News Release

UU To Honour Excellence in Arts, Sports, Culture, and the Business World

2nd February 2006

Joey Dunlop

Motorcycle Ace Joey Dunlop

The University of Ulster today unveiled its list of honorary graduates for the summer 2006 ceremonies.
Heading the list is an award honouring the late motorcycle ace Joey Dunlop. The award will be accepted by his widow Linda. His brother Robert - also a motorcycle racer - also receives an honorary degree in recognition of his excellence in his field.
In the field of the arts, dramatist Marie Jones and singer Brian Kennedy are honoured, while sports pioneer Maeve Kyle and barrister Michael Mansfield  are also to receive awards.
From the worlds of business and public life come international statesman Senator George Mitchell, Chancellor of QUB, Francis Jennings, Chairman of Rotary Group, and Maria Moloney, formerly of the IDB and Belfast Harbour Commissioners.

From academia come noted Celtic scholar Professor William Gillies of Edinburgh, Professor James Haire of the Australian Centre for Christianinty and culture,  Mr Raymond Mullan, Director of Newry and Kilkeel Institute of Further and Higher Education, and leading UK science communicator Professor Noel Sharkey of the University of Sheffield.

The full list of  honorary graduands is:

Joey Dunlop and Robert Dunlop:  Motor cycle racing  is one of the most popular sports in Northern Ireland. For many years, the Dunlop brothers dominated motorcycle racing in Northern Ireland. For over a quarter of a century they competed regularly at the North-west 200 – which includes ‘University corner’ They remain two of the most successful riders ever to compete  at the NW200. Robert holds the record for the course, and Joey lies second, one race behind.

The brothers also rode successfully at courses further afield, most notably the Isle of Man. Joey remains one of the most successful riders ever to compete at the island’s TT races. He also carried out extensive work in eastern Europe, where he lost his life in a tragic accident in 2000.

The Dunlop brothers  will receive the degree of Doctor of the University( DUniv), awarded in recognition of their excellence as a motorcycle racer and for services to charity. Joey Dunlop’s degree  will be accepted by his widow, Linda.

Marie Jones, born in Belfast in 1951, is one of the province’s most prolific and successful playwrights. She helped found the Charabanc Theatre Company to provide roles for women and also helped found the Double Joint Theatre Company. One of her most successful plays was ‘Stones In His Pockets’ which has played to audiences around the world and received two Tony Award nominations.

She has also worked as an actress, and played Sarah Conlon in the Jim Sheridan film In the Name of the Father. She has received the John Hewitt Award for outstanding contribution to culture, tradition and the arts in Northern Ireland.

She will receive the degree of Doctor of Letters (DLitt) in recognition of her distinction as a dramatist.

Brian Kennedy was born and brought up on the Falls Road in west Belfast and recorded his first album 'The Great War with Words' in 1990. He has toured with The Corrs, Tina Turner and Van Morrison, and contributed to Van's 'Days Like This', 'No Prima Donna,' 'The Healing Game' and 'Back On Top' albums, as well as a version of 'Crazy Love' for the Hollywood film 'When A Man Loves A Woman’.
Brian's solo shows have played to capacity crowds in Ireland, England, Europe, Australia and New Zealand and he has enjoyed chart success in Ireland with a number of his recordings. He was one of the singers asked to perform at the funeral service for George Best last December.

He will receive the degree of Doctor of Letters (DLitt) in recognition of his distinction as a popular artist.

Maeve Kyle was an Olympic athlete and hockey player. She competed in the the 100m and 200m in the Melbourne, Rome and Tokyo Olympics where she reached the semi-finals of both the 400m and 800m). She took bronze in the 400m at the  1966 European Indoor Championships in Dortmund. In hockey, she gained  58 Irish caps as well as representing three of the four Irish provinces (Leinster, Munster and Ulster) at different stages of her career. She was named in the World All Star team in 1953 and 1959. Other sporting interest include tennis, swimming, sailing and cricket. A founder member of Ballymena and Antrim Athletics Club with her husband Sean, she is also chairman of Coaching Northern Ireland.

She will receive the degree of Doctor of the University (DUniv) in recognition of her  distinction  as a sportswoman  and her work in the development of coaching.

Michael Mansfield QC is one of the best known defence lawyers in the United Kingdom.  He was called to the Bar in 1967 and became a QC in 1989. He is a member of Took’s Court and a Visiting Professor of Law at University of Westminster. His notable cases include representation of the family of Stephen Lawrence both in the private prosecution for murder and the Public Inquiry, representation of the families of victims at the  Bloody Sunday Inquiry in Derry and London and representation of Barry George, accused of killing TV presenter Jill Dando. He has also been involved in inquests into the Marchioness tragedy , the Deptford/New Cross fire, the Lockerbie/Omagh/Dublin/Monaghan bombings, the Orgreave miners and the Birmingham Six case.

He will receive the degree of  Doctor of Laws (LLD) in recognition of his distinction as a barrister.

 Senator George J. Mitchell, is best known on this side of the Atlantic as the man who helped broker Northern Ireland’s Good Friday Agreement. His service in Northern Ireland led to him being awarded numerous accolades and honours including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honour that the US Government can give. A lawyer by profession, he served as a US Senator from 1980 to 1995 and was Senate Majority Leader from 1989 to 1995. He is chairman of the Walt Disney Company and has served as Chancellor of Queen’s University.

He will receive the degree of Doctor of Laws (LLD) in recognition of his Chancellorship of The Queen’s University of Belfast.

The Rev Dr John Morrow was born in 1931 on a farm near Belfast, which led to a training in Agricultural Science at Queen's University. He later studied theology in Belfast and Edinburgh, and was a member of the Iona Community in Scotland from 1958-71. He has served in parish ministry in Northern Ireland and Edinburgh, and was a university chaplain in Glasgow, Dublin and Belfast. A founder member of the Corrymeela Community in 1965, he was leader of that Community from 1979-93. After this he lectured in the Irish School of Ecumenics until 2002.

He wil receive the degree of Doctor of Letters (DLitt) in recognition of his distinction in the promotion of inter-faith understanding.

Professor Noel Sharkey is a world leader in the field of artificial intelligence and robotics. Currently working in the Department of Computer Science at Sheffield University, he is also an EPSRC Senior Media Fellow, and has held  many prestigious research posts in the UK and the USA. Professor Sharkey has published  extensively in his field, and is also Editor in Chief of  professional journals including Connection Science and Artificial Intelligence Review. He is also one of the UK’s leading science communicators, and has been chief judge for the popular television science series Robot Wars

Professor Sharkey will receive the degree of Doctor of Science (DSc) in recognition of his distinction as a computer scientist and his promotion of the popular understanding of science.

Mr Raymond Mullan OBE  is Director of Newry and Kilkeel Institute of Further and Higher Education. He is one of Northern Ireland’s leaders in the field of further education. The Insitute which he heads is an Associate College of the University of Ulster, and offers an extensive range of access and higher education programmes.

He will receive the  degree of Doctor of the University (DUniv) in recognition of his distinction in promoting access to further and higher education.

Professor William Gillies is a leading authority on relations between Scotland and Ireland, having made an exceptional contribution to studies in the field. He is currently Professor of Celtic Languages and History, Literature and Antiquities at the University of Edinburgh.

He will receive the degree of  Doctor of Letters (DLitt) in recognition of his distinction as a Celtic studies scholar.

The Reverend Professor James Haire is Director of the Australian Centre for Christianity  and Culture, located in the country’s capital, Canberra.  A native of Belfast, he was educated at RBAI from 1951-64.  He served as Chairperson of the Youth Committee of the Irish Council of Churches in 1966. After moving to Australia, he ultimately became President of Brisbane College of Theology, and later was elected President of the Uniting Church in Australia (200-2003). He serves as a member of the World Methodist Council/Roman Catholic Church Internatioanal Commission, and as such is a leading scholar and controbutor to dialogue between the Catholic Church and Protestant churches, both in Australia and beyond.

He will receive the degree of  Doctor of Letters (DLitt) in recognition of his promotion of interfaith understanding.

Mr Francis Jennings is a Chairman of Rotary Group Ltd, one of Northern Ireland’s leading electrical and engineering firms. The company has an extensive international profile including major projects in Gibraltar, Kazakhstan, Ghana and Hong Kong. The firm also has close ties with the University’s School of the Built Environment, and Mr Jennings has been active in consolidating  the University’s links at an international level.  His vision and enthusiasm has been vital in building these strong collaborative linkages.

He will receive the degree of  Doctor of Science (DSc) for his  contribution to business in Northern Ireland and support for the University’s School of the Built Environment

Dr Maria Moloney  is a distinguished figure in Northern Ireland public life, having served with distinction  on Belfast Harbour Commission, the Industrial Development Board and Northern Ireland Transport Holdings. A solicitor, she was also the Northern Ireland Representative on the UK’s Independent Television Commission, and has  served on the Board of the University of Ulster Foundation.

She will receive the degree of Doctor of the University in recognition of her services to the University and public life.

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