Sonia O'Sullivan awarded Honorary Doctorate at DCU

Four-time Olympian and World Athletics Champion Sonia O'Sullivan was awarded with an Honorary Doctorate at Dublin City University today.

O'Sullivan, born in Cobh, County Cork, received a gold medal in the 5000m event at the 1995 Gothenburg World Championships and a silver medal in the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney.

Professor John Coolahan, Sonia O'Sullivan and Labhrás Ó Murchú at the ceremony. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

O'Sullivan was favourite for a gold medal in the Atlanta Olympics 1996 but had to retire early from the race due to illness.

Throughout the rest of her career she competed in three other Olympic Games, six World Cross Country Championships and five European Championships, medalling eleven times.

She is also the holder of nine Irish national records and has served as a mentor for many more Irish athletes, including as Chef de Mission for Team Ireland at the London Olympics 2012.

The athletics champion was joined by educationalist Professor John Coolahan and cultural activist Labhrás Ó Murchú for the conferring of their awards today.

“The contributions of each of our recipients have had an enormous impact on the lives of so many people throughout the world," DCU President Professor Brian MacCraith said.

He described the trio as embodiments of dedication, commitment and passion.

"Positive role models in today’s world are important and I know that today’s graduands serve as superb examples to our students to continuously challenge themselves, to strive for new opportunities and to make their mark in the world," he added.

Prof. John Coolahan has been described as the "principal mover in every major piece of education legislation over the last four decades."

Labhrás Ó Murchú has served as the Ardstiúrthóir of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann since 1968 promoting the growth of Irish music at home and across the globe.

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