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Brian Cody, Pearse Lyons and Margaret MacCurtain honoured at DCU

Brian Cody, Pearse Lyons and Margaret MacCurtain honoured at DCU

Ireland’s most successful hurling manager, a US-based Irish entrepreneur and innovator, and our foremost feminist historian have been honoured today at DCU for their diverse and unique contributions to Irish society.  Brian Cody, the Kilkenny hurling manager; Dr Pearse Lyons, founder and President of Alltech, the animal health and nutrition company; and Dr Margaret MacCurtain, historian, academic and activist, all received a Doctor of Philosophy honoris causa, the highest honour the university can bestow on an individual.  

Welcoming the recipients to the ceremony, Dr Martin McAleese, Chancellor of DCU said,

“This university's greatest ambition is to produce graduates like our honorary graduands today.  These three created new pathways, new practices, new perspectives. They nudged our world to do things better, guided us to a better place.  I hope that in recognising three very distinctive forms of Irish genius, our students will understand that there is no one way, no single path, no pre-drawn roadmap, no one size fits all which lays out their future.”

A teacher by profession and manager of the Kilkenny Senior Hurling team since 1998, Brian Cody has guided the county to an unprecedented victory in 10 All-Ireland finals, 12 Leinster titles and 7 League victories.  Brian, who was commended for his leadership role in the field of sport and his dedication to volunteerism and community engagement by Tom Fitzpatrick, said,

“I am extremely grateful to receive this award today alongside Dr Margaret MacCurtain and Dr Pearse Lyons, whose hard work and dedication in their respective fields I greatly admire. It is a true honour to be invited here by DCU, an institution so widely recognised for its excellence in the sporting field.”

Dr Pearse Lyons is founder and President of Alltech, the industry leader in animal health and nutrition, crop sciences, brewing and distilling which employs 3500 globally, doing business across 128 countries.  Responding to a citation by Professor Martin Clynes which highlighted his career as a scientist, innovator, entrepreneur and champion of Irish-American business links, Dr Lyons said,

“It’s a tremendous honor to be recognised by DCU, an educational institution I hold in very high regard. Not only has it developed and graduated some of Alltech’s best employees, but DCU is an integral partner in our research as we endeavor to cultivate solutions for healthier, more sustainable food production.”

Dr Margaret MacCurtain, a member of the Dominican Order, has enjoyed a lifetime devoted to multifaceted endeavour as a teacher, feminist and pioneer of Women’s History, advocating for social change such as the abolition of corporal punishment, the right to re-marriage after civil divorce and for the rights of children with special educational needs.  Following a citation delivered by Dr Brendan Walsh, Sr Margaret said,

“DCU is celebrating 25 years  of growth this year and is widely hailed as the changemaker campu.  It has developed a presence in the performing arts and humanities and in encouraging and entrepreneurial skills.  Ballyfermot Senior College, of which I was founding principal, in a very short time broadened its brief to introduce courses in art and graphic design, cinema, mixed media, music production - in fact its degree in Media Production Management is  validated by DCU - and its School of Animation has the aura of two Oscar nominations won by past students!  These "new age" initiatives at 2nd and post-2nd level education demonstrate the strides Irish education has taken from the early seventies when the sociologist, Liam Ryan called for educational enterprises to serve disenfranchised young people.”

Professor Brian MacCraith, President of DCU, congratulated the three recipients on their awards,

“DCU is delighted to confer honorary doctorates on 3 outstanding individuals. At a time of significant challenges to our nation, each has demonstrated what can be achieved through courage, dedication and a lifetime commitment to excellence. They are wonderful role models for our students.”