On 31 January 2014, Mainstream’s CEO, Eddie O’Connor was awarded an honorary doctor of Science, honoris causa, by the University of Hull. Here below is Dr O’Connors speech on receiving the award.
Chancellor, distinguished members of the academic staff, graduates, ladies and gentlemen.
I would first like to thank the University for awarding me the degree of Doctor of Science, honoris causa.
It is an honour I deeply appreciate.
The award means a great deal to me personally since it has been made in recognition of my contribution to business and science while also strengthening an association with the University that now goes back for quite some time.
It is an association I greatly value and which I hope will endure over the years to come.
I would also like to congratulate the students who have graduated here today from the faculties of Health and Social Care, Science and Engineering and from the Hull York Medical School.
Like everybody who has gone through university I well understand the commitment required to secure a degree and I applaud you, the new graduates, on completing your courses with such success and distinction.
It is a wonderful achievement of which you can be justifiably proud, a pride that is shared by your families and friends, and, indeed, by the academic staff who taught you.
Graduating is more than a great academic achievement, it is a watershed in your life.
Today you have completed a rite of passage marking a transition from one status in society to another. You are no longer students but graduates and, as you embark upon the next phase of life’s long journey, I wish you well in your future studies and chosen careers.
I trust that throughout your life you will continue to build on what you have learned here in the University of Hull and that you will always put your knowledge to good use in the service of your community and country.
The disciplines in which you have specialized, science, engineering, medicine and social care, are central to the growth of the economy and the wellbeing of society.
They are especially relevant to the region in which this university is located. Yorkshire not only has a long and honorable tradition in energy and engineering but also has great potential in both spheres.
This potential centres around the future development of green energy generated from renewable sources, such as offshore wind. For example, one of Britain’s largest offshore wind projects, in which I am involved, is situated off the coast at Hornsea and, when completed, will help transform the generation of electricity in Britain by replacing fossil fuels with renewables.
This once-off transformation is imperative if we are to succeed in the decarbonisation of power generation by 2050 and so prevent the catastrophic climate change that will otherwise result from increased CO2 emissions.
That process of transformation will be the greatest challenge confronting the human race throughout your lifetime. I hope you will play an active part in that transformation.
The extreme weather over the past weeks is telling evidence of why we need that transformation and tells us what the price of failure will be like. We cannot contemplate failure.
Instead, we must embark on the most innovative and creative era in science and engineering since the Industrial Revolution, a revolution that was led by this country and one in which this region played such a central role.
I encourage you to be part of the new industrial revolution, a revolution to make the world green. I invite you take up the challenge of transforming the world and thereby live up to the expectations of your teachers and the hopes of those dearest to you.
It is my fervent prayer that you will respond with a generosity of spirit that will never dim.
Let the memory of this day inspire you throughout the years ahead. That would be the best possible reward for those who have trained and sustained you throughout your undergraduate years.
I conclude, Chancellor, by extending every good wish for the continued success of this great university, a sentiment I know will be shared by the new graduates and all your guests here present today.