Tuesday, 27 September 2011

2011 Naughton Scholars Awarded

On Saturday afternoon I felt very privileged as President of Engineers Ireland to have been invited to the 2011 Award of the Naughton Scholarships in the Science Gallery in Trinity College together with Minister for Education and Skills Ruairi Quinn, new Trinity Provost Patrick Prendergast and UCD President Hugh Brady.

Minister for Education and Skills Ruairi Quinn
pictured with the 2011 Naughton Scholars
I don't say 'privileged' lightly as when I discovered the scale of the generosity of Martin and Carmel Naughton and their family, I thought it was a tremendous contribution to Irish education especially when coupled with the funding of the Naughton Institute which houses the Science Gallery and support for Education and the Arts North and South including the Naughton Chair of Business Strategy at QUB and the Millennium Wing of the National Gallery in Dublin. 

Minister Quinn at the event with Martin and Carmel Naughton
When I returned home I looked up the definition of 'philanthropy' - 'love of humanity' it said. That aptly describes my evening experience with the Naughtons and no other words would describe better what they are doing and the genuine motivation behind these Scholarships.

The Naughton Scholarships were established in January 2008 and are designed 'to promote the study of engineering, science and technology in any publicly funded university or third level institution in Ireland including Northern Ireland. The scholarships initially served counties Louth, Meath, Monaghan, Cavan, Donegal and Mayo with Leitrim and Sligo this year and extending to Longford and Roscommon next year.

In 2011, 16 secondary school students from 8 counties are funded for 3 years. The Gold Scholarship in each county is for €16,000 and the Silver is for €8,000 together with Science Laboratory equipment funding for each winning school. Most of the winners appeared to have achieved an extraordinary number of A1s in the Leaving Certificate. (See attached press release for the names of winners).

Apart from the scale of the funding, I could clearly see that the entire family of Martin and Carmel were present to assist on the night including sons, daughters, sons in law and daughters in law - all of them genuinely committed to work for the students and their families.

Martin himself in a modest speech spoke of the business he started in Newry with 7 employees in 1973. He acquired Dimplex in 1977 moving to a new base in Dunleer Co Louth where the headquarters remains.

The Glen Dimplex Group is now global with subsidiaries in Europe, US, Canada, China, Japan and New Zealand and current staff of 8,500 and annual turnover in excess of €1.5billion. They are now the largest electrical heating manufacturers in the world incorporating well known brands like Morphy Richards, Belling, Roberts Radio and Creda.

Master of Ceremonies on the night was Fergal Naughton Deputy CEO of Glen Dimplex. Fergal is a Chartered Engineer with Engineers Ireland having qualified with a BA BAI from Trinity in 1998 which he followed with an MSc in Engineering from Stanford and an MBA from Harvard.

The award to this year's Naughton Scholars was an extraordinary event the value of which in Engineering Science and Technology Education terms made a big impression on me. It was all started by Martin and Carmel Naughton who know the true value of what they are doing for Education on the island of Ireland.

Having met them, I salute their 'love of humanity' and their human interest in all who are lucky to cross their path in life.

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