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DIT Confers Jim Gahan and Bobby Kerr with Honorary Doctorate

Posted: 19 November, 2018

Visionary planner Jim Gahan and hospitality entrepreneur turned broadcaster Bobby Kerr were conferred with Honorary Doctorates by Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) at a ceremony in St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Saturday.

Dr Bobby Kerr, DIT President Professor Brian Norton and Dr Jim Gahan

Each year DIT confers the Award of Honorary Doctorate of Philosophy on a small number of exceptional individuals in recognition of their service to society through their contribution to business and the professions, arts and sport, or outstanding public and community service.  In citations read at the ceremony, Jim Gahan and Bobby Kerr were identified as DIT graduates themselves, but also as role models for the class of 2018 who were conferred at the same ceremony.

Jim Gahan was honoured by the Institute in recognition of his long and prolific career during which he was involved in several major landmark development projects, including revitalising Heuston Station, planning and developing the International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) and commercial developments such as the ILAC Shopping Centre and Sandyford Industrial Estate. Throughout his life, Jim has promoted professional standards and ethical practice, and he is a strong advocate of educational and professional development. Since 2001 he has served first as a member and then as Chair of the Board of the DIT Foundation which seeks to raise philanthropy for the transformative development of the Grangegorman campus and other resources for DIT students.

Bobby Kerr, one of Ireland’s most successful Entrepreneurs, was honoured for his remarkable contribution to the business world.  A graduate of DIT Cathal Brugha Street, Bobby has worked with some of the most celebrated names in Food and Hospitality, including Bewleys and Jury’s Hotel, before establishing his own businesses.  While CEO and Chairman of Insomnia, the company grew from 17 outlets in the early 2000s to over 150 standalone coffee shops and 500 retail presences today. Now equally well known as a Broadcaster with a no-nonsense but affable style – from Dragon’s Den to his maritime documentary ‘Along our Shores’ on television to his weekend radio shows on Newstalk.  Also a key member of the DIT Foundation Board, he is passionate about supporting educational opportunity and the development of resources for future generations of DIT students. 

Speaking at the Conferring Ceremony in St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Saturday, President of Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT), Professor Brian Norton, said: “It is fitting that we invite two great friends of DIT – Bobby Kerr and Jim Gahan – to accept an Honorary Doctorate today as we host our final DIT graduation ceremonies before becoming Ireland’s first Technological University - TU Dublin - in January 2019.  Bobby and Jim are visionaries that have made a remarkable contribution in their respective fields and to Irish society as a whole. Throughout their stellar careers, they have continued to support DIT as members of the DIT Foundation board where they raise philanthropy for the development of campus facilities, and most importantly, create scholarships that encourage students of all backgrounds to reach their full potential.  While today is a significant milestone in the long history of DIT, we are now preparing for the next new and exciting phase as TU Dublin, with our colleagues in IT Blanchardstown and IT Tallaght.  We hope our many graduates, including Dr. Gahan and Dr. Kerr, will  continue to be proud of their alma mater.”

On Saturday, DIT hosted four conferring ceremonies which saw 1200 students of the College of Business receive their awards.

Professor Brian Norton (DIT President) and Dr Bobby Kerr

DIT President Professor Brian Norton and Dr Jim Gahan