Since 2000 NUI Galway has been annually awarding graduates who as a result of their outstanding contribution to Irish and international life have, in a very special way, honoured their former alma mater. The Aer Arann Sports Award will join the University's seven other Alumni Awards which award excellence in commerce, healthcare, science, engineering, IT, the arts, law and public service.
Announcing the new Award, Professor Gerard Hurley, Vice-President for Strategic Initiatives and External Affairs, NUI Galway, said: "This Sports Award reflects a very strong legacy of past and ongoing NUI Galway sporting accomplishment. We will have a very strong pool of candidates from which to choose our winners. The Award brings to a perfect complement our Awards programme - each reflects a discipline, faculty or walk of life in which NUI Galway students have gone on to excel at national and international level".
Aer Arann Chairman, Mr Pádraig Ó Ceidigh was awarded the Alumni Award for Business and Commerce in 2002. Commenting on the sponsorship of the new Sports Award, he said, "Aer Arann is committed to strengthening the communities in which we do business, and we re proud to be part of this programme. The candidates for the NUI Galway Sports Alumni Award represent a passion for achievement, which is an inspiration to my colleagues in Aer Arann and to me personally."
The Awards will be presented to the distinguished alumni at the University's annual Gala Banquet, which will take place in Galway's Radisson SAS Hotel on Saturday, 1 March, 2008.
Previous NUI Galway Alumni Awards recipients include: Seán O'Rourke, RTÉ journalist; Irial Finan, President, Coca-Cola; and Michael D. Higgins T.D.