On 8th December, the National University of Ireland paid special tribute to Dr T K Whitaker on the centenary of his birth. We now greatly mourn his passing.
Ken Whitaker was in every sense great, his great age just one further manifestation of his greatness. He was one of the most remarkable Irishmen in the history of the State. Born in the year of the Easter Rising, he made a profound and lasting contribution to the State since its foundation and throughout his long life he used his many talents for the betterment of this country, economically, socially and culturally. Intellectually gifted, he had a brilliant career in the civil service rising to the highest office. After his retirement from the civil service, he continued to live a life of exceptional and active public service. He was Chancellor of the National University of Ireland for twenty years from 1976 – 1996 and enabled the university to face many challenges during that time.
Ken combined great intellect with personal qualities of great warmth, kindness humility and sense of humour. On behalf of the National University of Ireland, I express my deepest sympathies to the Whitaker family on their loss.
Thug Ollscoil na hÉireann ómós faoi leith don Dr T K Whitaker ar chomóradh céad bliana a bhreithe ar an 8 Nollaig 2016, agus anois caoineann an Ollscoil a bhás. Rugadh é i mbliain Éirí Amach na Cásca 1916 agus b’fhear den chéad scoth é. Déantar trácht air anois mar dhuine de na saoránaigh Éireannacha is fearr a bhí ann ariamh.. Bhí sé mar Sheansailéir ar Ollscoil na hÉireann ar feadh 20 bliain ó 1976-1996 agus chuir sé ar chumas na hOllscoile dul i ngleic le roinnt dúshlán i rith an ama sin.
Bhí cion mór ag an Dr T K Whitaker ar an nGaeilge. Cainteoirí dúchais Gaeilge as Contae an Chláir ab ea tuismitheoirí máthair Ken Whitaker. Nuair a bhog a mhuintir go Droichead Átha sa bhliain 1922, mhúscail múinteoir a bhí ag Ken ansin a chuid suime sa Ghaeilge. Thaitin an saibhreas a bhain le litríocht na Gaeilge go mór le Ken.
Ceapadh Ken Whitaker mar an chéad chathaoirleach ar Bhord na Gaeilge sa bhliain 1979. Ag an am sin, le spreagadh ó Whitaker, chuir na filí Seán Ó Tuama agus Tom Kinsella cnuasach filíochta le chéile dár teideal An Duanaire 1600-1900 agus thiomnaigh na filí an cnuasach dó.
Déanann Seansailéir Ollscoil na hÉireann, An Dr Muiris Ó Mainnín agus an Ollscoil comhbhrón le muintir Whitaker.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.
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