AIT Awards the Highest Academic Honour, Distinguished Fellow to Jimmy McGee, Pat Beirne, Mary Burke & John Gorman
On Friday 27th April 2018, AIT awarded four distinguished fellowships to Pat Beirne of Mergon, Mary Burke of BioClin Research Laboratories, Jimmy McGee of Athlone Extrusions and John Gorman, Jadotville Veteran. The ceremony recognised and marked the immense contribution of each of the recipients through their life’s work which is truly inspirational and each one epitomises the qualities celebrated in the Distinguished Fellowship award.
This prestigious award is the Institute’s highest academic honour which recognises individuals who, through active leadership and/or scholarly endeavour over a significant period of time, have made continuing significant contributions to society, Ireland, the Midland region, the local community or to the development and advancement of Athlone Institute of Technology.
Awarding the Distinguished Fellowships Professor Ciarán Ó Catháin, President of AIT said, “Awarding the fellowships is an acknowledgement of the significant impact that each of our distinguished fellows have made and the amazing legacy that they have created in their companies, sectors and communities nationally and globally.” He added, “Our connections with all of these individuals, companies and industries shows how important and symbiotic the Institutes relationship is with our community in Athlone, the region and industry.”
Since its foundation almost 50 years ago, Athlone Institute of Technology has worked with and supported both regional and national industry through the provision of highly skilled graduates in a number of core areas. The Institutes plays a catalytic role in the social, economic and cultural development of the region and has cultivated a range of valued partnerships with enterprise, industry and the various stakeholders to ensure that the Midlands gains from the economic recovery and that this will help to bring investment to the region.
Dr Eoin Langan, Dean of Faculty of Business & Hospitality delivered a citation for Jimmy McGee of Athlone Extrusions at the ceremony. Professor Ó Catháin added, “Over the years there has been many interactions between us whether than was undertaking some applied research on their behalf or hosting visits from customers of theirs, both organisations have worked extremely closely over the years. Some of the innovative products developed by Athlone Extrusion were directly related to research in AIT. As Dr Langan outlined these links with Athlone Extrusions encapsulate the close relationship between this Institute and cutting-edge industry and technology in the midlands region. While Jimmy may no longer be involved with Athlone Extrusions we know that at his core he is a serial entrepreneur and I’m sure there is another chapter in his story to come yet. We hope that our relationship continues into the future.”
Breda Lynch, Industry Programmes and Technology Transfer Manager at AIT delivered a citation on behalf of the Institute for Mr Pat Beirne of Mergon. In his address Professor Ó Catháin added, “Pat was a graduate of the first cohort of plastics engineers from AIT. His contribution to the plastics industry and employment in the midlands, particularly in north Westmeath has had significant impact. His company Mergon has collaborated with the institute on many research projects over the years and has helped in the education of our undergraduates through placements and invaluable input to our programmes. We at AIT recognise and value Pat as an industry expert in one of our core competencies, polymers.”
The third recipient was Mary Burke of BioClin Research Laboratories and Dr Don Faller, Dean of the Faculty of Science & Health delivered the citation which acknowledged and detailed Mary’s significant contribution to the pharmaceutical sector in Ireland. Professor Ó Catháin when speaking of Mary commented, “Mary has made a significant impact on the pharmaceutical industry as a whole. Mary’s relationship with AIT first developed when she entered the gates of the campus to hone her entrepreneurial skills on a programme in the MIRC. The programme empowered her with a new skill set and this is part of what led her to continue to drive BioClin forward to become the leading Irish pharmaceutical company it is today. In Athlone we are situated in the 3rd BioPharma MedTech cluster in Ireland and the knowledge and skills base that is in our region is world class, indeed up to 40% of BioClin employees are AIT graduates.”
The final recipient of the distinguished fellow was presented to John Gorman after an emotional citation delivered by Orla Thornton, Director of Marketing & Communications in AIT. Professor Ó Catháin noted that as part of the criterial for awarding the distinguished fellows the nominees shall have achieved distinction in a field of human endeavour to such an extent as to provide motivation and inspiration to the general public and John Gorman is a very worthy recipient of the fellowship this year. Professor Ó Catháin added, “John Gorman sums up courage and bravery, persistence and reward for after all of the years fighting for himself, his Commandant and his comrades he never once faltered. Steely in determination to right the wrong and to shine a light on a once forgotten chapter of Irish history a chapter that has now been written into the history books as one of the most heroic stories in Irish military history. “
Professor Ciarán Ó Catháin, President of AIT noted as part of his address that AIT’s ambition remains clear with regards to its Technological University vision and status and noted, “As an institute we have a vision to become a technological university and we have consistently espoused the belief that our region would gain significantly from having a Technological University. In fact, a Technological University is essential if the Midlands is to achieve its untapped potential. As leaders in industry, as leaders in our region your personal support and the support of your sector in driving forward our ambition and vision is very important, for if we work together and leverage our influence it would be for the advancement of the region and for Athlone’s vision for 2040.”
For Further info contact:
Director of Marketing & Communications – AIT
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