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President of Ireland receives honorary degree from the University

24 Apr 2024

President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, is visiting the University this week and has been presented with an honorary degree.

Michael D. Higgins receives honorary degree

On Tuesday, 23 April, President Higgins attended a conferral dinner at The Whitworth during which he was presented with his honorary degree. The President undertook postgraduate studies at The University of Manchester from 1968 -1971.

In 2011, Michael D. Higgins was inaugurated as the ninth President of Ireland and re-elected in November 2018 to serve a second term in office. He is a passionate political voice, a poet and writer, academic and statesman, human rights advocate, promoter of inclusive citizenship, and champion of creativity within Irish society.

Speaking at the conferral ceremony, President Higgins said: “The conferral of a Doctor of Letters (Honoris Causa) from this esteemed University is an honour I very much appreciate, receiving it as I do in what is a very special year for The University of Manchester as it celebrates its 200th anniversary.”

“This honour that you have bestowed on me has a particular personal resonance, given my family connections with Manchester. My two sisters came to Manchester in the late 1950s and married and reared their families here. This was followed by my own experience as a postgraduate student at this University in the late 1960s, times of hope and promise.

Speaking about the visit Professor Nancy Rothwell, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University said: “In conferring an honorary degree upon President Higgins and looking forward to his lecture we celebrate power of sharing knowledge to unite us and inspire change. It is especially important during our bicentenary year in which we celebrate 200 years of our incredible people and community and look toward the future.”

“This period and the work of scholars I met and worked with instilled in me a profound and lifelong interest in migration. This honour I accept today, not just for myself, but for all migrants and those who study and care for them.”

The President will also deliver the first of a new annual series of lectures at the University, named the John Kennedy Lecture Series, on Wednesday, 24 April. The lecture series will run for five years as part of the University’s School of Arts, Languages and Cultures. The lectures will promote topics related to the island of Ireland. The lecture will be live streamed and available to watch online.