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22 June 2024  

NUI remembers the Kennedy visit


50th Anniversary of the Conferring of an Honorary Degree of the National University of Ireland on President John F. Kennedy

The visit to Ireland of President John F. Kennedy in June 1963 holds particular memories for the National University of Ireland. In May 1963, the then NUI  Registrar, Dr Seamus Wilmot, wrote, on behalf of the Senate, to President Kennedy inviting him to be conferred with the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws (LLD). President Kennedy graciously accepted the invitation.

At a ceremony held in Dublin Castle on June 28th 1963, Dr Eamon de Valera, Chancellor of the University, conferred the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws (LLD). The Vice-Chancellor, Dr Michael Tierney, President of University College Dublin, gave the introductory address. The Taoiseach and other members of the Government were among a distinguished attendance.

At a distance of fifty years, we look back with affection on this historic occasion.

NUI is grateful to RTE Archives for having provided the footage of the conferring ceremony. The photograph and correspondence are from NUI archives.

Seated between Dr Tierney and President Kennedy are Dr Henry St J. Atkins, President of University College Cork (right), and (left) Dr Mairtín Ó Tnúthail, President of University College Galway (now NUI Galway). In the row behind are from left, Mr Erskine Childers, then Minister for Transport and Power, later President of Ireland, Mr Neil Blayney, Minister for Local Government, and Dr T K Whitaker, then Secretary of the Department of Finance and later Chancellor of NUI.







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