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Former President of Ireland to Visit UMass Lowell

Peace-Builder Mary McAleese to Receive Honorary Degree


Contacts:   Nancy Cicco, 978-934-4944 or
                 Christine Gillette, 978-934-2209 or
* M E D I A   A D V I S O R Y *

Friday, Nov. 8
6:15 p.m.

WHAT: Mary McAleese, former president of Ireland, will receive an honorary degree from UMass Lowell. The degree will be conferred by Chancellor Marty Meehan during a reception held in McAleese’s honor.  
McAleese was the first person born in Northern Ireland to hold the office. The theme of her presidency, “Building Bridges,” which signified her focus on the peace process and reconciliation, was something she well understood as the eldest of nine children in a family that was compelled to move out of North Belfast in the wake of sectarian violence. 

As president, McAleese welcomed many world figures to her official residence at Phoenix Park, among them leaders from Northern Ireland, Queen Elizabeth II and President Barack Obama. Ireland’s second woman president, she served two terms from 1997 to 2011. 

McAleese earned a law degree at Queen’s University Belfast – one of UMass Lowell’s international partners – where she later served as the institution’s first woman pro-vice chancellor. She has taught criminal law at Trinity College Dublin and worked for Radio Telefis Eireann, the public-service broadcaster of Ireland. Her current pursuits include working toward a doctoral degree in canon law at the Gregorian University of Rome.

The presentation of the honorary doctorate of humane letters will include a procession of UMass Lowell faculty members. Along with McAleese, speakers are scheduled to include Meehan; Marcellette Williams, UMass senior vice president for academic affairs, student affairs and international relations; and UMass Lowell Executive Vice Chancellor Jacqueline Moloney. The event is presented by UMass Lowell’s Center for Irish Partnerships and the Lowell Irish Cultural Committee. Note: The ceremony is limited to the university community and cultural committee but members of the media may cover the event.
WHERE:  UMass Lowell Inn & Conference Center, 50 Warren St., Lowell. For directions and parking information, contact UMass Lowell media relations.