Dublin City University has today paid tribute to President William J Clinton, 42nd President of the United States; Sr Stanislaus Kennedy, social innovator and Mr Martin Naughton, entrepreneur and founder of Glen Dimplex.
The trio were conferred with honorary doctorates (Doctor of Philosophy honoris causa) at a special ceremony in the Helix.
Speaking at this afternoon's honorary conferring President of Dublin City University, Prof Brian MacCraith said:
"We have listened to the wonderful tributes to each of our honorary graduates- tributes that have captured their outstanding achievements and their impact.
Their outstanding achievements are not in doubt. But there is a common thread between them. Each has a particular passion for Ireland. Each in his or own way is an innovator, a creative problem solver.
Martin- a technology innovator, Sr Stan a social innovator and Bill, an innovator for peace.
Each has taken risks to advance a vision. Each, in the words of Seamus Heaney, believing, "that a further shore is reachable from here".
Mr Martin Naughton
Professor Patrick Flood of DCU Business delivered the citation for Mr Naughton, a business innovator who has grown one of Ireland’s most successful international businesses, Glen Dimplex.
“Martin received very little handed to him on a silver platter and has been described as a “self-made” man.
His global business success has been, in large measure, due to his vision, his perseverance, his dedicated focus on research and development and his ability to motivate and bring people with him on an extraordinary business success story.
His business, Glen Dimplex, provides employment for more than 10,000 employees worldwide with extensive state of the art research and development facilities based in Dunleer, County Louth.
This growth has been achieved through the exercise of the Naughton family ethos of honesty, morality, decency and integrity.
Glen Dimplex grew from humble roots in Newry, Co. Down to become the global leader in electric heating.”
Addressing DCU’s students, Mr Naughton offered some advice:
“You are a very talented group, if you want to be an interesting person and do interesting things, then mix with interesting people and do interesting things.
We want to make Ireland an exceptional country that we can all be proud of – so do go away for work experience by all means but please come home, we need you to achieve our national potential.”
Sr Stanislaus Kennedy
Dr Emer Ní Bhrádaigh of DCU’s School of Fiontar agus Gaeilge delivered the citation on behalf of Sr Stanislaus in honour of her work in challenging social inequality, particularly in the area of homelessness.
“Sr Stanislaus Kennedy is best known for her longstanding work with the homeless and the marginalised, her popular publications on spirituality, and her thoughtful and energetic achievements in social justice.
She carries the baton in the long history of many members of religious orders over the last few centuries who have set up new innovative social ventures providing solutions to social problems.
Her core commitment is to equality and to self-respect and dignity for all members of society, regardless of their abilities or disabilities, their faith or ethos.
She sees the stillness and beauty within all people and encourages us all to do so. In her own words, ‘Through listening you can learn how to rise above adversity, and learn to truly value other people who are very different from you.”
Sr Stan said:
“I am honoured and humbled by this and I accept it on behalf of the people who have come to me looking for help, support and justice over the years.’
She further highlighted the enormous contribution of young people and how this led to the foundation of the Young Social Innovators of Ireland, “supporting young people to be active citizens, leaders of the future who will work for a fair and just society.”
President Bill Clinton
Delivering the citation for President Clinton, Professor Gary Murphy of DCU School of Law & Government, praised the former President’s personal leadership in building and consolidating peace and reconciliation on the island of Ireland,
“Peace-making is always difficult, but there can be little doubt that the conflict in Northern Ireland was ultimately resolved because that great beacon of liberty, the United States of America, decided that it could use its influence to make the vital difference.
That fateful decision was taken in the Oval Office by President Bill Clinton.
It was a decision he did not have to make. There was no real electoral gain for him in taking it. If anything his initial forays into the Northern Ireland peace process were greeted with scepticism by both republicans and unionists in Northern Ireland and by downright distrust and suspicion in the corridors of power in London. But Bill Clinton persevered, and thanks to that perseverance we have peace in Ireland today.”
President Clinton responded by saying:
“The Good Friday Accord basically recognised that, in an interdependent world, the great trick is to own your own identity, embrace your own tribe, but form a community in which what you have in common with those you can’t get away from is more important than your differences. That is all it was.”
He added that “there had never been a peace agreement like it in the world. I used you [as an example] shamelessly everywhere I could.”
Speaking about the inequalities and divisions around the world, he said that “all partnerships that are community based are held together, not because everybody agrees with everybody else, not because we don’t still have our particular identities, but because cooperation is better than conflict or isolation in any environment in which you must be in touch with others.” Ultimately “diverse groups make better decisions”.