NUI Galway Announce 2021 Alumni Award Winners

Dec 06 2021 Posted: 05:02 GMT

Actor Nicola Coughlan, HSE Clinical Director Dr Colm Henry and Connacht GAA Secretary John Prenty honoured by University

NUI Galway graduates in the worlds of the arts, sport, public service, Irish language and academia are among the distinguished recipients of the University’s 2021 Alumni Awards.

Seven former students have been recognised in this year’s awards, in recognition of their individual excellence and achievements:

  • Alumni Award for Arts, Literature and Celtic Studies - Actor Nicola Coughlan
  • Alumni Award for Business and Commerce - Áine Ní Chonghaile, Director of Europus, Fulbright Scholar and Author
  • Alumni Award for Law, Public Policy and Government - Antoinette Cunningham, General Secretary, Association of Garda Sergeants
  • Alumni Award for Engineering and Science and Technology - Professor Mark Costello, Professor in Marine Ecology at Nord University, Norway
  • Alumni Award for Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences - Dr Colm Henry, Chief Clinical Officer, Health Service Executive
  • Alumni Award for Contribution to Sport - John Prenty, Connacht GAA Secretary
  • Gradam Alumni don Ghaeilge - Neansaí Ní Choisdealbha, Music Organiser and Presenter, RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta

President of NUI Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh said: "At NUI Galway, we are a university for the public good, with a shared vision, shaped by our values. For 175 years our University has educated graduates of the highest calibre who have gone on to have significant impact in their field of endeavour in Ireland and internationally. I congratulate each of the award winners and look forward to welcoming them back to their alma mater in 2022."

Due to the pandemic, the awards have been presented to this year’s recipients. NUI Galway will invite them back to their alma mater to mark the award in 2022.

First introduced in 2001 the NUI Galway Alumni Awards recognise individual excellence and achievements among the University’s more than 120,000 graduates. They boast an impressive roll call of more than 100 outstanding alumni who have gone on to make an impact in their chosen field, and in so doing honour their alma mater.

Among the distinguished honorees are President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins; Olympian Olive Loughnane; Rugby great Ciarán FitzGerald; Tony Award-winning actor, Marie Mullen; former Attorney General Máire Whelan; Aedhmar Hynes, former CEO of Text 100; and Adrian Jones of Goldman Sachs.

NUI Galway is also announcing that the 2022 Alumni Awards are now open for nominations. These awards will recognise an alumnus or alumna who has made an outstanding contribution in their area of endeavour and is making a significant impact in their field.

To make a nomination visit or email

View short video of Alumni Award Winner, Nicola Coughlan here:


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