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Mary Gordon receives honorary degree in Ireland

By November 13, 2019March 8th, 2021No Comments

Mary Gordon holding honorary degree wearing cap and gown at NUI Galway.

Roots of Empathy’s Founder/President Mary Gordon had a homecoming to Ireland – one of the first countries to embrace Roots of Empathy. The National University of Ireland – Galway saw fit to confer upon her the Degree of Doctor of Literature, honoris causa.

“Mary is an internationally recognised, award-winning social entrepreneur, educator, author, child advocate, parenting expert and creator of the Roots of Empathy program.”

Dr. Rachel Hilliard at NUIGalway nominated Mary – here’s why, she said:

“There’s a saying that the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time to plant a tree is now. Mary Gordon began planting seeds of empathy to bear fruit decades ahead.

Mary Gordon’s work has been dedicated to improving the lives of children, in the service of her larger ambition – to improve society. She knows that empathy allows us to say ‘I hear how you are feeling, and I know I have felt the same way. We are alike.’ She says that ‘if we are able to take the perspective of the Other we will notice and appreciate our commonalities and we will be less likely to allow differences to cause us to marginalize, hate or hurt each other. It will no longer be possible for us to hive off a group and dehumanize them.’

Her extraordinary insight was to identify that by working now with very young children to develop empathy and emotional literacy she could give those children an understanding of what is it to be a connected and competent parent, and so influence future generations for the better. The university recognises Mary Gordon’s unique contribution to the development of society and as a pioneer of children’s education and an social innovator.”

In her remarks to the graduating students Mary said, “Life is more than a checklist, and more important than your CV are your relationships.”

She noted Ireland’s “deep wells of empathy” and said “we need to plumb those wells now more than ever.”

NUI Galway President, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh said, “NUI Galway is fortunate to be associated with many outstanding honorary graduates throughout its history and those being honoured this year form a particularly distinguished group. Each one has made an excellent and distinctive contribution to the diverse fields of adult and continuing education; children’s rights, journalism and broadcasting; international social entrepreneurship; research, development and innovation; activism for social change; contribution to society, human rights and our defence forces. NUI Galway is very pleased to be in a position to respect and recognise these exceptional individuals.”

Thank you NUI Galway for recognizing Mary’s life and work.


For more here is NUIGalway’s press release

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