DIT's honorary conferring recognises service to society

Marian Finucane, Niall Quinn, and Salters Sterling, receive Doctorates of Philosophy honoris causa

Irish football legend, Niall Quinn was awarded an honorary degree from the Dublin Institute of Technology. Marian Finucane, RTÉ radio broadcaster, and William Salters Sterling, a noted educationalist were also honoured in a ceremony whcih took place at the Royal Hospital , Kilmainham.

Quinn was awarded with a Doctorate of Philosophy honoris causa for his exceptional contribution to Irish life and for the enjoyment he has given to the public during his long career as a professional footballer. Proposing the honour, DIT President, Dr. Brendan Goldsmith recognised the significant and positive ways in which Quinn has used the public support he has received to the benefit of others. Particular reference was made to his testimonial match in the Stadium of Light, which raised in excess of stg£1 m illion for charities in Ireland and the UK.

Marian Finucane received the honour as one of the country's most respected and experienced journalists and as a distinguished figure in public broadcasting. The citation referred to her considerable contribution to Irish life, not only through her broadcasting career, but also for her work on behalf of organisations such as the Irish Hospice Foundation, and in raising awareness of issues in areas such as women's health.

A doctorate was also conferred on William Salters Sterling for his major contribution to Irish society through his work in education and also through his involvement in many other areas of benefit to the public. Salters Sterling was formerly Academic Secretary of Trinity College and was Secretary of Tallaght Hos pital. He is now Chair of the Birr Castle Science Museum. Throughout his varied career he has worked on behalf of the disadvantaged, contributed to healthcare policy and has been involved in Christian and community activities.

Speaking at the event, Dr. Goldsmith said: "The three individuals we honour here today have made an outstanding contribution in their respective disciplines and have each had a significant impact on the lives of others. They reflect three diverse areas 'education, medi a and sport' all of which play a significant part in our society today."

He continued by referring to the significant growth of higher education in Ireland over the past few decades and noted the challenges that face the sector. He highlighted Ireland's relatively low ranking among OECD countries in respect of parti cipation of mature students in higher education.

According to Dr. Goldsmith "The clear challenge here is one that will require fundamental restructuring of our approach to higher education. Such a restructuring may involve some very difficult decisions but one must ask whether Ireland can continue to be a significant i nternational player in higher education if we insist on a fragmented structure with many small institutions operating independently of each other."

The ceremony was the third conferring of honorary degrees by DIT. Previous recipients included Dr. Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and UN Commissioner for Human Rights; Mr. Patrick Donegan , former head of City of Dublin VEC and Mr. John Donnelly of Deloitte & Touche. The first recipients included an Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern T.D. and Irish Olympic hero, Sonia O'Sullivan.

26 November 2002

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