Trinity awarded honorary degrees to five recipients today, including former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Dr James Simons, Paul Drechsler, Ann Rowan and Dr Tony Scott also received honorary degrees at the ceremony, which was held in the Examination Hall.
Hillary Rodham Clinton was conferred with a Doctor in Laws in today’s ceremony for her advocacy and public service during her time as a senator and US Secretary of State. Clinton’s work was recognised today by Trinity’s Public Orator Professor Anna Chahoud, who stated: “Almost sixty-six million people have given her their vote of confidence, sharing her belief that a true democracy is a society in which everyone is equally valued as a human being, from infancy to old age, irrespective of gender, status or nationality; it is a society in which women have the power to effect a transformative change towards development, justice, and peace.” In 2015 she made history as the first female nominee of a major party to contest the US presidential election.
American mathematician Dr James Simons was conferred with an honorary Doctor in Science today. Simons is known his work in modern theoretical physics. He engages in philanthropic work through the Simons Foundation, which funds science, mathematics and other STEM disciplines in the US and abroad.
Trinity also conferred a Doctor in Laws on graduate Paul Drechsler, the Chairman of the oldest shipping line in Britain, Bibby Line Group. Dreschsler, who is also President of the Confederation of British Industry, received the honorary degree for his services to industry. Professor Chahoud described his work as “not merely a story of personal success” but also “of an engineer devoted to making our children’s dreams come true.”
The recipients were joined by Ann Rowan, who received a Master in Letters for her contribution to the history of architecture. Rowan has served the Archivist in the Irish Architectural Archive for over thirty years. She created the Dictionary of Irish Architects in 2009, which is viewed as one of the most valuable pieces of research in Irish archival history. Her work was praised by Professor Chahoud, who stated: “The Dictionary of Irish Architects 1720-1940 is not only immensely authoritative; it is a democratic masterpiece of Digital Humanities.”
The final recipient of an honorary degree was Dr Tony Scott. Scott received a Doctor in Education for his contribution to science education. He co-founded the Young Scientist exhibition, a science competition for second level students which has been held annually in Ireland for over 50 years. He was also Dean of Science in UCD where his research led to the development of the smoke alarm.
Trinity awards honorary degrees to “individuals of integrity, judgment and exceptional achievement”. They recognise “outstanding contribution” to scholarship, society, culture, and/or civil society. Those candidates that are successful are chosen by an Advisory Committee on Honorary Degrees, and is chaired by the Chancellor of the University, Mary Robinson.
The degrees were conferred during an hour-long ceremony conducted in Latin. An oration was made about each candidate, who were subsequently enrolled as honorary degree recipients. Trinity’s Provost, Dr Patrick Prendergast, and the Chancellor of the University, Mary Robinson presided over the ceremony.