On Friday, 20 June 2003, Nelson Mandela, Nobel Laureate and former President of South Africa was conferred with an Honorary Doctorate of Laws at the University. Over 1,200 attended the conferring ceremony in Áras na Mac Léinn and almost 3,000 well-wishers lined the route of the Academic Procession. In order to give as many supporters and friends a chance to participate in this special event the University relayed the conferring to lecture halls on campus and hosted (in partnership with HEAnet) the first ever live webcast from NUI Galway.
To get a sense of this historic visit and conferral – you can
Extract from President Ó Muircheartaigh's Citation:
Dr Mandela, your name will henceforth be forever linked with our university. We want you to know that this is much more than mere symbolism, and that your visit helps cement a genuine commitment and engagement of our institution here in Galway to the ideas and values that have shaped your life. As the early years of the new century unfold, the need for such inspiration as you have given is, if anything, greater than ever before. Your visit to Galway today gives us a renewed inspiration to tackle the iniquities that are still, unfortunately, all too pervasive in our world. It serves to highlight how individual resolve and adherence to principle, combined with tenacity and courage, can change the course of history. For tending and propagating the flame of liberty, humanity everywhere is in your debt.