The Hopkins Committee had a pleasant celebration in November when Dr. Phiip Nolan, President of NUI Maynooth, was the recipient of the HOPKINS ACHIEVEMENT AWARD for 2016.
Sponsored by Newbridge Silver, this Award is offered annually by the Newbridge College-based, Gerard Manley Hopkins Society, now 30 years old. It consists of a silver plaque, inscribed.
Previous recipients include: President Michael D. Higgins; U.K. Ambassador Dominick Chilcott; Poet Thomas Kinsella; Author James Mackey among others whose outstanding contributions call for recognition in a Country not always quick to acknowledge them.
President Nolan, in his 6 years in Maynooth University has been directly responsible for many remarkable improvements in what is still a growing university. Under him, the building programme has really taken off; student accommodation has been doubled and student numbers have increased to over 11,000. All this, in a few years.
The College has won plaudits both at home and abroad for its contributions in various disciplines and for the genuineness of the University experience which it offers
- something of which Cardinal Newmanwould mightily approve, who had a vision of a university as a cultural force in society at large, not a mere producer of narrow specialists. The connection with The Hopkins Festival has always been very strong in terms of student attendance; we are lucky in the County to have such a fine College as one of our own.
Lucky and proud!
The Kildare connection has been strengthened by the continuing co-operation of the College under President Nolan in promoting links with the Hopkins Society. For many years now, one of the highlights of the Hopkins Week has been a Day in Maynooth College which includes a guided tour, a visit to the famous Russell Library (with a special Exhibition for the ocasion) and to the beautiful College Chapel - including an Organ recital - lectures, readings and music - all are part of the visit which culminates in the Annual Hopkins Banquet in splendid Pugin Hall. Always a memorable moment.
All of this is supported and positively encouraged by a President with vision, a man who aims to make the College a powerhouse for Kildare and for the Country, a place of enlightenment, an exciting University well liked by its students. If it has shown its appreciation of the work of the Gerard Manley Hopkins Society in promoting its widely cultural interests; the Society in turn greatly admires the work of President Nolan: this year’s Achievement Award marks our appreciation of all that President Nolan has done and stands for.
In presenting the Award on behalf of the Hopkins Society, poet and Artistic Director Desmond Egan acknowledged with gratitude the great civilising force of Maynooth University, its rich history and what it has meant and continues to mean. There could be no better embodiment of this achievement than President Nolan and the Society was itself honoured by his acceptance of its Achievement Award.
Newbridge Silver - the sponsors of the silver plaque - were also to be acknowledged for their support. President Nolan, in his gracious and modest reply, said that he was delighted to receive this prestigious Award: he was very proud to be in the company of such distinguished Honorees, and he wished to acknowledge the great work of the Gerard Manley Hopkins Society and what it stood for not only nationally but now - after 30 years - on the international stage. It had, he said, quoting Newman,
become ‘ a storehouse of the past and a birthplace of the future’.