Honorary Degrees from the National University of Ireland will be conferred on five distinguished figures today, Friday 17 May 2002, at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth. The Degree of Doctor of Celtic Studies will be conferred on Diarmuid Breathnach and Máire Ní Mhurchú, co-authors of Beathaisnéis, the national biography of those involved in the Irish language movement. The Degree of Doctor of Science will be conferred on internationally renowned biotechnologist Professor Martina Newell-McGloughlin, University of California, Davis. The Degree of Doctor of Literature will be conferred on Professor Peter R. Kaim-Caudle, world authority in the field of social policy studies, and on Sister Stella Fitzpatrick, leading Irish geographer.
Diarmuid Breathnach, a native of Kiltymon, Co Wicklow and former Chief Librarian in RTE, and Máire Ní Mhurchú, from Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny, and a former Reference Librarian in RTE, have devoted over 20 years to researching and publishing Beathaisnéis, the multi-volume comprehensive National Biography of those involved in the Irish language movement. Motivated by their tremendous interest in and love of Irish culture they have both worked full time on this project since the late 1980s, recording for posterity historical profiles of over 1,000 people who have played some part, both great and small, in promoting the Irish language. To date, seven volumes have been produced, encompassing the years 1560 to 1982, and they are currently working on Volume 8, which will cover the years 1983 to 2002. Beathnaisnéis stands as a remarkable monument to painstaking research and scholarship and represents a major public service.
Martina Newell-McGloughlin, originally from Headford, Co Galway, is an internationally renowned expert in the field of biotechnology. She holds the Academic Federation position of academic co-ordinator and is the director of two programmes, the Biotechnology Program at the University of California, Davis and the University of California Systemwide Life Sciences Informatics program (LSI) which covers all nine campuses and the three national laboratories. She has published numerous papers, encyclopaedia submissions and three books on biotechnology. She serves on several committees and organisations including the Genomics committee, a WTO Panel on Technology, the International Food Information Council Expert Panel and the United Nations Technology Discussion Panel on Sustainable Agriculture. She is an advisor for development technology organisations in the US and elsewhere. A ‘driving force’ of biotechnology education at University of California, Davis, she has won the 2001 James H. Meyer Distinguished Achievement Award from the UC Davis Academic Federation.
Peter Kaim-Caudle is a leading international scholar in social policy studies with particular reference to comparative social policy. A scholar with trans-national interests and an international reputation who has lectured and published extensively in different countries, he could also be said to be the founder of social policy studies in Ireland. Originally from Berlin, he came to Britain in the nineteen thirties, and spent the greater part of his career at the University of Durham where he established the Department of Social Administration and was the first Professor of Social Administration. In an Irish context, he made a unique and fundamental contribution to the development of social policy studies here and from the mid-nineteen sixties he was a specialist analyst of, and writer on, social policy in this country. A regular visitor to Ireland, he spent two extended periods here, for nine months in 1963 - 1964 at the Economic Research Institute (at it was then), and as a Research Professor at the Economic and Social Research Institute (as it had become) for three years, 1968 - 1971. He was a visiting lecturer in social administration/social policy in the School of Public Administration of the Institute of Public Administration for over twenty years, and while in Ireland he taught at UCC and was an occasional lecturer at all the other universities, including Maynooth.
Sister Stella Fitzpatrick, of the Loreto order, is from Thurles, Co Tipperary. Born in 1917, she is a legendary figure in the field of geography education in Ireland. Former Head of the Department of Geography at Carysfort College of Education, she also taught at primary level in Gorey and Kilkenny, and at second level in Enniscorthy and Balbriggan. Throughout her career she made major contributions to the design of geography curricula, provision of teaching resources and especially the promotion of fieldwork. For several years, she was an active member of the Association of Geography Teachers in Ireland and a regular contributor to their journal Geographical Viewpoint, writing articles which frequently advocated a humanistic perspective long before it became fashionable to do so in mainstream geography. Almost uniquely amongst her contemporaries, she recognised and supported the symbiotic relationship between scholarly research and teaching and under her headship, the Geography Department at Carysfort College would help to provide the new Bachelor of Education programme in the new Recognised Colleges of the National University of Ireland.
Issued by: Communications Office, NUI Maynooth - Eileen Banks, Head of Communications. Tel: 01/7083363; Mobile: 086/8542425