10 October 2017
By Mary Bermingham
UL honours two inspirational individuals
Books and music formed the backdrop to the UL Honorary Conferrings today as historian and author George Cunningham and Irish Chamber Orchestra (ICO) Chairman Michael Buckley were conferred Honorary Doctorates of Letters at University of Limerick.
UL President, Dr Des Fitzgerald said: “The bestowing of a UL honorary doctorate represents the opportunity to honour those who have inspired, and worked tirelessly to make great contributions in their fields of endeavour. Today, we honour two such men who have made unique and powerful contributions to history and the arts in this country.”
“George Cunningham has spent his life preserving and creating books, he fosters a love for literature in everyone around him. His contribution to preserving local history in Tipperary and Clare is immeasurable. Michael Buckley has deployed the experience of a distinguished career in public and private sectors to benefit a range of national initiatives in particular the development of the ICO with its vision of artistic excellence coupled with social transformation.”
Michael D. Buckley
The Irish Chamber Orchestra at the University of Limerick has gone from strength to strength under Michael Buckley’s stewardship since he joined the board in 2005.
Born in Cork in 1945, Michael Buckley obtained a first-class honours degree in philosophy and political theory from Maynooth University and later went on to complete a Master of Arts and a Licenciate in Philosophy. His employment at the Department of Finance as a civil servant in 1967 marked the beginning of a long and distinguished career. Over the course of the next ten years, Michael combined his civil service work with teaching political theory to evening-degree students in UCD.
In 1977, Michael was selected as chef de cabinet for the president of the newly created European Court of Auditors. He spent the next four years in Luxembourg, where he played an important role in establishing the ECA, now a key institution within the European Union. On returning home in 1981, he took up the role of assistant secretary at the Department of Social Welfare.
Michael became involved in creating and developing the International Financial Services Centre, which was established in 1987. Michael then joined AIB, where he played a leading role in internationalising the bank until his retirement in 2005.
Michael then spent nine years with the Dublin-based energy and distribution group DCC, including six years as CEO.
Michael was also founding chair of the 30% Club Ireland, an organisation committed to achieving 30% female representation among senior management in leading Irish businesses.
With Michaels leadership, the ICO has raised €1.2 million over the past eight years to fund the socially transformative Sing Out with Strings programme with Reaching out to the most disadvantaged schools in Limerick city since 2008, this community engagement initiative provides more than 300 students with free tuition in singing, song-writing, violin, viola, cello and double bass three times a week. Michael’s passion for the programme is evidenced by the fact that he has attended almost every one of its concerts.