Dublin City University will honor two leading figures in the Irish American community in New York City in June.
DCU President Brian MacCraith and Chancellor Dr. Martin McAleese will officiate at the ceremony at the Eisner and Lubin Auditorium in NYU on Tuesday, June 11 at 5:30 p.m.
“DCU has its own particular niche in modern day Ireland. That is the reason why we support the university,” O’Dwyer told the Irish Voice.
O’Dwyer, whose wife Marianna is a trustee of DCU Educational Trust, described the accolade as a tremendous honor.
“Part of what makes it so really special to me is our family’s commitment to access higher education both here and in Ireland,” O’Dwyer added.
O’Dwyer is a celebrated Irish American lawyer and lobbyist for immigration rights. He has received numerous awards recognizing his work, both as a humanitarian and as an advocate for the underprivileged.
He serves as the chairman of the Emerald Isle Immigration Center, which has offices in the Bronx and Queens. He is the son of Co. Mayo native Paul O'Dwyer, a famed lawyer and New York politician who co-founded the firm of O'Dwyer and Bernstien.
The second DCU honoree, Fitzpatrick, is a successful businessman and pioneering philanthropist. Fitzpatrick was elected by the board of directors to the role of chairman of the American Ireland Fund, beginning in 2014.
As president and CEO of the Fitzpatrick Hotel Group, he oversees the running of two hotels in Manhattan and has celebrated 21 years in business in the city. In 2008, Fitzpatrick received an OBE in recognition of his contribution to the peace process in Northern Ireland.
“I am hugely proud and honored to receive this very special honor alongside Brian O’Dwyer. To join the roll call of those previously conferred with honorary doctorates by DCU is very humbling,” Fitzpatrick told the Irish Voice.
“I would like to acknowledge all of the people who have made contributions, both financially and by giving up their precious time to helping the Eithne and Paddy Fitzpatrick Fund accomplish what it has over the past two decades. I share this accolade with all of them.”
In a statement, MacCraith said the two honorees personify the best qualities of the Irish American family in New York
“These conferrals recognize their committed advocacy on behalf of Irish people on both sides of the Atlantic,” he said.
Other recipients of DCU honorary degrees include her former U.S. ambassador to Ireland Jean Kennedy Smith Irish, Derry-born politician John Hume and poet Seamus Heaney.