2016 Press Releases
Grace Neville named Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur
Grace Neville, Emeritus Professor of French at UCC, has been named Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur by French Ambassador to Ireland Jean-Pierre Thébault.
Professor Neville is a graduate (French and Irish) of University College Cork, the University of Caen and the University of Lille. After spending four years in France as a post-graduate, she lectured in French at UCC for 35 years where she was also Vice-President for Teaching and Learning, Head of the Department of French and a long-standing elected member of the UCC Governing Body.
She is also a founding member of the Association for Franco-Irish Studies (AFIS) and the vice-president for the Association des Membres de l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques (AMOPA) in Ireland.
She has devoted her professional life to the enthusiastic promotion of French language and French culture in Ireland. She has published extensively on Franco-Irish relations from the medieval to the modern period, and has presented her research in (for instance) Harvard, the Sorbonne and the Collège de France.
Since 2011, she has been an invited member of numerous commitees and jury panels at the French Ministry for Educaton, the French National Research Council (l’ANR), and the French National Council for the Evaluation of Research and Teaching in Higher Education (l’AERES, le HCERES), Paris.
At the French National Research Council, she has chaired a €180 million initiative on innovative teaching in higher education in France (2012-16) and a €12 million initative on digital innovaton in educaton in France (2015-16). She is also Chair of the Strategic Orientation Committee at Sorbonne Universités (2014-19). She is the only Irish person on the international jury for the French Government’s 10 billion euro IDEX initiative. These initiatives form part of an
ambitious multi-billion euro transformation of the French higher education system that is currently underway.
The Legion of Honour is one of the world’s most widely recognised decorations. Established in 1802 the Order is the highest decoration in France and is awarded for excellent civil merit or military conduct. It was awarded to Professor Neville for her research on Franco-Irish relations, her lifelong promotion of French language and culture in Ireland, and for her multiple roles in the current multi-billion euro transformation of higher education in France.