23 October 2006: NUI Galway will confer Honorary MA degrees this week on John Cunningham, editor of the Connacht Tribune, and Dónall Ó Luanaigh, former Keeper of Collections at the National Library of Ireland. The ceremonies will take place Monday 23 October and Tuesday 24 October 2006, in conjunction with the Autumn Conferring Ceremonies which will see the graduation of over 4,750 students.
John Cunningham will be recognised for his contribution to civic society through regional and national journalism and for his role as a lecturer of journalism. Since joining the Connacht Tribune as a reporter in the sixties, and as Editor since 1984, John Cunningham has been a consistent and steady presence in Irish journalism. He has also contributed to broadcast journalism as a commentator on RTE current affairs programmes.
For the last 18 years, John has been a lecturer on the MA in Journalism programme at the University, recently adding a module on Government and Politics. According to Bernadette O'Sullivan, Department of Journalism, NUI Galway, "There aren't many who can compete with John Cunningham, and his particular brand of journalism teaching excellence. John is a passionate and gifted media practitioner. He is also a passionate and gifted teacher. Few have that dual talent: the talent for doing the job, and in equal measure, the talent for teaching the profession of journalism."
Dónall Ó Luanaigh will be honoured for his immense contribution to research and scholarship in his role as Keeper of Collections at the National Library of Ireland (NLI). Born and educated in Galway, where he graduated with a Masters in French, Dónall went on to join the staff of the NLI in 1968, until his retirement this year, following 43 years of service. He was the acknowledged expert on the library's collections, and will be particularly remembered for his work on the 'Union list of current periodicals and serials in Irish libraries', and his editorial work on the three-volume 'Supplement to Manuscript Sources for the History of Irish Civilization', published in 1979.
Marie Reddan, Librarian, James Hardiman Library, NUI Galway said, "Dónall has a particular interest in Franco-Irish relations and has published widely on the topic. His attachment to his native city has never waned and he has contributed many articles of Galway interest, in Galway Roots and other publications. He has always been supportive and generous to the James Hardiman Library with his time and specialist knowledge of archives and special collections."