A number of very deserving Irish and Irish-Americans were selected by the National University of Ireland, Galway and the University of Ulster in the North to receive honorary degrees this summer.
At Galway’s graduation ceremony on June 29, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd; Irial Finan, Coca-Cola’s executive vice president and president of Bottling Investments; novelist and playwright Sebastian Barry (author of The Secret Scripture); and Jim Flaherty, Canada’s Minister of Finance, received honorary degrees. Dowd and Barry were named Doctors of Literature, while Finan and Flaherty were named Doctors of Law.
On July 12, Bill Flynn, former chairman of Mutual of America, was awarded a Doctor of Law degree by University of Ulster, in recognition of his great achievements in the business world and the key role he played in the Northern Ireland peace process. Flynn, who is a first-generation Irish American with roots in Mayo and Down, was inducted into the Irish America Hall of Fame in 2011.
Gary Lightbody, frontman of the band Snow Patrol, received a Doctor of Letters for services to the music industry. Golf champion Rory McIlroy, actor Ian McKellan and Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson will also be honored by Ulster later this year.