University of Limerick honours ‘four inspiring individuals’ 

Professor Margaret Murnane, Sr Stanislaus Kennedy, Liam Moggan and Professor Brigid Laffan who received honorary doctorates from University of Limerick.

LEADERS from the worlds of sport, advocacy, science and politics donned cap and gown as they were conferred with honorary doctorates by University of Limerick.

Academic and political scientist Professor Brigid Laffan; ‘Godfather of Coaching’ Liam Moggan; social activist Sr Stanislaus Kennedy and renowned physicist Professor Margaret Murnane were described as four outstanding candidates for the honour.

University of Limerick President Professor Kerstin Mey said the bestowing of a UL honorary doctorate represents the opportunity to honour those who have inspired and worked tirelessly to make great contributions in their fields of endeavour.

“We honour four such individuals who have made unique and powerful contributions to history, charity, sport and science in this country.

“They embody the art of making questions, the art of making solutions, and the art of making networks, key ingredients for thinking sustainably and acting with conviction and courage,” Professor Mey added.

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The recipients joined the wider ceremonies taking place this week, with almost 3,300 new graduates being conferred at UL over five days of the 2022 Autumn Conferring.

Professor Margaret Murnane is based in the US where she is among the most research active physicists, but hails originally from Castleconnell, just a short distance from the UL campus.

Her work in ultrafast laser and x-ray technology is pushing the limits of how lasers can operate at the fundamental limits of speed and stability. The prestige of her research and the lab she runs with her husband Henry Kapteyn is a beacon for the contribution cutting edge science can make to solving scientific and technological challenges.

Professor Brigid Laffan was one of the very first students to attend UL – then the National Institute of Higher Education – where she met her late husband Michael. A native of Cahersiveen in Co Kerry, she is a world-leading academic and political scientist.

It is fitting that, as a European Studies graduate and former Director of the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies in Florence, Professor Laffan  receives her honorary doctorate on the 50th anniversary of Ireland joining the European Union.

Sr Stanislaus Kennedy – or Sr Stan, as she is more affectionately known – is a shining example of charity, of goodness and an inspiration to many. Her work as the founder of the country’s biggest voluntary organisation fighting homelessness, Focus Ireland, and her involvement in the National Immigration Council, making her a household name.

Born Treasa Kennedy, she grew up as one of five children in the village of Lispole, just outside Dingle in County Kerry, later joining the Religious Sisters of Charity in Dublin, an order established by Mary Aikenhead in 1815.

The ‘Godfather of Coaching’ Liam Moggan, as he is widely regarded in Irish sporting circles, has made an indelible contribution to sport nationally and has a long association with UL and was among the earliest groups of students at the former National College of Physical Education.

An accomplished athlete who won county senior titles in Galway as a schoolboy and subsequently in Limerick as a student, in Dublin where he taught physical education, geography, maths and history at Ardscoil Rís, and in Meath, where he now lives.