Our youngest Alumni Award winner ever, O’Donovan, 23, is a world-class sportsman and the only Irishman to win both World Championship and Olympic medals in the same year. With his brother Gary, he won silver in the Men’s Lightweight Double Sculls at the 2016 Rio Olympics, the first rowing medal won by Ireland at the Olympics. Two weeks later, he became World Champion in the Men’s Lightweight Single Sculls at Rotterdam. A UCD Ad Astra Sports Scholar from the age of 18 and throughout his undergraduate degree, O’Donovan’s work ethic and ability to balance a demanding degree with an even more demanding rowing schedule is an inspiration.
Michael McGlynn is a composer and Artistic Director of the vocal ensemble Anúna which he founded in 1987. Ireland has no indigenous history of choral music, and he created Anúna with the intent of developing a uniquely Irish form of ensemble singing that wove convincing connections between the ancient singing traditions of this country and the literature of his homeland.
Today Anúna is regarded as one of the finest vocal groups in the world and Michael’s compositions are performed by some of the art forms best-known exponents including Grammy winning ensembles the Phoenix Chorale, Kansas City Chorale and Chanticleer.
He has lectured and workshopped his music all over the world and was Eminent Scholar at Florida Atlantic University between 2011 and 2013. This year he directed and scored the Noh Theatre/Anúna collaboration of “Takahime”, a Japanese reworking of Yeats’ “At the Hawk’s Well” in Tokyo’s Orchard Hall.
Mary Sutton completed a Bachelor of Social Science degree in University College Dublin in 1974 followed by a Master’s degree in Economics at McMaster University in Canada. For most of her career, she worked in international development, initially as a researcher with the Irish Commission for Justice and Peace in Dublin and then with the Overseas Development Institute in London. She then spent twenty years with Trócaire initially in a research capacity before filling a variety of management roles including Deputy Director.
Moving from the NGO sector to the civil service and continuing her engagement with global development, in 2002, she moved to the Department of Foreign Affairs as Principal Development Specialist with the Advisory Board of Irish Aid. This was a time of rapid growth in Ireland’s programme of Official Development Assistance and the Board was tasked with advising the Minister on the strategic direction of the programme.
Switching focus to domestic socio-economic issues and the contribution of private philanthropy to addressing them, in 2008, she joined The Atlantic Philanthropies becoming Country Director for the Republic of Ireland in 2011. Now in her tenth year with Atlantic, she is overseeing the conclusion of its work in Ireland in line with Chuck Feeney’s “limited life” and “giving while living” philosophy.
Emily Logan is the first Chief Commissioner of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission, appointed by President Michael D Higgins in 2014. In this role, Logan leads the IHREC in driving Ireland’s human rights agenda to place Ireland on a global stage. Prior to this, she served as Ireland’s first Ombudsman for Children and in 2008 was appointed by her peers to the position of President of the European Network of Ombudsmen for Children. Logan’s contribution to the welfare of the children of Ireland, in particular those children without parental guardianship, those children in the care of the State, or those deprived of their liberty, is widely acknowledged.
Eamonn Sinnott is Vice President, Technology and Manufacturing Group at Intel Corporation and the General Manager of Intel in Ireland.
Joining Intel in 1991, he has held a variety of management positions in Ireland and in the USA prior to his appointment as General Manager of Intel Ireland in 2010 and where he was instrumental in securing the record $7 billion upgrade to the Leixlip campus. This has enabled the production of Intel’s leading edge process technologies and products from Ireland.
Eamonn is passionate about the intersection between technology and creativity and plays a leadership role in supporting innovative initiatives such as the Ireland’s Edge conference aimed at encouraging more integrated policy across arts, science, technology and learning.
Eamonn is a former President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Ireland and is a Fellow of the Irish Academy of Engineering. Currently chairs the Mid-East Action Plan for Jobs and is a member of IBEC’s Technology Ireland board. Eamonn is also a member of the Institute of Directors in Ireland.
Eamonn received an MBA from University College Dublin in 2000 and a Bachelor of Science from Trinity College in 1986. In 2015, Eamonn was conferred with an Honorary Doctorate of Philosophy from Dublin Institute of Technology.
Eamonn is married to Marion and has three teenage children. In his spare time, Eamonn enjoys cycling and family activities.
As Director General of Forensic Science Ireland Dr Willis’s career has focused on how science can be used to investigate crime and assist the administration of justice. She has been director of the laboratory since 2002 and has taken the organisation to the highest international standard. Willis pioneered the introduction of DNA profiling to our legal system and recruited an expert team of molecular biologists to set up the national DNA Database System in 2015. The success of the database has far exceeded expectations: the lab now has a one-in-five chance of matching a unsolved crime to someone on the database. She has played a leading role in the European Forensic Science organisation and has made a major contribution to the Irish State.
Dr. Garret FitzGerald is the McNeil Professor in Translational Medicine and Therapeutics at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, where he chairs the Department of Systems Pharmacology and Translational Therapeutics and directs the Institute for Translational Medicine and Therapeutics.
Dr. FitzGerald’s research has been characterized by an integrative approach to elucidating the mechanisms of drug action, drawing on work in cells, model organisms and humans. His work contributed fundamentally to the development of low-dose aspirin for cardioprotection. FitzGerald’s group was the first to predict and then mechanistically explain the cardiovascular hazard from NSAIDs.
He has also discovered many products of lipid peroxidation and established their utility as indices of oxidant stress in vivo. His laboratory was the first to discover a molecular clock in the cardiovascular system and has studied the importance of peripheral clocks in the regulation of cardiovascular and metabolic function.
Dr. FitzGerald has received the Boyle, Coakley, Harvey and St. Patrick’s Day medals, the Lucian, Scheele and Hunter Awards, the Presidential Award for the Irish Abroad and the Cameron, Taylor, Herz, Lefoulon-Delalande, and Schottenstein Prizes. He is a member of the National Academy of Medicine, an honorary member of the Royal Irish Academy and a Fellow of the American Academy of the Arts and Sciences and of the Royal Society.
Edmond Harty is the CEO and technical director of Dairymaster, a milking equipment manufacturer. Dr Harty has a strong background in engineering and science and is regarded as one of the world’s pioneers in agricultural technology. He has an impressive track record of combining leading research with successful commercialisation of the resulting intellectual property. He has filed over 90 patent applications and developed a multi-disciplinary innovation focused company of more than 350 people. He has received many international awards for his research and is a former EY Entrepreneur of the Year.
Dr Des Rice is a veterinarian who specialised in livestock nutrition. After 2 years in veterinary practice in Ireland, he spent 4 years developing a Veterinary Investigation Laboratory in El Salvador. Then 10 years on nutritional-disease research in Belfast, obtaining a PhD. He has co-authored close to 100 scientific publications. Then he co-founded 2 businesses that for 18 years advised farmers, veterinarians, feed manufacturers, and food processors. He was an adviser to the UK’s Food Standards Agency post-BSE. For services to the Agrifood Industry he received an OBE from the British Government in 2004. That same year he sold his businesses to Associated British Foods, because his passion had transformed from animal performance to human performance. He retrained as a Business Coach and psychotherapist, Now, through his business, CCO, he provides coaching / mentoring services on strategic, human-behaviour and stress management issues to many businesses. Also, to various community groups including veterinary-peer-supporters, on a voluntary basis.
London-based human rights lawyer Caoilfhionn Gallagher was made Queen’s Counsel in 2017 in recognition of her exceptional international work, acting for journalists and peaceful protestors who have been arbitrarily detained all over the world. She currently leads the legal team for Ibrahim Halawa, the Irish national who, at 17, was detained in Egypt in 2013 and whose trial began as this magazine goes to press. Gallagher combines legal skills with humanity, exemplified by her sensitive handling of inquests for victims of bombings in London and Hillsborough, and challenging the benefits cap for the severely disabled, securing protection for victims of domestic violence and safeguarding vulnerable young people in custody. She is a most generous mentor and an inspirational social justice advocate.
To be named as one of “Twenty Europeans who have changed our lives” indicates the global reach of UCD alumni and is an accolade PROFESSOR ELEANOR MAGUIRE certainly deserves. Dublin born, the neuroscientist holds a BA and a PhD from UCD. Since 2007, she has been Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at University College London. Her focus is primarily on memory, and one of her notable works was on the brains of London taxi drivers and the observation that they are more highly developed than those of their fellow citizens.
Maguire has won a number of prizes for her work, among them the Ig Nobel Prize for Medicine, the Royal Society Rosalind Franklin Award and The Feldberg Foundation Prize. In 2011, Professor Maguire was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and this year, a Fellow of the Royal Society. She was also awarded two Wellcome Trust Research Fellowships.
MARTIN FRASER, who graduated from UCD with a BComm in 1993, has risen swiftly up the ranks of the civil service, attaining the role of Secretary General to the Irish Government and to the Department of the Taoiseach in 2011. He had previously served as an Assistant Secretary in the Department since 2007 during which time he worked as head of Northern Ireland and International Affairs, Corporate Affairs and the Economic and Social Policy divisions. Fraser joined the Taoiseach’s Department as finance officer in 1999. He has also worked in the Departments of Social Protection, Foreign Affairs and Agriculture, Food and Marine. Fraser was also Chairman of the National Economic and Social Council (NESC), which advises the Taoiseach on strategic issues regarding economic and social development.
Food is critical to this country’s growth and JOHN HORGAN, who left Belfield in the mid 1970s as an agricultural scientist, is a leading player in the field. Horgan worked as an Agricultural Inspector in the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine, moved to the European Commission as a Dairy and Beef Market Analyst and was the industry’s representative in the Confederation of Irish Industry from 1980 to 1987. In 2000, Horgan became Managing Director of the Kepak Group, applying his expertise and energy to drive it from traditional meat processing to a producer of specialised and branded meat products and foods. Under his guidance, Kepak has become an acknowledged leader in meat excellence and traceability systems, determined to deliver integrity from farm to fork. Horgan has remained loyal to his alma mater, supporting the School of Agricultural Science’s initiatives and programmes.
IAN QUINN, who seven years later, armed with a degree in Mechanical Engineering, went to co-found Creganna Medical Devices, working as its CEO for a quarter of a century. Quinn also served as managing director of the Galway-based company which initially provided a variety of outsourced engineering solutions to a range of industries. In 1998, Creganna entered the medical device industry, and in 2003, divested its operations to focus solely on this sector. In 2010, private equity group Permira acquired a majority stake and in March of this year, Creganna was sold in a €820m cash deal to TE Connectivity.
Today, the company Quinn founded is ranked among the top three providers of minimally invasive medical device outsourcing solutions in the world. Quinn, who owns film maker John Huston’s former home in Galway, is currently making significant investments in the Irish property market.
DR DENNIS JENNINGS, who was inducted as a Pioneer into the Internet Hall of Fame in 2014 was the first full-time Director of Computing Service at UCD from 1977 to 1999, providing services comparable to the most advanced universities, including connecting UCD to the EARN network, which enabled researchers in Belfield work with colleagues around the world in near real-time. With a PhD from UCD in Gamma Ray Astronomy, he also helped lead the National Science Foundation’s networking developments, selecting the technology and the architectural principles underlying today’s internet. Jennings’ founding chairmanship of the Council of European National Top Level Domain Registries and his work as chair of the Oversight Board of Irish Centre for High-End Computing, among others, reflects his international contribution to networking.
DR ANNE MERRIMAN, a Liverpool native who joined the Medical Missionaries of Mary, went to Nigeria after finishing Medicine at UCD in 1963. Thirty years later, she founded Hospice Africa Uganda and under her tutelage, a system of palliative care specific to Third World Countries was developed. Her work ensuring affordable oral morphine which can be used at home revolutionised care for the dying in Africa. In spring 2014, her pioneering, compassionate leadership earned her a nomination for that year’s Nobel Peace Prize. Dr Merriman dedicated it to those who have worked with her saying, “This nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize is in my name, but it is for you.” Her modesty in the face of such extraordinary accomplishments and exemplary dedication are hallmarks of all of this year’s Foundation Day Alumni Awardees whose skills and success we salute and congratulate.
Former solicitor DR AIDEEN HAYDEN who graduated from UCD in 1981 with a BA in Economics and History, has worked in the field of housing for the last three decades. Best known as chair of the housing charity Threshold, she was a Taoiseach nominee to the Seanad in 2011, in recognition of her exemplary work and advocacy in this area. Dr Hayden, who also holds a PhD from UCD, has focused on seeking solutions to this crisis and in particular on mitigating difficulties experienced by vulnerable groups in Irish society today – the homeless, those in private rented accommodation and those in mortgage arrears.
COLM O’ROURKE has been passionate about sport all his life. After a glittering career playing Gaelic football for Meath (he won two All Ireland Senior Football Championship medals and three GAA All Star Awards), O’Rourke, who holds a BA and HDip from UCD, went on to manage Ireland to victory over Australia in the 1999 International Rules Series in Adelaide. He is the principal of St Patrick’s Classical School in Navan and continues to contribute to this sporting life as a columnist with The Sunday Independent and as a panellist on RTÉ’s The Sunday Game. O’Rourke is frequently flagged as Meath’s next manager.
BENJAMIN CLEARY won an Academy Award for his short film, Stutterer. Just over twelve minutes long and accepted into 60 festivals, it’s a tender, witty tale about an introverted typographer. Cleary, who graduated from the Belfield campus with a Bachelor of Business and Legal Studies a decade ago, went on to complete a Screenwriting MA at the London Film School in 2011. In addition to the Oscar for best Live Action Short, he picked up a London Critic’s Circle Award, an Irish Film and Television Award, an Irish Young Director Award and Best Foreign Film at LA Shorts Fest. The writer and director was selected for the prestigious “Les Nuits en Or” programme, with 29 other directors from around the world, to showcase Stutterer in ten cities around Europe last June.
Her Excellency Ms ANNE ANDERSON who graduated from UCD with a BA in History and Politics, is the 17th Ambassador of Ireland to the United States. A career diplomat, she also served as our representative to the United Nations, the European Union, France and Monaco, the first woman to hold each of these positions. She joined the Department of Foreign Affairs in 1972, working here and in Washington before being appointed our Permanent Representative to the UN from 1995 to 2001. While in Geneva, the Clonmel native was named as chair of the UN Commission on Human Rights, the fourth woman to earn the honour. From 2001 to 2005, she was Permanent Representative to the European Union in Geneva, where her work on behalf of Ireland earned her the honour of being named “Diplomat of the Year” by the influential website, European Voice.