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28 February 2024  


Dr Catherine Day receives the inaugural NUI Whitaker Medal

The National University of Ireland was pleased to award the inaugural NUI Whitaker Medal to Dr Catherine Day in a ceremony at University College Cork on 11 December 2023.

This medal, named in honour of Dr Thomas Kenneth Whitaker, aims to recognise the leadership and dedication in those who make great contributions to public life, whose work and commitment make a positive mark on society.

Dr Catherine Day is one such person, and it is with great pleasure that NUI awards her the inaugural Whitaker Medal. Dr Day held the position of Secretary-General of the European Commission from 2005 to 2015, a time of great expansion in the EU and a period of challenge and growth globally. With a wealth of experience in European affairs, policy development, and administration, Day has garnered recognition for her public service. Her leadership and expertise have been evident in effectively navigating the intricate landscape of EU governance.

Dr Day was the chair of UCC’s governing body from 2015 to 2023. In that time, she was instrumental in the development of a new central campus location for Cork University Business School. She successfully navigated UCC through the COVID-19 pandemic, a time where the higher education sector had to swiftly adapt and innovate. UCC’s commitment to sustainability has been internationally acclaimed during her time as chair, recently ranking 6th out of 1,183 institutions in the UI GreenMetric World University Ranking.


“Given Dr Catherine Day’s outstanding public service contribution
and leadership for higher education, it is fitting that such an award be
bestowed upon her. Dr Day has been a great friend of UCC and has left lasting
legacy during a challenging time.”


Prof John O’Halloran
UCC President


“I am very pleased that the first NUI Whitaker Medal is being awarded to
Dr Catherine Day, as she epitomises the spirit of the award: idealism, integrity,
honesty and diligence in public service. Her experience and expertise in her career
have contributed to Ireland, Europe and the world. The establishment of the medal
by NUI provides a mechanism whereby leaders such as Dr Day can be acknowledged
for their endeavours.”


Dr Maurice Manning
NUI Chancellor

 

Dr Catherine Day also received the Garret Fitzgerald Gold Medal for International Relations from the Institute of International and European Affairs in 2015. Being awarded the Whitaker Medal makes her a recipient of two different awards named in honour of NUI chancellors.

About the NUI Whitaker Medal

NUI has a long tradition of acknowledging exceptional people who contribute to Ireland’s academic, cultural, political and civil life. Therefore, it has established the National University of Ireland Whitaker Medal to recognise individuals or groups who have made outstanding contributions to public life, positively impacting the academic community or society as a whole.

TK Whitaker, an Irish economist, public servant and third NUI Chancellor, made an extraordinary impact on Ireland's development. As Secretary of the Department of Finance, he introduced economic reforms that propelled the nation’s industrial development. His policies attracted foreign investment, fostering economic growth, job creation, and improved living standards. Whitaker also played a crucial role in promoting peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland. His leadership and dedication to public service have left an enduring legacy, inspiring future generations.

 

Photos from the ceremony:

Prof John O’Halloran presents Dr Catherine Day with the inaugural NUI Whitaker Medal
Prof John O’Halloran presents Dr Catherine Day with the inaugural NUI Whitaker Medal
Prof John O’Halloran presents Dr Catherine Day with the inaugural NUI Whitaker Medal
Dr Catherine Day with the inaugural NUI Whitaker Medal
Dr Catherine Day with the inaugural NUI Whitaker Medal
Dr Catherine Day with the inaugural NUI Whitaker Medal
Dr Catherine Day with Prof John O’Halloran
Dr Catherine Day with Prof John O’Halloran
Dr Catherine Day with Prof John O’Halloran

 


 

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