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Honorary Degree for Pat Hume

Pat Hume has been in the front line of Northern Ireland’s drive for peace for more than four decades. 

She was a teacher for 25 years before retiring in 1979 to become constituency office manager for her husband, John when the SDLP politician and future Nobel Peace Laureate was elected to the European Parliament. Born in the Waterside area of Derry, she was educated at Thornhill College and at St Mary’s Training College.  

On both sides of the Atlantic, Pat Hume is seen as a person of calm judgement, courage and resilience who has made a very significant contribution to building stability. She is a director of the Northern Ireland Memorial Fund and in 1998 was appointed to the RTE Authority in recognition of her skills and objectivity.  

Recognised across the political spectrum for her courtesy, hospitality and soft-spoken common sense, she has been John Hume’s “rock” throughout his political career, maintaining domestic stability and a rapport with his contacts at home and abroad, and dealing with myriad day-to-day constitutency matters. 

She has been at his side through times of intense personal and political pressures, from Civil Rights days, through the worst of ‘the Troubles’ when their home became a target, to the fledgling peace process and the delicate steps that brought it to fruition. 

Throughout, she has maintained open house for callers seeking help with housing or social problems and for international diplomats and world statesmen. The Humes married in 1960 and have five children.