THE UNIVERSITY of Limerick is to confer an honorary doctorate on philanthropist Chuck Feeney next month in recognition of the hundreds of millions of euro he has helped raise for the college.
In a rare move, all universities in Ireland, both north and south, are to jointly confer him with an honorary doctorate of laws on September 6 in Dublin Castle.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Minister for Education and Skills Ruairí Quinn will attend the event in recognition of Feeney’s generosity to Ireland.
Since founding his Atlantic Philanthropies in 1982, he has donated nearly €770 million to universities here and has given more than €1.25 billion to projects in Ireland.
It is the first time that such an event has been arranged by Ireland’s universities, and is intended as an acknowledgement of Mr Feeney’s remarkable contribution to Irish society.
UL recently expressed its gratitude to Chuck Feeney, and Atlantic Philanthropies, which is winding down its operations towards 2016.
Support from Feeney, estimated to be in the region of $200m, has allowed UL to complete major projects, including the sports arena, library, and the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance.
He also provided funding towards the €2m residence for the university president on campus, which was a source of controversy at the time.
Milford Care Centre received some €5.4m from Atlantic Philanthropies over a three-year period.
Mary Immaculate College received €407,000 from Atlantic Philanthropies in 2001 for a project to address disruptive pupil behaviour in primary schools in disadvantaged areas.
Mr Feeney remains a board member of the UL Foundation and “is actively engaged in guiding the ongoing development of the university”.