2016 Press Releases

Life after UCC: University to honour inspiring alumni

25 Nov 2016
Fergus Finlay, Emeritus Professor Anne Buttimer, Dr Richard Palmer, Billy Morgan and Donncha Ó Dúlaing will be honoured at the UCC Alumni Achievement Awards.

Fergus Finlay, Barnardos CEO and former political strategist behind Labour campaigns including the one that led to the election of Mary Robinson as President, will be honoured at the UCC Alumni Achievement Awards this evening (November 25).

Dr Richard Palmer, the biochemist whose early research helped pave the way for the development of assisted reproductive technologies such as IVF; Irish radio legend Donncha Ó Dúlaing, and the world-renowned geographer Professor Anne Buttimer, winner of what is considered the Nobel Prize of Geography, will also be recognised with Alumni Achievement Awards.

Former Cork football manager Billy Morgan, who has successfully coached the UCC Gaelic Football team to a series of victories, will receive the Alumni Award for Voluntary Service to UCC.  

The leading children’s rights campaigner Fergus Finlay (BComm 1971, UCC) crusades to improve laws, policies and procedures across all areas that affect children's lives including education, health, child protection, poverty and housing.  In April 2010 the Sunday Business Post said Finlay is "one of the great backroom operators of Irish political history, a strategist, tactician, and media briefer par excellence."

Internationally celebrated biochemist Dr Richard Palmer (BSc 1959, MSc 1961, UCC), whose pioneering work on ovarian function in the 1960s underpins present day fertility treatments designed to induce ovulation, actively contributes to the field of chemical pathology, developing diagnostic and analytical technologies designed to monitor therapeutic drugs and blood concentrations of hormones.

Donncha Ó Dúlaing (BA 1960, UCC), widely known for his hugely popular radio shows Three-O-One, Highways and Byways and Fáilte Isteach, joined Radio Éireann in 1964 and has since shared the music and stories of Ireland with audiences across the globe and championed the Irish language and Gaelic culture. He has raised millions of euros for charity, having led thousands of people on walks throughout the 32 counties of Ireland, France, Israel, the UK, the US and Argentina.

Emeritus Professor in UCD, Anne Buttimer (BA 1957, MA 1958, UCC) has previously been awarded the Association of American Geographers 2014 Lifetime Achievement Honors in recognition of her five decades of scholarship and extraordinary dedication to the profession, the Vautrin-Lud International Prize for Geography and three honorary doctorates.

In recent years Billy Morgan (BA 1967, HDE 1968, UCC) has coached the UCC Gaelic Football team through the University’s golden period in the Sigerson Cup. Dr Con Murphy, President of UCC Gaelic Football Club said: “Fifty years after he started with UCC, Billy’s enthusiasm, desire to add value to the lives of young footballers in the college, will to win and continued desire to contribute substantially to college life set him apart as an extraordinary figure in the history of UCC Gaelic Football Club.”

Boston Scientific, Bank of Ireland, Henry Ford & Son and PwC have sponsored this year’s awards, which is organised by the Development and Alumni Office to honour alumni who have achieved outstanding success in their chosen fields.

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