Trinity awarded four new honorary degrees at a ceremony taking place in the Examinations Hall today. Eric Kinsella, Peta Taaffe, David Puttnam and Louise Richardson received the degrees from the Provost, Dr. Patrick Prendergast, alongside 90 other graduates receiving doctorates. The ceremony, presided by the provost and the chancellor of the university, Mary Robinson, was said in Latin and attended by over one hundred friends and family members of the recipients. Nominations are given to “individuals of integrity, judgment and exceptional achievement.” The recipients include many leaders in a number of different fields such as engineering, broadcasting and education.
Eric Kinsella is an electrical engineer and has a MSc from Trinity. He is a graduate member of the institute of Electrical Engineers, London and the founder of Jones Engineering Group Ltd. The company is valued at over €10 billion and has been providing electrical, mechanical and instrumental solutions to projects across Europe and the Middle-East. Kinsella’s company has provided support for engineering scholarships in Trinity and the 24 hour library, Kinsella Hall. Kinsella was awarded a Doctor in Science.
David Puttnam is a British film maker and producer. His production company, Enigma Productions, produced a number of films including Chariots of Fire. He was awarded a CBE in 1983, a knighthood in 1995 and was admitted into the House of Lords in 1997. He was chair and vice-president for Trustees of BAFTA from 1994 until 2004, and deputy chair for Channel 4 between 2006 and 2012. Puttnam served as an adviser on the Trinity Access 21 programme which aims to promote inclusive and high-tech learning. Upon being awarded his Doctor in Laws, Puttnam was praised as the “Digital Champion” of Ireland by public orator, Professor Anna Chahoud.
Louise Richardson completed a Bachelor of Arts degree in History, and an Masters of Arts degree at Trinity before going on to complete a doctorate degree in Harvard. She spent twenty years in Harvard before going on to become the vice-chancellor and chair of the University of St Andrews in Scotland. In January 2016, she became vice-chancellor of the University of Oxford. She specialises in international security, with a focus on terrorism and the motives of terrorists. Chahoud described Richardson as a “fearless woman” who “matches her powerful advocacy for the Humanities with an indefatigable defence of Human Rights.” Richardson was awarded a Doctor in Laws.
Peta Taaffe is a Dame Grand Cross of Honour and Devotion of the Order of Malta and was the elected Hospitaller until 2013. She is on the board of trustees of the Holy Family Hospital Bethlehem and her involvement led to the establishment of a direct entry degree in midwifery in Bethlehem University. She has been President of the Queen’s Institute of District Nursing in Ireland (QIDN) charity since its creation in 2003. Taaffe was described as an “Irish matron who has given invaluable aid to the local communities over four decades at the Holy Family Hospital Bethlehem” at the ceremony, where she was also awarded a Doctor in Laws.