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President Michael D. Higgins of Ireland Receives the College of Arts and Sciences 2014 Distinguished Alumni Award

On Commencement Saturday, May 10, 2014, the College of Arts and Sciences held a luncheon for Michael D. Higgins, the ninth president of Ireland, to honor him with the College's Distinguished Alumni Award. President Higgins graduated from IU in 1967 with a Master of Arts in Sociology.

A passionate political voice, a poet and writer, an academic statesman, a human rights advocate, a promoter of inclusive citizenship and a champion of creativity within Irish society, President Higgins has served at every level of public life in Ireland, including as Ireland's first Minister for Arts, Culture.

At the luncheon President Higgins and Mrs. Sabina Higgins were greeted by members of the College Alumni Board, College faculty and graduate students from his former department, Sociology. The Distinguished Alumni Award was presented by Executive Dean Larry Singell, College Alumni Board President Bruce Hetrick and Provost Professor of English Stephen Watt.

In his acceptance remarks, President Higgins noted: "As a young man from the West of Ireland I was very excited to be part of such an ambitious programme of sociological research. Almost half a century later that programme, now known as the Sociological Research Practicum, under the auspices of the Karl F. Schuessler Institute for Social Research, has delivered numerous in-depth quantitative and qualitative investigations on a wide range of sociological topics. It is a great honour to be joined here this lunchtime by students and faculty members who are actively engaged in the ongoing practical work of this project."

You can read the entire text of President Higgins' remarks on his official website.