Skip to navigation Skip to content

Ulster To Honour High Achievers

Leading figures from education, business, science, international affairs and the arts are to be honoured by the University of Ulster at graduation ceremonies this year.

Award-winning journalists Fergal Keane and Simon Kelner, Oscar-winning director Terry George, the DJ David Holmes and President Barack Obama's Ambassador at Large for Global Women's Issues, Melanne Verveer, are among those who will receive honorary doctorates from the University.

The announcement was made following Sunday's conferment of the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters (DLitt) to Sir Ian McKellen at the Magee campus for services to acting.

Fergal Keane will receive the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters (DLitt) in recognition of his distinguished work as a writer and broadcaster.

He is a respected BBC journalist whose reports on the genocide in Rwanda in the 1990s had a huge international impact. In 2011, he presented the five-part BBC and RTE documentary series, 'The Story of Ireland'.

Mr Keane has won numerous awards for his work including a BAFTA, a Sony Gold, the Edward R Murrow award for foreign reporting and a James Cameron award for war reporting.

Simon Kelner, a former editor and editor-in-chief of The Independent and The Independent On Sunday newspapers, will receive the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters (DLitt) for distinguished services to journalism. Mr Kelner is also a radio broadcaster and the chief executive of The Journalism Foundation whose objective is to promote and sustain free and independent journalism in a free world.

Acclaimed movie director and screenwriter, Terry George is to receive the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters (DLitt) in recognition of his services to Northern Ireland film. The degree will be conferred during the Magee graduation ceremonies.

Mr George last year captured the Academy Award for Best Short Film for 'The Shore". He had been nominated twice before for his screenplays for Jim Sheridan's 'In the Name of the Father' and his own film, 'Hotel Rwanda'.

His latest feature length comic caper, 'A Whole Lotta Sole', starring Brendan Fraser, Colm Meaney and Martin McCann, was filmed in Belfast and Downpatrick and will be released in cinemas later this year.

David Holmes will receive the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters (DLitt) in recognition of his work as a DJ and producer.

Mr Holmes came to prominence in the 1990s as an innovative DJ mixing northern soul, psychedelic funk and hip hop and has remixed tracks for U2, Primal Scream, the Manic Street Preachers and Ice Cube.In 1998, he branched into movie soundtracks and provided the music for Steven Soderbergh's 'Out of Sight', 'Ocean's Eleven' and Steve McQueen's 'Hunger'.

Ambassador Melanne Verveer, who delivered a lecture on the Belfast campus last December on the role of women in peace building in Northern Ireland and around the globe, will receive the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws (LLD).

A former Chief of Staff to Hillary Clinton when she was US First Lady, Ambassador Verveer is a founder member and chair of the Washington-based non-profit, non-governmental organisation Vital Voices which has promoted increased participation by women in politics, economic empowerment and human rights in Northern Ireland, the Middle East, Africa, Latin America and Asia.

She was appointed by President Obama to the role of Ambassador at Large for Global Women's Issues in 2009.

An honorary Doctor of Laws (LLD) will also be conferred on the chair of The American Ireland Funds, Loretta Brennan Glucksman in recognition of her distinguished service to peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland.

The US-based peace campaigner, Dr Sally Milbury-Steen, who stepped down as the executive director of Pacem in Terris at the end of last year, will be awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws (LLD) for promoting peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland.

The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Ireland, The Hon Mrs Justice Susan Denham will also receive an LLD in recognition of distinguished service to law nationally and internationally.

From the world of business, the Chief Executive of the Dairy Council for Northern Ireland, Dr Mike Johnston will be awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Science (DSc) in recognition of his distinguished work in marketing and for his leadership of the organisation.

Dr Johnston is a Visiting Professor in the University's Ulster Business School.

The managing director of the mobile and cloud computing firm, Kainos, Brendan Mooney and Joe Sloan, chairman of the consumer goods distributor the SHS Group, will both receive the honorary degree of Doctor of Science (DSc) for services to business development.

Professor Christopher Hunter, a Fellow of the Royal Society and Professor of Chemistry at the University of Sheffield, will receive the honorary degree of Doctor of Science (DSc) for his distinguished research in molecular recognition.

John Fay, the Director of the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE), will be awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Science (DSc) for distinguished services to education related to agriculture, food and rural enterprise.

The University will be making further announcements later this year concerning the ceremonies at which the honorary degrees will be conferred.