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Honorary Degrees Awarded by DCU 

The full list of DCU's Honorary Graduates is available here.

Joe Schmidt and Micheál Ó Muircheartaigh receive honorary doctorates from DCU

Today (Tuesday April 30th) Dublin City University conferred the award of Doctor of Philosophy (Honoris Causa) on Micheál Ó Muircheartaigh, celebrated RTÉ sports commentator and writer, and Joe Schmidt, Head Coach of the Irish Rugby Team.

Delivering the citation for Joe Schmidt, Jim Dowling, the former Deputy President of DCU, said:

“Irish rugby has either produced or recruited many excellent coaches and perhaps none more accomplished than those currently in place across the country. Of them all, Joe Schmidt has been outstanding.

Joe is a humble man who shuns the limelight. He hastens to redirect the praise and honours he receives to the players and management teams around him. Yet, behind the quiet exterior, he is an ambitious, dedicated and driven individual with an extraordinary work ethic. His values are those that he demands of his players: humility, discipline (on and off the pitch) and relentlessness.

Family and strong family values are central to Joe’s life and foremost in his decision to leave the world of rugby coaching after the upcoming World Cup and return to New Zealand. In doing so, he leaves behind his Irish “family” ― friends, colleagues and communities that have been part of his life for many years.

Joe’s work away from rugby is largely unheralded but much appreciated by the charities he has supported ― particularly Epilepsy Ireland ― and the many events that he has unselfishly attended. The Schmidts have contributed enormously to Ireland and Irish Rugby and the reciprocation was acknowledged by Joe in thanking the IRFU for their patience and support and “so many people who have adopted my family and me, making us feel part of the community in Ireland”. Joe became an Irish citizen in 2015.”

Delivering the citation for Michael Ó Muircheartaigh, Larry Quinn, Chairman of the DCU Educational Trust said:

“Micheál Ó Muircheartaigh is a teacher, author, and avid promoter of the Irish language. He is probably best-known, however, for his role as a Gaelic games commentator for many decades.  His recognisable voice and lyrical descriptions have become synonymous with Gaelic games for generations of GAA supporters.  A native Irish speaker, Micheál has a huge interest in the promotion of the Irish language and he has played a major part at national level in this regard.

His proudest achievements, however, are the eight children that his wife, Helena, and he reared and gave to them all a good university education and sound footing for life. To quote Micheál:

“…it is of more value to them than if all my bets had won and given them a million euro each.”

Throughout his life, Micheál has lived life to the full. Brimming over with equal measures of energy and curiosity, Micheál has lived by the motto “Why put off until tomorrow what you can do today”. In recent years, he has become a standard bearer for healthy and active aging in Ireland, and has participated in a number of events here at DCU aligned with our Age Friendly University designation. So, whether it was communications, sport, the Irish language or the issue of aging, Micheál has always delivered outstanding contributions.”

Prof. Brian MacCraith, President of Dublin City University said:

“DCU is delighted to honour Micheál Ó'Muircheartaigh and Joe Schmidt, two iconic figures in Irish Sport. Their outstanding achievements and their dedication to excellence, on and off the pitch, make them fitting recipients of honorary doctorates from Dublin City University.

Micheál is the voice of our national games - Guth na gCluichí Gaelacha. He is a champion, not just for sport, but also for the Irish language and for our country’s older citizens. Joe is Irish Rugby’s most successful ever national head coach. He’s an inspirational leader who encourages and cultivates not only excellence but also important values.”

About Michael Ó Muircheartaigh

Born in Dún Síon, just outside Dingle in Co. Kerry, Micheál Ó Muircheartaigh has been a Gaelic games commentator on RTÉ for over six decades and his voice is one of the most recognisable on the airwaves.  He is a graduate of St. Patrick’s College in Drumcondra (now incorporated into DCU).

About Joe Schmidt

Joe Schmidt is the current head coach of the Ireland rugby team and has led the team to three Six Nations Championships.  He previously coached Leinster to two European Cups, a Pro12 league title and the European Challenge Cup.

Michael Ó Muircheartaigh's Citation

Joe Schmidt's Citation

30th April, 2019


DCU confers honorary doctorate on renowned Irish poet, Paula Meehan

Dublin City University paid tribute to one of Ireland’s foremost poets, Paula Meehan, by conferring her with an honorary doctorate today, Thursday 21st March.

The doctorate was awarded in recognition of Paula’s extensive literary contribution, including a number of poetry collections.

The Dublin-born poet’s works reflect the local lore and powerful oral traditions of the inner city community where she grew up.

Delivering the citation Dr Mary Shine ThompsonDCU’s Governing Authority,  said:

"From the first of her eight poetry collections, Return and No Blame (1984), to her most recent, Geomantic (2016), her verse is elegantly wrought, often magically incantatory, and always accessible, but, like Seamus Heaney’s, charged with a challenging undercurrent. In it Paula Meehan gives voice to her people and her place.”

On acceptance of her honorary doctorate, Paula Meehan thanked her “beloved partner Theo Dorgan, who himself is a poet and understands the sometimes very strange places poetry takes us to. He has always made the time and space to help me live in those strange places.

"I thank my family and friends. If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes open-minded and compassionate villagers to allow that child follow the poet’s paths. I remind myself always every day that some countries are locking up their poets.”

To celebrate receiving the honorary doctorate at today’s Spring graduation ceremony, Paula wrote and recited and poem for the occasion, remembering this time 50 years ago when she moved from inner city Dublin to live in Finglas.

"Today you have given me the great good fortune of this honour and I will be forever grateful. To celebrate this moment, I’ve written a poem for the day that’s in it called ‘At the Spring Equinox’ - when day and night are the same length and summer is coming in. I wanted to celebrate the edge of the city that I discovered when we moved out here from the inner city...remembering those friends, that landscape and the rivers that ran through it.”

In closing the Spring graduation ceremony, Professor Brian MacCraith, DCU President, welcomed Paula back to DCU and acknowledged her exceptional artistic work:

"Paula, I want to especially welcome you here today, and we want to thank you for graciously accepting this award from Dublin City University. The Doctor of Philosophy is the highest award that this University can bestow. It is not only a recognition of outstanding achievements in a particular field, but also a public statement of the principles and values that this University cherishes.

The decision to bestow this honour is based upon your body of exceptional artistic work, allied with, and inextricable from, your compassion, clarity, and courage.

Through your outstanding work, you are a role model for everyone who values culture, creativity and social justice, and in particular I know are an inspirational figure for our graduates here today.”

Paula Meehan's Citation

21st March, 2019

DCU honours champion of diversity and inclusion, H.E. Dr Amal Al Qubaisi

Dr Amal Qubaisi 21.06.18
Dublin City University has paid tribute to H.E. Dr Amal Al Qubaisi, Chairperson and Speaker, Federal National Council, UAE, conferring her with an honorary doctorate of Philosophy on Thursday, June 21st 2018.

Dr Al Qubaisi was recognised for her efforts in championing diversity and inclusion in the Arab world.

In 2015, Dr Qubaisi made history when she was elected Speaker of the FNC, becoming the first woman in the Arab world to hold such office.

Delivering the citation, Prof. Dorothy Kenny of DCU's School of Applied Language and Intercultural Studies (SALIS), said: “By any standards, the career of H.E. Dr Amal Abdullah Al Qubaisi, President and Speaker of the Federal National Council of the United Arab Emirates, has been exceptional. It is impossible to summarise her achievements without reaching for superlatives, and constantly re-using words such as “first” and “only”. Dr Al Qubaisi has made history on several occasions, but more importantly, she has used her position not only to defend the rights of her fellow human beings, and to promote tolerance, respect and dialogue, but also to challenge other leaders to do likewise."

Prof. Kenny added: "To say that Dr Al Qubaisi has blazed a trail for women parliamentarians in the Arab world is an understatement, but her influence extends well beyond the Arab world. In December 2016, she presided over the first Global Summit of Women Speakers of Parliament in Abu Dhabi. The Declaration issued at the end of the summit bears her hallmark, making strong commitments on causes that she had already worked tirelessly to promote through her work on the UAE’s Federal National Council. Such causes include the placing of democracy at the service of peace and sustainable development, addressing climate change, achieving gender equality, fighting against discrimination and violence against women and girls, and empowering young people."

In accepting her award, Dr Amal Al Qubaisi said: “Challenges sometimes define who we are. The greater those challenges, the greater the achievements. Tolerance, inclusion, accepting others and co-existence - these are all based on respect.”

Dr Amal described the opening of DCU's Centre of Excellence for Diversity and Inclusion (formally established on the same day as her honorary conferring ceremony) as "a huge step forward, especially in an academic arena. She added: “Being available as a role model in this way and setting an example that others will follow is so important.”

Addressing the conferring ceremony, Prof. Brian MacCraith commented: "If there's one word which captures what Dr Amal stands for, it is 'tolerance' - an increasingly rare attribute in a world of coarsening values, xenophobia and rampant populism. Dr Amal, you have embodied active tolerance and, through that, you serve as a critically important role model, especially for our students, and you represent the values that we wish to instil in them in our mission to transform lives and societies."

H.E. Dr Amal Al Qubaisi's Citation

21st June 2018

DCU honours leading airline executive Willie Walsh

Willie Walsh 4.11.17

Dublin City University has paid tribute to leading airline executive, Mr. Willie Walsh, conferring him with an honorary doctorate at the university’s autumn graduation ceremony.

Willie Walsh, Chief Executive of International Airlines Group, was recognised for his entrepreneurial ambition and significant contribution to the aviation industry to date. Delivering his citation, Dr Cathal Guiomard, a lecturer in Aviation Management at DCU’s Business School, said,

“Today, we are recognizing a local man who has led and continues to lead an extraordinary career in aviation… As {Aer Lingus} CEO, he seized the opportunity of an airline industry that was near collapse following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and turned the fortunes of the loss-making Aer Lingus around. In retrospect, many successes look inevitable that at the time seemed impossible. At the time when Willie Walsh took over as its CEO, Aer Lingus was losing millions of euro a day and was facing rapid oblivion. Several significant European airlines at that time did collapse. However, by 2003, under Willie’s leadership, Aer Lingus had become a budget airline and was back in profit…

Profitability and viability, and cost reductions, where necessary, have also been themes of his stewardship of IAG. But added to these challenges he also faces the more recent challenges associated with Brexit, the arrival of the long-haul, low-cost sector, the rise of global carriers based in the Middle East, and, in the near future, China, as well as the need to curb harmful aviation emissions. These are challenges that, even singly, most CEOs would find daunting.”

In accepting his award, Mr. Walsh said:

“It is a great honour for me to be with you today. This is particularly significant for me because I grew up in this area, in fact I knew this area very well even before this fantastic facility was ever built and I have had the pleasure of visiting DCU on many occasions over the years.”

Addressing DCU’s graduates, Mr Walsh offered some advice,

“There is a very fine line between being cocky and being confident. Confidence in any business is clearly very important. Arrogance and cockiness is something that is not very well respected.

A healthy disrespect is something that does set us Irish apart. We’re not afraid to ask questions, we’re not afraid to challenge, we’re not afraid to make sure that we’re doing things in the right way and I think that is absolutely critical in today’s environment.

So as you leave today’s establishment and take with you the experience that you have had here and the experience that will stand to you in life, work and future careers, don’t be afraid to challenge, and don’t be afraid to ask that awkward question. Education gives you the ability to challenge, the ability to discern difference from right or wrong, and the confidence to ask questions.”

In closing the ceremony, Professor Brian MacCraith, President of DCU, congratulated Willie Walsh and welcomed him to the DCU family:

“The award of an honorary doctorate by DCU is not only recognition of outstanding achievement in a particular field, but it’s a public statement of the principals and priorities of the university. The outstanding achievements by Willie Walsh are plain to see and are strongly aligned with DCU’s own strategic focus on the aviation sector. Three years ago we were delighted to partner with Dublin’s Airport Authority to establish the Dublin Aviation Institute to take a proactive role in addressing the critical issues facing this industry in terms of skilled personnel, career progression, succession planning and the demand for educational training.

Through your outstanding work you have provided an exemplary role model for everyone here today and we were particularly delighted to be able to coincide your award with today’s ceremony to inspire our graduates by showing them that what you have done can be achieved on a global scale, by an Irish person, with passion and ambition and exceptional ability.”

Willie Walsh's Citation

4th November 2017

DCU honours Professor Steve Myers for the outstanding contributions to the world of Physics.

Steve Myers 3.11.17

Dublin City University paid tribute to the outstanding contributions of Professor Steve Myers, OBE, to the world of physics by conferring him with an honorary doctorate on Friday, November 3rd.

The work of Belfast-born Professor Myers, who has spent most of his career at the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) has led to key developments in our understanding of the nature of the universe.

On acceptance of his honorary doctorate Prof Myers highlighted the importance of CERN and his dismay at Ireland’s continued non-membership of the organisation.

“I am really saddened to see Irish technical companies as well as Irish students, engineers and scientists being excluded from the world's most innovative state of the art large scale engineering and science hub, CERN.

This exclusion is due to Ireland’s continued non-membership of CERN and puts our country at an enormous technological disadvantage, since we cannot profit from the technology transfer and training which comes from being a member state of CERN.

It horrifies me to realise that if I had been born south of the border rather than north, I would never have had the possibility to follow my career at CERN.”

Professor Myers is one of the most sought after accelerator scientists globally, due to his expertise in the area of advanced particle accelerators, most famously the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).

It was a key player in the discovery of Higgs boson, a landmark moment which explained why some fundamental particles have mass, when, based on the symmetries controlling their interactions, they should be massless.

It provided a key verification of the standard model of particle physics.

Myers, who was educated at Queen’s University, began his career at the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) as Engineer-In-Charge.

He worked on the Large Electron Positron Collider (LEP) and was responsible for commissioning experiments in the 1990s and later oversaw the upgrade of the LEP from 1996 to 2000.

In 2008, he was appointed to the position of Director of Accelerators and Technology (CERN) and was responsible for the operation and exploitation of the CERN accelerator complex, with a particular emphasis on the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).

He directed the repair of the LHC and its operation from 2010 to 2012.

In 2014, he became Head of the newly established Office of Medical Applications at CERN.

Delivering the citation Professor Enda McGlynn, Head of the School of Physical Sciences, DCU said:

“Professor Myers’ career has been characterised by the creation and translation of knowledge, and most recently the translation of knowledge gleaned from a lifetime's work of developing accelerator and detector instrumentation for basic science at the highest level into applications in the area of medicine with a direct impact on people's lives.

This activity is well aligned with DCU’s core values in terms of the pursuit of academic excellence and the translation of knowledge into societal benefits.”

 Professor Steve Myers Citation

 3rd November 2017


DCU honours President Bill Clinton, Sr Stanislaus Kennedy and Martin Naughton

Group photo of President Brian MacCraith, Dr. Martin Naughton, President Bill Clinton and Sr Stanislaus Kennedy

Dublin City University has today paid tribute to President William J Clinton, 42nd President of the United States; Sr Stanislaus Kennedy, social innovator and Mr Martin Naughton, entrepreneur and founder of Glen Dimplex.

The trio were conferred with honorary doctorates (Doctor of Philosophy honoris causa) at a special ceremony in the Helix.

Speaking at this afternoon's honorary conferring President of Dublin City University, Prof Brian MacCraith said:

"We have listened to the wonderful tributes to each of our honorary graduates- tributes that have captured their outstanding achievements and their impact.  Their outstanding achievements are not in doubt. But there is a common thread between them. Each has a particular passion for Ireland.  Each in his or own way is an innovator, a creative problem solver.  Martin- a technology innovator, Sr Stan a social innovator and Bill, an innovator for peace.   Each has taken risks to advance a vision. Each, in the words of Seamus Heaney, believing, "that a further shore is reachable from here" "

Mr Martin Naughton

Professor Patrick Flood of DCU Business delivered the citation for Mr Naughton, a business innovator who has grown one of Ireland’s most successful international businesses, Glen Dimplex.

"Martin received very little handed to him on a silver platter and has been described as a “self-made” man."

His global business success has been, in large measure, due to his vision, his perseverance, his dedicated focus on research and development and his ability to motivate and bring people with him on an extraordinary business success story.

His business, Glen Dimplex, provides employment for more than 10,000 employees worldwide with extensive state of the art research and development facilities based in Dunleer, County Louth.

This growth has been achieved through the exercise of the Naughton family ethos of honesty, morality, decency and integrity.

Glen Dimplex grew from humble roots in Newry, Co. Down to become the global leader in electric heating.”

Addressing DCU’s students, Mr Naughton offered some advice:

“You are a very talented group, if you want to be an interesting person and do interesting things, then mix with interesting people and do interesting things.

We want to make Ireland an exceptional country that we can all be proud of – so do go away for work experience by all means but please come home, we need you to achieve our national potential.”

Sr Stanislaus Kennedy

Dr Emer Ní Bhrádaigh of DCU’s School of Fiontar agus Gaeilge delivered the citation on behalf of Sr Stanislaus in honour of her work in challenging social inequality, particularly in the area of homelessness.

“Sr Stanislaus Kennedy is best known for her longstanding work with the homeless and the marginalised, her popular publications on spirituality, and her thoughtful and energetic achievements in social justice.  She carries the baton in the long history of many members of religious orders over the last few centuries who have set up new innovative social ventures providing solutions to social problems.  Her core commitment is to equality and to self-respect and dignity for all members of society, regardless of their abilities or disabilities, their faith or ethos.  She sees the stillness and beauty within all people and encourages us all to do so. In her own words, ‘Through listening you can learn how to rise above adversity, and learn to truly value other people who are very different from you.”

Sr Stan said:

“I am honoured and humbled by this and I accept it on behalf of the people who have come to me looking for help, support and justice over the years.’

She further highlighted the enormous contribution of young people and how this led to the foundation of the Young Social Innovators of Ireland, “supporting young people to be active citizens, leaders of the future who will work for a fair and just society.”

President Bill Clinton

Delivering the citation for President Clinton, Professor Gary Murphy of DCU School of Law & Government, praised the former President’s personal leadership in building and consolidating peace and reconciliation on the island of Ireland,

“Peace-making is always difficult, but there can be little doubt that the conflict in Northern Ireland was ultimately resolved because that great beacon of liberty, the United States of America, decided that it could use its influence to make the vital difference.

That fateful decision was taken in the Oval Office by President Bill Clinton.

It was a decision he did not have to make. There was no real electoral gain for him in taking it. If anything his initial forays into the Northern Ireland peace process were greeted with scepticism by both republicans and unionists in Northern Ireland and by downright distrust and suspicion in the corridors of power in London. But Bill Clinton persevered, and thanks to that perseverance we have peace in Ireland today.”

President Clinton responded by saying:

“The Good Friday Accord basically recognised that, in an interdependent world, the great trick is to own your own identity, embrace your own tribe, but form a community in which what you have in common with those you can’t get away from is more important than your differences. That is all it was.”

He added that “there had never been a peace agreement like it in the world. I used you [as an example] shamelessly everywhere I could.”

Speaking about the inequalities and divisions around the world, he said that “all partnerships that are community based are held together, not because everybody agrees with everybody else, not because we don’t still have our particular identities, but because cooperation is better than conflict or isolation in any environment in which you must be in touch with others.” Ultimately “diverse groups make better decisions”.

Mr. Martin Naughton's Citation

Sr. Stanislaus Kennedy's Citation

President Bill Clinton's Citation 

17th of October 2017

DCU honours contributions to sport, education, music and culture.

Group photo 12.09.17

Dublin City University paid tribute to Olympian Sonia O’Sullivan, educationalist Prof John Coolahan and cultural activist Labhrás Ó Murchú by conferring them with Honorary Doctorates today (Tuesday, September 12th).

President of Dublin City University, Professor Brian MacCraith said:

"The contributions of each of our recipients have had an enormous impact on the lives of so many people throughout the world.  Each of today's graduands is an embodiment of dedication, commitment, passion and hard work and each has added significantly to the educational, sporting and cultural       landscape of Ireland.  Positive role models in today’s world are important and I know that today’s graduands serve as superb examples to our students to continuously challenge themselves, to strive for new opportunities and to make their mark in the world.”

Sonia O’Sullivan, a four-time Olympian and World, European and Irish athletics champion was honoured for her outstanding track and field achievements. During her career O’Sullivan competed at four Olympic Games, six World Cross Country Championships and five European Championships, medalling eleven times. She is also the holder of nine Irish national records. Since retiring, O’Sullivan has served as a mentor for many athletes and also served as Chef de Mission for Team Ireland at the London Olympics 2012.

Described as Ireland’s foremost educationalist, Professor John Coolahan has been instrumental in transforming the educational landscape in Ireland over the past four decades.

Coolahan taught at primary and post-primary level before moving to a career in teacher education and retiring as a Professor of Education in 2004 at Maynooth University.

He has been described as the “principal mover in every major piece of education legislation over the last four decades” serving on a succession of commissions and reviews and establishing various organisations, including the Teaching Council in 2001.

Recognised nationally and internationally as a social innovator and cultural activist, Labhrás Ó Murchú has served as the Ardstiúrthóir of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann since 1968.

Ó Murchú has dedicated his life to public service and to the promotion and growth of Irish music at home and across the globe. Under his stewardship, Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann has become an international movement promoting traditional Irish music and culture in 400 branches across Europe, North and South America, Asia and Australia.

DCU honours acclaimed actor, Olwen Fouéré and Holocaust survivor, Tomi Reichental

 Honorary Conferring 2nd April 2016

Dublin City University yesterday paid tribute to award-winning actress, Olwen Fouéré and Holocaust survivor, Tomi Reichental by conferring them with honorary doctorates at the university’s March graduation ceremony.

Olwen Fouéré, a multi-award winning actor, writer, director and creative artist, was recognised for her outstanding outstanding services to her profession.  Delivering her citation, Marina Carr, playwright and DCU’s Writer-in-Residence highlighted Olwen’s significant contribution to theatre, the arts and culture in Ireland,

“In a long and distinguished career, spanning four decades, her incredible gifts and power and chameleon-like qualities have allowed her to navigate not only theatre, both mainstream and experimental, but also the visual arts, music, dance, opera, film and literature. Olwen’s focus is on making Art and in this she is truly a pioneer, a questing spirit, much revered by her contemporaries. She is an aesthetic phenomenon, a national treasure and an inspiration to us all. Olwen Fouéré, we are delighted to have you here in DCU to celebrate your bravery, your artistic generosity and your astonishing gifts.

Olwen was joined at the ceremony by Tomi Reichental, a survivor of the Holocaust, who was imprisoned in Bergen Belsen in 1944, at the age of 9 years. He has received many awards for his work and tireless efforts to promote tolerance and to educate young people about the importance of remembrance and reconciliation has made him one of the most inspirational figures in modern Ireland.

Professor Gary Murphy, Head of DCU’s School of Law & Government said,

“In the past number of years Tomi Reichental has proven to be one of the most inspirational figures in modern Ireland. His effort to ensure that the important themes of remembrance, forgiveness, conflict resolution and reconciliation remain to the forefront of modern Irish thought is truly important. In an age where we see horrific pictures of refugees attempting to flee appalling regimes to find sanctuary in the West, Tomi Reichental is a vivid example of the positive impact refugees make to modern Irish society. Honouring Tomi Reichental with the highest honour that Dublin City University can bestow is a fitting tribute to Tomi and his work. It also expresses this University’s commitment to multiculturalism and inclusion and showcases our solidarity with the plight of refugees today, who seek a better life, as Tomi and his family did over fifty years ago.”

Olwen Fouéré's Citation

Tomi Reichental's Citation

2nd April 2016

DCU honours top female astrophysicist.


Dublin City University has today paid tribute to Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell, the Northern Ireland-born astrophysicist, in recognition of her life’s work in the field of astronomy and astrophysics, her commitment to science communication and her advocacy for women in the field of science.

Professor Brian MacCraith, President of DCU highlighted the importance of Dame Jocelyn’s role in addressing the issue of poor representation of women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths careers,

“One of the biggest issues in this area is the relatively poor take up of STEM degrees and STEM careers by young women. Lower than 15% in many degree programmes – lower than 25% across all STEM careers in Ireland.  Apart from equity issues, this is a horrendous waste of talent.  Dame Jocelyn has been to the fore publicly and internationally in highlighting, in acting willingly as a role model and, most of all, pursuing relentlessly the advancement of Women in Science.”

Accepting an honorary doctorate from the university, Dame Jocelyn spoke of her pride in receiving this accolade and encouraged the graduating students to believe in themselves and to guard against imposter syndrome,

“You have a right to be here, you will have a right to be here wherever you go next and I hope it goes well for you.”

Professor Bell Burnell inadvertently discovered pulsars as a graduate student in radio astronomy in Cambridge, opening up a new branch of astrophysics - work recognised by the award of a Nobel Prize to her supervisor.

She has subsequently worked in many roles in many branches of astronomy, working part-time while raising a family.  She is now a Visiting Professor in Oxford, a Pro-Chancellor of Trinity College Dublin and the first female President of the royal Society of Edinburgh - Scotland’s Academy.

Much in demand as a speaker and broadcaster, in her spare time she gardens, listens to choral music and is active in the Quakers.  She has co-edited an anthology of poetry with an astronomical theme - Dark Matter:  Poems of Space.

Professor Colette McDonagh of DCU’s School of Physical Sciences said,

“Dame Jocelyn is a world-class scientist, is Irish-born and makes frequent visits to Ireland.  Her scientific achievements and her passion for, and contribution to, science communication and the advancement of women in science, resonate well with the culture, values and ethos of this university, and merit the award of the highest honour that Dublin City University can bestow.”

Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell's Citation

5th November, 2015

DCU Confers Honorary Degree on Mr. Brian Cody, Dr. Pearse Lyons and Dr. Margaret MacCurtain.

Honorary Conferring February 2015


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.”

Brian Cody's Citation

Dr. Pearse Lyon's Citation

Dr. Margaret MacCurtain's Citation

The Hon Mrs Justice Susan Denham and Dr Dermot Lane receive an honorary degree from DCU.

Dr Susan Denham and Dr Dermot Lane

As part of DCU’s Autumn conferring ceremonies DCU President, Professor Brian MacCraith, awarded an honorary degree on The Hon. Mrs Justice Susan Denham and Dr Dermot Lane. The ceremony took place on Thursday, 6th November in the Helix, DCU.

The Hon. Mrs Justice Susan Denham was awarded the Doctor of Philosophy (honoris causa) in recognition of her distinguished career and outstanding contributions and impact on the court structures in Ireland.

Dr Dermot Lane received the award in acknowledgment of his outstanding efforts and contribution to shaping the present understanding of religious education in Ireland.

Speaking at the ceremony Professor Brian MacCraith, President of DCU, said that “Chief Justice Denham and Dr Lane, through your commitment to excellence combined with your focus on issues of societal importance, and for all the reasons that we heard in your wonderful citations earlier, you are magnificent role models for both our students and our graduates here today.”

The Hon. Mrs Justice Susan Denham Citation
Dr Dermot Lane Citation

6th November 2014


DCU Confers Honorary Degree on Professor Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Laureate and Social Entrepreneur.

On Saturday, 18th October 2014, DCU conferred the award of Doctor of Philosophy (D. Phil. Honoris Causa) on Professor Muhammad Yunus at a special Convocation ceremony in the Helix.

Speaking at the ceremony Dr Martin McAleese, Chancellor of DCU said, “Muhammad Yunus is an uncompromising advocate of the right of every single human being to respect for their dignity, access to education, work and a reasonable standard of living for themselves and their children, and importantly the right not to depend on charity or handouts for any of these things. In short, the opportunity to realise their potential and to achieve a fulfilled life.

Prof Muhammad Yunus Citation

18th October 2014

Senator George J. Mitchell receives an honorary degree from DCU.

George Mitchell

DCU conferred an honorary degree on Senator George J. Mitchell on Friday, 13th December, in recognition to his outstanding service in the cause of peace.

Senator Mitchell served as Independent Chairman of the Northern Ireland Peace Talks, successfully negotiating the Good Friday Agreement.

Dr Martin McAleese, Chancellor of DCU, remarked that Senator Mitchell “helped make possible what many believed to be impossible – against all the odds and the force of history itself – delivered an agreement which paved the way to a lasting peace.”

13th December 2013

DCU Confers honorary degrees on leading Irish Sports Personalities, Sean Kelly, Brian O'Driscoll and Katie Taylor.

DCU Sports Conferring

On Wednesday, 13th November, DCU conferred honorary degrees on three of Ireland’s leading sports personalities, Sean Kelly, Brian O’Driscoll and Katie Taylor. Katie Taylor’s degree was awarded in absentia.

Professor Brian MacCraith, President of DCU, reflected on the importance of sport within DCU and the role it can play in young people’s lives. Speaking about the three honoraries, Prof MacCraith, noted their importance as positive role models, especially for our students.

Read the President’s speech here.

13th November 2013

Dr Tony Scott, co-founder of BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition, awarded an honorary degree by DCU.

Tony Scott

As part of DCU’s Autumn conferring ceremonies DCU President, Professor Brian MacCraith, awarded an honorary degree on Dr Tony Scott. Dr Scott is co-founder of the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition which celebrates its 50th birthday in January 2014.

On receiving the award Dr Scott said “I am honoured of course, but it is in a sense with humility because really the award is not for me, it is for those sixty five thousand young scientists and on behalf of my late colleague, Fr Tom Burke.”

9th November 2013

DCU Confers Honorary Degrees on Northern Ireland Peacebrokers.

Michael D. Higgins

DCU has conferred honorary degrees on two Northern Ireland Peacebrokers, Seamus Mallon and David Trimble, at a special ceremony in the Helix on the 8th October 2013. Both men received the Doctor of Philosophy (honoris causa) which is the highest award the University bestows. It is awarded in recognition of exceptional individuals who have demonstrated excellence in scholarship, in the profession, in services to the community, to the arts, literature and culture, or in outstanding service to the University.

2013 marks the 15th year anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement. Professor Brian MacCraith, President of DCU said “It is fitting that this year we honour these two men whose commitment to democracy over conflict and to making a difference in society is an inspiration to us all.”

More information is available here

The President's speech is available here

8th October 2013


Honorary Conferring Ceremony in New York.

John Fitzpatrick and Brian O'Dwyer

DCU confers honorary degrees on two leading figures at a ceremony in New York on Tuesday, 11th June. Brian O’Dwyer, Irish-American lawyer, immigration rights lobbyist and adviser to President Bill Clinton on Irish issues, and John Fitzpatrick, hotelier and philanthropist received the awards in recognition of their sustained efforts to improve the lives of others, ranging from work with the American; Ireland Fund, immigration reform, welfare for senior citizens and giving their time and resources to charitable causes in Ireland.

More Information is available here

11th June 2013.

DCU confers honorary degree on Brother Colm O’Connell.

Br Colm O'Connell and David Rudisha

Brother Colm O’Connell, Irish Missionary and coach of five Kenyan Olympic Gold medallists, has been awarded an Honorary Degree by DCU. On hand to witness the event was David Rudisha, world record-holder, winner of the London 2012 800m Gold medal and alumnus of Brother Colm’s world-renowned athletics coaching programme in Kenya’s Rift Valley.

Accepting his honorary degree, Bro Colm said, “It is a very humbling experience for me to stand here today and receive such an honour. When looking down through the list of honorary graduates who have gone before me in being honoured by this distinguished university, I feel, indeed, very happy.”

19th October 2012