Honorary degrees abound at Magee summer graduations

Actress Susan Lynch. [050711SML2]
Actress Susan Lynch. [050711SML2]

An actress, a human rights advocate, a TV presenter and a charity campaigner are the recipients of honorary degrees at this summer’s graduations at UU Magee which kicked-off yesterday.

Yesterday afternoon, at the Millennium Forum ceremony, UU Chancellor, Dr James Nesbitt, presented honorary degrees to Amnesty International’s UK head Kate Allen and to top Irish actress Susan Lynch, who coincidentally starred with Dr Nesbitt in ‘Monroe’, the recent TV medical drama.

Amnesty International's Kate Allen. [050711SML3]

Amnesty International's Kate Allen. [050711SML3]

Tomorrow sees honorary degrees awarded to journalist and TV presenter Miriam O’Callaghan and local charity campaigner Richard Moore who founded and leads international humanitarian organisation Children in Crossfire.

Kate Allen received the degree of Doctor of Laws in recognition of her services for the promotion of human rights and to mark Amnesty International’s 50th Anniversary.

Sbe was appointed to her current position in March 2000 and, under her guidance, the organisation has grown from having 159,000 to 227,000 members in the UK, including several thousand in Northern Ireland.

She has led successful campaigns to secure UK government support for the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty, the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings, and the closure of the US detention centre at Guantanamo Bay.

She holds dual Irish and UK citizenship and is a regular visitor to Northern Ireland to support Amnesty International events. She has actively supported the organisation’s campaign work in Northern Ireland including efforts to legislate for a Bill of Rights and, more recently, for the establishment of an inquiry into historic institutional child abuse.

Newry born Susan Lynch, one of Northern Ireland’s best known stage and accomplished screen actresses, was awarded the degree of Doctor of Letters in recognition of her services to acting.

She first caught the attention of international audiences following her role in the widely acclaimed ‘The Secret of Roan Inish’ but by then she was already well on her way to a successful acting career.

The daughter of an Irish father and Italian mother and the younger sister of the actor John Lynch, she made her television debut in the 1993 in the popular series ‘Cracker’ and went onto to star in numerous television series ‘Amongst Women’ ‘Ivanhoe’ ‘Bodies’, to name but a few.

Susan’s filmography is as impressive. Working alongside independent film director John Sayles twice. Other films include ‘From Hell’, ‘Eizabeth the Golden Age’ and ‘Enduring Love’.

She has won numerous film and television awards at home and abroad.

One of her most celebrated roles was as James Joyce’s lover Nora Barnacle in the biopic ‘Nora’, for which she received two Best Actress awards in Italy.