The St. Columb’s College Past Pupils’ Union was founded on November 5th, 1929, the 50th anniversary of the founding of the College itself.
On that occasion, Dr. Neil Farren ( later Bishop Farren), the then College President, remarked: ‘In the National University, St Columb’s men are found on the professorial staff in the faculties of the classics, mathematics, law and science, we have given to the world men . . . all doing their work the better for their early association with St Columb’s.”
Set up to be an important link between past and present students of the college, the union has contributed much to the school over the years and the sense of pride in St. Columb’s College and its achievements has continued to provide a motivation for its work in the present.
This year, as Union President, I have had the honour of representing the College Union at gatherings hosted by other alumni institutions throughout Ireland where St. Columb’s uniquely is referred to as “ the College.”
St Columb’s – “The College” is, indeed, unique and the Union can number not one but two Nobel Laureates - John Hume and Seamus Heaney- among its membership.
Annually the College Union celebrates the unique contribution of our alumni, across a variety of areas, by declaring a former pupil to be our Alumnus Illustrissimus.
The award, first made in 1994 is conferred, with an accompanying citation, at the annual dinner and the recipient is presented with a bronze sculpture designed by the acclaimed Irish sculptor, Eamon O’Doherty and depicting St. Columba leaving Derry for the island of Iona.
Recent recipients of the award have included sportsmen such as Brian Dooher and Martin O Neill; lawyers such as Sir Declan Morgan, currently the Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland; musicians and composers such Paul Brady and Phil Coulter (whose report card in St Columb’s read: “would do better if he concentrated on real music rather than pop music) and academics such as Professor Patrick Johnston, currently President and Vice Chancellor of Queen’s University, Belfast.
In 2014 the award went to Colm Long, a social media entrepreneur and former Vice President of Global Operations for Facebook.
Over the years St Columb’s has produced a crop of clergymen. On behalf of the union I am, therefore, particularly pleased to announce that our Alumnus Illustrissimus for 2015 will be Archbishop Eamon Martin, currently Primate of all Ireland and a recent former President of the College .
The Presentation of the Alumnus Illustrissimus Award will take place on Friday, November 6th next at the Union’s annual dinner in the City Hotel, Derry. It is expected that there will be a heavy demand for the limited places available and early booking is advised, preferably not later than Tuesday, November 3rd.
Dress is formal and the subscription is £35.00. The College will be closed from Friday, 23rd October until Monday 2nd November for Mid-term and booking during this period may be made via e-mail. Bookings to:-Dermot Carlin,St. Columb’s College,Telephone: 028 71285000