Seán Kelly conferred with an Honorary Doctorate

Dublin, 15 February, 2007: Seán Kelly, former President of the GAA and current Chairperson of the Irish Institute for Sport, was conferred tonight with an Honorary Doctorate from Dublin Institute of Technology for his outstanding contribution to inclusiveness in Irish sport. The Award was conferred in St. Patrick's Cathedral in front of hundreds of students and their families at the last in the series of DIT graduation ceremonies for the student cohort of 2006.

According to Professor Brian Norton, President of DIT; 'During his term in office Seán Kelly distinguished himself as one of the finest Presidents in the history of the GAA. He led Ireland's largest sporting organisation with authority and dignity - to the betterment not only of the GAA itself but Irish sport and society in general.'

Dr. Seán Kelly (centre) with Dr. Matt Hussey, Director and Dean of the Faculty of Science and Professor Brian Norton, President of DIT.

During Seán Kelly's time in office the GAA achieved a number of notable milestones including the completion of the redevelopment of Croke Park - now one of Europe's finest stadiums. In 2003 the opening ceremony of the Special Olympic Games was held in the stadium. He also achieved many reforms with new competitions and schemes to improve the health and welfare of players in co-operation with the Gaelic Players' Association.

Dr. Seán Kelly with members of the portering staff in DIT Aungier Street Mr. Peter Nolan, Mr. Michael Tomney and Mr. Peter Masterson, Building and Services Supervisor.

In selecting Mr Kelly for the award Professor Brian Norton noted his exemplary leadership during the negotiations to change Rule 42 of the association to allow rugby and soccer internationals be played at Croke Park. This historic decision paved the way for last weekend's momentous occasion when Ireland hosted France in the first ever rugby game to be held in Croke Park.

Signing the DIT Roll of Honour, Dr. Seán Kelly and his wife, Juliet

According to Professor Norton, 'By allowing the internal debate over Rule 42 to go ahead and managing division within the Association Seán displayed tremendous political skill and foresight. A giant of Irish public life Seán Kelly deserves the highest respect and honour and a special place in Irish sporting history.'

Dr. Malcolm Mitchell receives his PhD from the President of DIT, Professor Brian Norton

Also at the ceremony, 230 graduates from across DIT's six faculties were conferred with awards that included Higher Certificates, Bachelor Degrees, and many postgraduate awards including at Masters and Doctoral level. Nine graduates were awarded PhDs, the largest number of Doctorates conferred by DIT at one ceremony. They included DIT colleagues Dr. James Loughman, Department of Optometry; Dr. Malcolm Mitchell, Department of Accounting and Finance and Dr. Marty Meinardi, Digital Media Centre.

Dr. Peter Davison, Department of Optometry, Professor Brian Norton, Dr. James Loughman and Dr. Vincent Toal, Head of the School of Physics

This was the fourteenth graduation ceremony for the 2006 cohort, bringing the total number of DIT graduates this year to over 4000. In his address to the Assembly, Professor Norton said 'On this occasion we have representatives from a very broad range of disciplines reflecting many of the particular strengths for which DIT is renowned. They include areas that are particularly pertinent to Ireland's current economic and social development, such as life and health sciences; computing and engineering; planning and the environment; property economics and design studies; marketing and finance; early childcare - all aspects of academic study that relate directly to issues that arise in our newspapers every day. That is the professional relevance of what we do at DIT, underpinned by academic excellence.'

Dr. Marty Meinardi receives her PhD from the President of DIT, Professor Brian Norton

Professor Norton paid tribute to the family of the late Sinead Dolan who was awarded a BSc (Hons) in Property Studies posthumously. Sinead's mother, Majella Dolan, accepted her parchment. The programme is offered by DIT in conjunction with the Irish Auctioneers and Valuers Institute.

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