Almost 4,000 students will graduate from NUI Galway during the Autumn Conferring Ceremonies which take place from 19-26 October. NUI Galway will also confer five Honorary Masters Degrees during the ceremonies on Seán Beattie, Helen Meehan, Josie Sheáin Jeaic Mac Donncha, Tom McSweeney and Jim Murren.
Seán Beattie - Honorary Masters of Arts honoris causa: Originally from Derry, Seán taught at second-level school in Derry before becoming a Guidance Counsellor in Carndonagh Community School, Donegal. A member of Donegal Historical Society and the Ulster Local History Trust, he has published several books on Donegal local history and contributed articles to journals and newspapers.
Helen Meehan - Honorary Masters of Arts honoris causa: From Donegal, Helen is a retired primary school teacher. She is recognised as an expert in folklore, genealogy and local history in County Donegal. A published author, she is currently President of the Donegal Historical Society and a contributor to local TV and radio news.
Josie Sheáin Jeaic Mac Donncha - Honorary Masters of Arts honoris causa: Sean-nós singer from Aird Thiar in Carna. He has won Corn Uí Riada three times. He has numerous recordings completed. He also has a wide knowledge of folklore and the traditions of Iorras Aithneach. He has toured Scotland and North Africa. He was the University singer in residence in the Irish Studies Centre in 2002.
Tom McSweeney - Honorary Masters of Science honoris causa: Former RTÉ regional correspondent for Cork, in 1998 was RTÉ’s first Marine Correspondent, reporting on fishing and industries, leisure marine industry and coastal nature of Ireland on TV news, contributions to Nationwide and particularly the radio programme, Seascapes, for over 1000 programmes. Tom won Maritime Person of the Year in 2008. An experienced sailor, he completed the Round Ireland Race twice, and sailed the Atlantic from Florida to the UK. Tom retired from RTÉ in 2010, and runs Seascapes Maritime Media and is Special Correspondent with The Marine Times.
Jim Murren- Honorary Masters in Commerce honoris causa: Former Regional Manager for Industrial Development Authority (IDA) western region and Committee member of Galway Science and Technology Forum, Mayo County Development Board, Galway City Community Forum, Galway County Development Board and Galway 2040.
Commenting on the conferring of this year's graduands, Dr Jim Browne, President of NUI Galway, said: “NUI Galway is fortunate to be associated with many outstanding honorary graduates throughout its history. This week we are proud to honour Seán Beattie, Helen Meehan, Tom MacSweeney, Jim Murren and Josie Sheáin Jeaic Mac Donncha. Each of these honorees share a passion for our region and its development. Whether by chronicling local history in Donegal, pioneering the development of the marine sector, championing the industrial potential of the West, or by nurturing the song tradition of the Gaeltacht each of these worthy individuals has enriched the life of our region. NUI Galway is very pleased to be in a position to recognise their exceptional talents and achievements.”
The annual Autumn Conferring Ceremonies will begin with the Adult and Continuing Education ceremonies, where awards will be conferred on over 900 students who completed their certificate, diploma and degree courses at many locations across the country.