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Honorary Degrees 2016-17

On Friday 23 June 2017 at 3 pm, honorary degrees of the University of Dublin were conferred on Terence Dwyer, Marianne Elliott, Bob Geldof, Patricia Oliver and James P Smith at a Commencements Ceremony in the Public Theatre (Orations PDF).

Terence Dwyer (Sc.D.)

Professor Terry Dwyer, formerly Director of the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne and Director of the Menzies Research Institute, University of Tasmania, is currently Executive Director of The George Institute for Global Health, University of Oxford. The seminal research of the team he led on the positioning of infants during sleep led to revision of the international recommendations with a consequent significant reduction in cot deaths. He has chaired many high level health advisory bodies and has received many national and international honours. He has been an international scientific advisor to the Health Research Board and a valued advisor to Trinity, the ESRI, and the Department of Health and Children on the Growing Up in Ireland study.

Marianne Elliott (Litt.D.)

Professor Marianne Elliott is the former Director of The Institute of Irish Studies, University of Liverpool. Born in Belfast, she is a history graduate of Queen's University Belfast. She is internationally recognised as one of Ireland’s leading historians and is known for her award-winning biography Wolfe Tone: Prophet of Irish Independence. Professor Elliott played a key role in establishing and developing the Institute of Irish Studies, University of Liverpool, as the most important centre of Irish Studies in Britain. Professor Elliott was the first person appointed to the Tony Blair Chair in Irish Studies endowed by the Irish government. She was instrumental in developing the ground for the strategic partnership agreement signed between Liverpool University and Trinity in 2014. In 2000 she was awarded an OBE for services to Irish Studies and to the Northern Ireland peace process and in 2002 was elected a Fellow of the British Academy. In 2009 she was noted as one of 'The Global Irish' in Irish America Magazine.

Bob Geldof (LL.D.)

Robert Frederick Zenon "Bob" Geldof, KBE is an Irish singer-songwriter, author, occasional actor and political activist. He rose to prominence as lead singer of the Irish rock band The Boomtown Rats. Geldof is widely recognised for his activism, especially anti-poverty efforts for Africa. In 1984 he and Midge Ure founded the charity supergroup Band Aid to raise money for famine relief in Ethiopia, followed by the charity super-concert Live Aid in 1985 and the Live 8 concerts in 2005. A single father, Geldof has also been outspoken for the fathers' rights movement. He was invested as a knight in 1986 by Queen Elizabeth II, and in 2005 was a recipient of the Man of Peace title, among numerous other awards and nominations. In 2013 he was awarded the Freedom of the City of London.

Patricia Oliver (LL.D.)

Patricia Oliver, born and raised in Dublin’s inner city, has worked as a volunteer with An Taisce and other environmental initiatives for over 40 years. She is the Founder and from 2000-2015 was the full-time Director of An Taisce’s Environmental Education Unit, now the largest and most influential environmental education organisation in the country and one of the most successful in the EU. Her links with Trinity go back to the 1990s when she took over the Foundation for Environmental Education co-ordinated schemes for Ireland from Trinity and grew them professionally to become models for Europe, while maintaining the links with Trinity. She was also Ireland’s representative on the International Foundation for Environmental Education and many other bodies. Through the Green Schools Programme, she has had a transforming effect on hundreds of thousands of Irish children. Her presentation of the Irish Green-Schools Programme at the 12th Commission on Sustainable Development at the United Nations in 2004 was acknowledged as the "Best of Best Practice".

James P Smith (Sc.D.)

Professor Smith, one of the first scientists to discover strong associations between childhood mental health and adult economic outcomes, holds the Distinguished Chair in Labor Markets and Demographic Studies at the RAND Corporation, USA. He is best known for his works on the economics of ageing, immigration, the effects of economic development on labour markets, and the interrelation of health and economic status. He is chair of/external assessor for a number of important longitudinal studies of ageing around the world. He was elected to the National Academy of Medicine at the US National Academy of Sciences and twice received a MERIT award, the highest honour that the National Institute of Health can give to a researcher. Since its inception in 2006, Professor Smith has championed The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA) in his capacity as Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board, has mentored Trinity economics and social science students, and has conducted research workshops in Trinity.
Related Events:

Related Events:

To celebrate Marianne Elliott’s award of an Honorary Doctorate, the School of Histories and Humanities hosted the following event:
Date: Friday 23 June 2017
Time: 10.30 am
Title: Graduate Roundtable: Hearthlands (2017)
Venue: Galbraith Seminar Room, Trinity Long Room Hub
Dr Ciaran O’Neill chaired a roundtable discussing Professor Elliott’s forthcoming work on the White City housing development in Belfast with her and members of staff and research postgraduates at the School of Histories and Humanities.

To celebrate Terry Dwyer’s award of an Honorary Doctorate, the School of Medicine hosted a meeting with the Australian Ambassador, His Excellency, Mr Richard Andrews on:
Date: Monday 26 June 2017
Time: 11.00 am
Venue: Knowledge Exchange, Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute (TBSI)
By invitation only

To celebrate Patricia Oliver’s award of an Honorary Doctorate, the Irish Environmental History Network (IEHN), will host a talk by Ms Oliver on the rise of environmental consciousness in Irish youth and the educational sector, as part of their lecture series.
Date: To be confirmed - September/October 2017




On Friday 9 December 2016 at 3 pm, honorary degrees of the University of Dublin were conferred on Eric Kinsella, David Puttnam, Louise Richardson and Peta Taaffe at a Commencements Ceremony in the Public Theatre



Eric Kinsella (Sc.D.)

Eric Kinsella is an Electrical Engineer, a Graduate Member of the Institution of Electrical Engineers, London and holds an MSc from the University of Dublin. He joined the Jones Group plc and in 1992 led a management buy-out. He subsequently founded Jones Engineering Group Ltd, where he is majority shareholder and Executive Chairman. This Group, based in Dublin, provides mechanical, electrical and instrumentation solutions for clients throughout Europe and the Middle East and has so far worked on over 3,000 projects with a value in excess of €10 billion. It has evolved from being a national to an international company, expanding staff numbers from 300 to over 2,200. The Jones Engineering Group prides itself on the quality of their employees, and investment in people has been one of the keys to the success of the company.  The company has won awards at the Skills Olympics on two separate occasions.  Mr Kinsella is listed on Trinity's "Benefactors through the Centuries" Roll of Honour.  His support through scholarships for Trinity engineers will have a significant impact on the education of engineering leaders in Ireland and elsewhere.  


Lord David Puttnam

Lord David Puttnam (LL.D.)

Lord Puttnam C.B.E. was awarded a C.B.E. in 1983, a knighthood in 1995, and appointed to the House of Lords in 1997.  In 2006 he was made Commander des Arts et des Lettres (France). He is currently Chair of the TSL Advisory Board, an Ambassador for UNICED and the World Wildlife Fund, and Adjunct Professor of Film Studies and Digital Humanities at University College Cork. He spent thirty years as an independent producer of award-winning films (ten Oscars, 25 Baftas and the Palme D'Or at Cannes).  From 1994 to 2004 he was Vice President and Chair of Trustees of BAFTA and was awarded a BAFTA Fellowship in 2006.  He was Deputy Chairman of Channel 4 Television from 2006 until 2012. He retired from film production in 1998 to focus on public policy work relating to education, the environment, and the creative and communications industries. He was founding Chair of the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA) (1998), of the UK National Teaching Awards (1998-2008), and of the UK General Teaching Council. He was chair of FutureLab and a former Chancellor of both the University of Sunderland and the Open University. Lord Puttnam currently acts as Ireland's Digital Champion. He is the chair of Atticus Education. As an advisor to the Trinity Access 21 project he has promoted the project at the highest levels both nationally and internationally. He is held in high regard internationally for his pioneering work in education and technology; his contribution to the development of access to learning has been immense.

Prof Louise Richardson

Louise Richardson (LL.D.)

Professor Louise Richardson became Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford on 1 January 2016. A native of Co. Waterford, she studied history in Trinity College Dublin before gaining her PhD at Harvard University where she spent twenty years on the faculty of the Harvard Government Department and latterly as Executive Dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Between 2009 and 2015 she was Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of St Andrews, during which time she served on Scotland’s Council of Economic Advisers. She currently serves on the boards of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Booker Prize Foundation and numerous other charities. Widely recognised as one of the world’s foremost experts on terrorism and counter-terrorism, her book What Terrorists Want, is widely accepted as one of the most influential in the field. In 2016 Professor Richardson was elected to the Academy of Social Sciences in the United Kingdom, and to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.


Peta Taaffe

Peta Taaffe (LL.D.)

Peta Taaffe is a Dame Grand Cross of Honour and Devotion of the Order of Malta and was the elected Hospitaller until 2013.  She is on the board of trustees of the Holy Family Hospital Bethlehem; her involvement led to the establishment of a direct entry degree in midwifery in Bethlehem University. She has been President of the Queen’s Institute of District Nursing in Ireland (QIDN) charity since its creation in 2003. As the first Chief Nursing Officer with the Department of Health (1997-2001), arguably the most influential nursing post in the country, she had a transformative influence on the nursing and midwifery professions in Ireland, including the policy decision to introduce degree entry education to nursing and midwifery. In particular, in her role as Director of Nursing in St James' Hospital, she promoted the introduction of the four-year BSc degree for nursing in Trinity, and pioneered the introduction of the first Advanced Nurse Practitioner role in Ireland in the Emergency Department. 


Related Events:

To celebrate Professor Louise Richardson’s award of an Honorary Doctorate by Trinity College Dublin on Friday 9 December, the Trinity Long Room Hub hosted the following event:

Date:     Friday 9 December 2016
Time:     10.30 am
Title:      Professor Louise Richardson, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford, In Conversation with Professor Jane Ohlmeyer, Director, Trinity Long Room Hub
Venue:  Hoey Ideas Space, Trinity Long Room Hub


Last updated 27 November 2017 by