Trinity College Alumni Awards 2010

Posted on: 08 November 2010

World leading scientist in leprosy and tuberculosis, Professor Patrick Brennan and  founder of the Bridgeman Art Library,  Viscountess  Bridgeman, were  among four recipients of Trinity College’s Alumni Awards   presented  on November 5th last. The alumni  were presented with awards at Trinity College Dublin in recognition of achievements in their respective fields and the contribution they have made in Ireland and internationally.

HARRIET BRIDGEMAN MA (1964) Viscountess Bridgeman is Founder and Executive Chairman of The Bridgeman Art Library Ltd.   Graduating from Trinity College Dublin in 1964, Harriet Bridgeman was appointed executive editor of The Masters, a weekly art monograph.  Following this, she conceived, edited and produced another magazine, Discovering Antiques, for which she formed her own production company.  Seeing the opportunities for a one-stop photographic archive of works of art, she founded the Bridgeman Art Library in 1972.  The Library has since enjoyed continuous expansion, with branches in New York, Paris and Berlin, representing over 2,000 international museums, galleries, private collections and artists and only recently signing up the estate of Francis Bacon, the New York Public Library, the National Gallery of Australia, and the Freer and Sackler Galleries. In 1997 Viscountess Bridgeman was awarded the European Women of Achievement Award in the Arts in recognition of her role in promoting European culture and in 2005 was voted the International Business Woman of the Year in the International Business Awards.

PROFESSOR PATRICK BRENNAN PhD (1967) The outstanding quality of Professor Patrick Brennan’s research, together with his personal dedication to the elimination of leprosy and tuberculosis, is recognised throughout the world.  He has served as Chairman of the World Health Organisation Programme for Tropical Disease Research and as research advisor to the Sasagawa Memorial Health Foundation who, through the Nippon Foundation, underwrites most of the Global Leprosy Elimination Campaign.  Professor Brennan graduated from University College Cork before coming to Trinity College to undertake research, leading to a PhD on the mode of action of the anti-tuberculosis drug, Isoniazid.  His research was supervised by Professor Frank Winder. In 1976 Patrick left Ireland for the USA  where he went on to hold senior posts in the National Jewish Centre for Immunology and Respiratory Medicine and the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Denver before being appointed Associate Professor, Professor and ultimately Distinguished Professor (a very rare honour) at Colorado State University (Fort Collins). He also founded a major research centre to study Mycobacteria and has published more than 300 peer reviewed papers on tuberculosis and leprosy.         

DR MARTIN McALEESE B. Dent .Sc, MA  (1984) Following his graduation from Queen’s University Belfast with a B.Sc. in Physics, Dr Martin McAleese went on to train and work as an accountant.  Subsequently, he graduated in dentistry from Trinity College Dublin and ran a very successful general practice in Co. Armagh, with a focus on orthodontics. When his wife, Mary McAleese, was elected President of Ireland in 1997, Dr McAleese wholeheartedly devoted himself to support her work of bridge-building between all communities on the island.  In particular he has sought to develop greater trust and reconciliation among communities in Northern Ireland, notably involving the working class loyalist community in his native Belfast.   He has promoted various initiatives encouraging these loyalist communities to move away from a culture of paramilitarism towards a future of peace, prosperity and constructive community development. 2010 saw the launch of ‘Your Country, Your Call’, a national competition which was the brain-child of  Dr McAleese. Over the last 18 months Martin has devoted considerable time and effort to this initiative bringing together a dynamic team of people from the public and private sectors whose commitment and support advanced his concept from  vision to reality. 

Michael Peirce PhD (1976)  Michael Peirce graduated from Trinity Engineering in 1964 and then moved to ICI in the UK. He returned to a lectureship in the Engineering School in 1972, was awarded a PhD for his research in the manufacture of computer systems and promoted to Senior Lecturer in 1975. He established one of the first campus companies at Trinity in 1978 and subsequently resigned his position to become the Managing Director of Mentec Ltd which, in a very short time, became one of Irelands largest ‘home start’ IT Companies with offices in the USA, UK, Belfast and Europe.

Michael Peirce moved from secure employment to establish Mentec and has been a role model for entrepreneurs for over three decades. From the outset, he believed that Ireland could position itself in the high tech arena by providing specialised services to niche markets. He has been actively involved in numerous high-technology start-ups in Ireland, including Parthus, Mentor Capital, Iontas and Vedia and has actively supported employee spin-off companies in their development and growth.