformed into a Wimbledon-type television studio in the programme and the former champion will be appearing in one of his favourite roles, that of tennis commentator.

Media enquiries to Lisa Mitchell, Press and PR Unit on 028 9097 5384 or email lisa.mitchell@qub.ac.uk.

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Queen's ratifies special relationship with Bombardier
Queen's University student, Rory Maguire receiving his prize from Stephen Carlin of Bombardier Aerospace.
Queen's University student, Rory Maguire receiving his prize from Stephen Carlin of Bombardier Aerospace.

Bombardier Aerospace has ratified its working relationship with Queen’s University School of Management and Economics by sponsoring a new annual prize for students. Rory Maguire is the first recipient of the prize receiving £250 at a special presentation at the University for top marks in the third year Supply Chain Management module.

Bombardier has been working closely with Queen’s School of Management and Economics for past two years and has supported the School in a variety of ways. This included access for MSc Management students to undertake their thesis projects within Bombardier, tours of its Belfast factory for undergraduates and postgraduate students, and guest lectures by Bombardier staff in various Operations Management modules.

Rory, from Hornchurch in Essex, graduated last week from Queen’s with a first class honours degree in Management.

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For media enquiries please contact: Sarah Williams, Press & PR Unit, on +44 (0)28 9097 5391, sarah.williams@qub.ac.uk
Out of hours pager: 07699 785 209.

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International summer school kicks off at Queen's

Dozens of international students are in Northern Ireland this week as part of the popular Queen’s University Institute of Irish Studies International Summer School.

The school started on Monday July 16 and will run until 3 August 2007.

The international students will study local politics, history and culture during the event which is now in its seventh year. One of last year’s participants enjoyed it so much they are making a return visit.

Lectures and seminars are given by internationally acclaimed scholars from Queen’s University and elsewhere. There are also excursions to archaeological, historical and cultural sites.

The programme is run in collaboration with the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry which offers participants the opportunity to enjoy four days of poetry, fiction and script writing workshops with some of the most respected writers in the country.

Highlights of the 2007 programme include:

  • A guided tour of Belfast’s murals and interfaces 
  • A trip to Belfast’s Titanic Quarter, 24 July, 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, telling the story of emigrant life on both sides of the Atlantic (Thursday, 19 July).
  • A field trip to the City of Derry (Friday, 27 July)
  • A visit to East Belfast to meet police from the divisional headquarters including the Tactical Support Group. Students will learn about new community policing initiatives and the problems of policing in interface areas. (Thursday, 2 August).
  • A ceilidh in the Great Hall at Queen's on Monday 30 July
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Media Enquiries to: Eugene McCusker, Press and PR Unit, +44 (0) 2890 975320, mobile number: 07817434252.

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Queen's chemists work with NASA to put telescope on the moon

Chemists at Queen's University Belfast are working with NASA and scientists in Canada and the United States to design a telescope that can be stationed on the Moon.

The instrument will have a mirror consisting of a liquid with a thin metal film on its surface that rotates to form a bowl shape, known as a parabola. When the liquid spins in a perfect parabola, it will be able to reflect infrared light from distant stars and galaxies that cannot be picked up by telescopes on Earth because of atmospheric interference and light pollution.

Telescopes with parabolic liquid mirrors are much cheaper and easier to make and maintain than conventional telescopes with glass mirrors. Liquid mirror telescopes employed in observatories on Earth traditionally use mercury as the reflective liquid. However, mercury cannot be used for a lunar liquid mirror telescope as the high-vacuum conditions on the Moon would cause the mercury to boil.

The Queen's team has been investigating the possibility of preparing a reflective liquid for the telescope consisting of an ionic liquid that can be coated on its surface with a thin layer of a reflective metal. Ionic liquids are liquid salts. They consist essentially of ions (electrically-charged atoms or groups of atoms).

Ionic liquids generally have negligible vapour pressures which mean that they do not boil, even under vacuum. Many ionic liquids do not freeze at the sub-zero temperatures found on the Moon. They have the added advantage that they are much lighter than mercury - a key consideration for transporting a telescope to the Moon.

In a report in the June 21 issue of the science journal Nature, the Belfast, Canadian, and U.S. scientists showed that a commercially-available ionic liquid can be coated with silver and that the coated fluid is stable over several months.

"The discovery that an ionic liquid can be coated with a very thin metal layer is a major breakthrough," said chemistry professor, Ken Seddon, who is one of the authors of the report and Director of Queen's University Ionic Liquids Laboratories (QUILL).

The authors also reported that the ionic liquid does not evaporate in a vacuum and remains liquid at temperatures down to 175 K (-98oC). The lunar liquid mirror telescope, however, will require a liquid with an even lower melting point.

Fortunately, there is a phenomenal choice of ionic liquids. More than 1,500 have been described in the scientific literature over the past ten years or so and about 500 are available commercially. According to Seddon, around one million simple ionic liquids are theoretically possible and they can be designed for a wide variety of applications. But most have yet to be prepared.

"We now plan to design and prepare ionic liquids with melting points of around 100 K that can be coated with a reflective metal for the lunar telescope" said Assistant Director of QUILL, Maggel Deetlefs.

Notes to Editors
1. Over the past ten years or so, there has been a huge growth of scientific interest in room temperature ionic liquids - that is salts that are liquid below 100oC. The liquids are proving to be excellent solvents for numerous chemical materials and good catalysts for a range of chemical processes. Room temperature ionic liquids are non-flammable, do not evaporate under normal conditions, and are stable at temperatures up to 200oC. They are also potentially useful as materials for applications such as lubrication, rocket propulsion, and the analysis of minerals and gems.

2. Queen's University of Belfast Ionic Liquid Laboratories (QUILL) was established in 1999. It is an industry-university collaborative research centre focusing on ionic liquids. In 2005, the centre was one of the 21 winners of the Queen's Anniversary Prizes for Higher & Further Education. The prizes are awarded every two years to British universities and colleges for work of exceptional quality and of broad benefit either nationally or internationally.

3. The Lunar Liquid Mirror Telescope (LLMT) project is funded by NIAC (NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts). NASA, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, is responsible for civil space research and development activities in the U.S. The LLMT project team includes chemists at QUILL, and scientists at Laval University, Quebec and the University of British Columbia in Canada, and at the Steward Observatory, The University of Arizona, Tucson, U.S. The project leader is J. Roger Angel, a professor at the Univesity of Arizona.

Media enquiries to Lisa Mitchell, Press and PR Unit on +44 (0)28 9097 5384 or email: lisa.mitchell@qub.ac.uk

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Niamh, the Derry Rose graduates

Rose of Tralee finalist Niamh O'Kane from Maghera, Co. Derry will graduate at Queen's today.

Graduating with her B Ed with Art and Design after studying at St Mary's University College for the last four years, 22 year old Niamh will now begin her preparations in earnest for the well-known festival.

Speaking of her University days, Niamh said: “It was great that I could combine my love of art with my primary teaching degree. I really enjoyed my course and my time at St Mary’s. There was always such a warm and friendly atmosphere around the college and the staff are great. I met some really amazing people there and have formed lasting friendships.”

Looking forward to the Rose of Tralee finals later this summer, Niamh said: “Being in the Rose of Tralee has been a dream of mine since I was a little girl so it feels great to be living that dream. I will be meeting up with the other Roses in Dublin on 12 August and touring Ireland for five days. We land in Tralee on Friday 17 August and the festival goes on for five days. The TV event will be on the 20 and 21 of August and will be hosted by popular presenter, Ray D’Arcy.”

Niamh isn’t nervous about her upcoming television appearance saying: “I was more nervous about my results coming out. I’ve been kept busy with other things such as work and shopping for the 22 outfits we need before going to Tralee.”

As for role models, Niamh said: “I’m not really into celebrity role models. My real role models in life would be my parents. They taught me the value of hard work and good morals and they have made me the person I am today.”

Media enquiries to the Press and PR Unit on 028 9097 3091 / 3087 or email comms.office@qub.ac.uk

[Note: Niamh O’Kane will be awarded her degree at the 2.30pm graduation ceremony on Friday 06 July]

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Queen's honours award-winning Irish journalist

Queen's University today honoured award-winning Irish Times journalist Conor O'Clery. At this afternoon's graduation ceremony, Mr O'Clery, a Queen's graduate, was awarded an honorary Doctorate of the University for distinction in journalism.

Born in Belfast, he has worked for the Irish Times for 26 years and is one of the top journalists writing on the international scene. He has covered many of the world’s major stories, writing with understanding and explaining the background to conflicts and events. The author of a number of books, Conor O'Clery has won several awards for his work, including Journalist of the Year in Ireland in 1987 and 2002.

Delivering the citation, Professor Ellen Douglas-Cowie, Dean of Queen's Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, paid tribute to Conor O’Clery's distinguished career. She said: “Conor O’Clery always seems to have been in the right place at the right time for a journalist.

“He was based in Belfast during the Troubles. But perhaps more importantly he was in Washington in the 1990s during the development of the peace process in Northern Ireland. He was in Moscow during the Gorbachev days and watched the fast unfolding events that led to the break up of the Soviet Union, and he was in Beijing when China was emerging as a fast-growing world power.

“He ended his official reporting days for the Irish Times in New York. Conor O’Clery was in a New York office block putting together a column about recession-hit New York restaurants when he heard the first plane hit the Twin Towers and witnessed the second. He spent the day at the World Trade Center. Today he still cannot bear to look at footage of the burning skyscrapers.

“Conor O’Clery has travelled the world. But what is important to him is that he has had the opportunity to report back directly on that world to the people of this island through his paper - the Irish Times.”

Media enquiries to the Press and PR Unit on 028 9097 3091 / 3087 or email comms.office@qub.ac.uk

[Note: Conor O’Clery will be awarded his honorary degree at the 2.30pm graduation ceremony on Friday 06 July]

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Trombone to go - to Germany and beyond

Christopher Day is a musician of unusual and exceptional talent. Today he graduates with a first class Bachelor of Music degree from Queen’s University.

A gifted trombone player, Christopher, 21, from Warrenpoint, comes from a very musical family. His father played in a brass band and both his brothers play instruments. Christopher also plays the church organ, guitar and piano.

He said: “I count myself very fortunate to come from a family where music has always been a big part of our lives. Dad introduced me to the trombone when I was six. And I’ve been encouraged and supported by my family and by teachers and tutors all the way through my school years.”

At Queen’s Christopher had more opportunities to develop his playing skills and gain performance experience. He appeared on television and radio, including a special performance with pop band, Westlife.

In his last year at university he managed the Queen’s Big Band and was also President of Queen’s Music Society. One of the highlights of his time at Queen’s was the opportunity to have lessons with visiting artists. This included one with Jonas Bylund of the Stockholm Chamber Brass and Professor of Trombone at Hannover Hochschule fur Musik and Theatre. At the end of the lesson Professor Bylund was so impressed with Christopher’s talents that he invited him to become a pupil of his at the institute.

Christopher said: “Professor Bylund has the reputation of being one of the best trombone performers and tutors in the world. That he invited me to train under his tutelage in Hanover is a hugely rare opportunity and fulfils a lifelong ambition for me. The college is one of the most prestigious in Europe and I am delighted to have been awarded a place to study there for the next two years.”

Christopher begins his studying at the Hannover Hochschule fur Musik in October.

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For further information, please contact the Press and PR Unit, 028 9097 3091 / 028 9097 3087.

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Former Arts Minister and eminent philosopher honored by Queen's
Baroness Tessa Blackstone
Baroness Tessa Blackstone
Professor Philip Pettit
Professor Philip Pettit

Former Arts Minister and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Greenwich Baroness Tessa Blackstone, and eminent Irish philosopher Philip Pettit have been honoured by Queen’s University.

At this morning’s graduation ceremony Professor Pettit was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Literature for distinction in philosophy, and an honorary Doctorate of the University was conferred on Baroness Blackstone for services to higher education and distinction in public service.

Delivering the citation for Baroness Blackstone, Queen’s Pro-Chancellor Brenda McLaughlin said: “On those occasions when the powerful worlds of national politics and higher education converge, there are few names which carry more distinction and influence than that of our honorary graduand.

“In an outstanding and dazzling career, spanning several decades, she is recognised and celebrated not only for her contributions to education and the arts but also for the leading role she has played at the head of many of our most prestigious institutions.

“It is a measure of her formidable ability that, in 1987, at a time when very few women held senior positions in higher education, she became the first woman to be appointed Master of Birkbeck College, London University, a post she was to hold for ten years.  

"An outstanding role model for women at every stage of her astonishingly successful career, Baroness Blackstone is regarded as a distinctive and distinguished leader among her political and academic peers. Her passionate belief in social justice for all has remained the guiding force in a life which has relished new challenges and remained steadfast in meeting them.   Today this University recognises and honours the contribution and achievement of a unique and remarkable woman.”

Vice-Chancellor of the University of Greenwich since September 2004, Baroness Blackstone was Arts Minister from 2001 to 2003 and Minister of State for Education and Employment from 1997 to 2001. She was Master of Birkbeck College from 1987 to 1997 and previously Deputy Education Officer of the Inner London Education Authority. She has also worked as a policy adviser in the Cabinet Office.

Her academic career began at the former Enfield College (now Middlesex University), before returning to the LSE in 1966 and, later, moving to the University of London Institute of Education as Professor of Educational Administration from 1978 to 1983.

She was awarded a life peerage in 1987 and, in 2001, was appointed to the Privy Council. She has served as chairman of the ballet board of the Royal Opera House, the Fabian Society and the Institute for Public Policy Research and has sat on the governing bodies of numerous other organisations.  She has written and broadcast extensively on education and social policy issues.

Professor Philip Pettit is one of the leading Irish philosophers of his generation. Currently the Laurance S. Rockefeller University Professor of Politics and Human Values at Princeton University, he is a scholar of international distinction and recognition. Born in 1945 and educated at the National University of Ireland and Queen’s University, where he obtained his PhD, he held academic posts at Queen’s, University College Dublin and Trinity Hall Cambridge. 

He was appointed Professor of Philosophy at the University of Bradford in 1976, before moving, in 1983, to the Research School of Social Sciences, Australian National University as Professor of Social and Political Theory and Professor of Philosophy. He moved to Princeton University in 2002.

Described as seminal and ground-breaking, his research has focused on moral and political theory and on background issues in philosophical psychology and social ontology.  He has published widely with his most recent single-authored books including, ‘The Common Mind’, ‘Republicanism’, ‘A Theory of Freedom’, ‘Rules, Reasons and Norms’ and ‘Penser en Societe’.  He has received an impressive number of awards, honours and visiting appointments in the US, the UK, France, Australia and New Zealand. 

He has also delivered many special lectures around the world, including the Pufendorf Lectures in Sweden and the Tanner Lectures in the US.  He is joint editor of the Journal of Philosophy and Associate Editor of the Journal of Political Philosophy.

Media enquiries to: the Press and PR Unit, + 44 28 90 97 3091 or email comms.office@qub.ac.uk.

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All roads lead to - and from - Queen's

Moving from her home in Italy to explore her Northern Irish side was one of the reasons Veronica Pollio decided to study at Queen's University. Today she graduates with a Bachelor of Arts degree in European Studies and French.

Veronica's mum is from Newcastle, Co. Down and her dad from Italy, and, although born in Belfast, Veronica moved to Italy when she was two weeks old, growing up in Capri. She returned to Northern Ireland to study at Queen’s in 2003.

Veronica chose her course because she wanted to pursue her interest in French as well as become bilingual in English. The European Studies course attracted her attention and the language element which could be combined with it gave her the opportunity she was looking for.

Veronica said: “I knew I wanted to study at Queen’s when I was 16. I saw the main Lanyon building from the top of a tourist bus and fell in love with it instantly. And the University's excellent reputation made me definitely want to become one of its students. “I’ve made many great friends here. It’s a brilliant university, very well organised and the staff are so friendly and efficient. Personally, I have had the time of my life here.”

Wanting to pursue further study and use her language skills, Veronica has just been accepted for a Masters degree in European Studies that will see her beginning a course in Bath, England and finishing in Sienna, Italy with some three months spent in Prague.

Media enquiries to the Press and PR Unit on 028 9097 3091 / 3087 or email comms.office@qub.ac.uk

[Note: Veronica Pollio will be awarded her degree at the 10.30am graduation ceremony on Friday 06 July]

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Exploring the big questions of life for local journalist

It was a unique course bringing Catholics and Protestants together to study theology which attracted journalist Noel McAdam to pursue a degree at Queen's University. Today he graduates with a Bachelor of Theology honours degree.

The flexibility of the part-time course enabled Noel to study over a period of four years and to continue his work as political affairs correspondent for the Belfast Telegraph.

Noel said: “I had been covering church affairs for the Telegraph for several years and when I stepped back from this to concentrate solely on politics, I found an interest, which I had since I was a teenager, had been reawakened.

He continued: “The modules included reconciliation studies and the history of ecumenism which I found a useful backdrop, yet studying areas such as the New and Old Testaments, Church history and theologians from the first century up to modern and even post-modern times, were a very effective antidote to my day job.

“Like most part-time students, it is only with the help and sacrifice of a partner that it becomes possible to study properly so I would like to deeply thank my wife Heather for that.”

Media enquiries to the Press and PR Unit on 028 9097 3091 / 3087 or email comms.office@qub.ac.uk

[Note: Noel McAdam will be awarded his degree at the 10.30am graduation ceremony on Friday 06 July]

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Ain't no hurdle high enough

A longing to follow in the footsteps of one of her teachers is what set Christine Dorrian off on her quest to be a teacher - in spite of serious bouts of childhood ill health. Today, having overcome many obstacles along her path, she graduates from Queen's University with an upper second honours Bachelor of Theology degree.

Christine's allergies and ill health at school threatened to severely impede her progress as she missed lots of education but her determination and hard work have set her in good stead of fulfilling her ambition to become a special needs teacher. In the autumn she begins her PGCE teacher training at Queen’s.

Christine, from Bangor, is a multi-talented young person. She helps out at her local youth club, gaining a qualification in youth work along the way. She has completed her gold Duke of Edinburgh award this year and is currently training to become an officer in the Girls’ Brigade. She has taken up drumming and more recently photography and nail art.

Speaking of her time at Queen’s and looking forward to her teaching training, Christine said: “I believe my experiences have shaped the way I see people, and have given me a focus for my teacher career. The opportunity to study theology has enabled me to explore more of my faith and I’ve really appreciated the close knit community of friends I’ve made at Edgehill College.”

Christine was also very thankful for the help and support of Queen’s Disability Services. She commented, “They have played a huge role throughout my university life. I believe that my time at the University would not have been as good without their help and support.”

Media enquiries to the Press and PR Unit on 028 9097 3091 / 3087 or email comms.office@qub.ac.uk

[Note: Christine Dorrian will be awarded her degree at the 10.30am graduation ceremony on Friday 06 July]

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Scoring an international music success

A lifelong passion for music and radical determination to complete her formal education whilst holding down two jobs epitomises mature student Tanja Kovacevic. Tanja will graduate today from Queen's University with a first class Bachelor of Music honours degree.

Tanja originates from Croatia and came to Northern Ireland in 2001. She began work in the retail sector, moved to administration and then worked as a co-ordinator in interpreting services for the Northern Ireland Council for Ethnic Minorities, which she continues part-time today.

An opportunity to return to performance music presented itself in 2004 when Tanja was offered organ tuition in return for weekly service accompaniment by Clonard Monastery in West Belfast. Finding herself ‘completely taken by the challenges and possibilities of such a magnificent instrument’, she decided to pursue a full time music degree at Queen’s and has focussed her study interests on composition and Bach.

Tanja is described by her academic professor as a student of unusual musical ability who has had to face some serious obstacles to her study. In 2006 Tanja was awarded one of the Bank of Ireland Millennium Scholarships. This is a unique scholarship scheme that aims to support scholars who have had to face serious obstacles; the financial back up and mentoring programme helping them achieve their goals.

Commenting on her course, Tanja said: “My two years at Queen’s have been tough but amazing. I was going to say, I've learnt a lot, but it is much more than that; I've become more conscious of and learnt how to apply the knowledge I've gained throughout my entire life, and I’ve gained confidence and a sense of self-worth.”

Media enquiries to the Press and PR Unit on 028 9097 3091 / 3087 or email comms.office@qub.ac.uk

[Note: Tanja Kovacevic will be awarded her degree at the 10.30am graduation ceremony on Friday 06 July]

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Doctors in life-saving expedition win Queen's award

Two Queen's medical graduates who recently scaled Everest as part of a research expedition and saved a young Nepalese woman's life en route were honoured by Queen's University today.

Dr Nigel Hart from Belfast and Dr Roger McMorrow, originally from Lisburn but now working in Dublin, are this year's joint winners of the University's Graduate of the Year Award.

While in Nepal in May as part of a medical research team using extreme physical environments to investigate human physiology, they saved the life of 22-year-old Nepalese climber Usha Bista.

Nigel and Roger were taking part in an expedition co-ordinated by University College London which was the flagship project of an extensive programme of research into the effects of low oxygen in the blood.

The team set up the world's highest medical laboratory and took the first ever measurements of oxygen in human blood at severe altitude. This experiment will enable researchers to more fully understand hypoxia – lack of oxygen on the blood – a plight faced by many patients in intensive care hospital wards around the world.

Delivering the citation, President of Queen’s Graduates Association Bernard Fitzpatrick said: “It was on their way to the summit that the drama unfolded. Usha Bista was found almost unconscious and suffering from cerebral oedema, or swelling of the brain, which can be fatal if left untreated at high altitude. Nigel was part of the group at Camp 4 that first treated Usha before she was taken to Camp 3 where Roger became involved with her care. From there she was moved to base camp before a helicopter delivered her to a hospital in Katmandu.

“Without the intervention of Nigel, Roger and others, Usha would undoubtedly have died. Thankfully, apart from frostbite, Usha suffered no other injuries or permanent damage. In an interview with Associated Press in Katmandu, she praised her rescuers saying she was ‘indebted to them for life’.”

He added: “For their courageous achievement in conquering Everest, for their role in the ground-breaking scientific experiments undertaken in the process but more notably for their heroic contribution to the rescue and treatment of Usha Bista, Dr Nigel Hart and Dr Roger McMorrow are very worthy recipients of this honour today from their Alma Mater.”

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.

Media enquiries to the Press and PR Unit on 028 9097 3091/3087 or email comms.office@qub.ac.uk

[Note: The Graduate of the Year award will be presented at the 2.30pm graduation ceremony on Thursday 05 July]

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Award Winning Nurses at Queen's

Nearly 400 Nursing and Midwifery students will graduate from Queen's University today in their largest ever ceremony.

Amongst those will be eight students who have also been recognised for outstanding Academic or Clinical Excellence.

During the graduation ceremony on Thursday afternoon all students will receive their certificate and Nursing Badge, which they must wear while on the wards. This will then be followed by a separate presentation where Awards for Academic Excellence are given to the nursing student with the highest marks from the University-based aspect of the degree.

Also presented will be Awards for Clinical Excellence based on feedback from staff in the wards where the students did their placement. A student is selected from each of the areas of nursing covered at Queen’s including Children’s Nursing, Midwifery and Learning Disability Nursing.

The Florence Elliott Prize is awarded to the best overall student, and is the highest award given. This year's recipient is Laura Postlethwaite from Lisburn.

The full list of winners, and the award title, is as follows:

Prize/Medal Title   Winner Home
The Edward and Ann Smyth Medal for Academic Excellence in Learning Disability Nursing
Sharon Clarke Ballyclare
The Hill-Rom Medal for Clinical Excellence in Learning Disability Nursing
Lorna Emma Taggart Ballymena
The Professor Sheila Harrisson Medal for Academic Excellence in Adult Nursing 
Julie-Anne McGladdery Ormeau Road, Belfast
The Mary Waddell Medal for Clinical Excellence in Adult Nursing
Clare Magorrian Finaghy
Dame Mary Uprichard Prize for Excellence in Midwifery Studies
Suzanne Logan Cregagh, Belfast
Elizabeth Rainey Prize for Excellence in Midwifery Practice
Emma Louise Farren Dungiven
The Professor Jean Orr Medal for Clinical Excellence in Children’s Nursing
Caroline Bagnall Newry
The Florence Elliott Prize Laura Postlethwaite Lisburn

Media enquiries to the Press and PR Unit on 028 9097 3091 / 3087 or email comms.office@qub.ac.uk

[Note: Students will be awarded their degree at the School of Nursing graduation ceremony on Thursday 05 July]

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Local business leader honoured by Queen's
Francis Jennings
Francis Jennings

Prominent local businessman and Queen's graduate Francis Jennings today returned to the campus to be awarded an honorary degree.

At this morning's graduation ceremony, he was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Science (Economics) for services to business and commerce.

An engineering graduate of Queen's, Francis Jennings has made a significant contribution to the Northern Ireland economy. He has achieved great success as joint Managing Director of Rotary International, a global electrical contracting business based in Northern Ireland. The company has been associated with some of the largest and most prestigious construction and engineering projects in the world, from oil platforms in the North Sea to the new Hong Kong International Airport and Manchester Royal Infirmary.

Under his leadership, Rotary International has won the Queen’s Award on three occasions, for Export Achievement in 1995 and 1998 and for Export Enterprise in 2005.

Delivering the citation today, Queen’s Pro-Chancellor Dr Chris Gibson said that Mr Jennings’ career is characterised by “a striving for excellence.”

He said: “He is a Chartered Engineer, a Fellow of the Institution of Electrical Engineers, a Fellow of the Institution of Building Services Engineers and a Fellow of the Institute of Energy. He served as Chairman of the Institution of Electrical Engineers (Northern Ireland) in 1994-1995 and on the UK Council of this institution. He has also served on the British Standards Institute Committee and is presently a Council Member of the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

“His distinctive qualities mark him out as a outstanding businessman – he is intensely professional and enormously dynamic with irrepressible commitment and enthusiasm, He is held in the highest regard across the business community and brings to his company his personal standards and example which marks him out as a true leader.”

Media enquiries to the Press and PR Unit on 028 9097 3091 / 3087 or email comms.office@qub.ac.uk

[Note: Francis Jennings will be awarded his honorary degree at the 10.30am graduation ceremony on Thursday 05 July]

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Will of iron helps student graduate
Ross Reid with his parents Ronald and Janet Reid.
Ross Reid with his parents Ronald and Janet Reid.

Most students go on a journey during their time at university but for Ross Reid, who graduates today from Queen's University Belfast with a BArch Bachelor of Architecture, the route taken to achieve his degree has been far from normal.

Having taken a gap year from his two-year course, the Carrickfergus man returned to Queen's in 2005 to complete his final year only to suffer a freak sporting accident just three weeks before his final submission.

A keen rugby player and coach of the Queen's University Ladies rugby team, Ross seriously injured his neck and back during the final match of the season last May, leaving him in a complex brace for three months.

“I spent from May to August encapsulated in a brace 24 hours a day. I was in a full brace during the day and was sleeping, showering and shaving on a smaller brace. Unfortunately I missed my final submission as I was in hospital but I did what I could and was allowed to defer submission until this year by the University”, explains Ross.

Despite suffering severe injuries and narrowly avoiding paralysis from the neck down, Ross did not put his life on hold. Following discharge from hospital, the 27 year old secured a position in an Architect’s practice in Belfast and continued to coach rugby for both Queen’s and the Ulster Senior Ladies as well as sitting on the Ulster Ladies Rugby Committee.

In addition to concluding his studies at Queen’s, Ross set himself some physical challenges to support two local charities, McMillan Cancer Research and the Northern Ireland Hospice. He signed up for this year’s Belfast Marathon, which he finished in 4 hours 10 minutes and the 2007 Ironman UK 70.3 triathlon which he successfully completed in June. Speaking about his latest sporting successes, Ross said: “I am doing my events to raise awareness as to what can be done with determination, dedication and a bit of effort as I have been so fortunate. I am also trying to raise awareness for organisations that help people that are not as lucky.”

Celebrating Ross’ determination at his graduation will be his parents Ronald and Janet Reid.

Media enquiries to the Press and PR Unit on 028 9097 3091 / 3087 or email comms.office@qub.ac.uk

[Note: Ross Reid will be awarded his degree at the 10.30am graduation ceremony on Thursday 05 July]

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Mixing it up - hands on help from Belfast to Romania

Ballymoney student, Richard Nevin, who graduates today with a Bachelor of Engineering degree in Civil Engineering from Queen's University, will be putting his 'concrete mixing' skills to good use when he flies to Romania tomorrow to work in some underprivileged areas.

Richard is spending part of the summer with a team of nine other young people from Northern Ireland in Zalau in Romania with the Christian youth charity, Exodus. Not only will their practical building and decorating skills be in demand, but the team will also be helping to run activity and bible clubs for children in different villages.

Richard, 22, chose Civil Engineering as it suited his A Level subjects and he was aware that the construction industry in Northern Ireland was booming.

Richard has taken part in other Exodus overseas trips having visited South Africa and Romania previously. He said: “When I heard about the Romanian team this year, I jumped at the chance to return there. Exodus provide a brilliant opportunity for hundreds of young people each year to put their faith into action and serve God, both at home and abroad. It offers an experience to sample other cultures and we can learn so much – they are so thankful for everything they have got.”

Speaking of his time at the University, Richard said: “The best aspect of Queen’s was being able to meet new friends from all over Northern Ireland.”

Richard begins a job as an Engineer with Northstone in September and is looking forward to next summer when he is due to marry his fiancée, Heather.

Media enquiries to the Press and PR Unit on 028 9097 3091 / 3087 or email comms.office@qub.ac.uk

[Note: Richard will be awarded his degree at the 10.30am graduation ceremony on Thursday 05 July]

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Belfast-born space scientist honoured by his Alma Mater
Dr Michael McKay
Dr Michael McKay

A Queen's University graduate who is now a leading European space scientist returned to the campus today to receive an honorary degree.

At this afternoon's graduation ceremony, Belfast-born Dr Michael McKay was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Science (Engineering) for services to space exploration.

Dr McKay, who graduated from Queen's with an Honours degree in Aeronautical Engineering in 1979 and an MSc in Computer Science in 1980, currently heads the European Exploration Missions Office in the European Space Agency’s Space Exploration Programme.

Professor Tom Millar, Dean of Engineering and Physical Sciences, who delivered the citation, said that the University was delighted to honour one of its former students.

He said: “Michael’s passion for aircraft as a boy has led him to a position in which he now directs the space exploration programme within the European Space Agency. Throughout his career at ESA, he has ensured that the Agency and scientists within its member states have been able to explore the Solar System in new ways.

“Michael is now planning one of the most exciting space missions ever, Exo-Mars, which will land a rover on the surface of Mars to search for signs of life. Despite the pressurised environment in which he works, Michael is not always looking up to the heavens - he spends considerable time visiting schools to enthuse and encourage future generations of scientists and engineers.”

Michael’s first appointment was as an engineer and as a researcher in Cosmic Ray Physics at the European Space Research and Technology Centre. He then joined the High Energy Astrophysics Division to work on a new X-Ray astronomy mission that took him to Germany and to Mission Control. In 1994 Michael was appointed Senior System Engineer on the Earth Observation Programme, and was later promoted to Mission Operations Manager for this programme.

In 1997, he also led the operations of the Teamsat & Yes spacecraft developed by young undergraduates and graduates under ESA’s Education Programme. In 1998 he was responsible for developing and building the mission control ground segment for Europe’s first missions to Mars and the Moon, and in 2003 he was nominated ESA’s Flight Operations Director, responsible for successfully flying both of these missions. He was then assigned Head of the Advanced Mission Concepts and Technology Office, bringing Star Trek technology to the European Space Agency’s operations. He currently is a member of ESA’s Strategic Planning Group.

Dr McKay has been awarded the annual Golden Lot in 2004 from the German Verband Deutsche Vermessungsingenieure, a prize usually awarded to political figures with international standing. He has also been nominated for a World Award in the international programme chaired by Mikhail Gorbachev, the former Soviet President. Michael actively supports education and student programmes in Europe and is Chairman of the Board for Frankfurt and Wiesbaden International Schools.

Michael McKay has maintained strong links with Northern Ireland and is an active supporter of the new planetarium in Armagh. He is involved in introducing space themes in the Northern Ireland and international school curriculum as a means of stimulating proficiency in maths and science and is regularly invited as an inspirational speaker.

Media enquiries to the Press and PR Unit on 028 9097 3091 / 3087 or email comms.office@qub.ac.uk

[Note: Dr McKay will be awarded his honorary degree at the 2.30pm graduation ceremony on Wednesday 04 July]

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Irish-American businesswoman honoured by Queen's
Sheila O'Malley Fuchs
Sheila O'Malley Fuchs

Leading Irish-American businesswoman Sheila O'Malley Fuchs was today honoured by Queen's University.

At this morning's graduation ceremony she was awarded an honorary Doctorate of the University for public service.

Delivering the citation, Queen's Pro-Chancellor Sir David Fell described the honorary graduand as "a distinguished and successful business woman, a leading member of the Irish American community, a tireless worker for many good causes, especially on this island, a true friend of Queen's University Belfast, and a highly effective member of the University’s Foundation Board.”

A graduate of Marymount Manhattan College, Ms Fuchs started her career as Director of Training and Field Services with Estee Lauder before becoming President of Product Development for cosmetic giant Revlon. From 1986 to 1993, she was President of Ashford Group Inc. In 1993, with her husband and business partner Joe Fuchs, she formed Rockfleet Media, becoming President and Chief Operating Officer. The company first owned and produced a number of newspapers and other publications in New Jersey, before moving on to acquire a number of television stations in locations as widespread as Wisconsin, Bangor Maine, and Colorado Springs.

She is also a noted philanthropist, serving as President of the Irish Georgian Society, a Trustee of Stonehill College, founded by the Congregation of Holy Cross in Massachusetts; and a Board Director of the Women’s Campaign Fund, For 12 years she was on the Board of one of the world’s foremost ballet companies, the American Ballet Theatre.

Sir David said: “Perhaps her most enduring contribution to public life and the community has been through the leadership role she has played with the American Ireland Fund dedicated to raising funds to support peace and reconciliation, arts and culture, education, and community development throughout the island of Ireland.

“The Fund has been extraordinarily successful in the pursuit of its mission, having raised in excess of $300 million. Sheila O’Malley Fuchs has played a significant role in this success. She has served in a wide variety of roles with the American Ireland Fund, and its Committees, and has been a Board Director since 1983.

“And she has proved to be an outstanding contributor to the work of the Queen’s Foundation which generates philanthropic support for the University’s capital development programme and academic initiatives.”

Media enquiries to the Press and PR Unit on 028 9097 3091 / 3087 or email comms.office@qub.ac.uk

[Note: Ms Fuchs will be awarded her honorary degree at the 10.30am graduation ceremony on Wednesday 04 July]

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Role swap for Queen's Esquire Bedell
Jenny Lyttle pictured with her mum Jill, father David and brother Andrew.
Jenny Lyttle pictured with her mum Jill, father David and brother Andrew.

Jill Lyttle has been looking after honorary graduands at Queen's University for seven years now as part of her role as Esquire Bedell. Today, however, she will be viewing the ceremony from a different angle as she takes her place amongst the other guests to watch her daughter Jenny receive her BSc Honours Psychology degree in the University's Whitla Hall.

Van Morrison, Feargal Keane, Karlheinz Stockhausen and Stephen Rea are just some of the well known honorary graduands Jill has looked after in the past. A Senior Teaching Fellow in the School of Management and Economics at Queen's, Jill usually carries the mace in the academic procession, leading the Chancellor or Vice-Chancellor into the ceremony.

Speaking about her upcoming role swap during her daughter’s graduation ceremony, Jill said: “Normally my role at graduation is to look after the honorary graduands, ensuring they know what they are doing and sitting as part of the platform party on the stage. Today however, I will be nervously watching from the floor as my very own special graduand steps up to collect her degree."

Glad that her mum will be sitting alongside her father and brother during the ceremony and not on the stage, Jenny joked: “I think if mum was sitting on the stage I would be even more nervous. She might start crying as I walk up. It’s my first time being involved in a graduation ceremony at Queen’s though and it will be fun to see what mum has been involved with for so many years."

Having spent the last year volunteering as a classroom assistant in Strandtown Primary School, Jenny is taking a year out after graduation to further her experience of working with children. She hopes to become an educational psychologist.

Media enquiries to the Press and PR Unit on 028 9097 3091 / 3087 or email comms.office@qub.ac.uk

[Note: Jenny Lyttle will be awarded her degree at the 10.30am graduation ceremony on Wednesday 04 July]

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Sigerson squad members swap training gear for gowns at Queen's
Members of Queen's victorious Sigerson Cup Squad pictured after graduating from Queen's today.
Members of Queen's victorious Sigerson Cup Squad pictured after graduating from Queen's today.

Members of the Queen's University Sigerson Cup winning team will be swapping their boots for gowns this week as several of the victorious squad prepare to graduate in a range of subjects.

Graduation will provide the perfect ending to a memorable year for the students having won the Ulster Bank Sigerson Cup against rival UUJ at their home ground, the Dub. It was the club's eighth victory in the competition and took place in their 75th anniversary year. Victory over UUJ in December’s Ryan Cup also meant that the club claimed an historic double, the first in the club’s history.

Down star James McGovern scored the winning point deep into extra time in the memorable final and along with captain, Daniel McCartan and vice captain, Gerard O’Kane, he will be among 12 members of the victorious panel who will graduate from Queen’s this week.

The twelve students are:
Daniel McCartan (captain), Computer Based Learning: Gerard O’Kane (vice captain), Computer Based Learning: Paul Courtney, Geography: Gavin Donaghy, Mechanical Engineering: Aidan Carr, Finance: Eoin McCartan, Pharmacy: Miceal O’Rourke, Psychology: Ciaran O’Reilly and Declan Callery, Management & Information Systems: James McGovern and Caolan Tierney, Accounting and Mark Rooney, Finance.

Media enquiries to the Press and PR Unit on 028 9097 3091 / 3087 or email comms.office@qub.ac.uk

[Note: Graduating members of the Sigerson Cup-winning squad will gather for a photograph after the 10.30am graduation ceremony on Wednesday 04 July]

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Dancing queen
Zulma Georgina Rascon-Marquez.
Zulma Georgina Rascon-Marquez.

Teaching Polynesian, Mexican Folk and several other dance classes are just some of the activities that will be keeping Zulma Georgina Rascon-Marquez busy this summer after she graduates from Queen's University today with a BSc Honours in Psychology.

From Chihuahua, Zulma is the first Mexican student to graduate in Psychology from Queen’s and originally came to Belfast on holiday. She then decided to stay after undertaking an English language course in the city. Since then she has become one of the most familiar faces on the Belfast dance class scene, teaching Mexican folk dances to senior citizens and Polynesian dancing to members of the public at Queen’s Sport’s new £7 million facility in Botanic Park.

Zulma has also been responsible for devising some of the most colourful aspects of cultural events held throughout Belfast and recently received an award from Belfast City Council’s Active Living Group.

She will also be putting her talents to good use in August when she begins a programme of work with Share Music and local young people in Derry City.

Zulma then plans to use her degree to study for a Masters in Dance Movement Therapy. She will develop the practical side of her studies in Belfast and travel to Barcelona once a month for the theoretical side.

Media enquiries to the Press and PR Unit on 028 9097 3091 / 3087 or email comms.office@qub.ac.uk

[Note: Zulma Georgina Rascon-Marquez will be awarded her degree at the 10.30am graduation ceremony on Wednesday 04 July]

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Belfast Internet entrepreneur set to graduate
Neil Flanigan who graduated on Wednesday with a BSC in Economics.
Neil Flanigan who graduated on Wednesday with a BSC in Economics.

One of Northern Ireland's brightest young business entrepreneurs will graduate from Queen's University today with a Single Honours in Business Economics (BSc).

At the age of 21, Castlereagh student Neil Flanigan has already demonstrated his entrepreneurial flair with the opening of his NoGeeks internet outlets in Belfast’s Castlecourt Shopping Centre and Belfast International Airport.

Recalling his early business moves, Neil said: “I started the cafes four years ago. It has been a fantastic way to pay my way through Queen’s. What you need is the right location and the right rental deal and then you employ your staff. We have everyone using the outlets from four year old kids playing games to 84 year old grannies booking flights for holidays. When you consider 16 million people a year move through Castlecourt we are ideally placed.”

Recommending entrepreneurship for young people, Neil added: “If you have your own business you can end up earning more and have a quicker progression. It’s easier when you are younger with no husband or wife or a mortgage. There is limited risk in your twenties but in your thirties many people may have children to care for and it’s more of a risk then.”

In 2006 Neil was one of a number of university students from Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland who gained a two month internship in Washington as part of the Washington Ireland Programme for Service and Leadership (WIP).

He pointed out: “There were high calibre students on the programme. The politics students gained an internship with certain senators while the business students gained business placements. I spent time at the World Bank in Washington which is just two blocks away from the White House. We got to meet several prominent people such as the President of the World Bank and many congressmen. It’s not everyday that an opportunity comes to work and learn via a structured programme somewhere like the World Bank.”

Media enquiries to the Press and PR Unit on 028 9097 3091 / 3087 or email comms.office@qub.ac.uk

[Note: Neil Flanigan will be awarded his degree at the 10.30am graduation ceremony on Wednesday 04 July]

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Queen's honours distinguished cancer researcher
Professor Edison Liu
Professor Edison Liu

An international cancer researcher who helped to set up prestigious research links between the United States and Ireland was today honoured by Queen's University.

At this afternoon's graduation ceremony Professor Edison Liu was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Medical Science for services to medicine.

Professor Liu is currently Executive Director and Professor of Medicine at the Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS), a flagship programme of the Biomedical Sciences Initiative of Singapore, which he has led to critical acclaim since 2001.

Delivering the citation, Professor Paddy Johnston, Director of the world-leading Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology at Queen’s, said: “In 1996 Dr Liu was recruited by the then Director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in the United States, Dr Richard Klausner, as Director of the newly formed Division of Clinical Sciences. This Division was one of the largest Divisions within the National Cancer Institute and he was responsible for the scientific administrative direction of the intra-mural clinical research arm of the NCI.

“During this time he also began to work on international programmes and, in particular, on the development of the NCI/All-Ireland Cancer Consortium of which he was one of the co-founders and which was launched at the inaugural meeting here at Stormont in October 1999, chaired by our Chancellor, Senator George Mitchell. This NCI/All-Ireland Cancer Consortium is now the most successful international consortium within the NCI program and last October a second agreement was signed by the Ministers of Health in the US, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, giving testament to the success of this very important international initiative.

“He is being awarded an honorary degree today for his contribution to global health care and biomedical research, particularly in the area of genomics and cancer. He also has made a very significant contribution to the development of both cancer health programmes and cancer research programs in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, both in his association with the NCI/All-Ireland Cancer Consortium but also as a distinguished adviser to the ongoing efforts within Queen’s.”

Dr Liu has received numerous awards for his research, including, the Leukaemia Society Scholar, the Brinker International Award for basic science research in Breast Cancer and the Rosenthal Award from the American Association for Cancer Research. He was also recently the recipient of the President’s Public Service Medal for his work in helping Singapore resolve the SARS crisis.

Media enquiries to the Press and PR Unit on 028 9097 3091 / 3087 or email comms.office@qub.ac.uk

[Note: Professor Liu will be awarded his honorary degree at the 2.30pm graduation ceremony on Tuesday 03 July]

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Green chemistry pioneer honoured by Queen's
Professor Paul Anastas
Professor Paul Anastas

The scientist described as "the conscience of the chemical community" was today honoured by Queen's University.

At this afternoon's graduation ceremony, Professor Paul Anastas was awarded a Doctorate of Science for distinction in green chemistry.

Delivering the citation, Professor Robbie Burch, Head of Queen’s School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, said: “Nowadays we readily accept that preserving the world we live in for the benefit of future generations is very important, but much of the credit for opening our eyes to the challenges is due to Professor Paul Anastas.”

“Green chemistry is the future and, although it is obvious to ordinary people that reducing pollution is a ‘good thing’ the remarkable achievement of Professor Anastas has been to convince the leaders of industry that it is also economically and financially a ‘good thing’.

Professor Burch said: “Paul Anastas coined the phrase ‘Benign by Design’. For industry, such changes bring about increased efficiency, increased worker safety and decreased environmental pollution. So began the green chemistry movement.

“In 1997, Professor Anastas was the driving force, along with the late Joe Breen, behind the founding of the Green Chemistry Institute (GCI), an organisation created to foster collaborations among government, industry and academia. GCI later became a part of the American Chemical Society (ACS). Today, the institute has 25 international chapters and continues to grow in both size and influence.”

He added: “Paul Anastas is, quite literally, the conscience of the chemical community. His dream, now becoming a reality, was to develop a new applied field of research, Green Chemistry, in which economics, politics, ethics, engineering and the law are integrated to develop processes which are both economically viable and benign to the environment.”

A graduate of the University of Masschusetts and Brandeis University, Paul Anastas started his career as an industrial consultant to the chemical industry in the development of analytical and synthetic chemical methodologies. He served as the Chief of the Industrial Chemistry Branch of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (the EPA) from 1989 to 1998.

In 1991, he established the industry-government-university partnership Green Chemistry Programme, which was expanded to include basic research, and he convinced President Clinton to establish the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award. Two current professors in the School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at Queen’s (Professor Ken Seddon and Professor Robin Rogers) are previous winners of this award.

From 1999 to 2004 he was the Assistant Director for the Environment in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy where his responsibilities covered a wide range of environmental science issues including furthering international public-private cooperation in areas of science for sustainability such as Green Chemistry. He has the unique distinction of being advisor to both the Clinton and Bush administrations. From 2004 to 2006, he served as Director of the Green Chemistry Institute in Washington, DC. In January this year he joined Yale University as Professor in the Practice of Green Chemistry. He also serves as the Director of the Center for Green Chemistry and Green Engineering at Yale.

Media enquiries to the Press and PR Unit on 028 9097 3091 / 3087 or email comms.office@qub.ac.uk

[Note: Dr Anastas will receive his honorary degree at the 2.30pm ceremony on Tuesday 03 July]

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Degree number 11 for McIvor family
Kevin McIvor, mum Josephine and girlfriend Roisin
Kevin McIvor, mum Josephine and girlfriend Roisin

When Kevin McIvor from the Antrim Road in Belfast, graduates from Queen's University today, he will be the 11th person in his family to do so.

Graduating with an LLB in Law, Kevin is the last of 11 children to graduate from university, following in the footsteps of his sister Karen who graduated 18 years ago with a degree in Pharmacy from Queen's.

Since then, three of Kevin’s brothers and one sister have graduated in engineering, while another two siblings, Paul and Margaret, have become Doctors. His brothers Michael and Vincent are now accountants and brother Ciaran works in Queen’s Institute of Electronics Communications and Information Technology (ECIT) after graduating from the University with a degree in Mathematics.

Watching Kevin receive his degree in Queen’s Whitla Hall today will be his mum Josephine and girlfriend Roisin, while waiting to congratulate him after the ceremony will be the rest of his family.

Speaking about the special day for the McIvor family, Kevin said: “After seeing my brothers and sisters graduate over the years, it’s great to be at Queen’s today receiving my own degree. Having my family here will also make it that bit more special.”

Mum Josephine added: “I’m very proud of all my children. Seeing them all here at Queen’s today, when my youngest child is graduating, certainly brings home how special all their achievements are.”

Kevin now hopes to sit the New York Bar exams and begin his legal career in the ‘Big Apple’.

Media enquiries to the Press and PR Unit on 028 9097 3091 / 3087 or email comms.office@qub.ac.uk

[Note: Kevin McIvor will be awarded his degree at the 10.30 am graduation ceremony on Tuesday 03 July]

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Studying at Queen's all adds up for 69 year old graduate

After leaving Royal Belfast Academical Institute (RBAI), 55 years ago, John Tilly (69), from Rosetta in South Belfast, will graduate from Queen's University today with a BSc Honours in Mathematics.

Jack, as he is known to family and friends, started working life at 14 before undertaking an engineering apprenticeship and moving to England where he worked as a maintenance fitter for Dunlop. Since then he has moved between England and Northern Ireland several times, eventually moving back home in 1991, where he began working as a taxi driver.

After retiring from taxi-driving, Jack decided to take up a Mathematics course at Belfast Institute of Further and Higher Education (BIFHE) to pass the winter evenings. The course turned out to be an access programme to Queen’s. In turn, Jack completed the course in one year instead of two and was offered a place at Queen’s to study mathematics.

Speaking about his return to study, Jack said: “I never thought when I signed up for my course at BIFHE, that I would end up graduating from Queen’s with a BSc Honours in mathematics.

“My three sons have all graduated from University and it was a little daunting at first returning to the classroom, especially as the only other mature student in the class was actually just 23. I have made some great pals however, and I feel very proud today to have achieved more than I originally set out to do. I couldn’t have done it without the support of my family and my wife Maureen, who unfortunately can’t be here today as she is recovering from surgery.”

At the Whitla Hall to watch Jack graduate will be his 12 year old granddaughter Sara and his son Brian.

Media enquiries to the Press and PR Unit on 028 9097 3091 / 3087 or email comms.office@qub.ac.uk

[Note: Jack Tilly will be awarded his degree at the 2.30pm graduation ceremony on Tuesday 03 July]

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Drama Beauty Queens Big Day Out
Sarah Costello and Cliodhna Mc Callen who graduated on Tuesday from Queen's University with Bachelor of Arts in Single Drama.
Sarah Costello and Cliodhna Mc Callen who graduated on Tuesday from Queen's University with Bachelor of Arts in Single Drama.

Two beauty queens will today graduate from Queen's University with Bachelor of Arts in Single Drama.

West Belfast student Sarah Costello (22) is the Antrim Maiden in this year’s Maiden of the Mournes competition, while Tyrone student Cliodhna McCallan, (23), was a finalist in a regional heat of the Rose of Tralee.

Sarah is about to embark on a new career as she has been contracted to join a new dance show, entitled The Rhythms of Ireland. Kicking off in August, Sarah will tour Australia before a tour of Japan starts in the New Year.

For Sarah, who started dancing 17 years ago when she was five, this is an opportunity of a lifetime. She says: “I feel much more confident now after taking my course at Queen’s University. We were given the option in second and third year to take practical modules along with the theory. While in acting school it can easily be 9 to 5 acting, we also got to examine the history of theatre. We had an excellent balance to the course at Queen’s.

“I was involved in several plays during my final year and that gave me the chance to perform, so that helped too. I think Michael Flatley really set Irish dancing off and his motto was ‘follow your dreams’ so I am doing that.”

Before setting off to Australia however, Sarah will be taking part in the Warrenpoint-based Maiden of the Mournes festival. Running from the 5-12 August, 20 girls will compete over the week.

Cliodhna Mc Callan, a Tyrone entrant in the Rose of Tralee regional finals heat is also graduating from Queen’s today. Recalling the regional heat, Cliodhna said: “I had a great time. The visit to Tralee three weeks ago was a real taster and I made friendships with the Fermanagh and Derry Roses.”

Cliodhna has also set her sights on a promising drama career.

She added: “I wrote a play this year called Till I See You Again which sold out over three nights at the QFT in February. It was based around a love story where an older woman is reflecting on her life in 1950’s Ireland and relating the story to her grandchildren.

“I am now tutoring drama and dance in and around Omagh and visit schools and youth clubs teaching drama.”

Media enquiries to the Press and PR Unit on 028 9097 3091 / 3087 or email comms.office@qub.ac.uk

[Note: Cliodhna Mc Callan and Sarah Costello will be awarded their degrees at the 10.30am graduation ceremony on Tuesday 03 July]

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Queen's honours Archbishop Tutu
Archbishop Desmond Tutu delivering his graduation address
Archbishop Desmond Tutu delivering his graduation address

Archbishop Desmond Tutu was today honoured by Queen's University. At this morning's graduation ceremony, the Nobel prize-winning anti-apartheid campaigner was awarded an honorary doctorate of the University for distinction in public service.

Delivering the citation, Queen's Chancellor Senator George Mitchell said that Archbishop Tutu’s “message of forgiveness and reconciliation has been an inspiration to countless others in areas of conflict around the world.”

He added: “Archbishop Tutu is known to all of us as the cleric and activist who rose to worldwide fame as a courageous opponent of apartheid in his native South Africa, and as a role model of leadership in a divided society.”

Born in 1931 in Klerksdorp, Transvaal. Desmond Tutu pursued a career as a teacher before being ordained as an Anglican priest in 1961. Following his ordination, he studied at King's College London from 1962 to 1966, where he received his Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Theology. He then returned to South Africa where, from 1967 until 1972 he lectured in Theology, before returning to England where he took up a post as Associate Director of the Theological Education Fund of the World Council of Churches.

In 1975 he first made history when he became the first black churchman to be appointed Dean of Johannesburg. This was followed by two years as Bishop of Lesotho, after which he was appointed the first black General Secretary of the South African Council of Churches. In 1986 he was ordained the first black Archbishop of Cape Town.

He came to prominence as a leader of the anti-apartheid campaign during which he even-handedly condemned both the white-ruled regime in south Africa and the violent tactics of some anti-apartheid groups. He consistently advocated reconciliation between all parties and equal rights for all citizens.

In 1984, Desmond Tutu was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace, "not only as a gesture of support to him and to the South African Council of Churches of which he is leader, but also to all individuals and groups in South Africa who, with their concern for human dignity, fraternity and democracy, incite the admiration of the world."

Senator Mitchell said: “The South African Government eventually bowed to the worldwide anti-apartheid movement in the late 1980s. The release of Nelson Mandela in February 1990 heralded a transition to democracy and, in 1994, the South African population voted in the first democratic general elections. Desmond Tutu first voted in his own country when he was 62 years of age.

“He retired as Archbishop in 1996 but his service to his country continued. President Mandela invited him to chair South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. This initiative was described by the then US President Bill Clinton ‘as unique in the history of the world in its attempt to assuage the anger and bitterness of past injustice without either a Nuremburg legal witch hunt or total denial and repression’.”

Although now retired and in his mid-70s, Archbishop Tutu still speaks out courageously on social and moral issues. He has vigorously opposed discrimination against homosexuality, criticized human rights abuses in Zimbabwe, and described the detentions without trial in Guantanamo Bay as "utterly unacceptable." He is committed to the fight against world poverty and to stopping global AIDS, and has served as the honorary chairman for the Global AIDS Alliance.

Senator Mitchell said: “In all his activities, Archbishop Tutu’s message continues to be one of forgiveness and reconciliation. It is a message which has had resonance around the world, and particularly here in Northern Ireland, where he has visited on several occasions.

“It is Desmond Tutu’s humanity, and his love of humanity, that we honour today. His has been a life of service to, and for, humanity. He has, in a real and tangible way, helped to make the world a better place.”

Media enquiries to the Press and PR Unit on 028 9097 3091 / 3087 or email comms.office@qub.ac.uk

[Note: Archbishop Tutu will be awarded his honorary degree at the 10.30am graduation ceremony on Tuesday 03 July]

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Graduation time for new student leaders
Sarah McCaffrey and John Roger.
Sarah McCaffrey and John Roger.

Graduation will be an extra special time for two Queen's University graduates this week as they also prepare to officially take up their new posts as Queen's Students' Union President and Deputy President.

John Roger from Ballyclare, Co. Antrim, will be the new Students' Union's President, while Sarah McCaffrey from Moira, Co. Armagh will be the new Deputy President.

Graduating in Law today, John is keen to take up his new role: “Looking around at graduation, you realise how important the event is not only to students but also to their families. It really does celebrate the end of many years of hard work and effort.

“As well as that academic side of life in a Russell Group University such as Queen’s, I will be hoping to work with my colleagues to ensure students graduate with a more complete student experience and relevant employability skills. I have no doubt it will be a challenging role, but one, that along with Deputy President Sarah McCaffrey, I hope will make a positive difference to student life at Queen’s.”

Sarah McCaffrey will graduate with a BA Joint Honours in International Studies and Politics on Friday afternoon. Her interest in politics and the media has seen her already become a regular voice on local airwaves.

As well as being regularly called on to partake in television and radio programmes, Sarah has presented her own show on Queen’s Radio. Called the McCaffrey Report, Peter Hain, Senator John Kerry, David Cameron and George Galloway, are just some of the well-known politicians Sarah has interviewed in the past.

Looking forward to her upcoming role, Sarah said: “Along with my colleagues, I hope to harness the great social activism potential which exists within Queen’s Students’ Union. Queen’s students can be a great force for positive change in Northern Ireland. I would like to encourage more liaison between our students and public representatives and also improve communication between students.”

Media enquiries to the Press and PR Unit on 028 9097 3091 / 3087 or email comms.office@qub.ac.uk

[Note: John Roger will be awarded his degree at the 10.30am graduation ceremony on Tuesday 03 July. Sarah McCaffrey will be awarded her degree at 10.30 am ceremony on Friday 06 July]

Notes to editors
Sarah and John will both be present for photographs immediately after the 10.30am graduation ceremony on Tuesday 03 July.

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Age is no bar to learning

One of Queen's University’s oldest students – aged 73 – will graduate today with a first class honours degree. Frank McCluskey will graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Irish and Celtic Studies.

Frank, from Loughgiel, North Antrim, is a retired primary school teacher whose interest in Irish history, language and folklore led him to pursue first a diploma in the subject, and then a full degree at the University.

Speaking about his studying, Frank said: “The breadth of the course has enabled me to explore my interests in Irish history and language. I’ve delved into Welsh, Scots Gaelic, ancient and modern Irish and seen how language changes and grows over time.

“I have really appreciated being able to study for pleasure and gained a greater insight into my history through my time at Queen’s.”

Media enquiries to the Press and PR Unit on 028 9097 3091 / 3087 or email comms.office@qub.ac.uk

[Note: Frank McCluskey will be awarded his degree at the 10.30am graduation ceremony on Tuesday 03 July]

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Put your mind to it ... and nowt's impossible

Encouraging people to pursue their dreams and achieve their full potential is something that is close to the heart of 65 year old Norman Wilson who today graduates from Queen's University with a first class honours degree in law.

Having spent most of his life in teaching – he taught at Ballymena Academy for over 20 years – he chose to pursue another personal interest and became a professional portrait photographer in 1994.

He describes himself as having ‘teaching and learning in his blood’ and he is keen to encourage others – no matter what their age or abilities – to achieve their full potential. He said: “Nothing is impossible. Put your mind to it and you can achieve anything. There are no social or age barriers in education!”

Norman, from Ballymena, originally graduated from Queen’s in 1973 with a BA in Modern History and Political Science, and has since acquired three further degrees. He holds a BD (Hons) (London)1977, an MA Ed (Queen’s) 1991, and an MLitt in Theology from Durham University (1999). His personal interest in law led him back to Queen's to begin studying for a law degree in 2004.

Norman is also a keen musician, being a life-long classical guitarist and was awarded an Associate of Trinity College of Music, London, in 2004 in this instrument.

And what of the future? Norman returns to Queen's in the autumn to undertake a doctoral research programme in law.

Media enquiries to the Press and PR Unit on 028 9097 3091 / 3087 or email comms.office@qub.ac.uk

[Note: Norman Wilson will be awarded his degree at the 10.30am graduation ceremony on Tuesday 03 July]

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Rugby loving Galbraith family graduations
Tom Galbraith who graduated on Monday with a BA Honours Combined studies degree from the school of Education Lifelong Learning Unit.
Tom Galbraith who graduated on Monday with a BA Honours Combined studies degree from the school of Education Lifelong Learning Unit.

The rugby loving Galbraith family from Richill will kick off the first of two family graduations this summer, when dad Tom (55), graduates from Queen's University today.

After completing a part-time degree in education at Queen’s over six years, Tom will graduate today with a BA Honours Combined Studies from the School of Education Lifelong Learning Unit. Joining him today will be his 21 year old daughter Jenni, who herself is preparing to graduate from the University of Bradford with a physiotherapy degree.

Both father and daughter are big rugby fans. Tom points out: “We both played rugby for Armagh rugby club. I played from 1969 to 1997, while Jenni has played for Ulster women at Under 19 and Under 21 level. Also this year Jenni has been awarded rugby colours at the University of Bradford. I still keep involved with the charity rugby group the Perennials and we do a lot of fundraising work.”

Recalling what drew him to do a part time course at Queen’s, Tom said: “I had retired early in 2000 from the police and was working part time in a medical company. I had time to use gainfully and I approached Queen’s to undertake a course. I found the course very rewarding and although it can be hard work at times, I would certainly recommend part-time study at Queen’s.”

Looking forward to his graduation ceremony today, Tom explained what will matter most to him: “Having my family present when I receive my degree to acknowledge all their support and encouragement over the last six years will be what will make today really special.”

Media enquiries to the Press and PR Unit on 028 9097 3091 / 3087 or email to Comms.office@qub.ac.uk

[Note: Tom Galbraith will be awarded his degree at the School of Education ceremony at 7.00pm on Monday 02 July]

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With a little help from my friends

There’s nothing like the support of family, friends and a university school to see a person through their studies. That’s the experience of Emma Whittaker who, undeterred by a string of accidents while she was at university, graduates today from Queen’s University with an upper second honours degree in Social Anthropology.

Emma, originally from the Lake District in England, chose to study at Queen’s following a summer spent travelling and working in Ireland. In the second year, she was knocked over by a drunken driver whilst on a holiday in France. The major injuries she sustained followed by a second accident some months later meant that she missed a whole semester. Her friends and family encouraged and supported her through this time.

Emma is very active in sports particularly canoeing, mountaineering and horse riding. It was her interest here that led her to pursue her ideas for her final dissertation: surf culture. This meant six weeks of interviewing and observing the surfing community at San Diego in California.

Speaking of her time at Queen’s, Emma said: “Despite my misfortune my time at Queen’s has been an amazing experience which has been made all the more special through the friendships I have made along the way.”

During her last semester Emma took part in the Socrates Erasmus programme and found herself studying in Stockholm for six months. She really appreciated this opportunity to continue her studies in an overseas context and made many friends from around the world.

Emma now works as a conference coordinator for an events planning company back in her home town of Ulverston.

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For further information, please contact the Press and PR Unit, 028 9097 3091 / 028 9097 3087

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Queen's graduates "underpin Northern Ireland's future" - Gregson

Queen’s University graduates have a leading role to play in Northern Ireland’s future, Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson said today, at the beginning of a week which will see 4,000 students graduate.

In reviewing a year of historic achievements at Queen’s, which included the University joining the Russell Group of leading UK universities, Professor Gregson said: “This kind of success does not happen in a vacuum. It flows from the commitment, the quality and the entrepreneurial spirit of our staff, and it reinforces our confidence in a bright future as a world-leader in research and in education.

“This is good news for all of us associated with Queen’s and it is good news for Northern Ireland, a Northern Ireland which is celebrating a new beginning.

“Queen’s is working closely with our elected representatives and with other stakeholders to ensure that we provide graduates with the talents and skills to underpin the development of a new society in Northern Ireland.”

The Vice-Chancellor told students graduating in Medicine, Dentistry and Pharmacy: “This is particularly true for you who are graduating today. Over the past 160 years, Queen’s has produced thousands of doctors who have served society with distinction. We will provide thousands more in the future as we invest further in our medical school, making it a world leader in patient care, research, and education and training.

“Our new Clinical Skills Education Centre provides a dynamic environment in which all healthcare professionals can learn and develop their clinical skills.

“Queen’s is providing tomorrow’s healthcare professionals with the essential skills which underpin excellence in patient care. And we are doing even more. Through investment in world-class research, we are also developing the technologies and the treatments of tomorrow.”
 
The Vice-Chancellor cited as examples the work of Queen’s world-leading Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology and the University’s new Centre for Health Improvement which will inform healthcare practice and policy, leading to an improvement in public health and quality of life.

He added: “In other areas, too, Queen’s is securing its position as a world leader in research and in education. We recognise that universities have a unique role to play in leading progress and social change, and Queen‘s is actively responding to this global challenge."

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Media enquiries to the Press and PR Unit on 028 9097 3091/3087 or email comms.office@qub.ac.uk.

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Cystic Fibrosis research student graduates
Yuriko Nagano who graduated on Monday with a PHD in Medical Microbiology.
Yuriko Nagano who graduated on Monday with a PHD in Medical Microbiology.

A Japanese PhD student whose research has helped to further our understanding of lung infections associated with cystic fibrosis will graduate today from Queen’s University.

Watching Yuriko Nagano graduate after completing the PhD in medical microbiology, will be her father Kunio who has made his first trip outside of Asia and her mother Hisako.

Congratulating Yuriko on her success, lecturer John Moore from the Department of Bacteriology said: “We are delighted to see Yuriko graduating with a PhD in Medical Microbiology relating to cystic fibrosis. Yuriko’s work has helped to further our understanding of lung infections associated with cystic fibrosis so that we can improve our treatment of patients.”

This latest graduation comes after 12 years of successful scientific collaboration between Japan and Queen’s University, resulting in 60 joint authored peer reviewed publications.

From Yokohama, which is on the main island of Japan and the second largest city next to Tokyo, 26 year old Yuriko said: “I was given many opportunities to attend scientific conferences and also present my studies in front of international audiences while at Queen’s. For example, I was invited to give an oral presentation at the North American Cystic Fibrosis Conference in 2006. It was really challenging and a scary offer but it turned out to be one of the best experiences I had during my time at Queen’s.”

Yuriko intends to stay in Northern Ireland for another year to undertake Post-Graduate research at Queen’s.

As for Northern Ireland Yuriko said: “It was quite a culture shock when I first arrived, it took me a while to understand the accent here. The changeable weather surprised me a lot as well but I really enjoyed the cultural diversity here. I enjoyed going sightseeing and visiting places like the Giant’s Causeway as well as beautiful areas like the North Coast.”

Media enquiries to the Press and PR Unit on 028 9097 3091 / 3087 or email comms.office@qub.ac.uk

[Note: Yuriko Nagano will be awarded her degree at the 2.30pm graduation ceremony on Monday 02 July]

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Family Affair at Queen's
Aisleen Mullen who gradauated on Monday with a First class Masters in Pharmacy and her brother Stephen who graduated with a Bachelor in Surgery.
Aisleen Mullen who gradauated on Monday with a First class Masters in Pharmacy and her brother Stephen who graduated with a Bachelor in Surgery.

It will be a real family affair at Queen's graduation today as brother and sister, Aisleen and Stephen Mullen graduate at the same ceremony.

From Killean outside Newry, Aisleen (22), will graduate with a First Class Masters in Pharmacy while brother Stephen will graduate with a Bachelor in Surgery.

Looking forward to the big day out for her whole family, Aisleen said: “Both Stephen and I are graduating in the same ceremony so it’s a big day for us all.

“For the past two years my brother and I have been living just two streets apart in Stranmillis. We were in the halls in first year and I made some great friends who I have stayed in touch with through my four years here. As well as being close to home, Queen’s is a very well established University so that’s why I came here.”

Speaking about her time at Queen’s, she added: “During my course at Queen’s we had a work placement every year and I worked with an independent pharmacy. It’s too early to say what the future will hold for me, but I would like my own business some day, even though I know it is a lot of responsibility.”

Stephen is working in the Mater Hospital for the next year.

Watching them both graduate today will be their Mum Marie and Dad Tom, brother Peter, and younger sisters Karen and Niamh.

Media enquiries to the Press and PR Unit on 028 9097 3091 / 3087 or email comms.office@qub.ac.uk

[Note: Aisleen Mullen will be awarded her degree at the 2.30pm graduation ceremony on Monday 02 July]

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Armagh girl battles against adversity
Laura Lavery who graduated on Monday with a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery and Bachelor of Obstetrics, MB, BCh and BAO.
Laura Lavery who graduated on Monday with a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery and Bachelor of Obstetrics, MB, BCh and BAO.

A 23 year old Armagh student will today graduate from Queen's just months after being involved in a horrific car crash.

Laura Lavery, who will graduate with a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery and Bachelor of Obstetrics, MB, BCh and BAO, is looking forward to graduation but is still able to recall the events of 26 February earlier this year.

She said: “I was involved in an accident driving home from a tutorial in the City Hospital. I had a broken leg which was operated on, a broken wrist and five spinal fractures. On admission to the hospital on the night of the accident I was told there would be no finals for me in May. But I did manage to sit my exams and thankfully passed.

“They say every cloud has a silver lining, so if you like, the finals took my mind off the aches and the accident put my finals in perspective.”

After her five years at Queen’s, Laura is looking forward to her future career: “I am starting work in Craigavon Hospital in August. In my fourth and fifth year at Queen’s I did placements in Craigavon and Daisyhill Hospital in Newry, so I am going back to Craigavon. I love what I do and being on the ward but I also understand the crazy hours doctors work.

“Queen’s though was a great place to study, with a nice atmosphere about the University.”

While still paying regular visits to the physio to deal with her injuries, Laura is also a sportswoman with a bright future.

“I played camogie for Queen’s and won an All-Ireland Universities medal. I also played half forward for my county Armagh.”

Media enquiries to the Press and PR Unit on 028 9097 3091 / 3087 or email comms.office@qub.ac.uk

[Note: Laura Lavery will be awarded her degree at the 2.30pm graduation ceremony on Monday 02 July]

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Successful anniversary
Nathan Burnside who graduated on Monday with a MB, BCH and BAO in Medicine and Cathay Burnside who graduated with a Master of Pharmacy.
Nathan Burnside who graduated on Monday with a MB, BCH and BAO in Medicine and Cathay Burnside who graduated with a Master of Pharmacy.

A husband and wife who got married a year ago are graduating from Queen's University today.

Nathan Burnside from Holywood, Co. Down, will be graduating with a MB BCH BAO in Medicine, while his Singapore-born wife Cathay will be graduating with a Master of Pharmacy.

The couple were married on 4 July 2006 and are preparing for a memorable first anniversary together. The pair originally met in Sullivan Upper School in Holywood and began dating during fourth form. They have been together ever since.

Looking back on their time at Queen’s, Nathan said: “Queen’s was our local university and I chose it as the medical course was excellent. Cathay had also heard about the University’s reputation and also chose Queen’s because I had decided to go there. We’ve both made fantastic friends many of whom have also gotten engaged.”

In terms of future career plans Nathan is starting as a foundation one doctor in August at the Royal Victoria Hospital and Cathay is beginning work as a pre-registration pharmacist in the Belfast City Hospital.

By way of celebrating after graduation today, the couple plan to go to their favourite Indian restaurant on the Lisburn Road for dinner and tomorrow will attend the Medical Graduation Ball in the Ramada Hotel.

Media enquiries to the Press and PR Unit on 028 9097 3091 / 3087 or email comms.office@qub.ac.uk

[Note: Nathan Burnside and his wife Cathay will be awarded their degrees at the 2.30pm graduation ceremony on Monday 02 July]

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World-leading HIV scientist and neuroscientist honoured by Queen's
Professor Robert Gallo, who was awarded an honorary degree at Queen's this afternoon.
Professor Robert Gallo, who was awarded an honorary degree at Queen's this afternoon.
Honorary graduate Professor Ann Graybiel
Honorary graduate Professor Ann Graybiel

World-leading HIV and AIDS scientist Robert Gallo and neuroscientist Professor Ann Graybiel were today honoured by Queen's University.

At this afternoon's graduation ceremony they were both awarded Doctorates of Medical Science for services to medicine.

Professor Gallo is a world-renowned pioneer in the study of human retroviruses and is best known for his role in identifying the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) as the infectious agent responsible for the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS).

His lifetime achievements have included discoveries that led to both diagnostic and therapeutic advances in cancer, AIDS and other viral disorders. His research has brought him international recognition as well as election into the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine. He twice won the prestigious Albert Lasker Award for Medicine and has received numerous honorary doctorates and other scientific awards. He is the author of more than 1,100 scientific publications.

Born in 1937 in Connecticut, he earned a BS degree in Biology in 1959 from Providence College and received an MD from Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia, in 1963. After completing his medical residency and internship at the University of Chicago, he became a researcher at the National Cancer Institute, where he was to spend the next 30 years, becoming head of its Laboratory of Tumor Cell Biology. In 1996, he became the Founding Director of the Institute of Human Virology and Division of Basic Science, affiliated to the University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute.

Ann Graybiel is the Walter A Rosenblith Professor of Neuroscience in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and a world expert on the complex and inaccessible parts of the brain affected in disorders such as Parkinson’s and Huntington’s diseases. She was awarded the National Medal of Science, a presidential award that honours America’s most extraordinary scientists, in 2001.

She was elected to the National Academy of Sciences of the USA in 1988, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1991, and the Institute of Medicine of the USA in 1994. She has received numerous other awards and honours for her research, including the MIT’s highest faculty honour, the James R Killian Jr Faculty Achievement Award, in 2002.

Media enquiries to the Press and PR Unit on 028 9097 3091 / 3087 or email comms.office@qub.ac.uk

[Note: Professor Gallo and Professor Graybiel will be awarded their honorary degrees at the 2.30pm graduation ceremony on Monday 02 July]

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Graduation's a family affair

Hard work, perseverance and a determination to succeed sum up the McCann family from West Belfast. In a Queen's University double graduation this morning are father and son, Michael McCann Snr and Michael McCann Jnr.

Michael Snr is graduating with an MA in Irish History and his son, a Bachelor of Arts in History and Politics.

Michael Snr was a motor mechanic by trade who, as he describes it, ‘decided some nine years ago to return to school and finish his studies’. He said, “I am a husband, father and grandfather and when I retired it seemed an ideal opportunity to finally finish my education. So I did.”

Michael Jnr has enjoyed his time studying at Queen’s so much that he begins a voluntary job in the library next month.

In between his studies and family commitments, Michael Snr has, at the invitation of Belfast City Council, researched and written a brief history of the Falls Road Swimming Baths. It was published in 2005.

The day’s graduation ceremonies will see a hat trick of the family’s academic prowess. Mr McCann’s nephew, Fergal McCann, will receive his degree in medicine this afternoon. The academic talents of the family are further demonstrated as Michael’s daughter, Angela, has been offered a place to study psychology at Queen’s starting in the autumn.

Media enquiries to the Press and PR Unit on 028 9097 3091 / 3087 or email comms.office@qub.ac.uk

[Note: Both Michaels will be awarded their degrees at the 10.30am graduation ceremony on Monday 02 July.]

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Bangor mother and daughter graduate in the same week
Rebecca Alcorn who graduated on Monday with a BA Honours in English and Drama.
Rebecca Alcorn who graduated on Monday with a BA Honours in English and Drama.

Today marks the start of a busy week for Bangor mother and daughter, Alison and Rebecca Alcorn, as both are set to graduate from university.

Graduating today, Monday 02 July 2from Queen's University at 10.30am with a BA Honours in English and Drama, Rebecca (21), would eventually like to take up a secondary school teaching role but in the meantime has exciting plans for the next year.

Speaking about her plans, Rebecca said: “I am taking a year out to Brazil through the Baptist Missionary Society, and one of the things I’ll be doing is teaching English to schoolchildren in Sao Paulo. I will be heading out there with a team of three other people from England. Ten other teams are going to other countries but we will all meet in Birmingham in September for training ahead of our departure.”

A member of the Christian Union at Queen’s, Rebecca has fond memories of her time at Queen’s and her involvement in locally based charity work: “I was a member of the Christian Union at Queen’s which is one of the largest in Europe. Our CU runs a Late Love project through Fisherwick Presbyterian Church where tea, coffee and a chat are available to people out late at night as a form of outreach.”

Mum Alison will graduate with an MSC in Lifelong Learning from the University of Ulster on 6 July. Alison is currently a member of staff in the Community Development Department at North Down and Ards Institute where she delivers IT courses in community venues. Alison stated that she found the past year quite challenging and at times very busy studying whilst working.

Speaking about Rebecca’s forthcoming trip to Brazil, Alison added: “It’s a big move and we will miss her, but it’s something which is worthwhile and I know she will be able to use the skills she has gained during her time at Queen’s.”

Media Enquiries to the Press and PR unit on 02890 973091/3087 or e mail comms.office@qub.ac.uk

[Note: Rebecca Alcorn will be awarded her degree at the 10.30am graduation ceremony on Monday 02 July]

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Life in the fast lane – the juggled road to success

The adage that women can multitask will be aptly demonstrated at Queen's University today when mother and craft teacher for people with special needs, Sabine Wolniczak MacDonald, graduates with a Bachelor of Arts joint honours degree in Byzantine Studies and Modern Greek.

Sabine’s main work is as a trainer at the Glencraig Camphill Community where she has worked for ten years teaching craft skills to young adults with special needs. The curative curriculum practiced at the community is very important to her and she loves to see young people grow and develop in their abilities.

Originally from Germany, Bangor-based Sabine is a multi-talented craftswoman who specialises in basket making, and has a background in education training.

Sabine’s interest in languages led her, some three years ago, to return to studying and she embarked on a part-time evening course at Queen’s learning Modern Greek. A year later she converted this to a full degree with the Institute of Byzantine Studies.

Speaking about her degree, Sabine said: “I have received fantastic support and flexibility from the Institute all through my studying. I’ve been able to be taught in the evenings allowing me get on with my usual day to day responsibilities – and this has made all the difference.”

Sabine is now looking for full-time work in Northern Ireland or the Republic, preferably in the museums/heritage sector, or a combination of arts/crafts and education.

Media enquiries to the Press and PR Unit on 028 9097 3091 / 3087 or email comms.office@qub.ac.uk

[Note: Sabine MacDonald will be awarded her degree at the 10.30am graduation ceremony on Monday 02 July.]

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Queen's honours leading British historian
Professor Sir Ian Kershaw, who was awarded an honorary degree at Queen's this morning
Professor Sir Ian Kershaw, who was awarded an honorary degree at Queen's this morning

Professor Sir Ian Kershaw, one of the world’s leading authorities on Nazism and Nazi Germany, has been honoured by Queen’s University.

At this morning’s graduation ceremony, he was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Literature for services to history.

The author of 13 books, including a two-volume biography of Hitler, Professor Kershaw studied history at Liverpool and Oxford Universities, and started his academic career at the University of Manchester. In 1983-84, he was Visiting Professor of Modern History at the Ruhr University in Bochum, West Germany. From 1987 to 89, he was Professor of Modern History at the University of Nottingham, and since 1989, has been Professor of Modern History at Sheffield.

Delivering the citation for Professor Kershaw, Queen’s Professor of History Keith Jeffery said: “Sir Ian’s latest book, published in May of this year, is ‘Fateful Choices: Ten Decisions that Changed the World’. Here, in an engaging and accessible style, he looks at a series of momentous wartime decisions in 1940-41, testing, as with his work on Hitler, the relative balance of individual, human action with the significance of wider, more impersonal forces. In exploring this, Sir Ian is tackling one of the central and most difficult problems of all history. He has never been afraid of big people, big events and big issues, and he always has something thoughtful and stimulating to say about them; another reason why we are honouring him here today.”

Professor Kershaw has also made a significant contribution to the popularisation of the discipline of history through his involvement with television. He has collaborated with the BBC’s ‘Timewatch’ series and was consultant to the BAFTA-winning BBC-TV series, ‘The Nazis: A Warning from History’; BBC2’s ‘War of the Century’; the German television channel ZDF’s ‘Hitler: eine Bilanz’ and ‘Holokaust’; and he also contributed to the BBC TV series ‘Auschwitz’.

Sir Ian is a Fellow of the British Academy, of the Royal Historical Society, of the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, and of the Alexander von Humbolt-Stiftung in Bonn. He was awarded the Federal Cross of Merit in 1994 by the Chancellor of Germany for ‘services to German History,’ and knighted in 2002.

He has been a frequent visitor to Northern Ireland and has close links with Queen’s. In 1991 he was the Wiles Lecturer at Queen’s, and from 1993 until 2005 was a Trustee of the Wiles Trust, which sponsors the lectures and other ‘outreach’ historical activities in the University.

Media enquiries to the Press and PR Unit on 028 9097 3091 / 3087 or email comms.office@qub.ac.uk

[Note: Professor Kershaw will be awarded his honorary degree at the 10.30am graduation ceremony on Monday 02 July]

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Honorary degrees conferred at Queen's
Una Reid & Becky Colquhoun
Una Reid & Becky Colquhoun

A host of renowned names from the worlds of medicine, science, business, education and public service will be at Queen’s University next week when they will be conferred with honorary degrees. Archbishop Desmond Tutu, leading historian Professor Sir Ian Kershaw, Professor Edison T Liu who helped resolve the SARS crisis in Singapore and Irish Times journalist Conor O’Clery are among those who will be honoured.

Guest speaker at the University’s Graduation Dinner, Archbishop Tutu will be awarded an Honorary Doctorate of the University for distinction in public service on Tuesday, 3 July. The 76 year old has worked tirelessly for a democratic and just society without racial divisions. He was the first black person to hold the office of Dean of St Mary’s Cathedral in Johannesburg in 1975 and the first black person to become General Secretary of the South African Council of Churches in 1978.

The first Honorary Graduand of the week will be Professor Sir Ian Kershaw. One of the leading British historians of twentieth-century Europe, he is also one of the leading authorities in the world on Nazism and Nazi Germany. He will receive an Honorary Doctorate of Literature. Robert C Gallo, the man who identified the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) as the infectious agent responsible for the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), will also receive an Honorary Doctorate of Medical Science for services to medicine.

Another eight individuals are set to receive honorary degrees including leading Northern Irish businessman Francis Jennings, joint Managing Director of Rotary International; Dr Paul Anastas, one of the world’s leading drivers in ‘green chemistry’; Professor Philip Noel Pettit, prominent Irish philosopher; Professor Ann Graybiel, neuroscientist from the renowned Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT); Queen’s graduate Michael McKay who has been to the forefront of space exploration for the last 26 years; Baroness Blackstone, former Education and Employment Minister; influential Irish-American business woman, Sheila O’Malley Fuchs and Professor Edison T Liu.

Ensuring everything is in order for the honorary graduands and the 14,000 other people who will pass through Queen’s graduation next week will be Una Reid, Head of the University’s new events and consultancy service, Eventus.

Working alongside her colleagues throughout the University, Una will be responsible for ensuring over 15,000 portions of strawberries and cream and some 1,000 decorative plants are in place, as well as co-ordinating all the numerous other elements vital for a successful week.

Speaking about graduation week at Queen’s, Una said: “From ensuring every last button is fastened on the 99 year old outfit worn by the young Chancellor’s Page to making sure the 2,400 people who attend our graduation garden parties each day are catered for, Eventus prides itself on linking people and places with Queen’s and providing everyone with a positive experience.”

Eventus also offers its events management, conferencing and ceremonial consultancy service to other organisations and businesses in Northern Ireland and this summer will help organise over 16 summer weddings at Queen’s.

Queen’s graduations are the highlight of the academic year and some 4,000 students will receive their degrees in 11 ceremonies, beginning on the morning of Monday, 2 July and finishing on the afternoon of Friday, 7 July.

Ends.

Media enquiries to the Press and PR Unit on 028 9097 3091 / 3087 or email comms.office@qub.ac.uk.

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