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ASU President Michael Crow receives honorary doctorate from Dublin City University

Barbara Barrett also among honorees at Washington, D.C., event

ASU President Michael Crow speaks behind a lectern with a DCU sign on the front.
March 17, 2022

Arizona State University President Michael Crow received an honorary doctorate (Doctor of Philosophy honoris causa) from the prestigious Dublin City University (DCU) on Wednesday in Washington, D.C.

The special ceremony hosted by the Ireland-based education institution also honored former U.S. Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett and Congressman Richard E. Neal of Massachusetts with honorary doctorates for their outstanding achievements.

“In honoring three exceptional Americans, we celebrate Ireland’s and DCU’s strong ties to the United States. We celebrate our honorees’ values, their contributions to the public good and achievement in their respective fields,” said DCU President Daire Keogh, who presided over the ceremony. “Their achievements in education, in business, in politics and elsewhere aligns with the DCU mission to ‘transform lives and societies.' We are delighted and proud to honor them.”

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi was among the evening’s featured guests Wednesday.

Five people in ceremonial commencement gowns pose for a photo outside

The evening's honorees (in red, from right), ASU President Michael Crow, former U.S. Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett and Congressman Richard E. Neal of Massachusetts, pose with their newly conferred honorary doctorates with Dublin City University Chancellor Brid Horan (left) and DCU President Daire Keogh on Wednesday in Washington, D.C. Photo by Kyran O'Brien

The three honorees join noted figures from politics, sport, literature and industry in receiving this award from DCU, including former U.S. President Bill Clinton, former Ireland President Mary McAleese and former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell.

DCU Deputy President Anne Sinnott, who presented the degree to Crow, honored him as a science and technology policy scholar who is transforming higher education in America.

“Under his leadership at ASU, it has become one of the world's best public metropolitan research universities. His tenure has seen a five-fold increase in research expenditures, the creation of more than 25 new transdisciplinary schools and a major expansion of ASU’s footprint, to cater for a doubling in student numbers,” Sinnott said.

“For Michael, however, the mission is about the transformation of higher education in America and beyond. Michael has described himself as ‘a radical knowledge enterprise architect,’ who is passionately committed to the reform of a system which he believes is simply not working. ... ASU has established trailblazing multidisciplinary research initiatives with an international reach, such as the Biodesign Institute and the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability. Both of these involve DCU as a strategic partner.”

Crow became the 16th president of ASU in 2002 and has spearheaded the university’s rapid and groundbreaking transformative evolution into one of America’s best public metropolitan research universities. Enrollment has grown to more than 134,500 in fall 2021 from 55,491 in fall 2002. This reflects immensely in the university’s dedication to knowledge creation — making ASU the fastest-growing research university in the nation among all institutions with research enterprises exceeding $100 million.

Crow’s vision for the impact of higher education goes beyond the United States. ASU and DCU collaborated to develop the Transatlantic Higher Education Partnership, launched in 2006, as an international cooperation in education, research and economic development, based on their shared values of innovation and entrepreneurship, technology-enhanced learning, and research and discovery.

“For more than a decade, it has been a pleasure to engage with the expertise and spirit of innovation that defines Dublin City University,” Crow said. “Our institutions share a strong desire to evolve new, transformative opportunities for discovery, lifelong learning and entrepreneurship, and I am honored to receive this recognition from such an esteemed community of scholars.”

Neal was recognized for his work and interventions in the U.S. but also his unwavering support for the peace process and his interest in Irish affairs.

Barrett, who earned bachelor’s, master’s and law degrees from ASU, was honored for her work and dedication to public service, education, inclusion and excellence.

Marian Burns, director of human resources at DCU, presented the degree to Barrett.

“Barbara is many things. Businesswoman, philanthropist, ambassador, women’s advocate, educational campaigner, senior government official, instrument-rated pilot, space flight trainee. Barbara has done it all. She is in every sense of the expression a ‘high flyer.’ ... Leadership is intuitive to Barbara, and this is most evident when we look at the symbolism that she brings to any situation. She sets standards, she influences others, she is wise and understated, while demanding excellence in everything she does.

“Throughout her career, Barbara has been a pioneer, leading the way for women in traditionally male-dominated fields. She is truly a woman of firsts — the first woman chair of the U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy, the first woman chair of ASU Thunderbird School of Global Management, the first woman deputy administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration. And for good measure, the first civilian woman to land on an aircraft carrier in an FA-18 fighter jet.”

Barrett, The Honors College is named in honor of longtime ASU supporters Barrett and her husband Craig, former Intel CEO. The honors college was named in 2001 by the Arizona Board of Regents as recommended by then-university President Lattie Coor as a tribute to the Barretts and their work on behalf of ASU students and the university.

Following the honorary ceremony Wednesday, Crow attended the Ireland Funds National Gala at the National Building Museum, where he was recognized at the beginning of the evening alongside DCU President Kough. President Joe Biden delivered remarks honoring the generational bridge between Ireland and the United States. The gala marked the 30th anniversary of the annual charitable event raising support for nonprofit organizations in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Top photo: ASU President Michael Crow speaks Wednesday at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., where he received an honorary doctorate from Dublin City University. Photo by Kyran O'Brien

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