Honorary degrees awarded at Trinity

Posted on: 08 December 2021


Three exceptional individuals from a variety of fields – biologist David Wallach, historian James Ivan McGuire and sculptor Deirdre McLoughlin – were today conferred with honorary degrees of the University of Dublin at Trinity College Dublin. The degrees, Trinity’s highest honour, were awarded by Trinity’s Chancellor Mary McAleese in  a ceremony conducted in Latin in the historic Public Theatre.  

Pictured before today’s conferring were Trinity Chancellor Mary McAleese and Provost Linda Doyle (foreground) with, from l to r, Honorary Degree recipients James Ivan Maguire, Deirdre McLoughlin and David Wallach

They were awarded in recognition of the recipients’ outstanding achievements in their fields and their contributions to society.  

David Wallach (Sc.D)

David Wallach (Sc.D.) is Professor of Molecular Biology at the Weizmann Institute, Israel. A pioneering researcher in the fields of inflammation and the mechanisms of cell-death, his seminal work led to biological therapies that improve the quality of life of millions of patients with chronic diseases, and yielded insight to some of the major molecular mechanisms by which the death of cells is regulated.  He was of the first to isolate the cytokine Tumour Necrosis Factor (TNF) and the first to isolate its receptors, discovering that TNF receptors could be used to inhibit inflammation; the basis for the development of subsequent therapies.  A student of Joyce and in particular Ulysses, he was instrumental in fostering closer links between Trinity and the Weizmann Institute, leading to active scientific collaborations and the exchange of scientists. He has received many international awards including The Rappaport Prize for BioMedical Research, for work that advances the health of mankind. He recently received the Paul Erhlich and Ludwig Darmstaedter Prize (2018), in memory of the Nobel laureate Paul Erhlich. 

David Wallach’s research, said the Public Orator, “has assisted in the production of effective biological treatments, which have improved the quality of life of patients affected by such chronic diseases as psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis. What aim can be more desirable than relief from pain?”. 

James Ivan McGuire (Litt.D)

James Ivan McGuire  (Litt.D.) is Adjunct Professor, School of History, UCD, and has made an enormous contribution to learning through his role as Managing Editor of the nine volume “Dictionary of Irish Biography” (Royal Irish Academy and Cambridge University Press). He has been described as the driving force behind the Dictionary of Irish Biography which, with almost 10,000 biographies and over 650 contributors, is of foundational significance for the study of Irish history.  He also served as Chair of the Irish Manuscripts Commission from 2003 to 2017 overseeing the publication of over 50 volumes of primary sources for the study of Irish history. His personal works are characterized by a concentration on 17th Century Ireland, the Church of Ireland, historical bibliography and biography. He has collaborated throughout his career with numerous colleagues in Trinity and is held in very high regard. 

The Public Orator praised James Ivan McGuire, saying: “Contemporary sources unanimously attest to the man’s brilliance and diplomacy, courtesy and modesty, and utmost respect for different viewpoints”. 

Deirdre McLoughlin (Litt.D)

Finally, Deirdre McLoughlin (Litt.D.) is an Irish sculptor based in Amsterdam with an international reputation in abstract ceramics. A Trinity graduate in Philosophy, History and Literature, she discovered her vocation in the Netherlands, before moving to Japan she exhibited in EVA International (1981). In Kyoto she developed her skill and aesthetic sense by immersing herself in the art of Sodeisha, a modernist movement using clay in abstract expression, culminating in a solo exhibition at the end of three years. In 1985 she travelled throughout China researching and observing in her field. Several solo exhibitions have toured galleries and museums in Ireland, and her work has featured on an Irish stamp, but she is more renowned internationally. She was twice winner of the Ceramics of Europe Westerwald Prize (2004, 2014), in both cases for illuminating the idea of the vessel as a work of pure sculpture.   

She has been honoured twice in the Korean International Ceramic Biennale (2007, 2019) and was a Loewe Craft Prize finalist (2018). For her contribution to the development of international contemporary ceramics she was one of the “Pioneering Women” at the Oxford Ceramics Gallery earlier this year. Her work is exhibited and collected by museums and private connoisseurs world-wide. 

The Public Orator noted of Deirdre McLoughlin: “Her art is her ‘great adventure’, in which she humbly allows the material to take her with it, not unlike (a fabulous tale she beautifully recalls) those early Irish monks who sailed without oars on the Atlantic Ocean, entrusting themselves to the winds, confiding in the truth of a superior direction”. 




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Catherine O’Mahony, Media Relations Officer | omahonc7@tcd.ie |