GMIT confers honorary fellowships on five individuals for their outstanding contribution to business, education, public service and sport

Wednesday, March 30, 2022 Press Centre
Press Releases
GMIT All Fellows

Dr Gay Corr, Niamh Fahey, Michael Gilvarry, Máirín Uí Chomáin, Micheál Ó hUiguinn

GMIT is delighted to confer Honorary Fellowships on five outstanding individuals marking their vast contribution to and success in business, education, public service and sport. They are: Dr Gay Corr, former principal of RTC Galway; Niamh Fahey, member of FA Women's Championship teams Liverpool and Arsenal and the Republic of lreland women's national football team, and former Galway Ladies Gaelic footballer; Michael Gilvarry, General Manager of CERENOVUS (part of Johnson & Johnson) and leading expert in medical technologies for the treatment of stroke; Máirín Uí Chomáin, distinguished author, educator, and food activist, and Micheál Ó hUiguinn, former Mayor of Galway City, former Chair of GMIT Governing Body and Galway businessman.

The five Honorary Fellows were honoured at a special event in the g Hotel on Wednesday, 23 March, 2022, attended by their families and invited guests. They were conferred with their awards by the President of GMIT, Dr Orla Flynn.

Congratulating the five recipients, Dr Orla Flynn, President of GMIT, says: “On behalf of the GMIT community I wish to congratulate the five recipients of the GMIT Honorary Fellowship award, all of whom have made outstanding contributions to their chosen fields. After a decade of conferring these awards, these will be our final recipients, as GMIT will shortly become Atlantic Technological University. It is especially pleasing to see this recognition for Dr Gay Corr, who was the first Principal of Galway RTC fifty years ago.”

Dr Gay Corr, a first-class honours graduate of NUI Galway and a member of the Royal Society of Chemistry, was appointed the first Principal of Regional Technical College Galway (RTCG) on 1 April 1972. In January 1990 the Minister for Education, Mary O Rourke, appointed Gay Corr to the full-time role of ‘acting’ Chairman of the HEA, a significant honour. He returned to RTCG in September 1991 and continued as Chairman of the HEA until 1 January 1993. In recognition of his services to the HEA, Dr Gay Corr was awarded an Honorary Doctorate. Arising from the implementation of the RTC Act 1992, RTCG became a statutory body with effect from 1 January 1993 and Dr Gay Corr became its first Director.

Dr Corr chaired the committee which published, in 1982, a national report on Research & Consultancy in VEC Colleges and in 1984 the Research & Consultancy unit was established, the first such unit in an RTC. Under his leadership, RTCG established links and partnerships with various organisations including Mountbellew Agricultural College in 1987, Connemara West PLC in 1987 which resulted in the establishment of the Letterfrack campus. In 1994 RTCG established campuses in Castlebar and Cluain Mhuire. Under Gay’s leadership GMIT developed a new learning Resource Centre of 10,250 sqm, a landmark building, with an award-winning design incorporating striking green sails reflecting the maritime history of Galway. He retired in 2002 after 30 years at the helm, having overseen extraordinary change and growth throughout that time. On 1 April, fifty years to the day when Gay Corr first took up post as principal of RTCG, GMIT will become the Atlantic Technological University

Niamh Fahey is an Irish footballer who plays for FA Women's Championship team Liverpool and the Republic of lreland women's national football team, recently passing her 100th cap for Ireland. Niamh’s career began with her local club Killannin with her progressing to the Galway County team senior squad by the very young age of 15.  A versatile sports person, Niamh’s talents were picked up by soccer side Salthill Devon and from there she quickly progressed to international soccer squads. Her list of achievements is truly impressive: under-19 Women's International Player of the Year in 2005 and Senior Women's International Player of the Year in 2008, 2009 & 2011.  In 2007 Niamh was part of the Galway Ladies League team that won the FAI cup and this exposure, coupled with her international profile, saw interest from Arsenal and a move to England followed.  FA Women’s Super League wins with Arsenal followed in 2011 and 2012 and another with Chelsea in 2015. Niamh is the youngest of a family of eight, six boys and two girls, to parents Marjorie and Richard. Brother Gary captained the Galway Football team to All Ireland victory while another brother Richie also played on that team. Niamh holds a degree in pharmacology from the University of Hertfordshire and is currently completing a Masters at Liverpool’s John Moores University.

Michael Gilvarry is General Manager of CERENOVUS Galway, part of Johnson & Johnson MedTech, where he leads the development of medical technologies for the treatment of stroke. Michael is regarded as a world leader in the research of acute ischemic stroke and medical technologies to treat this condition. Together with academic scholars and clinicians, Michael was a key influencer in establishing a programme to develop and apply ground-breaking research to understand neurovascular disease and advance the treatment of stroke. This work led to many international research collaborations and publications. He has collaborated with GMIT for more than 10 years, informing programme design, co-supervising postgraduate students, and partnering on a range of innovative and novel research projects. He has also been a significant support in the design and strategy of GMIT’s MET Gateway, which is funded by Enterprise Ireland and offers cutting-edge, industry focused solutions for startups, subject matter experts and larger organisations across medtech, engineering and life sciences sectors. Michael has served as a chairperson for this organisation and helps to promote the unique expertise within GMIT to support the innovation and development of medical technologies.

Máirín Uí Chomáin is a distinguished educator, author, and food activist. She is a former chairperson of the Irish Food Writers’ Guild and a long-standing member of Slow Food Ireland. Máirín has presented her own RTE series of television cookery programmes, ‘Cuisine le Mairin’ and ‘Encore Cuisine le Mairin’. She has published a number of cookery books and won the World Gourmand Award for her publication, “Irish Oyster Cuisine.”  Máirín’s latest book, “Celebrating Irish Salmon” , was published in November 2013 by Artisan House Editions, who are based in Connemara. An accomplished nGaeilgeoir, Máirín’s passion for language and food is evident in the work she undertakes throughout the region. She has judged numerous local and national competitions and is the Ambassador for the Connemara Mussel Festival since its inception. She is a frequent visitor to culinary classes in GMIT where she encourages and supports student learning.

Micheál Ó hUiguinn has a long history of public service in Galway city and the western region spending more  than 40 years as a member of Galway City Council. He was elected three times as Mayor of Galway city, was Chairman of the Galway VEC, a member of the Governing Body of NUI Galway from 1967 to early 2000s and Chairman of GMIT Governing Body during the 80s, 90s and early 2000s. Micheál grew up on Fr Griffin Road, Galway, the eldest of five children. He graduated from UCG in 1963 with a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce. In 1964, when his father died, he became Managing Director of T Ó hUiguinn Builders Merchants.  He was co-opted to serve as a Councillor on the city council, aged 22, the Council's youngest member. In 1972 he bought 10 acres of land from a local farmer, built and opened a factory off Seamus Quirke Road. The business grew and by the 1980s the factory was supplying 80% of primary school furniture and 50% of secondary school furniture in the country, making a valuable contribution to the local economy through employment. Micheál has a lengthy and worthy record of service also across business, education and politics.


Picture captions:  [Photos by Mike Shaughnessy. No repro fee]


GMIT Honorary Fellowship recipients Máirín Uí Chomáin (front centre), Dr Gay Corr and Michael Gilvarry (centre back) pictured with GMIT President Dr Orla Flynn and Cormac MacDonncha, Chairman of GMIT Governing Body (front row). Also pictured are Dr Michael Hannon, VP Academic Affairs & Registrar (back left) and Jim Fennell, VP for Finance & Corporate Affairs who accepted the Fellowship on behalf of Micheál Ó hUiguinn, and Marjorie and Richard Fahey, who accepted the Fellowship on behalf of their daughter Niamh.