Galway Advertiser owner among those to receive Honorary Degree from NUI Galway

galway daily news galway advertiser ronnie o'gorman
Ronnie O'Gorman founder of The Galway Advertiser Newspaper. Photo: Mike Shaughnessy

NUI Galway has announced the fourteen people who will be conferred with Honorary Degrees in 2021, which include the founder of the Galway Advertiser, the first female conductor at the Oscars, and the man who spearheaded the global Covid-19 response.

Ronnie O’Gorman, the founder and owner of the Galway Advertiser, is a renowned historian and key to the restoration of Coole Park/Thoor Ballylee. Ronnie has been at the heart of the development of Galway through his promotion of the west and the region culturally and historically.

Galway-born composer Eímear Noone made history at the Oscars last February when she led the orchestra which performed the music of composers shortlisted for Best Original Score.

Mike Ryan, executive director of the World Health Organisation (WHO), has steered responses to lethal disease outbreaks around the world, including Covid-19, and worked in some of the world’s trouble spots, including Iraq where he was taken hostage.

Others included in NUI Galway’s 2021 Honorary Conferring span the world of arts, media, academia, healthcare and business.

The full list includes:

  • Dick Byrne – Architect by profession and life-long contributor to the arts in Galway.
  • Professor David Harper – Professor of Palaeontology at Durham University and leading international expert on palaeontology and evolution.
  • Jean Kelly – Retired Chief Director of Nursing and Midwifery, Saolta University Health Care Group, University Hospital Galway.
  • Professor Hubert McDermott – Former Professor of English at NUI Galway and former Governing Authority member.
  • Dr Martina Newell-McGloughlin – Director of International Biotechnology, University of California, Davis.
  • Eímear Noone – Renowned musical conductor and composer.
  • Máirtín O’Connor – Renowned traditional musician and composer.
  • Ronnie O’Gorman – Founder and owner of Galway Advertiser.
  • Mary O’Malley – Renowned poet and member of Aosdána.
  • Evelyn O’Toole – Founder and CEO of Complete Laboratory Solutions (CLS).
  • Bob Quinn – Film-maker, director, photographer, writer, editor and member of Aosdána.
  • Dr Mike Ryan – Executive Director, Health Emergencies Programme, World Health Organisation (WHO).
  • Dr Jerome Sheahan – Retired statistician/mathematician, NUI Galway.
  • Ailbhe Smyth – Irish academic and activist.

Speaking about the conferrals, President of NUI Galway Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh said that the University 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 excellent and distinctive contribution to public life, the betterment of society and the interests of humanity,” he said.

“NUI Galway is very pleased to be in a position to respect and recognise these exceptional individuals.

“Each of those we honour also have a special bond with our region – drawing on the unique experiences, strengths and challenges with which we as a University also engage – our values of Respect, Openness, Sustainability, and Excellence; our profile on human rights, and our emphasis on excellence, creativity and innovation.

“In honouring these exceptional individuals, we also signal what we value in areas that matter to us and to our society.”

The University aims to hold the Honorary Conferring ceremony next summer in line with public health guidelines.