NUI Galway announces 2015 Alumni Award Winners

NUI Galway has announced the winners of the 2015 Alumni Awards to be presented at the 15th annual Alumni Awards Gala Banquet on Saturday, March 7. The ceremony will take place on the campus at the Bailey Allen Wing located in Áras na Mac Léinn.

The winners of the six alumni awards to be presented at Gala 2015 include race walker Olive Loughnane who will receive the award for her contribution to sport. The Loughrea woman represented Ireland at four Olympic Games and six World Championships in the 20km racewalk. Ms Loughnane is a world champion in waiting have been recently awarded the Gold medal from the World Championship in 2009 following Russian athlete Olga Kaniskina’s suspension by the Russian Anti-doping agency.

The award for arts, literature and celtic studies goes to Dr Tom Mitchell. The Mayo native graduated with First Class Honours from UCG with a BA in 1961 and MA in 1962. He pursued a long and successful academic career and in 1991 was elected Provost of Trinity College - the first NUI graduate and the first Roman Catholic to hold the post in the 400 year history of the College. H

The business and commerce award goes to Catriona O’Farrell who is the former CEO of the Fintrax Group. On graduating from NUI Galway with a BComm in 1985, she did a postgraduate in marketing (precursor to the current MSc Marketing Practice ) at the University. Over the next 20 years, Ms O’Farrell gained international experience and completed an MBA at NUI Galway. She held senior management roles in IT in Sydney where she had responsibility for marketing technical products across South East Asia, and in the publishing industry as General Manager of the Galway Advertiser newspaper where she managed the transition to new technology and led the research for the newspaper’s redesign and its launch as the first regional newspaper to print in full colour.

In 2011, she was appointed CEO of the Fintrax Group. In her role, Catriona managed annual revenues of more than $75 million, a staff of more than 400 across 26 offices spanning the Americas, Asia Pacific and Europe. Servicing over 80,000 retail merchants worldwide, the company processes 3.7 million tax refund transactions annually at the Group’s headquarters in Baile na hAbhann, Connemara.

The alumini award for law, public policy and Government goes to Ms Justice Carmel Stewart, Judge of the High Court. The Tuam native was conferred with both BA and LLB degrees at NUI Galway.Ms Justice Stewart was appointed to the Circuit Court Bench in April, 2012 and was appointed to the High Court Bench in October, 2014.

The engineering, science and technology award goes to IT entrepreneur, and founder of AMT-SYBEX, Pearse Mee. The Science Graduate is regarded within Irish business circles as a pioneer of the Irish computer software industry over the last 40 years. In 1990, he set up AMT-SYBEX to provide mobile meter data management and collection software for utility companies. AMT-SYBEX supplies 35,000 mobile devices serving 35 million customers of household names in the UK including National Grid, National Rail and the London Underground. Born in Dublin in 1944, Morgan O’Connell graduated from UCG with an MB, BCh, BAO in 1968. As a schoolboy Morgan played rugby for Connacht which led to him choosing UCG to study Medicine. During his six years at the University, Morgan became a Medical Cadet in the Royal Navy, where he remained for the next 31 years, leaving as Consultant Advisor in Psychiatry to the Medical Directory.

The alumni award for medicine, nursing and health sciences goes to Dr Morgan O’Connell, retired medical officer for the Royal Navy, and consultant psychiatrist and specialist in PTSD. Although now retired, Morgan provides a Consulting Service in the Southampton/Portsmouth area.


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