United States District Court Judge Donald W. Molloy of Montana and broadcaster and comedian Graham Norton are among four distinguished persons who will be conferred with Honorary Doctorates in University College Cork (UCC), Ireland on Friday 7 June. Irish writer and BBC broadcaster Fergal Keane, who specializes in war journalism and human rights reporting, and local Cork businessman Dermot O’Mahoney complete the four to be honored.
Judge Donald Molloy has been a leading reformer in judicial practice in Montana and has adjudicated on significant environmental rights cases involving cleanup of polluted sites and hunting practices. Judge Molloy presided over the largest criminal environmental case prosecuted in the United States, United States vs W.R. Grace. He decided several endangered species cases including those of the Grey Wolf, the Grizzly Bear, the Lynx as well as cases involving Montana's world-class fishery. These issues have been of particular concern to the Pacific Northwest region given a renewed focus on fossil fuel extraction by ‘fracking’ and other means. Some of the cases have involved the evolving question of the impact of global warming on various plant and animal species.
Judge Molloy has a strong personal interest in his Irish heritage and in the early 2000s studied the Irish language for a semester under the guidance of Traolach O'Riordain, originally from Cork, Ireland, who heads the Irish Studies programme at the University of Montana. Judge Molloy claims no expertise beyond his interest in the language and his love for Ireland. He has strong links with UCC’s Law and Irish programme whereby UCC students teach Irish in the University of Montana for a term, attend the University of Montana Law School while at the same time they clerk in Judge Molloy’s chambers or in courtrooms of judges or Magistrate Judge Lynch, working under Judge Molloy's supervision.
UCC also offers a Joint BSc degree with the University of Montana in International Field Geosciences. Students spend their third academic year at the University of Montana where they take a number of field oriented courses set in the Rocky Mountains and western United States.
Both Judge Molloy and his wife are natives of Butte, Montana, a place closely tied to many Irish families. Judge Molloy will receive a Degree of Doctor of Laws.
Graham Norton is an Irish broadcaster, author and comedian, and is one of the world’s most recognised entertainment personalities. Perhaps best known for the acclaimed The Graham Norton Show, the six-time Bafta Award winner grew up in Bandon, Cork, and then studied English and French at UCC. As well as hosting one of the most listened to entertainment programmes in Britain on BBC Radio 2, the UCC alumnus holds a long list of credits to his name. He has hosted and presented on numerous TV series and chat shows across multiple networks in Britain, as well as being familiar to American audiences for ‘Would You Rather…? with Graham Norton’. He hosted this year’s Bafta Awards as well as providing commentary for the BBC at the Eurovision Song Contest, the fifth year he has done so. One of his best-loved performances among Irish audiences is in the guise of Father Noel Furlong in the cult classic TV show Father Ted. He also writes an Agony Uncle column with The Telegraph. Norton returns to UCC to receive the Degree of Doctor of Arts.
Irish writer, broadcaster and BBC Correspondent Fergal Keane is an acclaimed journalist who has received an OBE for services to journalism. Having grown up in Dublin and Cork, he has won numerous awards for his coverage of conflict, including a BAFTA, the Royal Television Society Journalist of the Year, Sony Radio Journalist of the Year as well as awards from Amnesty International, the James Cameron Prize and the Index on Censorship Prize for Outstanding Commitment to Journalistic Integrity. Audiences will recall his acclaimed 1996 BBC Radio 4 From Our Own Correspondent despatch Letter to Daniel, which was addressed to his then new-born son. He is also noted for his coverage in South Africa during the early 90s and the Rwandan genocide. He was awarded the George Orwell prize for literature for his book on Rwanda “Season of Blood.” In 2010, he published his first major history work Road of Bones: the Siege of Kohima 1994, and has also published memoirs and a number of other books. He will receive a Degree of Doctor of Literature from UCC.
Cork man Dermot O’Mahoney has been active in the Irish business, educational and voluntary sector for over 50 years. He is a director of City Life Wealth Advisors, which provides financial planning advice to individuals and companies. He has also been a member of Cork Harbour Commissioners including two years as Chairman and served as Chairman of the Port of Cork from 2002 to 2012. His educational and voluntary activities include work with the Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind and acting as Chairman of the Hope Foundation Ltd, which works with the street children of Calcutta. He has been a long-standing member of the Governing Body of UCC and served on the Senate of the National University of Ireland (NUI) for 10 years to 2012. He is currently a member so the Investment Committee of NUI. Dermot O’Mahoney will receive a Degree of Doctor of Laws.