Founders of Young Scientist of the Year Exhibition Honored at First 2007 Graduation Ceremony

Rev. Dr. Tom Burke and Dr. Tony Scott conferred with Honorary Doctorates for inspiring thousands of young Irish scientists

At the first of its 2007 series of Graduation ceremonies, Dublin Institute of Technology conferred graduates of the Faculties of Science and the Built Environment on Saturday in St Patrick's Cathedral. At the ceremony the Institute conferred Honorary Doctorates on Reverend Dr. Tom Burke and Dr. Tony Scott, the founders of the Young Scientist & Technology Competition and Exhibition.

Now in its 41st year the competition has developed into the greatest annual showcase of young Irish talent in science and technology, attracting thousands of entrants from secondary schools across Ireland.

Each year DIT seeks to acknowledge the important contribution made to society by those who achieve distinction in their fields. According to Professor Brian Norton, President of DIT; 'It is an honour for DIT to award Drs Burke and Scott with Honorary Doctorates in recognition of their outstanding achievements in the field of science and science education, but in particular for their vision in founding the Young Scientist Exhibition. Since 1965 it has been the catalyst for thousands of young people to develop an interest in exploring the world we live in through their projects and experiments. To this day it continues to be the single most effective initiative in making science accessible to all.'

At a reception in Aungier Street after the ceremony Dr. Scott and Dr. Burke and their families were congratulated by members of the Faculty and graduates - many of whom had participated in the Young Scientist exhibition themselves. For Dr. Burke and his family the occasion held an additional resonance as their late father had spent his working life in Jacobs' factory on the site where DIT's Aungier Street campus is now located.

Rev. Dr. Tom Burke, with his brother Edmund Burke, niece Dr. Roisin Burke, Faculty of Tourism and Food, and Professor Brian Norton outside DIT Aungier Street

During the graduation ceremony Professor Norton also paid tribute to two distinguished DIT colleagues who have retired recently - Professor Matt Hussey, former Director and Dean of the Faculty of Science, and Dean Kieran Taaffe, DIT's first Dean of International Affairs. Professor Norton thanked them for their outstanding contributions to DIT during their careers and wished them well on their retirement.

Professor Matt Hussey, emeritus Director and Dean, who delivered the oration for the conferring of Honorary Doctorates, with Professor Michael Devereux Acting Director and Dean of the Faculty of Science.

At Saturday's ceremony nine graduates from the Faculty of Science and two from the Faculty of the Built Environment were conferred with PhDs. Congratulating the recipients, Professor Norton said that the numbers of PhDs reflect the high level of research activity currently being undertaken in DIT. He also noted that he was particularly proud to confer the first-ever award of a PhD on a student who had come through the Institute's Access Programme. The programme provides a route to DIT for people who otherwise may not have pursued third-level education for socio-economic reasons.

Professor Brian Norton with Dr. Tony Scott, his wife Pauline, daughter Diane and son-in-law Graeme Horley.

DIT's series of annual graduation ceremonies will continue over the coming weeks, with almost 4,000 students graduate at higher certificate, degree, Masters and PhD programmes being conferred.

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