NUI Galway Confers Honorary Degrees on Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, Lt. Gen. Seán McCann and Finian O’Sullivan

Friday, 27 June 2014

Finian O’Sullivan, Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn and Lt. Gen. Seán McCann with members of Irish Defence Forces’ Band Two Brigade, Ronan Corrigan and Robert Matthews.
Finian O’Sullivan, Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn and Lt. Gen. Seán McCann with members of Irish Defence Forces’ Band Two Brigade, Ronan Corrigan and Robert Matthews.

NUI Galway today conferred three outstanding individuals with honorary degrees. Those conferred were: Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, EU Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science; Lt. Gen. Sean McCann retired Chief of Staff of the Irish Defence Forces; and Finian O’Sullivan Founder of Burren Energy Plc..

NUI Galway President, Dr Jim Browne, speaking at 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 political life, public policy and the international oil industry. NUI Galway is very pleased to be in a position to recognise these exceptional individuals.”

Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn was conferred with a Degree of Doctor of Laws (honoris causa). A native of Carna, Co. Galway, Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn is the current EU Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science. She is a former TD for Galway West (1977-1997) and was the first woman Cabinet Minister since the foundation of the State. Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn is also a former columnist with The Irish Times, TV presenter, and non-executive director of both Aer Lingus and Ryan Hotels. She is a former Member of the EU Court of Auditors and a former Member of the Governing Authority of NUI Galway.

Lt. Gen. Seán McCannwas conferred with a Degree of Doctor of Laws (honoris causa). Recently retired Chief of Staff of the Irish Defence Forces, Lt. Gen. McCann was among the first of the Cadet classes to attend what was then UCG, and graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce degree in 1974. He is a graduate of the United States Command and General Staff College and was inducted into their International Hall of Fame in 2011. He served overseas on six occasions and led the Defence Forces during the historic initial deployment of Irish personnel to Mali and Syria in particularly challenging operational environments. He is being honoured in recognition of the strong relationship between the Army and NUI Galway since 1969. Lt. Gen. McCann was the first NUI Galway graduate to hold the post of Chief of Staff of the Irish Defence Forces. He was born in Cork but grew up in Tipperary.

Finian O’Sullivan was conferred with a Degree of Doctor of Science (honoris causa). A Science alumnus of NUI Galway, he worked with Chevron as part of their frontier exploration and development team concentrating on the arctic and western plain of Canada. In 1980 he joined the oil service company United Geophysical in California undertaking exploration around the eastern hemisphere. Moving to Australia in 1982 he led Geophysical Systems Corporation operations expanding through the region to India, China and Thailand. Following a period with Olympic Oil and Gas Corporation in Houston, while based in London, Finian set up on his own, Burren Energy Plc which developed and discovered hydrocarbon resources in Central Asia, India and West Africa in addition to a shipping and trading venture in the Caspian region. Burren Energy Plc was sold to ENI in 2008 and Finian joined the Bayfield Group in July 2008. Finian was also an NUI Galway Alumni Award Winner in 2009.

The three 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.

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Bronnann OÉ Gaillimh Céimeanna Oinigh ar an gCoimisinéir Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, Lt. Gen. Seán McCann agus Finian O’Sullivan

Bhronn OÉ Gaillimh céimeanna oinigh ar thriúr den scoth inniu Is iad na céimithe oinigh: Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, Coimisinéir an AE do Thaighde, Nuálaíocht agus Eolaíocht; Lt. Gen. Sean McCann, iar-Cheann Foirne Fhórsaí Cosanta na hÉireann; agus Finian O’Sullivan a bhunaigh Burren Energy Plc..

Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an Dr Jim Browne, ag an searmanas: “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 c(h)ion féin déanta ag gach céimí oinigh daoibh i réimsí éagsúla na polaitíochta, an bheartais phoiblí agus thionscal idirnáisiúntas na hola. Tá an-áthas ar OÉ Gaillimh a bheith in ann aitheantas a thabhairt do na daoine eisceachtúla seo.”

Bronnadh Céim Dhochtúireachta le Dlíthe (honoris causa) ar an gCoimisinéir Máire Geoghegan-Quinn. Is as Carna, Co. na Gaillimhe ó dhúchas don Choimisinéir Geoghegan-Quinn agus is í atá ina Coimisinéir Eorpach um Thaighde, Nuálaíocht agus Eolaíocht faoi láthair. Bhí sí ina TD do Ghaillimh Thiar ó 1977-1997 agus ba í an chéad bhean í le bheith ina hAire Rialtais ó bunaíodh an Stát. Bhí sí ina colúnaí chomh maith leis an Irish Times; ina láithreoir teilifíse; agus ina stiúrthóir neamhfheidhmiúcháin ar Aer Lingus agus Ryan Hotels. Is iar-Chomhalta í de Chúirt Iniúchóirí an AE agus iar-Chomhalta d'Údarás na hOllscoile in OÉ Gaillimh chomh maith.

Bronnadh Céim Dhochtúireachta le Dlíthe (honoris causa) ar an Leifteanant-Ghinearál Seán McCann Bhí Leifteanant-Ghinearál Seán McCann, iar-Cheann Foirne Fhórsaí Cosanta na hÉireann, i gceann de na chéad ranganna do mhic léinn an Airm in UCG ag an am, agus bronnadh céim Thráchtála air i 1974. D'fhreastail sé ar Command and General Staff College Stáit Aontaithe Mheiriceá agus glacadh leis san International Hall of Fame in 2011. Thug sé seirbhís thar lear sé bhabhta agus bhí sé i gceannas ar na Fórsaí Cosanta nuair a cuireadh comhaltaí na hÉireann go Mailí agus go dtí an tSiria den chéad uair ag tráth a bhí thar a bheith dúshlánach. Tá an onóir seo á bronnadh air mar aitheantas ar an ngaol láidir idir an tArm agus OÉ Gaillimh ó 1969. Is é an Lt. Gen. McCann an chéad chéimí de chuid OÉ Gaillimh a bhí ina Cheann Foirne ar Fhórsaí Cosanta na hÉireann. Rugadh i gCorcaigh é ach d'fhás sé aníos i dTiobraid Árann.

Bronnadh Céim Dhochtúireachta le hEolaíocht (honoris causa) ar Finian O’Sullivan. Alumni Eolaíochta de chuid OÉ Gaillimh é. D'oibrigh sé do Chevron ar an bhfoireann taiscéalaíochta agus forbartha imeallchríche timpeall ar an Artach agus ar mhachairí thiar Cheanada. I 1980, thosaigh sé ag obair leis an gcuideachta seirbhíse ola United Geophysical in California i mbun taiscéalaíochta timpeall ar an leathsféar thoir. Bhog sé go dtí an Astráil i 1982 áit a raibh sé i gceannas ar oibríochtaí  Geophysical Systems Corporation á leathnú amach chuig an India, an tSín agus an Téalainn. I ndiaidh seal a chaitheamh le Olympic Oil and Gas Corporation in Houston, agus é lonnaithe i Londain, bhunaigh Finian a chuideachta féin, Burren Energy Plc a bhí i mbun acmhainní hidreacarbóin a aimsiú agus a fhorbairt san Áise Láir, in India agus san Afraic Thiar chomh maith le fiontar loingseoireachta agus trádála sa réigiún mórthimpeall ar an Muir Chaisp. Díoladh Burren Energy Plc le ENI in 2008 agus thosaigh Finian ag obair leis an Bayfield Group i mí Iúil 2008. Bronnadh Gradam Alumni OÉ Gaillimh ar Finian in 2009.

Beidh an triúr seo anois i measc céimithe oinigh eile 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-

Keywords: Press

Author: Marketing and Communications Office, NUI Galway
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