Martin Sheen among first to register as a student at NUI Galway, Ireland

Friday, 1 September 2006

Actor Martin Sheen has registered as an arts student at the National University of Ireland (NUI) Galway, taking classes in English Literature, Philosophy and Oceanography. Star of the acclaimed TV series 'The West Wing', and of many memorable movies including Apocalypse Now and Badlands, Sheen will take a break from his illustrious acting career to immerse himself in campus life.

Martin Sheen is amongst the first of 15,000 students who will register over the coming weeks at NUI Galway. Around 1,500 international students travel to Ireland each year to study at the University, with almost half of those hailing from North America. The rich multi-cultural ambience on campus provides a dynamic backdrop to the student-centred and research-intensive university.

Dr Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh President of NUI Galway warmly welcomed the actor, "We welcome Martin as a student at NUI Galway and the city extends to him a heartfelt Céad Míle Fáilte. Martin joins the thousands of students we welcome at this busy and exciting time of year on campus. We hope he will enjoy being part of our friendly, vibrant and diverse community and wish him well in his academic endeavours."

Apart from the academic subjects he has chosen, Martin Sheen will find other areas of academic discipline in NUI Galway which fit in with his own particular interests such as the work of the Huston School of Film & Digital Media, and the Irish Centre for Human Rights which will touch a chord with his own interest in social justice and civil liberties.

Earlier this year, Martin Sheen was conferred with an honorary degree, by the National University of Ireland (NUI) in recognition of his acting talent and work as a champion of the poor and vulnerable in society. Throughout his life, his actions of non-violent civil disobedience and consistent opposition to war have been the cornerstone of his character.

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About NUI Galway Established in 1845, NUI Galway is one of Ireland's foremost centres of academic excellence. With over 15,000 students, it has a long established reputation for teaching and research excellence in each of its seven faculties – Arts, Science, Commerce, Engineering, Celtic Studies, Medicine & Health Sciences and Law. Firmly established in the top tier of research-intensive universities in Europe, NUI Galway attracts internationally-renowned academics, as well as researchers and students of the highest calibre.

NUI Galway is situated in Galway City on the west coast of Ireland. The 250 acre river-side campus is in close proximity to the Connemara Gaeltacht, the largest Irish-speaking area in the country, which provides a unique dimension to the campus. The regular use of the Irish language is an established part of social and academic life, while the city and university reflect the rich cultural ambience of a bilingual, multi-cultural environment.

About Martin Sheen The star of the popular show 'The West Wing', Martin Sheen was born Ramon Estévez, in 1940, in Dayton, Ohio to immigrant parents: Francisco Estevez from Spain and Mary Ann Phelan from Terryglass, Co Tipperary. Martin was the seventh of 12 children and still has relatives in Ireland.

In 1961, as he began to enjoy the success of his burgeoning career, Martin met Janet Templeton, an Ohio art student studying in New York whom he later married. Together now for over 40 years, they have four children Emilio, Ramon and Renée Estévez and Charlie Sheen, all four of whom have followed in their father's acting footsteps.

Martin Sheen has played more than two hundred screen roles including memorable performances in Badlands, Apocalypse Now, Gandhi, Wall Street, The Missiles of October, Dead Zone and The American President.

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