The 2016 Alumni Achievement Awards

University College Cork honoured 5 outstanding alumni at the 2016 Alumni Achievement Awards ceremony

University College Cork’s Alumni Achievement Awards ceremony, organised by the Development and Alumni Office, took place on Friday, 25 November, 2016. 

To date, UCC has honoured over 70 distinguished alumni with Alumni Achievement Awards.  Nominations are received from all corners of the globe.  This 2016 nominations were received from fellow alumni, from colleagues and from members of faculty and staff. 

Each awardee received a specially commissioned silver trophy, designed by Mr. Don O’Mahony, Silversmith, which takes its inspiration from the proverb 'Mighty Oaks from Little Acorns Grow’.  UCC is grateful to the following companies for their generous sponsorship of the 2016 UCC Alumni Achievement Awards:  Boston Scientific, Bank of Ireland, Henry Ford & Son and PwC.  

Alumni Achievement Award Recipients

Professor Anne Buttimer - BA 1957 (UCC), MA 1958 (UCC), PhD 1965 (University of Washington, Seattle)

Anne Buttimer, Emeritus Professor in UCD, is an internationally renowned geographer who has dedicated her career to the service of the geographic profession.  Professor Buttimer is often described as a “human geographer” in recognition of the importance she places on the human dimension in her scholarly work.  In addition to being an accomplished linguist, she is an active researcher and has written extensively on an impressive range of topics including social geography, urban and cultural geography, climate change, sustainable development and the history of geographical thought.  She has published 50 academic articles and has authored or edited 18 books.   Her contributions to geographical thought and practice have been widely recognised.  In 2014 she was awarded the “Association of American Geographers Lifetime Achievement Honors” as well as the “Vautrin-Lud International Prize for Geography” (often known as the “Nobel Prize of Geography”).  She received an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Grenoble in France in 2012 - one of three Honorary Doctorates which she has been awarded.  In 2009 she received the “Johan August Wahlberg Gold Medal” from King Carl Gustaf of Sweden on behalf of the Swedish Society for Anthropology and Geography. Professor Buttimer has guided and inspired scholars at a global level and is held in the highest esteem by the international community of geographers.

Mr. Fergus Finlay – BComm 1971 (UCC)

Fergus Finlay is a leading children’s rights campaigner.  He is CEO of Barnardos, a children’s charity dedicated to working with vulnerable children and their families in Ireland.  In his role as CEO, Mr. Finlay brings together a variety of services to respond to the needs of children who are at risk or who are experiencing difficult times by providing practical and professional support.  Mr. Finlay campaigns to improve laws, policies and procedures across all areas that affect children's lives including education, health, child protection, poverty and housing.  Mr. Finlay has worked as an advisor to the Labour Party and to three governments.  He has written four books and writes a weekly column for the Irish Examiner.  In the roles of journalist, lobbyist, strategist, advisor and leader, Mr. Finlay advocates for the rights of children, seeking to redress inequalities and to ensure educational opportunities and supports are provided to children and young people living in poverty. He has also been a life-long advocate for the rights of people with a disability.

Mr. Donncha Ó Dúlaing – BA 1960 (UCC)

Donncha Ó Dúlaing is a radio and television broadcaster, celebrated here in Ireland and around the world by the Irish diaspora.  Over the course of a broadcasting career that has spanned more than 50 years, beginning when he joined Radio Éireann in 1964, Mr. Ó Dúlaing has interviewed presidents and rock stars, actors and artists.  He has travelled the length and breadth of rural Ireland, interviewing thousands of people and bringing the voices of Ireland to a national and international audience.  He is perhaps best known for his hugely popular radio shows “Three-O-One”, “Highways and Byways” and “Fáilte Isteach”.  In addition to championing the Irish language and Gaelic culture, Mr. Ó Dúlaing has raised millions of euro for charity, leading walks throughout Ireland, France, Israel, the U.K., the U.S.A and Argentina.  From his first job with the Ford Motor Company to the publication of his memoirs two years ago, Mr Ó Dúlaing has dedicated his life and career to sharing music and stories from Ireland with audiences around the world.  In 2014, the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, presented Mr. Ó Dúlaing with a specially commissioned sculpture in recognition of his significant contribution to Irish culture. 

Dr. Richard Palmer - BSc 1959 (UCC), MSc 1961 (UCC), PhD 1963 (Birmingham University)

Dr. Richard Palmer is an internationally celebrated biochemist whose studies and analyses have had far-reaching applications in a variety of clinical situations, most notably in the areas of hormones and reproductive disorders.  His pioneering work on ovarian function in the 1960s underpins present day fertility treatments designed to induce ovulation.  His early studies helped to pave the way for the development of assisted reproductive technologies, such as in vitro fertilisation, a treatment which has enabled the birth of more than five million babies over the last thirty years.  Dr. Palmer’s work has been widely recognised and led to his election as a Chartered Chemist and Member of the Royal Society of Chemistry in 1976 and to his laboratory at Serono Diagnostics receiving the “Queen’s Award for Technology” and later the “Queen’s Award for Exports” in the U.K.  Dr. Palmer has written or contributed to more than 50 scientific publications.  He continues to actively contribute to the field of chemical pathology, developing diagnostic and analytical technologies designed to monitor therapeutic drugs and blood concentrations of hormones.

Recipient of Alumni Award for Voluntary Service to UCC

Mr. Billy Morgan – BA 1967 (UCC), HDE 1968 (UCC)

Billy Morgan has made a very significant contribution to Gaelic Football in UCC.  Mr. Morgan currently volunteers as a Senior Club Coach but his involvement in Gaelic Football at the University began when he played for the Club during his student days.  In recent years he has coached the team through UCC’s golden period in the Sigerson Cup.  UCC has benefited greatly from Mr. Morgan’s professionalism, skill and experience which were evident throughout his career as manager of Cork senior footballers.  Blending innovation and vision, Mr. Morgan successfully coached the UCC team to a series of victories.  Mr. Morgan’s contribution is best summed up by Dr. Con Murphy (President of UCC Gaelic Football Club): “Fifty years after he started with UCC, Billy’s enthusiasm, his desire to add value to the lives of young footballers in the college, his will to win and his continued desire to contribute substantially to college life sets him apart as an extraordinary figure in the history of UCC Gaelic Football Club.”

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