Graduations for class of 2005 at DIT

DIT honours distinguished duo for their achievements

Professor Brian Norton, President of DIT; Dr. John Connaughton, Partner, Davis Langdon; Professor John Ratcliffe, Director and Dean of the Faculty of Built Environment and Dr. Ray O'Rourke, Chairman, Laing O'Rourke.

Dublin, 22 October, 2005:  In the first of its 2005 series of Graduation ceremonies, Dublin Institute of Technology conferred graduates of the Faculties of Science and  the Built Environment on Saturday.  The ceremonies took place in St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin which was filled to capacity with graduates and their parents and friends.

During the ceremony, DIT also awarded Honorary Doctorates in Philosophy to two outstanding Irish entrepreneurs.  Ray O'Rourke was conferred with a Doctorate of Philosophy, honoris causa in recognition of his outstanding contribution to knowledge creation, and to excellence in the built environment in Ireland and internationally.  Mr. O'Rourke, who was born in Mayo, started his construction studies in Bolton Street in the 1960's before emigrating to Britain. Now Chairman of international construction group Laing O'Rourke, which has nearly 16,000 staff worldwide, Mr. O'Rourke has made continuing professional education for staff his major priority.

Dr John Connaughton was conferred with a Doctorate of Philosophy, honoris causa in recognition of his outstanding achievements as a strategist, innovator and urban planner. A DIT graduate himself, Dr Connaughton's career has been marked by his active engagement with issues of sustainability, of regeneration, and of policy development to underpin a positive contribution by the construction industry to society's well-being. Widely respected as a strategist, he is strongly associated with future planning and with assisting organisations to prepare to meet the challenges of a rapidly changing business environment for the construction industry in both the public and private sectors.

In his speech to the Assembly, the President of DIT, Professor Brian Norton, said the Institute wished to acknowledge the enormous contribution Dr. John Connaughton and Dr. Ray O'Rourke have made to society.  He said that they would be acknowledged as standard bearers for DIT students graduating at Saturday's ceremony who are now starting out on their own careers.

Professor Norton said  that both men were being honoured not only for their contribution to  the built environment but also to continuing education and professional development.

The ceremony was the sixth annual conferring of honorary degrees by DIT. Nominations for the Institute's honorary degrees can be submitted by any member of staff in DIT to the Honorary Degrees Committee.  A candidate may be conferred with an honorary degree on the basis of academic distinction; service to the community; service to business or industry; service to education; cultural, artistic or sporting achievement.

Previous recipients of Honorary Doctorates from Dublin Institute of Technology have included the Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern; educationalist, Salters Sterling; football hero, Niall Quinn;  journalist and broadcaster, Marian Finucane; composer Bill Whelan; sports star, Sonia O'Sullivan;  Former President of Ireland, Mary Robinson; the Former provost of Trinity College, Dr. Tom Mitchell; actor Pierce Brosnan and Irish entrepreneur Eddie Jordon.

In all, over 4000 students will graduate from Dublin Institute of Technology this year  


Dr. John Connaughton and Dr. Ray O'Rourke, signing the DIT Roll of Honour, with Professor Brian Norton in St. Patrick's Cathedral.

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