Universities to honour philanthropist Feeney in unprecedented joint move


ALL UNIVERSITIES on the island of Ireland are to jointly confer an honorary Doctorate of Laws on philanthropist Charles (“Chuck”) Feeney next month. The ceremony, on September 6th, will take place at Dublin Castle with Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Minister for Education and Skills Ruairí Quinn in attendance.

It is the first time in the history of the island that such an event has been arranged by Ireland’s universities, north and south, and is intended as an acknowledgement of Mr Feeney’s remarkable contribution to society on this island in general and to its universities in particular.

Mr Feeney is the founder of Atlantic Philanthropies, which has donated nearly €770 million to universities on this island since 1990. He has said his purpose was to create a brighter future and a better society for the people of Ireland.

He said he believes the best way to achieve this is to help Ireland become a full participant in the knowledge society and to compete in the knowledge economy.

Atlantic Philanthropies, which Mr Feeney founded in 1982, identified the Irish universities as institutions central to this purpose.

Physical evidence of Mr Feeney’s philanthropy can be seen in the new buildings on university campuses across the island that have appeared over recent decades and which provide state-of-the-art facilities.

He has also endowed chairs at universities, as well as providing scholarships and other forms of student support.

He has supported new libraries and on-campus student housing, as well as projects in health and ageing.

The universities involved are Dublin City University; the National University of Ireland; the National University of Ireland, Galway; the National University of Ireland, Maynooth; Queen’s University Belfast; Trinity College Dublin (University of Dublin); University College Cork; University College Dublin; University of Limerick; and the University of Ulster.