Pictured at NUI Galway's Honorary Conferring were (l-r): Phillip Smyth, Director of the Shannon College of Hotel Management; Billy Lawless, Chicago-based Galway-born Businessman and Vice-President of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights; Áine Brazil, Vice Chairman of Thornton Tomasetti, New York, USA; Dr Jim Browne, NUI Galway President; and Svante Pääbo, Swedish biologist and Director at the Max-Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany.
Jun 09 2015 Posted: 10:21 IST

Áine Brazil, Billy Lawless, Svante Pääbo and Phillip Smyth to be conferred with Honorary Doctorates

To view a video of the Honorary Conferring proceedings click here

NUI Galway has announced the recipients of the 2015 Honorary Degrees. The four individuals to be conferred on Friday, 12 June are Áine Brazil, Vice Chairman of Thornton Tomasetti, New York, USA; Billy Lawless, Chicago-based Galway-born Businessman and Vice-President of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights; Svante Pääbo, Swedish biologist and Director at the Max-Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany; and Phillip Smyth, Director of the Shannon College of Hotel Management.

NUI Galway President, Dr Jim Browne, speaking in advance of the conferring ceremony, said:  “NUI Galway is fortunate to be associated with many outstanding honorary graduates throughout its history and those being honoured this year form a particularly distinguished group. Each one has made an outstanding and distinctive contribution to the diverse fields of engineering, public life, genetic science and the international hospitality industry. NUI Galway is very pleased to be in a position to recognise these exceptional individuals.”

Áine Brazil will be conferred with a Degree of Doctor of Engineering (honoris causa). In a career of over 30 years with Thornton Tomasetti, Áine has been responsible for the design and construction of high-rise buildings, air-rights projects with long-span transfer systems, and a mix of educational, institutional, healthcare and hospitality projects. She has received many awards from business and real estate organisations and held leadership roles in structural and resiliency code development in New York City. She was the first president of the Structural Engineers Association of New York. A native of Galway City, Áine obtained her Bachelor of Engineering from NUI Galway, and a Masters degree in structural engineering from Imperial College in London.

Billy Lawless will be conferred with a Degree of Doctor of Laws (honoris causa). Born in Galway city, where he began his career in the hospitality business, in 1998 he emigrated to Chicago and opened a number of businesses and formed the Chicago Irish Pub/Restaurant Association in 2001. Billy has been a member of the Executive Committee of the Board of the Illinois Restaurant Association since 2010. He founded the Chicago Celts for Immigration Reform, is Vice-President of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, a founding member of the Illinois Business Immigration Coalition, a member of the National Democratic Ethnic Coordinating Council and Co-Chair of the Immigration Committee. Billy has always been committed to developing strong links between Chicago and Galway and he has served as Co-Chairman of the Galway Chicago Sister Cities Committee since 1998. In May 2015 he became a Freeman of the City of Galway.

Svante Pääbo will be conferred with a Degree of Doctor of Science (honoris causa). Born in Stockholm, Svante is regarded as one of the founders of the field of paleogenetics. He has worked extensively on the Neanderthal genome and has developed techniques that allow DNA sequences from extinct creatures such as mammoths, ground sloths and Neanderthals to be determined. He was elected a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and has received numerous awards including: the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, which is the highest honour awarded in German research; the Kistler Prize for his work isolating and sequencing ancient DNA; the Theodor Bücher Medal for outstanding achievements in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology; and the Gruber Prize in Genetics for ground breaking research in evolutionary genetics.

Phillip Smyth will be conferred with a Degree of Doctor of Laws (honoris causa). A graduate of NUI Galway, Phillip served as an officer in the Irish Army for 17 years reaching the rank of Commandant and serving with the United Nations in Lebanon. He worked as a lecturer in the Military College and was involved in the training of non-commissioned officers. Since taking over the directorship of Shannon College in 1989 Phillip has developed the college from a small private hotel school to a world renowned Recognised College of the National University of Ireland. Under Phillip’s direction the next milestone in the College’s future is the imminent incorporation of Shannon College of Hotel Management into NUI Galway, whilst remaining in its historical location at Shannon Airport. Phillip is a fellow of the Irish Hospitality Institute and was recently appointed to the Council.

The four graduands join the ranks of previous honorary alumni which include, among many others, Nelson Mandela, Hilary Clinton, Christy O’Connor Snr and Jnr, Enya, Anjelica Huston, Fionnuala Flanagan and Margaret Atwood.

-Ends-

Céimithe Oinigh 2015 Fógartha ag OÉ Gaillimh

Dochtúireachtaí Oinigh le bronnadh ar Áine Brazil, Billy Lawless, Svante Pääbo agus Phillip Smyth

D’fhógair OÉ Gaillimh inniu na daoine a mbronnfar Céimeanna Oinigh 2015 orthu. Is iad an ceathrar a bhfuil céimeanna le bronnadh orthu Dé hAoine, an 12 Meitheamh Áine Brazil, Leas-Chathaoirleach Thornton Tomasetti, Nua-Eabhrac, SAM; Billy Lawless, fear gnó a rugadh i nGaillimh ach atá ag cur faoi in Chicago agus atá ina Leas-Uachtarán ar an Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights; Svante Pääbo, bitheolaí as an tSualainn agus Stiúrthóir ar Institiúid Max-Planck don Antraipeolaíocht Éabhlóideach in Leipzig sa Ghearmáin; agus Phillip Smyth, Stiúrthóir Choláiste Bainistíochta Óstáin Shionainne.

Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an Dr Jim Browne, agus é ag labhairt roimh an searmanas bronnta:  “Tá an t-ádh le OÉ Gaillimh céimithe oinigh den scoth a bheith aici in imeacht na mblianta ach is eisceacht céimithe oinigh na bliana seo. Tá a chion féin déanta ag gach céimí oinigh daoibh i réimsí éagsúla na hinnealtóireachta, an tsaoil phoiblí, na heolaíochta géinití agus thionscal idirnáisiúnta an fháilteachais. Tá an-áthas ar OÉ Gaillimh a bheith in ann aitheantas a thabhairt do na daoine eisceachtúla seo.”

Bronnfar Céim Dhochtúireachta le hInnealtóireacht (honoris causa) ar Áine Brazil. Tá os cionn 30 bliain caite ag Áine le Thornton Tomasetti agus í freagrach as foirgnimh ollmhóra a dhearadh agus a thógáil, tionscadail chearta aeir le córais aistrithe fhadtréimhseacha, agus tionscadail oideachais, institiúideacha, chúraim sláinte agus fáilteachais. Is iomaí gradam atá bronnta uirthi ag eagraíochtaí gnó agus eastáit réadaí agus bhí róil cheannaireachta aici i bhforbairt cóid struchtúrtha agus athléimhnigh i gCathair Nua-Eabhrac. Ba í an chéad uachtarán í ar Structural Engineers Association Nua-Eabhrac. Is as Gaillimh ó dhúchas d'Áine. Bhain sí Baitsiléir Innealtóireachta amach ó OÉ Gaillimh agus céim Mháistreachta in innealtóireacht struchtúr ón Imperial College i Londain.

Bronnfar Céim Dhochtúireachta le Dlíthe (honoris causa) ar Billy Lawless. Rugadh é i gCathair na Gaillimhe áit ar chuir sé tús lena ghairm i ngnó an fháilteachais. I 1998, chuaigh sé ar imirce go Chicago agus d'oscail sé slám gnóthaí. Bhunaigh sé an Chicago Irish Pub/Restaurant Association in 2001. Tá Billy ar Choiste Feidhmiúcháin an Illinois Restaurant Association ó 2010. Bhunaigh sé an Chicago Celts for Immigration Reform, tá sé ina Leas-Uachtarán ar an Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, tá sé ar dhuine de bhunaitheoirí an Illinois Business Immigration Coalition, ina chomhalta den National Democratic Ethnic Coordinating Council agus ina Chomh-Chathaoirleach den Immigration Committee. Bíonn Billy i gcónaí ar a mhíle dícheall ag iarraidh nasc láidir a chothú idir Chicago agus Galway agus tá sé ina Chomh-Chathaoirleach ar Choiste Comhchathracha na Gaillimhe-Chicago ó 1998. I mí na Bealtaine 2015, rinneadh saor de chuid Chathair na Gaillimhe de.

Bronnfar Céim Dhochtúireachta le hEolaíocht (honoris causa) ar Svante Pääbo. Rugadh Svante i Stocólm agus meastar go bhfuil sé ar dhuine de bhunaitheoirí réimse na pailéighéineolaíochta. Tá lear mór oibre déanta aige ar an ngéanóm Néandartálach agus tá teicnící forbartha aige chun seichimh DNA as ainmhithe díofa cosúil le mamait, spadán talún agus Néandartálaigh a aithint. Toghadh é ar Acadamh Ríoga Eolaíochtaí na Sualainne agus is iomaí gradam atá bainte aige cosúil le: Gradam Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz ón Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, an gradam is airde a bhronntar ar thaighde sa Ghearmáin; Gradam Kistler as a shaothar ag aonrú agus ag seicheamhú an DNA ársa; Bonn Theodor Bücher as éachtaí móra sa Bhithcheimic agus sa Bhitheolaíocht Mhóilíneach; agus Gradam Gruber sa Ghéineolaíocht as taighde ceannródaíoch i ngéineolaíocht éabhlóideach.

Bronnfar Céim Dhochtúireachta le Dlíthe (honoris causa) ar Phillip Smyth. Céimí de chuid OÉ Gaillimh é Phillip agus rinne sé a chion mar oifigeach in Arm na hÉireann le 17 mbliana. Bhí sé ina Cheannfort faoi dheireadh agus rinne sé seal leis na Náisiúin Aontaithe sa Liobáin. Bhí sé ina léachtóir sa Choláiste Míleata agus bhíodh sé ag traenáil na n-oifigeach neamhchoimisiúnaithe. Ó ghlac sé stiúir ar Choláiste Shionainne i 1989 tá an coláiste athraithe ag Phillip ó scoil bheag phríobháideach go Coláiste Aitheanta de chuid Ollscoil na hÉireann. Faoi stiúir Phillip is é an chéad chéim eile Coláiste Bainistíochta Óstáin Shionainne a bheith mar chuid de OÉ Gaillimh ach fanacht ag Aerfort na Sionna ag an am céanna. Tá Phillip ina chomhalta d'Institiúid Aíochta na hÉireann agus ceapadh é ar an gComhairle le gairid.

Beidh an ceathrar seo anois i measc céimithe oinigh mór le rá a tháinig rompu cosúil le Nelson Mandela, Hilary Clinton, Christy O’Connor Sinsear agus Sóisear, Enya, Anjelica Huston, Fionnuala Flanagan agus Margaret Atwood.

-Críoch-

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