07-2005 Press Releases

21/07/2005: Queen's academic elected to Royal Academy of Engineering
20/07/2005: Queen's academic appointed to Royal Academy of Engineering Keller Research Chair
19/07/05: Queen's conference to debate salvation
18/07/2005: Wedded bliss for Queen's graduates
14/07/2005: Summer School goes from strength to strength
11/07/2005: New Queen's Sustainability Masters at Gibson Institute
08/07/2005: Queen's students urged to \"make poverty history\"
8/7/2005: Archaeology graduate digs up the past
08/07/2005: Proud Day for Armagh's Garry
08/07/2005: Former Thornhill pupils graduate in Pharmacy
08/07/2005: New courses graduate with success
8/7/2005: Honorary doctorate for Ulster Bank Chairman
07/07/2005: Careers adviser collects Doctorate
07/07/2005: Final graduation from Masters of Social Work programme
07/07/2005: From care-worker to a career in nursing
07/07/2005: Queen's honours senior Law Lord
07/07/2005: Tyrone resident on human rights path
07/07/2005: Big Band at Graduation
07/07/2005: Third degree for Martin O’Neill’s nephew
07/07/2005: Queen's honours former Vice-Chancellor
06/07/2005: Queen's honours Martin O'Neill
06/07/2005: Graduate of the Year
6/7/2005: Nursing students urged to commit to quality
06/07/2005: Student of the Year award
06/07/2005: Dream comes true for new teacher
06/07/05: Queen's \"building for the future\", students told
05/07/2005: Queen's honours Public Appointments Commissioner
05/07/2005 Co Down student gains degrees by the double
05/07/2005 Newry architecture student aims to build bridges with Palestine
05/07/2005: Queen's Chancellor calls on students to \"serve society\"
05/07/2005: Queen's honours award-winning journalist
04/07/2005: Queen's graduation ceremonies get underway
04/07/2005: Fifth time around for lifelong learning school principal
04/07/2005: Queen's honours Gloria Hunniford
04/07/2005: New language degree graduates
04/07/2005: Husband and wife graduate
04/07/2005: \"Queen's unique role\" - Gregson
04/07/2005: Mother and son graduate together
04/07/2005: Graduation is music to Rachel's ears
04/07/2005: Northern Ireland business leader honoured by Queen's
04/07/2005: Learning is for life, Queen's graduation told
04/07/2005: Former Belfast man collects PhD after 10 years
04/07/05: 'Woman of many talents' honoured by Queen's
04/07/05: \"Learning doesn't end here\"-Queen's students told
04/07/05: Identical twins, identical degrees
04/07/05: Proud dad watches doctor daughter graduate
01/07/2005: Queen's University Supports White Band Day

Queen's academic elected to Royal Academy of Engineering

A Queen's University academic has been elected to The Royal Academy of Engineering.

Professor Vincent Fusco has joined the very highest achievers in United Kingdom engineering and technology. He is Chair of High Frequency Electronic Engineering, Head of High Frequency Research Group and Director of Mircrowave and Millimeter Wave Research Centre at Queen's.

Professor Fusco, who is based in the Institute of Electronics, Communications and Information Technology at Queen's Island, is also director of the world-leading International Centre for System-on-Chip and Advanced Microwireless (SoCaM).

It develops high performance wireless orientated communication chips for use in advanced mobile applications such as phones, video streaming and vehicular sensors. The Centre's research programme brings together experts from high frequency electronics, microelectronics, DSP architectures and computer science who are developing entire electronic systems based on a single silicon microchip.

Commenting on his election Professor Fusco said: "Election to the Academy is a major recognition of my personal academic contributions and of the high quality engineering work that is carried out at Queen's in the area of high frequency electronics."

Others to be elected to the Academy during its recent annual general meeting were James Dyson, arguably Britain's best-known design engineer of modern times, robotic surgery pioneer Professor Brian Davies of Imperial College London and the technical director of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link project Mike Glover.

"I am delighted to welcome such a distinguished and accomplished group of people as Fellows this year," said Academy President Lord Broers. "Engineering is the lifeblood of responsible development and gathering the very best people together from industry and academia will help us to give the best possible advice to government and, equally important, to inspire young people to see the importance of engineering in today's world and to consider it as a career."

Note to Editors: Founded in 1976, The Royal Academy of Engineering promotes the engineering and technological welfare of the country. Its fellowship – comprising the UK's most eminent engineers – provides the leadership and expertise for its activities, which focus on the relationships between engineering, technology and the quality of life. It also provides independent and impartial advice to Government; works to secure the next generation of engineers and provides a voice for Britain's engineering community.

For further information contact: Communications, (028) 9097 5384

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Queen's academic appointed to Royal Academy of Engineering Keller Research Chair
Professor Robert Kalin (centre), from the School of Civil Engineering, is congratulated by the University's Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson and Dr Alan Bell, Keller Engineering's UK and Ireland Managing Director, on his appointment to the new Royal Academy of Engineering Keller Research Chair.
Professor Robert Kalin (centre), from the School of Civil Engineering, is congratulated by the University's Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson and Dr Alan Bell, Keller Engineering's UK and Ireland Managing Director, on his appointment to the new Royal Academy of Engineering Keller Research Chair.

A Queen's University academic has been appointed to a new research chair in environmental engineering.

Professor Robert M. Kalin, from the School of Civil Engineering, has obtained the prestigious five year post sponsored by The Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng) and Keller Ground Engineering, the UK's leading specialist ground engineering contractor.

In his new post Professor Kalin will bring together academic and industrial expertise to help support a Centre of Excellence in key emerging interdisciplinary areas which link civil engineering and science.

There are currently over 60 researchers in the School of Civil Engineering working in the area of environmental engineering at Queen's which focuses on the protection of the soil and water environment, pollution prevention and control and techniques for monitoring the natural and built environment.

During the term of the research chair, Professor Kalin will work on a number of projects which will have far reaching implications for integration of civil engineering and the protection of the environment. Areas of interest include linking ground engineering with long term remediation of contaminated land and groundwater; waste management, and waste water management and waste water treatment.

Professor Kalin is regarded as one of the UK and Europe's foremost authorities on in-situ remediation technologies and has been involved in a variety of projects within Europe, the USA, the Far East and Middle East.

Commenting on his research Professor Kalin said he was delighted to accept the challenges which lay ahead. "This research chair will enable Queen's and Northern Ireland to remain at the forefront of international efforts to find novel and exciting solutions to environmental problems," he said.

"Keller is delighted to support this initiative as it continues our fruitful links with engineering at the University which maintains an excellent balance between cutting edge and practical applications in teaching and research," said Dr Alan Bell, UK and Ireland Managing Director.

"We are delighted to support Professor Kalin in this new post," said Rob Barrett of The Royal Academy of Engineering. "this scheme is unique in bringing together academia and industry to fund and promote leading edge engineering research."

Note to Editors: 1. Research chairs are full-time professorial appointments, in any engineering-related subject.

2. Founded in 1976, The Royal Academy of Engineering promotes the engineering and technological welfare of the country. Our fellowship – comprising the UK's most eminent engineers – provides the leadership and expertise for our activities, which focus on the relationships between engineering, technology, and the quality of life. As a national academy, we provide independent and impartial advice to Government; work to secure the next generation of engineers; and provide a voice for Britain's engineering community.

3. Keller Ground Engineering is the UK division of Keller Group Plc, which is a global market-leader in ground improvement systems. In the UK and Ireland Keller offers a full range of piling, ground improvement geo-environmental, earth retaining solutions, geo environmental engineering, containment systems for weak soil, ground water control, deep soil mixing, remediation and groundworks. Keller specialises in the design and construction of ground engineering solutions for projects with difficult soil conditions.

4. The School of Civil Engineering at Queen's is among the oldest in the UK. In the recent Times Good University Guide 2006, Queen's was placed third, behind Cardiff and Bristol Universities.

For further information contact: Professor Robert Kalin, (028) 9097 4018

Rob Barrett, The Royal Academy of Engineering, (020) 7227 0505

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Queen's conference to debate salvation

The core tenet of Christian theology - salvation - is to be the theme of a major international conference at Queen's University this week.

Speakers from the United States, Italy, the United Kingdom and Ireland will discuss the meaning of salvation at the Sixth Maynooth Patristic Conference, which takes place from Tuesday to Thursday, 19 to 21 July

The programme also includes debate on the interpretation of salvation under the influence of Greco-Roman culture, the development of this concept from late antiquity to the Byzantine Middle Ages, and the symbolism of the cross.

The conference is being held at the University's Institute of Byzantine Studies under the joint auspices of The Patristic Symposium, Maynooth, and the Arts and Humanities Research Council Centre for Byzantine Cultural History.

Patristic study is the examination of the writings of the early fathers of the Christian Church and this conference will be the first such event to be held in Northern Ireland, the previous five having been held in the Republic of Ireland.

Dr Dirk Krausmüller, Lecturer in Byzantine Studies at Queen's, who is about to take a year's sabbatical in the word-famous Harvard Research Centre at Dumbarton Oaks, has arranged a programme of high-quality papers from other centres of patristic studies to explore the subject in rigorous detail.

Dr Krausmüller said: 'This conference will really put Queen's on the map where patristic studies are concerned. It is important for Byzantinists to know about patristics – and even more important for theologians of every persuasion to know about Byzantium."

For further information contact:

Professor Margaret Mullett, Tel 028 9097 3238/3817

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Wedded bliss for Queen's graduates
Queen's graduates Martin O'Kane and Nasrin Khosravinezhad who became the first couple to marry at the University.
Queen's graduates Martin O'Kane and Nasrin Khosravinezhad who became the first couple to marry at the University.

Two Queen's University graduates returned to their alma mater last week, but it wasn't to study.

Instead, Limavady man Martin O'Kane (27) and 26 year-old Nasrin Khosravinezhad, from Gilnahurk, tied the knot at the University on Friday – making it the first wedding to be held on campus.

The couple, who met during their time at Queen's, are both currently based in Edinburgh - Martin works for the Royal Bank of Scotland, while Nasrin is a podiatrist. Martin, who was working on the alumni fund to raise money for the refurbishment of the Great Hall, helped Nasrin filled in an application form for a job on the telephone campaign. She may have failed to get an interview, but she certainly managed to impress Martin.

The couple were married in the University's Harty Room, watched by around 100 friends and family, in a Baha'ai ceremony. The ceremony centred around the Baha'i tenet of the unity of all religions and of mankind and included Christian and other readings.

Afterwards the guests gathered in the Great Hall for a wedding dinner, with music provided by a ceilidh band.

Explaining their decision to marry in the University, Martin said they wanted to return to Northern Ireland for the wedding because both families are based here.

"Given that we met at Queen's it was the obvious choice. Having worked on the fund for the Great Hall I knew it was available for wedding receptions and we both realised the University would be a good venue," he said.

The happy couple will remain in Northern Ireland, cruising on the Fermanagh lakes and visiting family, before taking their official honeymoon in India later in the autumn.

For further information contact: Communications Office, Queen's University, (028) 9097 5384

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Summer School goes from strength to strength

International students will once again have the opportunity to study Northern Ireland politics, history and culture as part of Queen's University's International Summer School.

The three-week programme is now in its fifth year and has proved to very popular. Last year more than 100 students between the ages of 18 and 60 took part. Most were from the USA and Canada but several were from Japan, Australia, Poland, Spain, Portugal and Romania.

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

Lectures and seminars are given by internationally-acclaimed scholars from Queen's University, students are also given the opportunity to meet with some of Northern Ireland's decision-makers and there are excursions to archaeological, historical and cultural sites.

"This year we have an exciting new partnership with the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry," Dr Eamonn Hughes, Assistant Director of the Institute explained. "This three-day alternative provides students with the opportunity to take poetry, fiction and script-writing workshops with some of the most respected writers in the country such as Glenn Patterson, Medbh McGuckian, Daragh Carville as well as with Ciaran Carson, the Heaney Centre's Director."

Other highlights of the 2005 programme include:

• A guided tour of Belfast's murals and interfaces Monday, 18 July.

• 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 (Wednesday, 20 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. (Wednesday, 3 August).

Another highlight this year will be the literature lecture by Professor Margaret Mills Harper of Georgia State University titled 'Raising the Dead: Yeats and the Anglo-Irish Revival'. Professor Harper is a former senior visiting research fellow of the Institute.

Summer School Administrator Catherine Boone also added: "We've had tremendously positive feedback from previous years' students. In fact, several students who attended previous Summer Schools have enrolled in full-time postgraduate programmes here at Queen's in the Schools of Politics, Anthropology, and of course, Irish Studies. It really is a wonderful programme for both international students and Queen's".

The International Summer School starts on 18 July and finishes on 5 August.

For further information contact: Catherine Boone on (028) 9097 3386

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New Queen's Sustainability Masters at Gibson Institute

The Gibson Institute for Land, Food and Environment at Queen's University is offering a new postgraduate course for those interested in leading the development of a sustainable society.

"Climate change, pollution and resource depletion are presenting new challenges for leaders in all sectors of our society. This new Masters will prepare leaders to address these questions, and it will open doors to careers in sustainable development, one of the fastest growing fields of work in the world today," explained Dr Peter Doran, Lecturer in Sustainable Development at the Gibson Institute.

The MSc in Leadership for Sustainable Development is a one year full-time programme, which aims to prepare postgraduates for decision-making and leadership roles in all sectors of society. It combines leadership and other transferable skills training with intensive tuition in the key themes of sustainability and provides practical experience through carefully selected work placements.

The programme, which begins in September, consists of nine compulsory modules, with assessment for each module taking the form of individual or group written submissions and/or oral presentations. There are no formal written examinations for the degree.

During the first two weeks students will receive intensive induction to prepare them for five work placements, each lasting four weeks. Host organisations are available across five key sectors, non-government and campaigning organisations, rural development, governance, business and finance, and media and communications.

The work placements aim to give student a real grasp of how an organisation works and how the different sectors are tackling sustainability.

Between placements students will attend teaching sessions in the Gibson Institute, which is based at Lennoxvale. Following their final placement students will spend three months preparing their end of year reflective essay and group project.

Anyone who wants more information on the programme is asked to contact Dr Peter Doran on (028) 9097 5569 or email: p.f.doran@qub.ac.uk

For more information contact: Dr Peter Doran on (028) 9097 5569 or Dr Jude Stephens on (028) 9097 5564

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Queen's students urged to "make poverty history"

Graduating students at Queen's University were today urged to "make poverty history".

Delivering the address at this afternoon's ceremony, Ulster Bank Chairman Dr Alan Gillespie, who was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Laws for services to business and commerce, and for public service, said: “The greatest prize available on earth today is a significant reduction in poverty across the poorer countries.

"Disease, illiteracy and want prevail so that three billion of our fellow citizens live desperate lives of misery and poverty. We live in a world divided and it is our responsibility to see the poor countries move from poverty to well being."

Dr Gillespie asked the graduands to consider what they could do to tackle the issue.

He said: "This challenge cannot just be left to G8 government leaders, to Bob Geldof or Bill Gates. It is for you and me to respond with personal involvement. There is a long tradition of Queen's graduates serving overseas and the need today for you to get involved is greater than ever.

"I encourage you to become personally well informed of the issues which drive development in the poor countries; to get involved with a charity or NGO working on world poverty; to get behind some key campaign – such as 'make poverty history' – and, above all get involved by getting out there either as a short term volunteer or on a longer term career commitment. "There can be no better way to put your university education to work in the years ahead."

For further information contact: Anne Langford, Tel 028 9097 5310

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Archaeology graduate digs up the past

As well as studying hard for degrees in their final year, it's amazing just how many Queen's University graduates make time during the year to work on projects that helped to give something back to the local community. Anna Murphy, who graduates this morning (Friday 8 July) is one such student.

Anna who will collect her BSc degree in Archaeology and Palaeoecology has carried out research into the history of the Maguire family clan in her homeland area in Fermanagh. The 21-year-old, from Tempo near Enniskillen, worked on the project as part of her dissertation for her degree studies. She took on the project for the TOPPED Mountain Historical Society in Fermanagh, under the auspices of the University Science Shop.

"I really did enjoy working on this dissertation project, particularly carrying out the practical field work, and in fact spent far more time on it than on any other part of my degree studies," Anna enthused. "I traced the history of the very powerful Maguire clan over the years 1550-1670, before and after the plantation estates were established, uncovered a tremendous number of fascinating historical characters and discovered how Maguiresbridge got its name!"

With her degree award under her belt, Anna plans to travel to Australia on a gap year with her boyfriend from home. After that she hopes to pursue her fascination with medieval history and Archaeology by enrolling in a Master degree course.

Eileen Martin, Science Shop Co-ordinator, confirms that many of the student projects make valuable community contributions: "Over the last three years the University has developed closer links with a wide range of non-profit groups throughout Northern Ireland. Through Science Shop projects, everyone gains - students gain greater awareness of the relevance of their learning to wider social issues and the community groups benefit from the wide range of skills that students bring to their organisations."

The Northern Ireland Science Shop is part of an international initiative linking universities with community organisations. Over the past 12 months, The Science Shop at Queen’s helped 53 students, including Anna Murphy, become involved in projects with community organisations on a wide range of areas including environmental issues, local history, social policy, community health issues and information technology. The majority of these were final year students, who are graduating this summer.

ENDS

For further information contact: Communications Office, (028) 9033 5320

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Proud Day for Armagh's Garry
Armagh's Garry Toner, who graduated with a degree in Social Sciences on Friday morning, is congratulated by Dr Tess Maginess from the Armagh campus.
Armagh's Garry Toner, who graduated with a degree in Social Sciences on Friday morning, is congratulated by Dr Tess Maginess from the Armagh campus.

It will be an especially proud day for Armagh student, Garry Toner, who graduates with a 2:1 in Social Sciences this morning (Friday) from Queen's University.

Garry, a mature student at Queen's Armagh campus, has dystrophy. Over the years he has been able to access and perfect a whole range of assistive technology, including a wheelchair equipped with a computer which he operates through his voice.

"A few years ago I was sitting at home with no real prospect of ever getting third level qualifications, but thanks to the Armagh Campus and local disability group, Out and About, I have been able to find out about all the new gadgets that are available in assistive technology and have been able, over the years to get a system suited to my individual needs and aspirations, " said Garry.

"I am very grateful to the staff at the Campus, to Out and About and to the Southern Board who funded special equipment and other help like notetaking under the Disabled Students' Allowance Scheme. Through studying I have discovered a whole new world and have far greater independence and opportunities now as a disabled person."

Garry is now Chair of Out and About, which continues its partnership work with Queen's. He is keen to make up for lost time and to develop the skills and knowledge he has gained to benefit other disabled people and so is hoping to do a Masters' either in Dublin or Leeds.

 A number of Masters' students also graduated from the Armagh campus. Among them stalwarts Karen Anderson and Andrew McConville who have pursued both their undergraduate and postgraduate study at Armagh.

At a special reception to mark this year's graduations at the Armagh campus was held on Thursday evening, attended by Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ken Bell.

Richard Jay, Academic Director of the campus, said: "I would like to warmly congratulate all the participants on Queen's programmes in Armagh, who have worked so hard to achieve their degrees and certificates.

"Being a mature student creates considerable challenges, it is a huge balancing act; responding to the complex demands of work, family and study. The Armagh students have risen admirably to that challenge."

For further information, contact:

Communications Office, (028) 9097 5384

 

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Former Thornhill pupils graduate in Pharmacy
Former pupils of Derry's Thornhill College who all graduated with degrees in Pharmacy during Friday afternoon's ceremony.
Former pupils of Derry's Thornhill College who all graduated with degrees in Pharmacy during Friday afternoon's ceremony.

For 10 Queen's University Pharmacy students, this afternoon's Faculty of Science and Agriculture graduation ceremony might feel a bit like déjà vu.

All 10 girls attended Thornhill College in Derry and then went on to study pharmacy at Queen'. School of Pharmacy Head of Teaching Dr Paul S Collier said while it was common to have a few students from the same secondary school, it was very unusual to have 10.

"Staff in the department were quite surprised to learn that we had 10 students from the same grammar school studying Pharmacy," he said.

"Normally there are a few but not this many. What makes this even more special is the fact that six of the girls are graduating with first class honours. That is very remarkable."

Thornhill College Principal Sarah Kelly said she was very pleased to hear all 10 girls were graduating together. All of them had excelled in science and chemistry at the college and had chosen Queen's because of its reputation.

Earlier this year Queen' University's School of Pharmacy was voted the number one Pharmacy School in the UK in the 2005 Times Good University Guide. Queen's took out the top spot based on its research measures, teaching quality, and employability and quality of student intake as determined by 'A' level points scores.

"Over the past week many of the girls’ parents have called the school to let us know they were graduating," Mrs Kelly explained.

"As you can imagine they are absolutely over the moon about it and so are we. It is wonderful to know that all 10 girls who completed their A-levels at Thornhill went on to graduate in the top per cent of their course at Queen's.

"I am very proud of them and wish them all the best for the future."

ENDS

For further information contact: Communications Office (028) 9097 3087

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New courses graduate with success
David Moore, who obtained a MSci Mathematics and Statistics and Operational Research degree celebrates with Edel Brady, Mary Louise Burns, Andrea Rainey, Paul Westwood and Maria Wilson, who all collected their BSc honours degrees in the same subject.
David Moore, who obtained a MSci Mathematics and Statistics and Operational Research degree celebrates with Edel Brady, Mary Louise Burns, Andrea Rainey, Paul Westwood and Maria Wilson, who all collected their BSc honours degrees in the same subject.

Two of Queen's University's new science courses have 'graduated' with top marks this morning. (Friday, July 8)

Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics lecturer Dr Adele Marshall said the new MSci and BSc (Hons) Mathematics and Statistics and Operational Research degrees have been a success.

 "The above courses were introduced at Queen's to satisfy a demand from both students and employers," she explained. "Statistics was an area highlighted by the recent EPSRC International Review as requiring immediate investment and support in order to be able to sustain the required 'research capacity' in the future.

 "The School of Mathematics and Physics has acknowledged the importance of having a Statistics and Operational Research course within the school and has endeavoured to incorporate the need for such further development and nurturing of this area as part of the school’s overall research strategy.

"The opportunities for Statistics and Operational Research Graduates are overwhelming. It is a rapidly expanding research area, which is showing great promise and potential for future growth and success."

One student who has excelled in this new course is Banbridge doctor, David Moore.

 This morning the Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) specialist graduates with a first class MSci Mathematics and Statistics and Operational Research degree.

After graduating from Queen's in 1996 with a medical degree, David began working throughout various hospitals in Northern Ireland but still had a burning desire to follow another passion of his, maths.

"Maths was my favourite subject at school," had always wondered what I would have done if I'd done maths at university. Then I heard about this course and decided I would do it. Statistics was the area that appealed most to me because I think it's easily understandable and applicable to the everyday world."

David continued to locum while at Queen's and decided to combine his two passions by researching medical statistics for his final year project.

But David is not the only one who has excelled in the new degree. Five other students will graduate this morning with a BSc (Hons) Mathematics and Statistics and Operational Research degree. They are: Edel Brady from Strabane, Mary Louise Burns from Dromore, Andrea Rainey from Belfast, Paul Westwood from south Belfast and Maria Wilson from Augher in Co Tyrone.

For further information contact:

Communications Office (028) 9097 5190

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Honorary doctorate for Ulster Bank Chairman
Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson congratulates the chairman of the Ulster Bank Dr Alan Gillespie on receiving his honorary Doctorate of Laws for services to business and commerce and for public service.
Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson congratulates the chairman of the Ulster Bank Dr Alan Gillespie on receiving his honorary Doctorate of Laws for services to business and commerce and for public service.

One of the most high-profile figures in local economic development, Ulster Bank Chairman Dr Alan Gillespie, was honoured by Queen's University today.

At this afternoon's graduation ceremony for students from the Faculty of Science and Agriculture, he was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Laws for services to business and commerce and for public service.

Born in 1950, Alan Gillespie grew up in East Belfast off the Castlereagh Road. He was educated at Grosvenor High School where he was both head boy and rugby captain, and at Clare College Cambridge.

After graduating with an Honours BA in 1972 and an MA in 1974 in economic geography he spent four years completing a PhD on the growth of the Northern Ireland economy. He joined Citibank in 1976 where for the first five years he worked on sovereign debt on the back of the OPEC crisis. Then living in London and later continuing with Citibank in Geneva Switzerland he specialised in international capital markets, assisting governments and corporations worldwide with raising capital in loan and bond markets.

Dr Gillespie moved to New York in 1986 to join Goldman Sachs and then spent 14 years in London as a partner and a managing director. He was responsible for corporate finance together with mergers and acquisitions for corporate clients in the UK and Ireland. During this period he also had responsibility for establishing the firm's activities in the Netherlands and South Africa.

From 1995 as a member of the Industrial Development Board of Northern Ireland Dr Gillespie assisted development in Northern Ireland, becoming Deputy Chairman in 1996 and Chairman in 1998, remaining in this role until the formation of Invest NI in 2001. On leaving Goldman Sachs he took on the job of Chief Executive of the Commonwealth Development Corporation for three years, leading this public sector government controlled development organisation into the world of big corporations, globalisation and a public/private partnership. Now called CDC Capital Partners, it is headquartered in London, has 32 offices worldwide and exists to provide equity capital to sustainable businesses in the world’s poorer countries. For this and other activities he was awarded a CBE in 2003.

In addition to his Chairmanship of the Ulster Bank he also chairs the Northern Ireland University Challenge Fund, is a member of the Advisory board of the Judge Institute of Management at the University of Cambridge and is a Non-Executive Director of Elan Corporation Plc. In addition he serves on the Advisory Council of the Prince’s Trust and the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation. He is an Honorary Patron of the Queen's University of Belfast Foundation Board.

Delivering the citation, Queen's Pro-Chancellor Dr Chris Gibson said: "I have been privileged to get to know Alan Gillespie serving with him on the IDB Board between 1998 and 2002. He is not only a truly exceptional businessman with a compassion for his fellowman but also a man of character within his business and personal life."

For further information contact: Anne Langford, Tel 028 9097 5310

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Careers adviser collects Doctorate
University Careers Adviser John Copleton celebrates the award of his PhD in Psychology degree with wife Heather after Thursday afternoon's ceremony.
University Careers Adviser John Copleton celebrates the award of his PhD in Psychology degree with wife Heather after Thursday afternoon's ceremony.

As a senior careers adviser at Queen's University John Copelton is well used to offering advice to young people.

 But four years ago he took on another role – as a mature student - and will join hundreds of others this afternoon (Thursday) as he collects his PhD in Psychology during the graduation ceremony for the Faculty of Science and Agriculture.

A native of Armagh City, John has lived in Bangor for the last 30 years, and is a well-known figure around the campus, having worked at the University for 31 years.

His research focused on active old age and what John describes as "the retirement transition", something he became interested in as he entered his 50s.

 In order to find out more about life after work, he persuaded the School of Psychology to let him enrol for a research degree. Eventually his studies, which meant working at the weekends and in the evenings, grew to the point where he found himself grappling with the challenge of a PhD.

John paid tribute to the support he received from the School and especially from Dr Karen Trew, Reader in Psychology. "Karen never lost faith in what I was trying to do," he said, "She was always encouraging, although no pushover when it comes to academic rigour!"

John’s research has focused on three key questions: what do retired people do, what is their motivation for doing it and does being actively involved improve an individual’s sense of well-being?

"It has proved a fascinating journey and I want to share my findings with others," he says. "There is much that is positive to be said about life after work."

As for the future, John will offer a series of lectures on Positive Psychology in the Institute of Lifelong Learning starting in September.

Watching John collect his degree will be wife, Heather, daughter Julie and son Jonathan.

For further information contact:

Communications, (028) 9097 5384

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Final graduation from Masters of Social Work programme
Ciara Young, from Magherafelt, who obtained her Masters degree in Social Work from Queen's on Thursday morning during the ceremony for the Faculty of Legal, Social and Educational Sciences.
Ciara Young, from Magherafelt, who obtained her Masters degree in Social Work from Queen's on Thursday morning during the ceremony for the Faculty of Legal, Social and Educational Sciences.

Ciara Young from Magherafelt will be among the final group of graduates to collect Masters in Social Work degree awards from Queen's University on Thursday 7 July.

Twenty-five-year-old Ciara said she "absolutely loved" working for her Masters degree. She enrolled on the course two years ago after gaining her primary degree in Social Administration and Policy and later working for a year in the Young People's Centre at Knockbracken.

"The course was a great mix of classroom lectures and work placements and has helped me decide that I really want to work in social work in the area of family and child care. People are often unsure of the role of social workers and can be slightly fearful of them, but I think it’s more a fear of the unknown – we're really here to help!" Ciara reflected.

Queen's University plays a key role as a leading provider of Northern Ireland's social workers, and the well-respected two-year postgraduate degree has been offered by the School of Social Work since 1976. A new undergraduate level Bachelor of Social Work honours degree is now being offered at the University, following a radical reform of social work education and training in Northern Ireland, announced by government in 2001. With an accessible three-year undergraduate course now in place, more people can be attracted to the profession, helping to address Northern Ireland's current shortage of social workers. Greg Kelly, former MSW Director and original member of the 1976 Social Work staff team has been leading this important transition.

Jim Campbell is the outgoing director of the Masters of Social Work programme in the School of Social Work. He commented: "We are at a crossroads with the ending of the Masters programme this year, and it is a good opportunity to celebrate the achievements of students and staff over the last 30 years and the contributions they continue to make to the quality and development of the profession in Northern Ireland and elsewhere. We are already bringing this rich culture and ethos to the new Bachelors programme which started last year."

Another member of the current Social Work staff team and former student, John McLaughlin, added: "One of the strengths of the programme, then as now, is the strong partnership arrangements we have had with statutory and voluntary agencies that have continually provided good practice learning opportunities for our students".

Ciara Young confirms that she is indeed proud of her Masters in Social Work degree.

Ends

For further information, contact: Dolores Vischer, Communications Office, (028) 9033 5320 / 07815 133 415

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From care-worker to a career in nursing

One young Holywood woman, 21-year-old Lynsey Mayberry, is looking forward to enjoying her graduation day at Queen's University with her family on Thursday 7 July.

Lynsey will collect her Honours Degree in Sociology, watched by her parents and boyfriend Andrew. As part of her work she carried out research on alcohol and drug abuse among young people in the Coleraine area.

Her dissertation focused on how some junior pupils in secondary and grammar schools – some as young as 11 – had experienced drink and drugs. Over half of the young people questioned had tried alcohol, but few were regular drinkers, while around 11 per cent had experience with drugs.

The work was carried out on behalf of the Safer Dancing initiative, arranged through the University's Science Shop.

Commenting on her findings, Lynsey said: "They were very much in keeping with other research which suggests that children are experiencing drugs and alcohol at a younger age and that more educational awareness is needed."

Lynsey said that she has greatly enjoyed her course and her time at Queen's, but added that in fact it was by doing her part-time job as she studied that she discovered the field she wants to work in.

"I worked over the last few years as a care-worker," she explained. "This involves driving around to the homes of elderly people and providing them with the little extra assistance that they need, for example making meals.

"This job fostered an interest in working full-time in a caring profession, and I have set my heart on becoming a nurse."

Lynsey has enrolled on a Nursing degree course programme starting in October. Before that she plans to spend the summer months relaxing, while continuing to work part-time as a care-worker.

ENDS

For further information, contact: Dolores Vischer, Communications Office, (028) 9033 5320 / 07815 133 415

Note to Editor:The Science Shop at Queen's University and the University of Ulster accepts requests for information and research on all subjects including environmental issues, art and design, information technology, community health issues, local history, social policy and legal issues.

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Queen's honours senior Law Lord
Lord Lloyd of Berwick processing out of the Whitla Hall after being awarded an honorary Doctorate of Laws for services to the University on Thursday afternoon.
Lord Lloyd of Berwick processing out of the Whitla Hall after being awarded an honorary Doctorate of Laws for services to the University on Thursday afternoon.

One of the most senior figures in the United Kingdom's legal system has been honoured by Queen's University.

At this afternoon's graduation ceremony, Lord Lloyd of Berwick, who served as Chairman of the Board of Visitors – Queen's final appeals body – was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Laws for services to the University.

Delivering the citation, Professor John Morison, Head of the School of Law, said: "Lord Lloyd has a distinguished career in the Law and in public service culminating in his serving as a Lord Appeal in Ordinary – a Law Lord – operating in Judicial Committee of the House of Lords, which is the highest court in the United Kingdom from 1993 to 1998.

"Lord Lloyd has played a leading role in a range of public bodies including the Top Salaries Review Board, the Criminal Law Revision Committee, the Parole Board and, most recently, an independent inquiry into Gulf War syndrome. He worked on the Security Commission from 1985-1999, and the 1996 Inquiry into Legislation Against Terrorism."

Born in East Sussex, Lord Lloyd attended Eton and studied at Trinity College Cambridge obtaining first class honours in Classics and Law in 1952. He was called to the Bar in 1955, becoming a Queen’s Counsel in 1969, a bencher in 1976, and acting as Attorney-General to the Prince of Wales from 1969 to 1977. He became a judge of the High Court of Justice, Queen’s Bench Division and was knighted in 1978, before becoming a Lord Justice of Appeal and a Privy Counsellor in 1984. He served in the Court of Appeal until 1993. During this time he not only heard many of the significant appellate cases that occurred during a decade of particularly vigorous legal development, but also continued his career of public service. He served in a number of bodies ranging from the Glyndebourne Arts Trust to the Sussex Association for the Rehabilitation of Offenders, and from the Royal Academy of Music to the British Maritime Law Association.

In 1993 he was appointed as Lord Appeal in Ordinary and was raised to the peerage as Baron Lloyd of Berwick, of Ludlay in the County of East Sussex. During this time he heard a number of high-profile cases, including the Pinochet case and a ground-breaking hearing on psychiatric injury.

Professor Morison said: "Lord Lloyd's achievements both in the law courts and in public service provide a guide to some of the main themes of our time. The outworkings of conflict recently provided another major theme of his career as he conducted an independent inquiry into the illness suffered by some 6,000 veterans following deployment to the first Gulf war. Lord Lloyd's inquiry reported in November 2004 after taking evidence from a very wide range of sources. It took the view, against the Ministry of Defence position, that the syndrome did exist and recommended that the MoD establish a compensation fund.

"Since his formal 'retirement' Lord Lloyd has continued with his characteristically active public life. His activities have ranged from appearing on Clive Anderson’s popular legal discussion programme, 'Unreliable Evidence' to chairing the Ecclesiastical Committee. He has been active in the House of Lords as a cross bencher, particularly in debates relating to constitutional change and the proposals for a new Supreme Court.

"He has also been able to act as Chairman of the Board of Visitors to Queen's University and discharged this very important function relating to discipline and governance within the University."

For further information contact:

Anne Langford, Tel 028 9097 5310

 

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Tyrone resident on human rights path
Denise Gildernew, who graduated on Thursday with an LLB Law with Politics degree, with parents Dessie and Eilish.
Denise Gildernew, who graduated on Thursday with an LLB Law with Politics degree, with parents Dessie and Eilish.

An interest in human rights at an early age has led one Co Tyrone woman on a constitutional path.

 Denise Gildernew from Moy will graduate this afternoon (Thursday, July 7) with a LLB Law with Politics degree from Queen's University.

The 21-year-old, who always wanted to study law, was one of 28 students to visit the EU Commission in Brussels last year. The experience has inspired the would-be lawyer to pursue her goal of helping others.

"Ever since I can remember I have always wanted to do law," she explained. "I think it is because I have always been interested in human rights.

 "Last year I went on an excursion with the university to visit the EU Commission in Brussels and that was very interesting. We were given a tour of the parliament and we also got to go to Luxembourg to visit the European Parliament there. It was a really great experience.

 "It made me think about what I would like to do when I am qualified. I would like to go into general practice as I prefer things like family law, small claims, that type of thing. But I am also interested in the human rights side."

Even though Denise has graduated she must pass an Institute exam before she can practise law. She explained the exam, which is set by the Law Society of Northern Ireland, was considered to be extremely hard because of the small number of places available. Only 95 graduates are taken on each year by the Society which means she has approximately a one in eight chance.

 "Queen's University has a good reputation for law which is why I chose to come here and the Northern Ireland exam has a reputation for being very tough," she said. "I do plan on sitting my exam with the Law Society in December but I am also considering other options, including studying in England or Dublin."

But before she gets to that stage Denise hopes to get some paralegal work with a firm here in Belfast. "It’s the best way to get experience before you can go into practice."

For further information contact:

 Communications Office (028) 9097 3087

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Big Band at Graduation

Queen's University Big Band, the student and staff jazz ensemble, is to perform at this year's graduation garden parties for the first time.

 The band, which was formed in September 2003, is a new venture for the School of Music, aiming to increase the range of music which people can become involved in at Queen's. Students, lecturers and the public alike are welcome to play, with rehearsals taking place weekly in the School's Harty Room.

The band will perform during the University's graduation garden parties in the quadrangle on Thursday and Friday afternoons and guests will have the chance to hear a wide repertoire which includes music from Glenn Miller and Duke Ellington, as well as more contemporary numbers.

Big Band manager Eugene Monteith, who will graduate himself on Monday, said he was delighted that the band will be performing at the graduation parties later this week.

 "Around 20 musicians are looking forward to performing to such a large audience and there should be something to suit all tastes," he said.

For further information, contact:

Communications Office, (028) 9097 5384

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Third degree for Martin O’Neill’s nephew
Conn O'Neill, who has been awarded a Masters degree in Criminal Justice from the School of Law, with brothers Shane and Niall who are both solicitors in Belfast.
Conn O'Neill, who has been awarded a Masters degree in Criminal Justice from the School of Law, with brothers Shane and Niall who are both solicitors in Belfast.

Martin O'Neill's nephew, 25-year-old Conn O'Neill, is proud to be graduating from Queen's University in the same week as his well-known uncle – former manager of Celtic Football Club – is to be awarded an honorary degree from the University for his services to sport.

 In fact it will be the third time that the young man will collect a degree from Queen's. With both Bachelor and Masters of Law degrees under his belt, Conn has now completed his studies for a Masters degree in Criminal Justice from the School of Law.

 A committed human rights supporter, Conn's work on a range of fascinating humanitarian projects has taken him to the four corners of the world. Most recently, last summer he was the first Queen's student to lead a student Habitat for Humanity house building project team.

 Conn explains: "We went to Bolivia which was the first time an Irish Habitat team had been to South America, plus we were the first European Habitat team to build homes in Bolivia. Our student team was the result of a cross community project between the University's Catholic Chaplaincy and the Methodist Chaplaincy."

In previous summers Conn worked on Habitat for Humanity projects in Ghana and Nicaragua, while he also squeezed in visits to Rome, Malta and points closer to home as part of Queen's cross community teams. "I find that seeing how human rights are respected, or otherwise, is a good way to open your mind and become aware of how different cultures operate," Conn commented.

 Testifying to this commitment to global humanitarian causes, Conn has spoken at the annual Irish University Human Rights conference and travelled to The Hague as part of his studies to attend the international criminal tribunal of Yugoslavia where he observed the war crime trials of Milosevic. Earlier this year, he led the Queen's University Institute of Professional Legal Studies to victory in a competition at the Royal Courts of Justice, Belfast against trainee barristers from Kings Inn Dublin in the annual in the Eoin Higgins Memorial Moot before three high court judges.

 On top of all this, Conn demonstrated that he is in peak fitness by completing last summer the first Action Cancer's Peak Irish challenge, scaling the highest peak of each province in Ireland in less than 72 hours to raise money for the charity.

Looking to the future, Conn who was awarded a distinction in the barrister course he has also just completed through the Institute of Professional Legal Studies, will be called to the Bar of Northern Ireland in September. "By coincidence," Conn reflected, "my Uncle Martin had started studying Law at Queen’s before going into football, so perhaps it's in the family genes!"

For further information, contact:

Dolores Vischer, Communications Office, 028 9033 5320 / 07815 133 415

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Queen's honours former Vice-Chancellor
Queen's University's former Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir George Bain, is congratulated on receiving his honorary Doctorate of Laws for services to the University and to higher education by Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson during this morning's ceremony for the Faculty of Legal, Social and Educational Sciences.
Queen's University's former Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir George Bain, is congratulated on receiving his honorary Doctorate of Laws for services to the University and to higher education by Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson during this morning's ceremony for the Faculty of Legal, Social and Educational Sciences.

Queen's University today honoured former Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir George Bain, who retired last year.

At this morning's graduation ceremony, Sir George, under whose leadership Queen's significantly improved it's standing on the national and international stage, was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Laws for services to the University and to higher education.

Delivering the citation, current Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson said: "On taking up his post at Queen's in 1998, our honorary graduand described himself as 'a manager of change'. The truth of this statement was soon apparent. The 1998 and 2002 academic plans, with a multi-million pound investment in new academic staff and facilities, resulted in substantial improvements in the University's academic profile. The majority of Queen's academics are now working in Schools recognised independently as carrying out research and education which is competitive with the best in the world."

He added that among Sir George's most lasting achievements was the development of Queen's into one of the most successful fund-raising universities in the UK.

"The Queen's Foundation, which Sir George established, has generated millions of pounds for the University. In November 2001 the Foundation launched the £150 million Campaign for Queen's, the largest fund-raising initiative in the University's history which would transform the campus and offer future students the best possible facilities.

"One of the most ambitious schemes and Sir George's most tangible legacy to the University will be the building of the £44 million new library, which gets under way at the end of this year. Other major scheme include the redevelopment of the Students' Union and the sporting facilities at Botanic and Malone Playing Fields.

The University also benefited from Sir George's love of art. It was his belief that the University's major art collection should be shared with others which led directly to the establishment of the Naughton Gallery at Queen's.

George Bain studied economics and political science at the University of Manitoba where he taught for a while before attending Oxford to take a doctorate in industrial relations. He subsequently pursued his academic career at Nuffield College, Oxford; the University of Manchester, the University of Warwick, where he was Chairman of the School of Industrial and Business Studies; and London Business School, where he was Principal between 1989 and 1997.

An expert in industrial relations, he is the author of many books and papers which have given him an international reputation in this field. He has been a mediator and arbitrator in numerous disputes in a wide range of companies and industries and consulted for many organisations in both the private and public sectors.

Professor Bain has received honorary degrees from several universities in Canada, the United Kingdom and Ireland. He was the winner in 2003 of a Chief Executive Leadership Award from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education and received an award from the Canadian High Commission for outstanding contribution to the special relationship between Canada and the UK.

His high-profile roles included Chairman of the Low Pay Commission which established the minimum wage in the United Kingdom. He also chaired the Work and Parents Task Force which looked a flexible working, the Northern Ireland Memorial Fund, and most recently the Fire Service Review. He was knighted for services to higher education and the Low Pay Commission in the Queen's Birthday Honours in 2001.

The Vice-Chancellor said: "By any definition, George Bain has demonstrated remarkable leadership skills – and he has led by example. His legendary capacity for hard work, characterised by his 5am start to the working day, his energy, his vision and his motivational skills have made him a role model for others.

"He is unafraid to tackle challenging external and internal tasks and he has executed them with impressive commitment and ability. He has been an inspirational ambassador for Queen’s and for Northern Ireland."

For further information contact: Anne Langford, Tel 028 9097 5310

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Graduate of the Year
Graduate of the Year Dr Marion Gibson receives her award from Senator George Mitchell, the University's Chancellor. Included are Ms Paddy Skates, president of Queen's Graduates' Association (left) and Eileen Sowney, regional director, First Trust Bank.
Graduate of the Year Dr Marion Gibson receives her award from Senator George Mitchell, the University's Chancellor. Included are Ms Paddy Skates, president of Queen's Graduates' Association (left) and Eileen Sowney, regional director, First Trust Bank.

A victims' support specialist, who helped in the aftermath of the Boxing Day tsunami which claimed the lives of over 250,000 people, has been named Queen's University Graduate of the Year.

Dr Marion Gibson, from Belfast, received the award from the University's Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson during the ceremony on Wednesday afternoon in the Sir William Whitla Hall.

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

Ms Paddy Skates, President of Queen's University Association, which promotes the initiative, said there was no doubt that Dr Gibson has contributed to the lives of people facing the "most traumatic of circumstances".

Disturbing images of the tsunami provoked a huge outpouring of generosity across the United Kingdom and Ireland, with Northern Ireland contributing more than £1.5 million in the local Black Santa appeal. Visiting Thailand at the invitation of the Red Cross, Marion counselled aid workers who had been clearing away bodies in areas worst affected by the tsunami. Worst hit were tourist resorts near Phuket, with more than 5,300 people killed, including 2,500 foreigners from 36 countries. Almost 3,000 are still missing.

Ms Skates told guests that how Dr Gibson, "amid the mass of bodies, the heat and the smell, had set up trauma units and counselled staff and volunteer workers who were suffering from psychological effects of having seen sights no human should ever have to witness."

"She saw scenes of utter desolation and met and supported many survivors, including a young Asian woman who had lost her British husband and three children," she said.

Dr Gibson, who works for South and East Belfast Health and Social Services Trust, is also consultant director of Staff Care, the first facility in Ireland providing counselling for professionals involved in traumatic events. Over the years she has helped people in the aftermath of traumas all over the world including the Philippines, Poland, the United States and West Africa.

She and her colleagues have also supported local families following the devastation of the Kegworth air disaster, the shootings at Greysteel and the Shankhill Road bombing. And in 1996 she was on hand to give support to Scottish families in Dunblane where 15 children and their teacher were murdered.

"Marion's work involves her with people whose lives have been turned upside down by disaster, both man-made and natural, which has earned her the affectionate title of the 'disastrous woman'. She has touched the lives of many in Northern Ireland and further afield and is highly regarded and respected by those in the caring professions.

"For her very special contribution to so many others, always in the face of the most difficult and trying of circumstances, Dr Marion Gibson is the worthy recipient of this honour today from her Alma Mater," Ms Skates said.

For further information, contact:

Communications, (028) 9097 5384 or Gerry Power, Development and Alumni Relations, (028) 9097 5321

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Nursing students urged to commit to quality

The Chief Executive of the Health and Personal Social Services Regulation and Improvement Authority has urged nursing students at Queen's University to commit themselves to the highest standards of care.

In her address at this evening's graduation ceremony for students from the University's School of Nursing and Midwifery, Mrs Stella Burnside said: "Those of us who work in the caring professions are well used to addressing both old and new challenges; we do so on a day to day basis: it is part of the job.

"Yet, at the core of our work is lies one major challenge that sometimes remains un-named and unseen – it is the one challenge that we, as practitioners, as individuals must set ourselves.

"That is the challenge of ensuring that we do the utmost within our power to ensure that we do the very best we can as we exercise our duty of care for others: that is what we mean, I believe, when we use the terms excellence and quality.

"As you receive your certificates here today, my key message is this: the caring professions are also learning professions: commitment to learning is the essential building block of quality.

"Learning to Learn is a skill: it is also a cultural construct whose value lies in a broad consensus that learning, developing, changing and growing are natural, good and progressive activities. "From these we broaden our knowledge base and grow in self confidence. You are all examples of that cultural dynamic at work."

For further information contact: Anne Langford, Tel 028 9097 5310

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Student of the Year award
Student of the Year David Maxwell receives his award from the University's Chancellor Senator George Mitchell.
Student of the Year David Maxwell receives his award from the University's Chancellor Senator George Mitchell.

A Queen's University politics student and co-editor of the independent student newspaper, The Gown, is making the headlines himself after winning the Student of the Year Award.

David Maxwell, from east Belfast, was presented with the award on Wednesday morning by the University's Chancellor Senator George Mitchell for his "significant contribution to University life or to the lives of others".

 In her citation President of the Queen's Graduates' Association, Ms Paddy Skates, told guests that the former Methodist College pupil was a regular contributor to the publication, which recently celebrated its golden anniversary, and had written with "great maturity, clarity and sensitivity" on a diverse range of issues such as student unrest in the Holyland area, the publication of the Student Handbook and student poverty.

In addition, David is also a regular presenter on Queen's Radio, an initiative supported by the University's Alumni Fund. Interviewees on his current affairs based programme, The Max Factor, have included Paul Smith, of Celador, founder of the company that brought us Who Wants to be a Millionaire? and US Consul General Howard Pittman.

 "David has also been involved in the Spirit of Enniskillen initiative; he fundraises for a charity helping the homeless in India; he is a youth fellowship leader with his local church and a member of student council. I'd be interested to know where he got the time to get his degree!" she said.

"With his qualifications, dedication, tenacity and all round ability it is the view of the awards panel that the future looks very bright for this most promising of students," said Ms Skates.

Paying tribute to David, Students' Union President Maria McCloskey described him as an "ambitious, professional and amicable person" who would be "one to watch" for the future, whether in journalism or broadcasting.

Watching David receive his award were his father, also called David, his mother, Janet, his sister Sarah and her fiancé John.

The Graduate and Student of the Year Awards were launched in 1999 by the Queen's Graduates' Association and the University's Development and Alumni Relations Office, with the support of First Trust Bank.

The Awards aim to recognise excellence, achievement or service by Queen's alumni and students, either to the University or to the wider community.

For further information, contact:

Communications, (028) 9097 5384 or Gerry Power, Development and Alumni Relations, (028) 9097 5321.

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Dream comes true for new teacher
Diane Wilson( 24), who graduated with a Bachelor of Education (Geography) from Queen’s University onWednesday morning, celebrates afterwards with her family.
Diane Wilson( 24), who graduated with a Bachelor of Education (Geography) from Queen’s University onWednesday morning, celebrates afterwards with her family.

A serious accident three years ago did not stop County Monaghan resident Diane Wilson from pursuing her dream.

The 24-year-old, who is confined to a wheelchair, graduated with a Bachelor of Education (Geography) from Queen’s University this morning (Wednesday), an achievement Diane says she was proud of.

"I am just so happy that I have been able to complete my degree at Stranmillis," the Castleblayney resident explained.

"I have always wanted to be a teacher then after the accident I did not think that it was still possible."

Diane had just completed the second year of her degree at Newman College in Birmingham at the end of 2002 when the accident occurred.

She then spent the next 10 months in a rehabilitation centre in Dublin where a persistent nurse reminded her of her lifelong dream.

"There was this one particular nurse who kept at me all the time," she recalled. "If it had not been for her I may not have gone back.She would always encourage me to continue what I started.

"She also introduced me to a teacher friend of hers who was also in a wheelchair. The meeting inspired me to finish my degree so I applied and by September 2003 I was studying again."

Despite having an overwhelming sense of support from family and friends Diane said she was still unsure about going back.

"Initially when I first went back I still had doubts as to whether I was able to do it. I thought that it was going to be too hard, and it was hard, but after a little while I realised I could do this."

"I was really worried about completing my school placements as I wasn’t sure how the children would react. But they were all fine. None of them really asked anything about why I was in a wheelchair and just accepted me as their student teacher."

Diane said she now hoped to find full time work as a teacher near her home.

Note to Editors:  Diane Wilson will be available for a photograph after the ceremony on Wednesday, July 6 around 11.15am outside Whitla Hall.

For further information contact:  Communications (028) 9097 3087

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Queen's "building for the future", students told

Queen's is building on its record of success to enhance the university experience for future generations of students, this morning's graduation ceremony was told.

In his graduation address to students from the Faculty of Legal, Social and Educational Sciences, Professor Ken Bell, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Students and Learning, said that Queen's is adding significantly to its physical facilities and its support for the student experience.

 He said: "A new learning and teaching strategy is being developed; delivery mechanisms for web-based learning are under construction; an e-learning strategy will be developed next year; and plans for a new 'one-stop' student guidance centre are well advanced.

"In addition, the Physical Education Centre and the Students' Union are undergoing multi-million pound redevelopments, and one of the biggest ever developments by the University is our £44 million library project. A major re-structuring of the University is also currently taking place so that even better education and research portfolios can be delivered. These are but a few of the many ongoing activities."

Professor Bell said that the University's commitment to students had been reinforced by an independent audit.

 "Last December, a team of external auditors visited Queen's to provide public information on the quality of the opportunities available to students and on the academic standards of awards that the university makes. We achieved the top grade. The Panel's view of Queen's was that broad confidence can be placed in the soundness of the University’s present and likely future management of the quality of its programmes and the academic standards of its awards.

"The panel commended the teaching awards to our staff which are competitive and which serve as an enhancement tool to promote and disseminate good practice across the University. It also commended the rigour of our own internal review process and the responsiveness of the University to its students. This independent assessment gives us reason to be proud."

And, urging the students to develop a sense of social responsibility, Professor Bell said: "As graduates you will have a particular responsibility to shape and inform the sort of society in which we live. You will provide the skills on which ultimately our society will rely for economic growth which will permit the raising of living standards, the reduction of inequalities, the improvements in the social services and the enrichment of civic life to which we all aspire.

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

For further information contact:

 

Anne Langford, Tel 028 9097 5310

 

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David on stroke to success
David McIlroy, current 50m Butterfly deaf world record holder, who graduated this morning with a BSc degree in Ordinary Engineering, with his parents Ian and Elma McIlroy
David McIlroy, current 50m Butterfly deaf world record holder, who graduated this morning with a BSc degree in Ordinary Engineering, with his parents Ian and Elma McIlroy

Having the passion to succeed is the secret to David McIlroy’s success.

The current 50m Butterfly deaf world record holder, who graduates from Queen's University this morning with a BSc in Ordinary Engineering, believes that if you really want something then anything is possible.

For the past three years the Lisburn resident has been balancing his studies in engineering with his other passion, swimming.

Both require ones' complete dedication; something the 23-year-old says was hard to do, even though he has managed to do both quite successfully.

 "It was hard to balance them," he explained. "Besides training and studying I also had, on occasion, a casual job so I could earn money. That did make it a bit harder but in the long run, if you really want to do something and you can manage your time effectively then anything is possible."

 David has been swimming competitively for the past eight years and recently represented Ireland at the Deaflympics in Melbourne earlier this year and was part of the winning Irish 4x100m Freestyle relay team which set a new European record. He also broke the 50m Butterfly record in Dublin last year and represented Ireland at the European Deaf Games in Amsterdam in 2002 where he broke the world record in the 50m breaststroke, collected a gold medal in the 4x100 freestyle relay, another gold in the 4x100m Medley relay team and picked up three silver medals and two bronze.

Now that he has finished his degree, David said he planned to concentrate on his swimming in the immediate future and hoped to do to another degree in architecture in the latter.

"Recently I lost my 50m Breaststroke record and I would like to regain it. I was so proud of myself when I achieved both world records. It’s every swimmers dream to get one. So I will be concentrating on that but I will also be concentrating on my career. I would really like to go on and do another degree in Architecture. There was no design flair in engineering and it was the architecture aspects of my current degree that I thoroughly enjoyed. So I intend to that next year."

 For further information contact:

Communications Office on 028 9097 3087. 

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Jonathan keeps it in the family
Jonathan Cassidy, who graduated on Tuesday morning with a Bachelor of Architecture degree, with proud parents, Jack and Victoria Cassidy
Jonathan Cassidy, who graduated on Tuesday morning with a Bachelor of Architecture degree, with proud parents, Jack and Victoria Cassidy

 For Jonathan Cassidy of Lisburn, becoming an architect is something of a family tradition.

The 24-year-old Queen's University student, who this morning (Tuesday, July 5) graduated with Distinction in a Bachelor of Architecture Degree, became the third member of his family to complete the architectural course at the Belfast campus following both his father and older brother.

 "I guess you could say it was inevitable that I would follow in their footsteps," the 24-year-old explained.

"On family holidays we would go and see different buildings around the world and I guess that is where my passion for architecture began."

 Besides being passionate about his profession, Jonathan has proved that he has a bright future ahead of him.

Three years ago he received a First Class Honours Bachelor of Science (Architecture) Degree and earlier this year he won the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI) Travelling Scholarship award for his design for a New National Theatre for Ireland in Dublin, becoming only the fourth student from Queen's University to win this honour.

Last month his proposals for the Regeneration of Hilden Mills was short-listed for the Royal Society of Ulster Architects President's Medal, an award his brother Mark won in 2002.

"My family is a big influence in my life and I would have to say my Dad in particular. I suppose I look up to him and I am so glad that he exposed me to all those wonderful pieces of architecture from such an early age.

"I guess what was most important to me was graduating from Queen's University, allowing me to progress to the next stage of my career designing real buildings, for real clients in the real world. I am looking forward to applying the knowledge and skills obtained at Queen's to this end."

Jonathan has just accepted a position with a Belfast-based company. He explained he hoped to get enough experience in the architectural profession over the next few years so that one day he might be able to follow another one of his dreams.

"When my brother and I were at school we used to joke about how one day we would set up our own architectural practice."

"We never thought that we would do it but now that dream may actually be possible."

For further information contact:

Communications Office, (028) 9097 5320 or 07980 013362

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"Take time for what's important", Queen's students told

Queen's graduating students were today reminded to take time for the important things in life.

 Delivering the address at this morning's ceremony, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Community and Communications Professor Gerry McCormac recounted two stories to illustrate his message of the need to make the right choices.

He said: "Almost every Friday afternoon in 1980 I called to see my grandparents on my way home from class. My Granda and I played chess and my Granny always had a cup of tea and a slice of homemade apple cake ready. My Granda didn’t get out much due to ill health and really looked forward to the weekly chess game. As life became busier for me, I called less and less frequently.

"One Friday, that seemed no different from any other, I called to play chess. I hadn’t been for several weeks. Granda appeared a little less happy than usual, but he set up the chessboard and we settled down to our game. The conversation slowly came round to why I hadn’t been for four weeks. Really, was it four weeks since I’d last visited?

"‘I was very busy,’ I said, ‘I didn’t have time.’ My Granda looked at me sternly and his reply has stuck with me for the rest of my life. ‘Gerard,’ he said. ‘You make time for what’s important.’ I’ve never forgotten his look, or those words."

Professor McCormac also used the story of astronaut Neil Armstrong, who grappled with uncertainty about becoming a pilot after watching a friend die in a 'plane crash but went on to become the first man on the moon.

He said: "What makes these two stories memorable for me is that both relate to choices we make. Choices determine how we spend our future. The past is gone. It’s what has formed us and created the context within which we live.

"But the present is where we live. It’s where we make the choices that can take us to the moon or leave us with regrets about the people we should have given more time to.

"The future is the entire range of possibilities of what might be. The choices we make in the present will determine our future. Each choice takes time to explore. Time that can’t be recovered if poorly spent.

"Deciding what we do with our lives in the short term or in our wider career is important. Along the way there will be distractions, euphoria, sadness, joy and opportunities. We have a finite time to enjoy life and use the talents we have been given. Don’t dwell in the past, enjoy the present and take the opportunities the future offers. But above all take time for what’s important."

For further information contact:

 Anne Langford, Tel 028 9097 5310

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Queen's honours Public Appointments Commissioner
Baroness Fritchie of Gloucester – the United Kingdom Commissioner for Public Appointments – who was today awarded an honorary doctorate of the University for public service.
Baroness Fritchie of Gloucester – the United Kingdom Commissioner for Public Appointments – who was today awarded an honorary doctorate of the University for public service.

Baroness Fritchie of Gloucester – the United Kingdom Commissioner for Public Appointments – 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, Professor Elizabeth Meehan, Director of Queen's Institute of Governance, Public Policy and Social Research, said Baroness Fritchie's four guiding passions – fairness, the inclusion of the disadvantaged, good governance and sensible governance – made her "a fitting choice" for the Commissioner's role. The post was established in 1995 to increase public confidence in the way ministers make some 11,000 appointments to public bodies and entails the regulation and monitoring of the system to ensure that appointments are made on merit after fair and open competition.

Baroness Fritchie was born in Fife in 1942. Educated at Ribston Hall Grammar School for Girls in Gloucester, she has had a long career specialising in training and development. Now described as a 'portfolio' worker, Dame Rennie holds various positions in addition to that of Commissioner, including President of the Pennell Initiative for Women’s Health in Later Life.

Professor Meehan said: "In the 1970s, she was one of the first full-time women’s training advisers and pioneered the training of staff in the then new Equal Opportunities Commission. Using a German Marshall Fellowship awarded in 1985, she drew lessons from the United States of America for the United Kingdom for programmes to improve the status of women. In the 1990s, she set up her own company, Mainstream Development, which advises on change, development and leadership in organizations and their staff. She has published extensively on these topics and contributes regularly on them to programmes on television and radio.

"Becoming Commissioner for Public Appointments in 1999, renewed in 2002 and extended in 2005, neither diminished Baroness Fritchie’s professional life nor deflected her from helping others. She holds an honorary Professorship in Creative Leadership at York University and is Pro-Chancellor at Southampton University, a Civil Service Commissioner and Vice-Chair of the Stroud and Swindon Building Society."

Active in a number of charities, Baroness Fritchie has been awarded honorary degrees by a number of academic institutions. She was created a Dame of the British Empire in 1996.

For further information contact:

Anne Langford, Tel 028 9097 5310

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Co Down student gains degrees by the double
Ciaran O'Rourke (23),  who collected an MEng degree with first class honours in Aeronautical Engineering from the Faculty of Engineering and parents John and Angela
Ciaran O'Rourke (23), who collected an MEng degree with first class honours in Aeronautical Engineering from the Faculty of Engineering and parents John and Angela

A Co Down man, who graduates from Queen's University's this morning (Tuesday), will be the first student to collect a double degree under a prestigious new Europe initiative.

Ciaran O'Rourke (23), from Burren, outside Warrenpoint, will not only collect an MEng degree with first class honours in Aeronautical Engineering from the Faculty of Engineering, but he will also receive an engineering degree (Diplôme D'Ingénieur) from Ecole Centrale in Paris as part of the TIME (Top Industrial Managers for Europe) exchange programme between many of the top European universities and technical colleges.

Queen's is the only UK institution in the TIME network and with Ecole Centrale among the top three most prestigious schools in France competition for places is extremely stiff. As a TIME student Ciaran spent two years at Queen's before moving to Paris for two years and then returning to Belfast for his fifth and final year of study.

Not only did Ciaran have to learn a variety of new subjects, but he had to brush up on his language skills. Having already gained an 'A ' level in French he underwent an intensive language course in France and the Ecole Centrale also insisted he learn Spanish because all their students must have knowledge of three languages.

According to the former St Colman's College pupil the chance to live in Paris and study at one of the best engineering schools in the country was a marvellous opportunity and one which he will never forget.

"There was a bit of a culture shock at the beginning including a different approach to teaching, both in terms of subject content and teaching methods. There's also a stronger emphasis on working with business and industry.

"Working with professional engineers from major companies who entrusted me to help them, and who treated me and my team mates as their colleagues is what I found to be the most enjoyable and beneficial experience at Centrale.

"It was a very challenging experience and took a lot of dedication. It wasn't easy, but it was certainly well worth it," he said.

Ciaran, who is the youngest in a family of five, will be joined at his graduation ceremony by proud parents, John and Angela. 

 For further information contact:

Communications, (028) 9097 5384

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Newry architecture student aims to build bridges with Palestine
24-year-old Margaret Smith graduated on Tuesday morning from the Faculty of Engineering with a Bachelor of Architecture degree
24-year-old Margaret Smith graduated on Tuesday morning from the Faculty of Engineering with a Bachelor of Architecture degree

 It seems Queen’s University architecture graduate Margaret Smith hopes to build bridges in more ways than one.

The 24-year-old, who graduates this morning (Tuesday, July 5) from the Faculty of Engineering with a Bachelor of Architecture, hopes to establish an exchange programme for students in Palestine and Northern Ireland.

 The idea originated from the Newry woman’s thesis project, which led her to travel to the troubled country for research last year.

 "The final year project was an open brief and presented an opportunity for me to focus on an issue I believe is important: a right to a place to live. Previous dislocation of Palestinians and a high population growth has created some miserable living conditions and has made the housing issue one of the priorities of the Palestinian family," Margaret explained.

"The company I work for, design3, told me about a group called the Belfast Palestine Solidarity Campaign so I approached them and they put me in contact with an architect student, Samir Harb from Birzeit University in Palestine and the next thing I know I am off to Palestine."

Margaret spent a week in a small village called Abu-Qash near the main city of Ramallah researching ideas for her thesis.

She explained because of high population growth and increase in demand, housing design in the West Bank began to contradict the traditional Islamic way of life, where the privacy and inward focus of the traditional home had been inverted.

"It was my intention to design a social housing type that addressed this divide between modern housing in the West Bank and traditional values with a direct response to the local climate of the village of Abu Qash. I designed six housing units and a small library for the village. It was very important for me to make sure the design would also be practical so I tried to design something that would not cost the earth. With the library, my goal was to create something that would help regenerate the village and enhance the existing local education infrastructure, without being unsympathetic to its surroundings."

And it looks as though her Queen's University project has managed to generate interest in Palestine.

Margaret has been invited back to Ramallah at the end of summer to meet with local architects who have expressed an interest in her design for Abu-Qash.

She also hopes to bridge relations with Birzeit University to organise an exchange programme for students in Ramallah and Belfast.

"Trying to establish a link between the two provinces is one of my goals at the moment," she explained. "I hope that if we can establish links it would help to dispel some of the myths associated with the country." Margaret added: "I really want to thank Conor McGinn who has been helping me to gather support and organise funding for this program. Without his help I don't think I could have got this far."

 For further information contact:

Communications Office (028) 9097 5190

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Queen's Chancellor calls on students to "serve society"
Queen's University Chancellor Senator George Mitchell leads the academic procession out of the Whitla Hall
Queen's University Chancellor Senator George Mitchell leads the academic procession out of the Whitla Hall

Queen's University Chancellor Senator George Mitchell today called on graduating students to use their education and talents to serve society.

Speaking at this afternoon's graduation ceremony for students from the Faculty of Legal, Social and Education Sciences, Senator Mitchell used "Leading, Inspiring, Delivering" – the three words which underpin Queen's Vision for the future – as one of the main themes of his speech.

He said: "The chance to serve society confers a privilege all its own. It adds meaning and fulfilment to your life.

"The more successful you are, the more evident it will become to you that there is more to life than status and wealth. Real fulfilment will come from striving with all of your physical, intellectual and spiritual might for a worthwhile objective that helps others and is larger than your self-interest.

"It is no coincidence that Queen's new Vision for the Future is defined by three words – leading, inspiring and delivering – which embody the concept of service.

"The Vision will ensure the University's position as an international centre of academic excellence rooted at the heart of Northern Ireland."

The Chancellor went on to say that he hoped the graduates would stay in or, if their careers took them away, return to Northern Ireland.

He said: "Northern Ireland means a great deal to me. I have travelled to the far corners of the earth. I've also had the pleasure of living and working here. That has given me a valued connection to this place. I can say to you, from direct, personal observation and experience, this is a fine place to live, to work, to make friends, to raise your family."

 For further information contact:

Anne Langford, Tel 028 9097 5310

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Queen's honours award-winning journalist
Award-winning broadcaster and author Fergal Keane was awarded an honorary Doctorate of the University for services to broadcasting and journalism by Queen's University on Tuesday.
Award-winning broadcaster and author Fergal Keane was awarded an honorary Doctorate of the University for services to broadcasting and journalism by Queen's University on Tuesday.

Award-winning broadcaster and author Fergal Keane was today honoured by Queen's University.

Described in his citation as "one of the most celebrated journalists of his generation", Fergal Keane was awarded an honorary Doctorate of the University for services to broadcasting and journalism.

Born in London in 1961 to a well-known Irish literary and theatrical family, he was brought up in Ireland and educated in Dublin and Cork. He began his career in journalism in 1979 as a reporter for the Limerick Leader and Chronicle before moving to the national daily newspaper, The Irish Press. His first taste of broadcasting came in 1984 with RTE News where he spent three years as a reporter/presenter.

He joined the BBC in 1989 initially as Northern Ireland Correspondent before being appointed Southern African Correspondent in 1990 where he covered the genocide in Rwanda and the first multi-racial elections in South Africa following the end of apartheid.

In 1995, he moved to Hong Kong as Asia Correspondent before returning to London two years later to work in the BBC's World Affairs Unit. He currently holds the title of Special Correspondent.

Delivering his citation, Queen's Communications Director Tom Collins said: "For more than a decade, Keane has defined some of the most important events of modern history. The troubles in Northern Ireland, South Africa's emergence from the horrors of apartheid, genocide in Rwanda, wars in the Balkans, Afghanistan, Iraq, the lowering of the Union Flag in Hong Kong.

"Through his eyes, we have witnessed some of the cruellest acts in recorded history.

 "If you look for the source of Keane’s strength as a broadcaster and a writer, you will not find it in his ability to deploy the tools of his trade – the image which reveals an inner truth, the words which bring a story alive – though he is adept at finding both.

"His real strength is in his ability to find the human response to an uncommon situation and, perhaps most importantly of all, his ability to voice his anger and his rage, without patronising his audience."

The author of several books including 'The Bondage of Fear – a journey through the last Empire', 'Letters to Daniel', 'Letters Home' and 'A Stranger's Eye', Fergal Keane has received many awards and honours. These include an OBE, journalist and reporter of the year awards, Amnesty International's television prize, a BAFTA, and prestigious awards named after pioneering journalists James Cameron and Edward Murrow. He was awarded the George Orwell Prize for Non-Fiction for his book, 'Season of Blood', a harrowing account of the genocide in Rwanda.

Tom Collins said: "Today Fergal Keane adds another honour to his name. We salute him for giving voice to the silent and the silenced."

For further information contact:

Anne Langford, Tel 028 9097 5310

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Queen's graduation ceremonies get underway
Students Paula Donaghy, from Carrickmore, Victoria McCullough, of Portaferry and Omagh’s Joanne Mullan, are all graduating from Queen’s University this week. The trio have all worked in the University’s gown store for the last few years and, having helped thousands of students with their academic robes, will now get the chance to don their own gowns later this week.
Students Paula Donaghy, from Carrickmore, Victoria McCullough, of Portaferry and Omagh’s Joanne Mullan, are all graduating from Queen’s University this week. The trio have all worked in the University’s gown store for the last few years and, having helped thousands of students with their academic robes, will now get the chance to don their own gowns later this week.
The University's Chancellor Senator George Mitchell will arrive at Queen's today to preside over three graduation ceremonies. Around 4,000 students will graduate in 12 ceremonies which will run until Friday afternoon.
The University's Chancellor Senator George Mitchell will arrive at Queen's today to preside over three graduation ceremonies. Around 4,000 students will graduate in 12 ceremonies which will run until Friday afternoon.

Queen's University graduations get underway this week, with around 4,000 students and their families celebrating their academic achievements in 12 ceremonies.

The ceremonies take place from Monday 4 July until Friday 8 July in the Sir William Whitla Hall. In addition to two daytime ceremonies, there will be evening ceremonies on Monday and Wednesday.

The University's Chancellor, Senator George Mitchell, will preside at the ceremonies on Monday afternoon, Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning.

Graduate and Student of the Year awards, to honour special achievement will be presented at the ceremonies on Wednesday 6 July, and the main social event of the week – a gala dinner for the Summer 2005 honorary graduands – will be held on Tuesday 5 July in the Great Hall.

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Fifth time around for lifelong learning school principal
Dr Desmond Hamilton who today received his Bachelor of Theology degree at Queen's was congratulated afterwards by Dr Dennis Cook, former Principal of Edgehill College Belfast and Father Brendan Leahy of the Mater Dei Institute in Dublin
Dr Desmond Hamilton who today received his Bachelor of Theology degree at Queen's was congratulated afterwards by Dr Dennis Cook, former Principal of Edgehill College Belfast and Father Brendan Leahy of the Mater Dei Institute in Dublin

Dr Desmond Hamilton, Principal of Strandtown Primary School in East Belfast will be attending his fifth graduation ceremony when he crosses the platform at Queen's University's Whitla Hall this morning to receive his Bachelor of Theology degree.

The committed student who says he "has always been interested in lifelong learning" earned his first degree award from Queen's back in 1967 after completing his teaching course at Stranmillis College. Since then he has gained Bachelor of Science, Masters and PhD degrees, before enrolling in the Bachelor of Theology degree in September 2002.

Principal of the largest controlled primary school in Northern Ireland since 1988, Dr Hamilton has also recently been installed as the Vice-President of the UK-wide National Association of Headteachers, only the second Northern Ireland principal to have taken up the prestigious post.

Dr Hamilton confirmed that he has set a precedent for teaching careers among his immediate family members: "My brother Wesley is Head of Design and Technology at Stranmillis College, my sister Roberta teaches, my eldest daughter Sylvia has just been appointed Vice-Principal at a primary school in Kent and my son Robert has just been appointed Director of Sixth Form Studies at The Royal Belfast Academical Institution - in fact, he will be starting a doctorate (EdD) study programme here at Queen's in September."

Dr Hamilton said that in taking up this Theology degree he was in fact returning to the subject of his original degree subject almost 40 years ago. He was particularly attracted to the course as it is the first Theology degree in Ireland to be delivered jointly by the Mater Dei Institute in Dublin and Edgehill College Belfast.

"I pay tribute to the pioneering initiative of the two college principals who developed the course, Dr Dennis Cook and Father Brendan Leahy," he said.

"The students on the course were both Catholics and Protestants coming together to explore theological issues. I believe this is part of the healing process in Ireland."

Accompanying Dr Hamilton to the ceremony on Monday morning are his wife Daphne and 87-year-old mother Ruby, both seasoned graduation guests.

Despite his many commitments, Dr Hamilton is still not sure that his days as a student are over yet and reflects that "I might return to study again in a couple of years' time."

Ends

For further information, contact: Dolores Vischer, Communications Office, 028 9033 5320 / 07815 133 415

Notes: Dr Desmond Hamilton will graduate at the 10.30am ceremony in the Whitla Hall on Monday 4 July. He will be available outside afterwards for photographs.

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Queen's honours Gloria Hunniford
Gloria Hunniford  was awarded an honorary doctorate of the University for services to broadcasting at Monday morning's graduation ceremony at Queen's University
Gloria Hunniford was awarded an honorary doctorate of the University for services to broadcasting at Monday morning's graduation ceremony at Queen's University

One of national television's best-known presenters, Northern Ireland-born Gloria Hunniford, was today honoured by Queen's University.

At this morning's ceremony, the first of 12 this week, she was awarded an honorary doctorate of the University for services to broadcasting.

Delivering the citation, Queen's Pro-Chancellor Brenda McLaughlin said: "Gloria Hunniford can look back on a career spanning more than 50 years, the last 20 of them at the very top of her profession. Yet despite a life spent among some of the most famous and dazzling names in the world of broadcasting and entertainment, she has remained true to her Northern Ireland roots and to the people and values she grew up with."

Born and educated in Portadown, Co. Armagh, Gloria Hunniford first came to notice as a singer and featured on local television. In 1969, she commenced a career in broadcasting, initially working on news and current affairs before establishing herself as a popular local personality through 'A Taste of Hunni' on the new BBC Radio Ulster service from 1975 and, later, hosting a daily hour-long television news programme on UTV. In 1982, she left Northern Ireland to become the first woman to have her own weekday radio show on BBC Radio 2, which she presented continuously for 13 years until 1995. She has hosted, co-hosted and presented a wide range of popular television programmes throughout her career including 'Songs of Praise', 'Sunday', 'Wogan', 'Gloria Live', 'Good Fortune', 'Holiday', 'Family Affairs', and 'This Morning'. Her programme, 'Open House with Gloria Hunniford', broadcast between 1998 and 2004, gave Channel 5 their highest ever ratings. She has written several books and produced a fitness video.

Not surprisingly, throughout her career, Gloria has won many prestigious awards, including TV Presenter of the Year, Radio Presenter of the Year and Best Dressed Female. In 1999 she was President of the Television and Radio Industries Club, receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2001. Her singing career led to several successful records and she has also written an autobiography.

In the citation, Brenda McLaughlin said: "Throughout it all, while Gloria has relished the prospect of taking on new challenges, continually renewing and refreshing her career, she has remained an outstanding role model and ambassador for Northern Ireland and has touched the lives of thousands of people through the wide range of charitable causes which she has supported.

Referring to the establishment of the Caron Keating Foundation, founded in memory of Gloria Hunniford's late daughter, herself a popular television presenter, Brenda McLaughlin said: "This University is proud of the fact that Gloria has chosen to link the work of her Foundation with our own recently established Cancer Centre at the Belfast City Hospital and we look forward to working closely with her over the coming years.

"Today, Queen’s and Northern Ireland recognises and honours the contribution and courage of this unique and remarkable lady, one of our own."

For further information contact: Anne Langford, Tel 028 9097 5310

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New language degree graduates

Queen’s University's School of Languages, Literature and Art will be celebrating more than just the graduation of its students this morning (4 July); it will be celebrating the graduation of its new degree.

For the first time eight students will graduate this morning with a MA in Modern Irish Translation Studies.

The new course was introduced at the university in October last year in response to the growing interest for more Irish language based courses.

Morden Irish Translation Studies lecturer Charlie Dillon said there had been growing cross-community interest in the Irish language in recent years especially from students at the University.

"Irish is acknowledged as a keystone subject within the University," he explained. "Our course covered all aspects of English/Irish translation, with particular emphasis on the practical side of the work and greater emphasis placed on the study of modern Irish and on the promotion of Irish across the community."

According to Professor of Irish and Head of the School of Languages, Literature and Arts, Dónall Ó Baoill, the course was also aimed at a wide group of people. "This course appeals not only to academics and teachers, but also to people in all areas, including the public sector. Since the new legislation there is a strong demand for services through Irish and for Irish language translators."

Language Centre manager Pam McIntyre said the success of the course would not have been possible without funding from the EU Programme for Peace and Reconciliation and the European Social Fund.

"This funding helped launch a programme which has not only given those students who are graduating today a recognised qualification in Irish translation and thereby increased their employment opportunities but has also helped to standardise the quality of Irish translation."

 ENDS

For further information contact: Communications Office (028) 9097 3087

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Husband and wife graduate
Husband and wife, Paul and Emma Wilson, graduated together at this morning's Faculty of Humanities graduation ceremony at Queen’s University. Emma graduated with distinction in a Masters of Theology and Paul, who is originally from the USA,  graduated with first class honours in a Bachelor of Theology.
Husband and wife, Paul and Emma Wilson, graduated together at this morning's Faculty of Humanities graduation ceremony at Queen’s University. Emma graduated with distinction in a Masters of Theology and Paul, who is originally from the USA, graduated with first class honours in a Bachelor of Theology.

For Finaghy residents Paul and Emma Wilson this morning's Faculty of Humanities graduation ceremony at Queen’s University is a little special.

The happy couple, who are both graduating with top honours, met and got married while completing their degrees and will now walk down another aisle together.

Emma (27) graduates with distinction in a Masters of Theology and Paul (23), who is originally from the USA, will graduate with first class honours in a Bachelor of Theology.

Emma said both were very proud of each other's achievements and will always have fond memories of Queen's because it was where they had met.

"Paul came over on exchange in 2001/2002 to study Theology at the Belfast Bible College," Emma explained. "He had already completed one year of his degree in college in Chicago when he decided to study abroad. That is how we met. We were in the same classes together and I had missed a few in a row and had to borrow Paul's notes. We became friends and it kind of grew from there."

By the end of Paul’s exchange year their friendship had blossomed and Paul decided to finish his degree in Northern Ireland. He went back to the US to complete another term before returning to Belfast the following year. They continued to date and were married in April last year.

Emma said they both enjoyed their course and planned to work in their field of study together.

They have just returned from Wales where they completed missionary training for a new project.

"We hope to be involved in a Christian missionary project working with refugees. I have always been interested in issues of faith and poverty and so has Paul. At this stage we are unsure where this will be in the long term. We are just going to take it one step at a time."

ENDS

For further information contact: Communications Office, (028) 9097 3087

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"Queen's unique role" - Gregson
Dr Gloria Hunniford leaving the graduation ceremony with President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson after receiving her honorary degree from the University
Dr Gloria Hunniford leaving the graduation ceremony with President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson after receiving her honorary degree from the University

Queen's University has a unique position in Northern Ireland society and in higher education in the United Kingdom and Ireland, Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson has said.

In his graduation address to students from the Faculty of Humanities this morning, Professor Gregson, who has just completed his first academic year as Vice-Chancellor, said: "I have been struck by what I have been told about Queen's by staff, students, alumni and the people in business, politics and community life here in Northern Ireland.

"This is an exceptional institution, combining a student-centred ethos, a deservedly high reputation for the quality of its education and its research, and a very strong commitment to public service.

"My colleagues and I are committed to ensuring that these unique qualities are fully recognised nationally and internationally.

"Queen's Vision for the Future is about releasing the full potential of our people – staff who are breaking new ground through world-class education and research, and students who have the creativity and imagination to match peers anywhere in the world. Queen's will play a bigger and more influential role in the global higher education market."

Professor Gregson cited the University's new Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology as an example of the Queen's of the future. He said: "In this world-class research centre, Queen's young doctors, nurses and scientists are coming together in the fight against cancer. With partners around the world, the Centre is developing innovative cancer treatments. It is also pioneering advances in patient care.

"The Centre's international reputation is such that Queen's is the first university outside the United States to become a founder member of the Lombardi International Oncology Centre. This is a hugely significant honour and underlines our academic excellence in an area which, in one way or another, will affect us all."

The Vice-Chancellor went on to refer to Queen's £200 million investment programme in students, staff and facilities.

He said: "The £45 million Elms student village is currently being developed and there is a host of academic and sporting projects. We also have one of the most ambitious building schemes in Northern Ireland, our £44 million new library project which will be an asset not just for Queen's but for the wider community. Due for completion in 2009, the new library will accommodate 2000 reader places, house 1.5 million volumes and offer unparalleled facilities for study. It will provide Northern Ireland with a world-class symbol of confidence in its future."

And he added that the University's commitment to the student experience is the main reason why it has welcomed the new funding arrangements for higher education in Northern Ireland.

"These new arrangements will mean that higher education is free at the point of entry, free during the period of study and free until the graduate is in a position to contribute. This is a better system than the current requirement to pay fees upfront.

"A new system of student support will protect prospective students from less well-off backgrounds. Students from this group at Queen's will be able to access a government grant and Queen's bursary totalling up to £4,300 a year, and this will not have to be paid back.

"Investment in education is an investment in your life, and we are confident that these arrangements will help ensure that all those who can benefit from a first-class university education have the opportunity to do so. They will also help Queen's to provide a world-class educational experience for its students by providing much-needed additional income."

Professor Gregson told the graduating students that their role would be critical in helping the University achieve its ambitious objectives.

"International connections are crucial in today's global higher education market place. "Our alumni constitute by far the largest single component of the Queen's family: there are more than 100,000 of you all over the world, and your connections and influence are invaluable."

For further information contact: Anne Langford, Tel 028 9097 5310

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Mother and son graduate together
Janet Preston, 59, graduated with a Bachelor of Theology, alongside her 23-year-old son John who graduated with a Bachelor of Theology and Philosophy during the ceremony for the Faculty of Humanities at Queen's University
Janet Preston, 59, graduated with a Bachelor of Theology, alongside her 23-year-old son John who graduated with a Bachelor of Theology and Philosophy during the ceremony for the Faculty of Humanities at Queen's University

While most mothers have to settle for guest seating at this morning's Queen's University graduation ceremony, one East Belfast mother has the best seat in the house, right next to her son.

Janet Preston, 59, graduates with a Bachelor of Theology today, alongside her 23-year-old son John who graduates with a Bachelor of Theology and Philosophy during the ceremony for the Faculty of Humanities.

The pair of theologians did not expect to graduate together because Janet was completing her degree part time, but circumstances changed and as a result the mother and son ended up donning their regalia together.

"I did not expect to finish the same time as John but because my husband and I wanted to take a group of students to India next year, I had to complete my last two years in one year," Janet explained. "This meant that I had to complete seven modules this year and as a result I ended up choosing a few classes that John was doing."

The mother-of-four said she was worried John may have been uncomfortable with the idea of 'going to school' with his mum but he proved her wrong.

"I remember once he just put his arm around me and said this is my mum," she gushed. "I think the experience of studying together has made us better friends. We discuss different ideas and I now have a better understanding of who he is. John is very laid back, much more than I am and he has helped me to think in different ways and vice versa too.

"I think the whole experience for me was great. I have learned so many new skills. There are a lot of people out there who think they are too old to study but they’re not. You are never too old!"

John said he was actually looking forward to attending classes with his mum.

"Since I moved out of home I have found it very difficult to find time to spend with my family and the idea of being able to spend time with my mum in this way really appealed to me," he explained.

"Being able to spend time with her on a formal basis and discuss different ideas actually helped me to grow closer to her. "I am also very proud of mum for going back to school and for going to India."

While Janet will now spend the next year preparing for her trip to India and supply teaching, John said he was still unsure of what he wanted to do.

"I am still exploring all my options at the moment but I do hope to get some part time work and then possibly look at doing my Masters at a later stage."

They also both said they had enjoyed the friendly and helpful atmosphere at the Union Theological College and thought the standard of teaching was excellent. ENDS

For further information contact: Communications Office, (028) 9097 3087

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Graduation is music to Rachel's ears
 Rachel Holstead who was awarded a PhD in Composition at the Monday morning Queen's University graduation ceremony
Rachel Holstead who was awarded a PhD in Composition at the Monday morning Queen's University graduation ceremony

When Rachel Holstead hears her name called out at this morning's Faculty of Humanities graduation ceremony at Queen's University, it will be music to her ears.

The freelance composer graduates this morning with a PhD in Composition and it looks as though she is well on her way to making a name for herself in the composing community.

Since finishing her studies Rachel has been in high demand.

As soon as she handed in her portfolio in September last year she had to make her way down to Rossbeigh in Co Kerry to oversee the final rehearsals of her first piece as a full-time composer.

The Tune Ship was commissioned by Juliet Jopling for the Chamber Music in Retreat Lodges festival. It was performed by the Quince string quartet, traditional Irish musicians Aoife Granville and Aine Uí Laoithe and the Midnight Sun Trio from Norway.

Once that was finished, Rachel began work on another project – Roses for Icarus, a String Quartet commissioned by RTÉ which was performed by the RTÉ Vanbrugh Quartet as part of the 2005 Living Music Festival in February. The recording was later selected as one of two works to represent Ireland at the 52nd UNESCO International Composers Rostrum.

Soon after, Rachel was commissioned to produce two more pieces, Mutable Rose and Air-drawn Curves. Mutable Rose was performed in the Chapel of Trinity College Dublin in March and Air-drawn Curves, commissioned by the UCC Irish Harp Society, was dedicated to and performed in the Lewis Glucksman Gallery at UCC in May.

Rachel said she feels very privileged to have received so much work. "It has been a little bit crazy since I submitted my portfolio last year. I have been going from one thing to the next and have had all these wonderful opportunities and it has been great, but it's not supposed to be like that," she joked. "You are meant to be sitting starving in the gutter!"

But one has a feeling this will not be happening to the talented composer. The commissions are still coming in!

Currently Rachel is working on a new project for the 2nd Ardee Baroque Festival in November. This involves writing music for baroque orchestra and Irish traditional musicians, something the Kerry-born composer says she is looking forward to doing.

Rachel is also set to start on a large scale project celebrating the life of Kerry explorer Tom Crean who took part in the Scott and Shackleton expeditions to the South Pole in the early 1900s.

The project will involve work for orchestra, tape and multimedia and will require Rachel to travel to the Antarctic to collect source recordings and some inspiration for the ambitious project.

Rachel, who originally completed a degree in music at Trinity College in Dublin, said she was happy that she had finished her PhD and really enjoyed her time at Queen's.

She said she felt fortunate to have had the opportunity to study at Queen's. "There were two reasons why I wanted to come here," she explained. "One was because I wanted to work with Professor Michael Alcorn. I had him for a few summer courses and really wanted to work with him again. The second reason is the fact that Queen's is one of the very few places where there is a sizeable community of composers. It was really nice to be in such a supportive environment and to be able to draw on the experience not just of the other composers but of the musicologists, performers and technologists as well. You always felt part of something special."

Ends

For further information contact: Communications Office 028 9097 3087

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Northern Ireland business leader honoured by Queen's
David Dobbin, chairman of the CBI in Northern Ireland is congratulated on being awarded an honorary Doctorate of Science (Economics) for services to business and commerce by Queen's University's Chancellor Senator George Mitchell during Monday afternoon's ceremony for the Faculty of Engineering.
David Dobbin, chairman of the CBI in Northern Ireland is congratulated on being awarded an honorary Doctorate of Science (Economics) for services to business and commerce by Queen's University's Chancellor Senator George Mitchell during Monday afternoon's ceremony for the Faculty of Engineering.

One of Northern Ireland's best-known business figures has been honoured by Queen's University.

Chairman of the CBI in Northern Ireland and Chief Executive of United Dairy Farmers David Dobbin was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Science (Economics) for services to business and commerce.

Delivering the citation at this afternoon's ceremony, the University's Director of Development, Aine Gibbons said: "A glance at our honorary graduand's curriculum vitae is enough to suggest he is someone who has never really believed in the concept of a job for life. David Dobbin has worked for six different companies since leaving Queen's in 1977. Not only did he change jobs but he has worked in a variety of sectors: tobacco, soft drinks, agricultural feed, packaging and dairy.

 "His vision, single-mindedness and sheer hard work have made a significant difference to each of the businesses with which he has been associated and his success is well documented. Today he receives his second Queen's honour of the year, following a CBE announced in the recent Birthday Honours list."

Born in Belfast in 1955, David Dobbin was educated at Grosvenor Grammar School. He won a Business Technology Scholarship to study at Queen's and graduated exactly 28 years ago with a First Class Honours Degree in Mechanical Engineering.

In 1973, as part of his Business Technology Scholarship, he had joined the multi-national tobacco company Rothmans International and continued to work for them after graduation in a number of different roles. From there he moved to the Northern Publishing Office, where at the age of 28 he was in charge of the Manufactured Stationery Division with a turnover of £4 million and 120 staff.

He then spent four years at Cantrell and Cochrane during which he steered the company through a period of considerable growth, and six years at Dalgety Agriculture, where he was appointed Regional General Manager Northern Region in 1992. Here he managed a significant turnaround of the Dalgety operation in Northern Ireland against a background of a declining market and intense competition in the sector, before taking up the post of managing director at Boxmore Cleland, which he held from 1995 to 2000.

He is current Chairman of the CBI in Northern Ireland, a member of the Council of Food from Britain, Chairman of Medevol, a Belfast-based clinical trials company and Chairman Designate of The NI Council of the Prince's Trust.

He holds directorships of the Northern Ireland Food and Drink Association, the Northern Ireland Dairy Council and the UK Federation of Milk Groups. He is a past president of the NI Grain Trade Association and founding Chairman of the Northern Ireland Agricultural Research Council.

Ms Gibbons said: "David Dobbins has made an enormous contribution not only to business but also to society more generally.

"One of his more remarkable achievements is his honorary Chinese citizenship of Kunshan awarded in 1998 in recognition of his services to business development in China. Although firmly grounded in Northern Ireland, his career has been truly international.

"There is no doubt that complex situations and challenges energise him. He is very much a role model for this generation."

For further information contact: Anne Langford, Tel 028 9097 5310

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Learning is for life, Queen's graduation told

Their examinations may be over but their studies are not, Queen's graduating students were told today.

In his address at this afternoon's ceremony, Northern Ireland CBI Chairman David Dobbin, who was conferred with an honorary Doctorate of Science (Economics) for services to business and commerce, said: "Lifelong learning is a reality, not jargon. In this rapidly-changing world you will have to learn many new skills and assimilate significant additional knowledge throughout your future career and life.

"Many of you will enter the world of work where there are significant career opportunities, but you must be pro-active in researching your options and take ownership for managing your career development.

"Some of you will go on to further study to enhance your qualifications and knowledge base, some will be undertaking research. Here too there are expanding opportunities as our economy depends more and more on knowledge and brain power rather than manpower as we seek to compete with low wage and increasingly higher skilled economies in eastern Europe and Asia through research and development and innovation.

 "Some of you may leave Northern Ireland to seek career opportunities and wider experience in Great Britain, Europe or further afield. My experience is that you will find that your degree from this University is well regarded. Wherever you go, you take with you our best wishes for your success and happiness. We hope you will cherish your memories of home and of your time at Queen's and act as an ambassador for all that is good about our society here.

"And, perhaps more importantly, that having learnt from others and experienced life elsewhere that you will return, as many do, enriched, and put the knowhow that you have gained to good use to help build a stronger economy and better way of life here."

For further information contact: Anne Langford, Tel 028 9097 5310

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Former Belfast man collects PhD after 10 years
Gary Turkington who was awarded on Monday a PhD through the School of Computer Science with his wife Lea
Gary Turkington who was awarded on Monday a PhD through the School of Computer Science with his wife Lea

A former East Belfast man, who lost his sight as a young undergraduate student, will obtain his doctorate from Queen's University this afternoon 10 years after starting his studies.

At the age of 20 Garry Turkington while studying for his primary degree in Computer Science, developed the eye disease glaucoma, a condition which runs in his family, However, he went on to complete his degree and decided to pursue a PhD, under the supervision of Professor Danny Crookes in the School of Computer Science.

While studying on a part-time time basis and trying to establish his career as an IT consultant, his wife, Lea, took ill and Garry helped to care for her. But despite all the obstacles he finally achieved his goal and will collect his doctorate during this afternoon's ceremony for the Faculty of Engineering, watched by Lea and his mother, Sadie.

Commenting on his success, Garry said he was finally relieved to have completed the PhD after such a long time. "Trying to finish such a major undertaking is difficult at the best of time, even more so when you're working on a new career and moving all over the country and even the world. I've had great support along the way however, from Professor Crookes on the academic side and from my long-suffering wife and mother on the home front.

"I couldn't have done it without their continuous support," he said. Permanently based in England, Garry is currently working on secondment in the USA, outside Washington DC.

His supervisor Professor Danny Crookes said: "Despite several low points during his studies, Garry has shown commendable resilience and endurance to see his PhD through to the end.

For further information contact: Communications, (028) 9097 5384

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'Woman of many talents' honoured by Queen's

The distinguished writer and academic, Professor Dame Gillian Beer, who is renowned for bridging the gap between science and literature, was today honoured by Queen's University.

At this evening's graduation ceremony for students from the Faculty of Humanities and Medicine and Health Sciences, she was awarded a doctorate of literature for distinction in literature.

 Delivering the citation, Professor Ellen Douglas-Cowie, Dean of the Faculty of Humanities at Queen's, described Professor Beer as "a woman of many parts and of many talents".

She said: "Today we are honouring her for her eminence in the field of Victorian Studies. It is a field where she is renowned for groundbreaking work on the interplay between science and literature. Her success is undoubtedly linked to the fact that she is a woman of many parts and many talents, someone with the versatility to see connections between conventionally distinct areas – literature and science, academia and motherhood – and to find the means to communicate across them."

Dame Gillian Beer was born in 1935 in Bookham, Surrey. She was educated at Oxford and Cambridge where she was awarded a LittD. On graduating she lectured at Bedford College, London and Liverpool University. She was appointed Assistant Lecturer at Cambridge in 1966, rising through the ranks to become Reader in Literature and Narrative in 1971 and Professor of English in 1989. In 1994 she became King Edward VII Professor of English Literature, a post which she held until her retirement in 2002. During this time she was also Fellow of Girton College (1964-1994) and President of Clare Hall at Cambridge (from 1994-2001).

She was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 1991and was Vice-President from 1994-96, and a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She was a Booker judge in 1993, Chairman of the Poetry Book Society (1992-6) and Chairman of the Judges of the Booker Prize for Fiction (1997). She holds honorary degrees and medals from a number of universities and became a Dame of the British Empire in 1998.

She is married to John Beer, a distinguished scholar in the field of Romanticism, and they have three sons, Daniel, Rufus and Zachary.

Professor Douglas-Cowie said: "Her experience as a mother, far from hindering her in her path to academic success, stimulated her to think creatively about evolution and her role in it, and played an important part in inspiring some of her most influential work. Her outlook on career and family is one of positive embrace, and she has been wonderfully successful at combining them."

Professor Beer has focused on Victorian fiction and the history of science, establishing her reputation in 1983 with 'Darwin’s Plots', which examines the difficulties Charles Darwin experienced in expressing his scientific ideas to his contemporaries. Other books have included 'George Eliot', 'Arguing with the Past', 'Open Fields' and 'Virginia Woolf: the common ground'.

For further information contact:

Anne Langford, Tel 028 9097 5310

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"Learning doesn't end here"-Queen's students told
Professor Dame Gillian Beer, renowned for bridging the gap between science and literature, was awarded a doctorate of literature for distinction in literature from Queen's University.
Professor Dame Gillian Beer, renowned for bridging the gap between science and literature, was awarded a doctorate of literature for distinction in literature from Queen's University.

A distinguished writer and academic has told Queen's students that their work at university will equip them to understand and explore their future professional, emotional, and intellectual lives.

 Professor Dame Gillian Beer was delivering the graduation address after receiving a doctorate for services to literature at this evening's ceremony for students from the Faculties of Humanities and Medicine and Health Sciences.

She said: "Some of you are going into professional careers that emerge quite directly from the study you have undertaken here, as doctors and health workers. Some of you who have studied a subject within Humanities will already have jobs lined up, but not necessarily jobs that lie in so clear a relation to your studies as those in medicine. What you have learnt here has not all been used up, even if it is not immediately active in the job you go to. "

The range of skills you have all acquired in common will stand you in good stead: first, how to listen (equally important in medical practice and in all other work), how to listen to arguments analytically, and how to weigh different kinds of evidence alongside each other, and how to think through a complex text, a complex situation, a complex argument – and how to imagine another point of view.

 "Those working in medical fields need to be aware of histories as well as symptoms: the story that the patient presents for interpretation has behind it another longer story, which started before she or he came to the doctor. Those working in business, in teaching, in social work, as poets, in banking, as journalists, in retail, all need that alertness to what lies before and behind the situation of the moment.

"University studies give you access to this great store of knowledge and of implication, and they give you analytical skills at the start of the experience that will allow you to enter life fully. You don’t leave any of this behind when you leave the university. Shocks and surprises, pleasures and arguments, will follow in your lives. You will learn new things: learning doesn’t end here. But the work you have done here will over time prove to have prepared you to understand, sometimes to withstand, certainly to explore, the whole range of professional, emotional, and intellectual life ahead of you."

Professor Beer said that, in her own life, she had found that the need to know about complex intellectual issues often emerged "willy-nilly, from ordinary everyday experience."

She added: "So, though it is often suggested that motherhood makes you less intellectually productive, I found that bearing and rearing children obliged me to think about evolution and reproduction. What to do with the life left to you once you have taken your small individual part in the evolutionary process? You see diversification in action when you have children. You also see that there is a good deal of life for the individual when reproduction has finished with you. "

The book I wrote called Darwin’s Plots turned out to interest anthropologists and historians of science and philosophers as well as poets and literary critics and a broader range of readers. I think that was partly because it emerged, transformed, from ordinary experience that is widespread and intense – though it was only some time after I finished the book that I quite understood its connection with messy mealtimes and listening to three-year-olds."

For further information contact:

 Anne Langford, Tel 028 9097 5310

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Identical twins, identical degrees
Identical twins Kelly and Keara (right) Redmond from Newry, who graduated on Monday evening with identical degrees in Biomedical Sciences from Queen's University.
Identical twins Kelly and Keara (right) Redmond from Newry, who graduated on Monday evening with identical degrees in Biomedical Sciences from Queen's University.

Identical 21-year-old twin sisters, Kelly and Keara Redmond from Newry, will today (Monday) collect their identical degree awards from Queen’s University Belfast during the 7.30pm ceremony for the Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences.

The sisters who also shared a flat during their time in Belfast, in addition to studying the same course, have each earned an Upper Second Class BSc degree in Biomedical Sciences.

In her final year, Kelly carried out a research project on behalf of the Ulster Cancer Foundation (UCF), arranged through the University’s Science Shop. Her project pinpointed which areas of Northern Ireland have the highest incidence of melanoma skin cancers.

"I reviewed data on the reported incidences of melanoma cancers in Northern Ireland, comparing trends across all district council areas over a 19-year period, between 1984 and 2002," Kelly explains. "The Cancer Registry at Queen’s provided the data and the objective was to provide details of trends that the Ulster Cancer Foundation could use in its review of their 1997 Cancer Awareness Strategy. I also carried out a literature and web review to compare the Northern Ireland statistics with those in a range of different countries. I enjoyed the project very much and it is rewarding when you know that the results are going to be published as part of the UCF review."

Kelly's research highlighted some significant trends, as she summarises:

  • "I found that the incidences of melanoma cancers have increased over the period for both men and women, although they are being detected sooner, perhaps as the result of the UCF awareness-raising work.
  • "People living in the Western Board areas, west of the Bann, are significantly less likely to contact melanoma cancers.
  • "Comparing trends for the different District Council areas, incidence of melanoma was significantly high in the North Down area among males, and in the Larne area among females."

Kelly's project has confirmed her interest in working in the field of cancer research and she plans to stay on at Queen’s to work toward a PhD in cancer research.

 Sister Keara, meanwhile, is to begin the search for a job once graduation is behind the pair. "If I find a job in the Belfast area, I expect Kelly and I will continue sharing a flat for the foreseeable future," she laughed.

 The young women will be accompanied to the ceremony by their proud parents, Margaret and Damien, who live in Saval outside Newry, and elder brother Rory. As if the double success of the twins was not enough of a celebration, the family will return to Queen’s on Friday 8 July to make it a triple whammy, when 24-year-old Rory will graduate with a 1st class degree in Physics and Applied Mathematics.

 For further information, contact:

Dolores Vischer, Communications Office, 028 9097 5384

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Proud dad watches doctor daughter graduate
Carryduff's Bill Gardner, who acted as Esquire Bedell at Queen's University's Monday evening graduation ceremony, congratulates his daughter Roisin on becoming a doctor.
Carryduff's Bill Gardner, who acted as Esquire Bedell at Queen's University's Monday evening graduation ceremony, congratulates his daughter Roisin on becoming a doctor.

Proud father Bill Gardner will watch his daughter Roisin become a medical doctor this evening at Queen's University, but not from the usual guest seats.

Instead Bill, from Carryduff, will take part in the University's academic procession in his role as Esquire Bedell. Bearing the University's 18 carat gold mace, he will lead the Vice-Chancellor into the Whitla Hall ceremony and also look after the honorary graduate, leading him out at the end of the ceremony.

Bill's daughter Roisin (23) said she thinks it is great that her father, who is development manager for student sport at the University's Physical Education Centre, is taking on the role of Esquire Bedell for her graduation.

 "It might be a little strange to see him in such a formal setting," she said.

The former Rathmore Grammar School pupil, who takes up her first post as a house officer in the Royal Victoria Hospital next month, said she wanted to study medicine from the age of 14.

"I think the television show ER probably helped me make this decision! Medicine may not be as glamorous but it is just as interesting," she said.

She also credits her mother Marianne and father Bill with helping to influence her choice of Queen's. "Being one of the top universities in the UK and close to home made my choice an easy one. My dad often talked about the advantages of attending Queen's and this helped me make my decision," she said.

It’s not the first time that Bill has had a ringside seat for a family graduation – he was Esquire Bedell when his eldest son, Rory, graduated with a teaching degree from St Mary's University College and he hopes it could become something of a family tradition.

"I have two more children - Conor, who is studying for a teaching degree and Catherine, who has just completed her GCSEs, so you never know," he said.

For further information contact:

Communications, (028) 9097 5384

 

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Queen's University Supports White Band Day

Queen's University will play its part in helping 'Make Poverty History' this morning by wrapping a 150m white band around its main Lanyon building as part of International White Band Day.

The large scale event, which is one of many being staged throughout the world, will take place at 10.15am.

July 1 is one of three days chosen this year to encourage millions of people throughout the world to wear a white band calling for world leaders to fast-track their efforts to eradicate world poverty.

Queen's Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Professor Gerry McCormac said the University was very proud to be part of this historical event. "World poverty is an extremely serious issue," he said.

"Thousands of people around the world will call for an end to global poverty. The students at Queen's want to express their solidarity with this cause by wrapping a huge white band around the Lanyon building. St Paul's Cathedral in London, the Sydney Harbour Bridge in Australia and a mosque in Indonesia will also be wrapped with massive white bands."

It is estimated that one third of the world's population continues to live on less than a dollar a day - the price of a loaf of bread.

Student's' Union president Ben Preston said many students at Queen's had been very supportive of the campaign and hoped that tomorrow’s event would help to make a difference.

He said earlier this year, the MAKE POVERTY HISTORY group at Queen's ran a four-day campaign in the Students' Union to highlight the plight of Africa.

Students, as well as local politicians were invited to sign a large white band as well as postcards which were then sent to Prime Minister Tony Blair.

More than 2,700 signed postcards were collected during the campaign.

"We want poverty to end on the forgotten continent of Africa," he said.

"The Make Poverty History campaign calls on all of us to shout out to those in charge that thousands of children die daily from extreme poverty. Students at Queen's have been supportive of this campaign by wearing Make Poverty History wristbands and sending over massive amounts of signed postcards to Tony Blair.

"We want to make poverty history." The Cotton Print Factory Shop Belfast donated the material for the band free of charge for the event.

For further information contact: Communications Office (028) 9097 3087

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