2014 Press Releases

Four worlds collide for conferring

9 Jun 2014
Standing L-R: Prof Ciaran Murphy, Ms Kathleen Murphy, Dr John Godfrey, Ms Pauline Oliveros, Prof Benedict Anderson, Prof Patrick O’Donovan, Prof Dinesh Singh, Prof Patrick Fitzpatrick. Seated L-R: Dr Maurice Manning, NUI Chancellor, Dr Michael Murphy, President of UCC, Dr. Attracta Halpin, NUI Registrar (Image by Arthur Ellis/Provision)

Four leading figures in the world of business, music and art, the humanities and higher education received honorary doctorates from UCC on Friday June 6th. 

The annual ceremony recognises individuals who have distinguished themselves nationally or internationally, through their scholarship, creativity, public service or contribution to social, cultural, sporting or economic life. 

Third-generation Irish American Kathleen Murphy is president of Personal Investing at Fidelity Investments, a global financial services group with millions of individual investors. Ms Murphy has repeatedly been named one of the “50 Most Powerful Women in Business” by Fortune magazine. She is in good company, with the list also boasting the likes of Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook and Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo. Ms Murphy has also been named as one of the “Wall Street Top 50” and “Business 100” by Irish America magazine and named as one of the “25 Most Powerful Women in Finance” by US Banker, among other honours.

Ms Murphy, a 25-year industry veteran, whose father’s family is from Cork and mother’s family from Kerry, oversees a business with more than $1.5 trillion in client assets under administration, more than 14 million customer accounts and over 12,000 employees. Her business is America’s No.1 provider of individual retirement accounts (IRAs), one of the largest brokerage businesses and one of the leading providers of college savings plans. Her role also extends to managing the firm’s brand and advertising programs, online and mobile presences, amongst others. She is an occasional guest on the CNBC news channel and has previously delivered a popular and inspiring TED Talk around financial planning:

Ms Murphy received a DEconSc (Degree of Doctor of Economic Science), with Prof Ursula Kilkelly, Head of College of Business & Law, UCC as introducer. She also hosted a discussion, ‘An Audience with Kathy Murphy: Women Leadership in Business’, on the evening of June 5th in Hayfield Manor.

UCC has a long association with Fidelity Investments of some 20 years. The Business Information Systems programme of the College of Business & Law and Fidelity regularly partner for instance around work placements for students. Some students have even gone on to fulltime employment with the company, reaching relatively senior positions at a young age. Fidelity has also commissioned research projects from the College and through the leadership of the company as exemplified by Kathy Murphy, it has sought to develop relationships with the university sector, showing how much they value education and research and its relevance for their sector. 

Prof Benedict Anderson, Aaron L. Binenkorb Professor Emeritus of International Studies, Government & Asian Studies at Cornell University in New York, is the second recipient. A renowned political scientist and author, he is perhaps best known for his groundbreaking book ‘Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism’. 

A bestseller published in almost 30 different languages, it explores what makes people love and die for nations, as well as hate and kill in their name. Prof Anderson is a leading theorist of nationalism and an expert on the politics and culture of South East Asia, having published multiple books and articles. He was born in China to Anglo-Irish parents - his grandfather was Brigadier-General Sir Francis Anderson of Ballydavid, Co Waterford - but grew up in Ireland and California. He is the brother of British historian Perry Anderson. He received a DLitt (Degree of Doctor of Literature) with Prof Patrick O’Donovan, Vice-Head, College of Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Sciences, as introducer.

Pauline Oliveros, composer, accordionist, performer and author, is the third recipient. Ms Oliveros is a leading figure in contemporary American music, her sixty-year career having continuously pushed the boundaries of post-war electronic art music. She is Distinguished Research Professor of Music at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York, and also serves as the Darius Milhaud Composer-in-Residence at Mills College, California. She is the founder of the Deep Listening Institute (DLC), based on a concept that she describes as a way of “listening in every possible way to everything possible to hear no matter what one is doing”.

Deep listening is based upon principles of improvisation, electronic music, ritual, teaching and meditation, designed to inspire both trained and untrained musicians to practice the art of listening and responding to environmental conditions in solo and ensemble situations. Ms Oliveros is the recipient of the 2009 William Schuman Award from Columbia University for lifetime achievement, amongst other awards. She received a DMus (Degree of Doctor of Music), with Dr John Godfrey, Lecturer, School of Music, UCC as introducer.


(Track taken from "Deep Listening")

Prof Dinesh Singh, Vice Chancellor at Delhi University is the final recipient. In his current role, he has been instrumental in bringing about a range of new reforms aimed at improving the student experience and the relevance of university to employers, students and the wider community.

These include not only a new four-year curriculum and research-focused, interdisciplinary innovation centres, but also innovative extracurricular programmes like the quirky ‘Gyanodaya Express’, akin to a college on wheels. Through an educational train journey, it seeks to expose students to the many issues that face modern India. By focusing on global challenges, he has sought to create a new generation of student leaders who can tackle development issues, such as those facing India’s rural communities and slum dwellers.

Prof Singh is a member of several Government bodies and international agencies aimed at furthering research and academic activities.  He is also the Director of the Mathematical Sciences Foundation, Delhi and an Adjunct Professor in Department of Mathematics, University of Houston. Prof Singh has published numerous research papers in international and national journals and is the recipient of numerous academic awards and prizes.

In recognition of his enormous contributions at the highest levels of science and education, the President of India decorated him in 2014 with the third highest civilian award in India – Padma Shri.

Prof Singh received a DSc (Degree of Doctor of Science), with Prof Patrick Fitzpatrick, former Head of the College of Science, Engineering & Food Science, UCC as introducer. Prof Singh also delivered a lecture on Thursday 5th June in UCC, entitled ‘India in the 21st century’, as part of UCC’s Centre for Global Development ‘Global Challenges’ lecture series. The talk traced India’s journey from the middle of the last century to the present decade in the 21st Century. Along the way it looked at the the various challenges that India has faced and the critical causes and factors responsible for the manner in which India has responded to these challenges. Several of these challenges would be common to nations across the globe.

UCC has a long history of engagement with India going back to the 19th Century. More recently, the first significant effort to reconnect with the subcontinent took place in November 2011 when a number of UCC staff attended an education and industry roadshow, taking place in Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai. Since then UCC has made numerous visits to those cities and to Chennai, Pune, Kerala, Hyderabad, and elsewhere. Its aim is crystallised in the notion of connection at all levels, research, faculty interaction, student movement (in both directions), government, industry and enterprise.

A link has also been formed with the University of Delhi, consistently ranked as the top comprehensive university in India. Professor Dinesh Singh is being specifically recognised for his outstanding role in leading and managing the transformation of India’s premier university, and for the current (life sciences, anthropology, and the study of religions) and envisaged future collaborations with UCC.

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