West Cork’s Dee Forbes and Kieran Calnan among honorary doctorates conferred by UCC

Honorary Doctor of Economic Science Kieran Calnan and Honorary Doctor of Literature Dee Forbes share a joke. Picture: Clare Keogh

University College Cork conferred its highest honour on four key national and international figures in recognition of their outstanding contribution and success in their fields.

Taking place on Boole Day, the birthdate of George Boole and one of the University’s most eminent professors, UCC President Dr. Michael Murphy presided over a special conferring ceremony to award Dee Forbes (Director General at RTÉ), Nell McCafferty (journalist, playwright and civil rights campaigner), Regis McKenna (Silicon Valley marketing guru) and Kieran Calnan (Irish businessman) with honorary doctorates.

“At UCC we are enormously proud of our long tradition of independent thinking. Today is a special day for two reasons; firstly we are acknowledging the talent and drive of four extraordinary honorary graduands, and secondly we are awarding them on the birthday of George Boole, the ultimate independent thinker. On behalf of the University, we are delighted to honour our graduands and to publicly acknowledge and laud their achievements,” said UCC President, Dr Michael Murphy.

Originally from Drimoleague, West Cork, Dee Forbes has an impressive international track record, having worked with some of the biggest names in the global TV industry. Dee previously served as President and Managing Director of Discovery Networks (Northern Europe) for six years. In 2016, she was appointed as Director General at RTÉ, the first woman to hold this position and the first external appointment in almost 50 years. As well as her outstanding leadership, UCC also acknowledged her evident support for the economic success of West Cork.

Kieran Calnan is a successful Irish businessman who played an intrinsic role in the successful promotion of the award-winning West Cork Fuschia brand. Former Chief Executive of South Western Services (SWS) Limited, a highly successful company sold to Bord Gais in 2009 for more than €500 million, Kieran has been responsible for driving job creation and revenue to the West Cork region through the development of a state-of-the-art business and technology park. Kieran is Chairman of the Irish Sea Fisheries Board and continues to contribute to the local, regional and national economy of Ireland.

Previous high profile recipients of honorary degrees from UCC include Roy Keane, international professional footballer and manager, actor Pierce Brosan, Olympian and World Championship athlete, Sonia O’Sullivan broadcaster Graham Norton, fashion designer, Don O’Neill and sporting legends including Ronan O’Gara, Brian Cody, Denis Irwin, Mary O’Connor and Aidan O’Brien.

Honorary graduates of UCC are selected carefully to recognise outstanding distinction in their chosen field including the arts, business, science, technology, sport and service to society.