NUI Galway to Honour Individuals for their Outstanding Contribution

Tuesday, 18 June 2002

release date: 18 June, 2002

NUI Galway to Honour Individuals for their Outstanding Contribution to Society

One of the most successful Irish-American politicians of his generation and a man who has close links with Galway, will be among six people who will be conferred with Honorary Degrees at NUI, Galway on Friday, 28 June, 2002. William (Bill) Bulger was President of the Massachusetts Senate from 1978 to 1996, making him the longest-serving holder of that office in the history of the State. During his long and illustrious career as Senate President, William Bulger oversaw the introduction of legislation for improved education and healthcare services in Massachusetts, paying special attention to the needs of the poor and disadvantaged. In 1996, he became the twenty-fourth President of the University of Massachusetts. Under his leadership, the University has made significant progress, in terms of academic activity, research funding and private support.

William Bulger grew up in South Boston, which had one of the strongest Irish communities in the US. He married Mary Foley, whose mother Sarah came from Carna, Co Galway and they have nine children. The Senator and his wife retain strong links with the west of Ireland, which they have visited on a number of occasions.

Another person who has made an extraordinary contribution to her community and who will be conferred with an Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree is Sister Helen Prejean. About twenty years ago, Sr. Helen began ministering to persons sentenced to death in Louisiana penitentiaries. She wrote about her experiences in her best-selling book, Dead Man Walking, which was adapted and turned into the Oscar-winning film of the same name, starring Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn. Sr. Helen is a member of an inner-city religious community in New Orleans, Louisiana. Her encounters with Louisiana's death row soon focussed her phenomenal energies and charismatic persona onto the more general issue of capital punishment. She is currently one of the leading activists in the United States and internationally for the abolition of the death penalty.

Ali Hewson and Adi Roche, of the Chernobyl Children's Project, are household names in Ireland for their tireless efforts in alleviating the suffering of the victims of one of the world's most famous nuclear accidents. Ali Hewson is the Chernobyl Children's Project active and working patron and is deeply involved, with Adi Roche, in every aspect of the project. Adi Roche is the founder of the Chernobyl Children's Project. Under her leadership, the Project has initiated sixteen aid programmes, delivered medical aid valued at over $25m to the areas affected by the nuclear accident and brought over 8,500 children to Ireland for rest and recuperation. Over 60 children have been brought to Ireland for life-saving operations and treatment. In 1998, Adi Roche received Belarus' s highest national honour, the Frantsysk Skrayna Order for her outstanding contribution to the life of the Belarussian people. More recently, Ali Hewson has spearheaded a postcard campaign to persuade the British Government to close the nuclear power plant at Sellafield. An Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws will be conferred on both women.

Dr Rosa Gonzalez-Casademont, is Professor of English at the University of Barcelona. She will be conferred with an Honorary Doctor of Literature Degree. Dr Gonzalez-Casademont is well known in Spain for her work in promoting the study and appreciation of Irish literature and film and was responsible for the setting up of the Spanish Association of Irish Studies in 2001.

Professor Salvatore Rionero is Professor of Rational Mechanics at the University of Naples. Since 1980, he has been Director of the annual International Summer School in Mathematical Physics at Ravello, at which scientists from NUI Galway and UCD have given courses. Professor Rionero is Author/Co-author of over one hundred papers and numerous books and has made many distinguished research contributions in the areas of non-linear stability of viscous fluids and qualitative estimates for partial differential equations. He will be conferred with an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Science.

Ends

Information from:Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI, Galway.Tel. 091 750418

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