University of Ulster honors Rory McIlroy, Sir Alex Ferguson, Sir Ian McKellen, and Gary Lightbody


She is a member of the Clinical Translational Research and Innovation Centre’s (C-TRIC) International Advisory Panel. C-TRIC, the award winning clinical research facility based at Altnagelvin Hospital, was developed as a joint partnership between the University of Ulster at Magee, Western Health and Social Care Trust (Western Trust) and Derry City Council, with funding for the project provided by ILEX urban regeneration company and Invest Northern Ireland. 

Celebrity TV chef, author, journalist, and mother, Rachel Allen will be awarded the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Science for her contribution to Culinary Arts. The Dubliner learnt her craft - and met her husband - at the world-renowned Ballymaloe Cookery School in Cork.

Rachel’s popular television series on both RTE and BBC and her best selling cookery books are all based on her basic philosophy that good ingredients simply prepared give great results.

Ms Rosemary Kelly OBE will be awarded the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters (DLitt) for services to the arts and education. The former chairperson of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and a Governor of the Irish Times Trust, she is also former Head of Public Affairs and Company Secretary for BBC Northern Ireland.

She has served on a number of public and voluntary bodies including the Ofcom Content Board in London (the broadcasting regulator); Chairman of the Ormeau Baths Gallery (the contemporary art gallery in Belfast), Deputy Chairman of the Ulster Orchestra, and on the Council of the University of Ulster. She was also a founding member of the Irish Film and Television Academy, and was awarded an OBE in January 2009 for services to the arts.

Edmund (Ed) Curran, veteran journalist and former Belfast Telegraph Editor in Chief, will be awarded the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters (DLitt) in recognition of his services to journalism. Ed joined the Belfast Telegraph in 1966 as a graduate trainee reporter and worked his way up to editor.

He held the position for 12 years before becoming editor-in-chief and was also launch editor of sister paper, the Sunday Life. In 2006, he was awarded the OBE 2006 for services to Journalism. Since retiring as Editor in Chief, he has continued to contribute a regular column to the paper. He has also played a prominent role in the training of journalists, serving on
the board of directors of the National Council for the Training of Journalists. 

Tom Kelly OBE, Group Chief Executive of Stakeholder Communications, is one of Northern Ireland’s most high profile current affairs commentators and has directed many high profile PR and political campaigns.

Named as one of Ireland’s top 50 most influential businessmen in Britain by a leading business newspaper, he received an OBE in 2006 for his services to business. He will be awarded the Honorary Degree of Doctor of the University (DUniv) for his services to the community.

Arlene Cassidy, Chief Executive of the charity Autism Northern Ireland, will be awarded the Honorary Degree of Doctor of the University for her services to Autism. She joined Autism NI in the early 1990s, having previously worked as a social worker in both statutory and voluntary sectors. In her role as Chief Executive, she has provided the strategic leadership and helped Autism NI become the lead voice for Autism in Northern Ireland and the major catalyst for policy and procedure change with statutory, voluntary, and government sectors.

The leadership shown by two Belfast headmasters, Andy McMorran, former principal of Ashfield Boys High School in Belfast and PJ O’Grady, the retired principal of St Patrick’s Bearnageeha, will also be recognised by the University.

Both will be awarded the Honorary Degree of Doctor of the University (DUniv) for the role they played in helping to transform their respective schools and for their contribution to the local community.

Paul Smith CBE, the founder and chairman of the global light entertainment company Celador Entertainment Limited, the umbrella company for Celador Films, Celador Radio, Celador Theatrical, and LUSAM, will be awarded the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Sciences for services to Media and Enterprise.

Since it was formed in 1983 as an independent production company, Celador has produced a number of popular light entertainment shows, including, ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?’ The company co-produced the film ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ which won seven BAFTAs, four Golden Globes and eight Oscars, including Best Director and Best Picture in 2009.

The degrees will be conferred during the summer and winter graduation ceremonies of the University of Ulster. Specific dates for each conferral will be made public at a later date.