Christine Buckley: Honorary Doctorate

Valerie Coghlan, Sam Shepard, Christine Buckley, Chancellor of the University, Mary Robinson, Dame Lynne Brindley and Provost, Patrick Prendergast. 

On Friday 7th December 2012 at 3 pm, the following honorary degrees of the University of Dublin were conferred at a Commencements Ceremony in the Public Theatre (Orations PDF 44kb):

Lynne Brindley (Litt.D.)

Dame Lynne Brindley has had an illustrious career in British university libraries and is currently visiting Professor of Knowledge Management in the University of Leeds; from 2000-2012 she was chief executive of the British Library. She has been instrumental in transforming the concept of Library from passive archive to dynamic contributor to research and the wider education environment and realising the potential of digital formats.  Her contributions were recognised in 2008 by the award of the DBE.  She has offered continuing support for the College Library’s role as a Legal Deposit Library for the UK. It is fitting to award an honorary degree to this distinguished librarian in 2012, the year that the Old Library is celebrating its Tercentenary. 

Christine Buckley (LL.D.)

A former resident of Goldenbridge Institution, Ms. Buckley was one of the first to go public on her experiences. For more than 25 years she has campaigned tirelessly on behalf of other victims of institutional abuse. She is a co-founder and director of the Aislinn Centre in Dublin which provides educational and support services for survivors. Former President of Ireland, Mary McAleese, described her as a woman who has changed the course of history through her voluntary effort. In 2010 she was selected as Irish Volunteer of the Year and went on to be awarded the title “European Volunteer of the Year” on International Volunteer Day.

Valerie Coghlan  (D.Ed.)

Valerie has become the recognisable face of Irish expertise and innovation on the international children’s literature circuit. She has been a founder member of and held high office in most of the important professional bodies pertaining to children’s literature, both nationally and internationally. She has published widely in her own area of expertise, and has played a key role as facilitator and promoter of children’s authors and illustrators.  Recently retired as Librarian and lecturer in the Church of Ireland College of Education, she played the key role in building up and archiving their collection, and in developing the relationship between this collection and our own Pollard collection and cognate collections internationally.

Sam Shepard  (Litt.D.)

Sam Shepard is one of the most influential figures in world drama, with an extraordinary body of work to his name which has inspired a generation of writers, filmmakers and theatre practitioners the world over. A relentless experimenter with form and structure, few American playwrights have exerted as much influence on the contemporary stage. Not only playwright, but also screenwriter, author of short stories, actor, and director, he is the recipient of many awards. He has a deep connection to Irish theatre, expressed recently in an intensive artistic collaboration with the Abbey Theatre.

Related Events:

TCD Library Lecture
On the occasion of the award of an Honorary Litt D, Dame Lynne Brindley, DBE, FRSA, ex- Chief Executive of the British Library and visiting Professor of Knowledge Management at the University of Leeds, will give a lecture on ‘Challenges and opportunities for Research Libraries’ at 11.00am on Friday 7th December in the Neill/Hoey Lecture Theatre, Long Room Hub Building. All welcome.

School of English Reading
The School of English will host a reading by renowned actor and playwright Sam Shepard on Thursday 6th December at 7.00 pm in the Edmund Burke Theatre. Please note that due to popular demand this event is booked out.

The nine universities in Ireland, North and South, jointly conferred an honorary Doctorate of Laws (LL.D) on Charles F. “Chuck” Feeney, founder of The Atlantic Philanthropies on 6 September 2012 for his philanthropic activities and remarkable contribution to Irish society, in particular to the universities. This is the first time such an honour was conferred jointly by all the universities.

Charles F. “Chuck” Feeney (LL.D)

Chuck Feeney’s philanthropic purpose in Ireland has been to create a brighter future and a better society for the people of Ireland. He believes that one way to achieve this is to enable Ireland to become a full participant in the knowledge society and to compete in the knowledge economy. The Atlantic Philanthropies, which he founded in 1982, identified Irish universities, which of their nature are devoted to the transmission of knowledge and the generation of new knowledge, as institutions central to this purpose.

Since 1989, Atlantic has donated almost €800 million to Irish universities, North and South.  The physical manifestations of this philanthropy can be seen today most notably in the transformational research infrastructure which has been created on university campuses. This is providing a new generation of researchers with facilities their predecessors could only dream about. Human capital development in the universities had been supported through endowed chairs, scholarships and other forms of student support. University projects have also included support for new libraries and student on-campus housing and projects in the fields of health and ageing. In the longer term, the impact of the funding provided by Atlantic can be expected to be even more significant.

More information » For a list of honorary degree recipients since 1975 please see:

Wow! Christine Buckley was in fine company, and why ever not indeed. Survivors of industrial *schools* were put down for generations (and still continue to be put down by a lot of society, who saw/see them as inferior beings and not worthy to be in their company) for far too long. It’s now pay-back time. Albeit late…it’s still better late than never. I revel in something like this happening, as it just goes to show that whilst some parts of society may have seen/see survivors as boring and uneducated nonentities, and have tripped over same rather than recognise they exist, they’ve been a force to reckon with, they’ve paid the ultimate price with their childhood having been stolen.


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