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Ireland’s Ambassador to Germany Presenting DU Commencement Address

The ambassador of Ireland to Germany, H.E. Michael Collins, will deliver the Spring Commencement address at Duquesne University and be presented with an honorary doctor of laws degree on Friday, May 8, at 5 p.m. in the A.J. Palumbo Center.

In addition, the University will confer an honorary doctor of humane letters on both Sonia Nieto, professor emerita of language, literacy and culture at the University of Massachusetts' School of Education, and Dr. Pedro Noguera, the Peter L. Agnew Professor of Education at New York University, at the graduation ceremony.

Collins served as Ireland's Ambassador to the United States from 2007 to 2013, making him the longest-serving ambassador to serve in that position in the modern era. In that role, his work focused on supporting the Irish community, business and economic development. Collins also extensively addressed contemporary Ireland, Europe and the Northern Ireland peace process.

Previously, Collins served as second secretary-general at the Department of the Taoiseach (Prime Minister of Ireland); as Ireland's ambassador to the Czech Republic and as ambassador to Saudi Arabia; as counselor to the Washington Embassy; first secretary for the Consulate General in New York; and third secretary for the Rome Embassy. Additionally, he served as head of the press and spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs.

The Los Angeles World Affairs Council named Collins Diplomat of the Year in 2008, and he received the American Ireland Fund's Public Service Award in 2013 for his contribution to relations between the U.S. and Ireland. A native of Ireland, Collins attended Blackrock College and Trinity College in Dublin.

Nieto, who has taught students from elementary to graduate school levels, is a popular speaker and author on topics including multicultural education, teacher preparation, the education of Latinos and other culturally and linguistically diverse student populations. Her book Affirming Diversity: The Sociopolitical Context of Multicultural Education is widely used in teacher preparation and inservice courses. Nieto's work has also been published in The Harvard Education Review, Education Leadership and the Journal of Educational Change.

In addition to serving on numerous advisory and editorial boards, Nieto is a trustee of Mass Humanities and the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts, and she has been recognized and awarded for her scholarship, advocacy and activism. Nieto has a bachelor's in elementary education from St. John's University (Brooklyn campus) and a master's in Spanish and Hispanic literature from New York University.

Noguera is a sociologist whose scholarship and research focus on the ways in which schools are influenced by social and economic conditions, as well as by demographic trends in local, regional and global contexts. At NYU, he has faculty appointments in the Department of Teaching and Learning and the Department of the Humanities and Social Sciences in the Professions. Noguera is executive director of the Metropolitan Center for Urban Education and co-director of the Institute for the Study of Globalization and Education in Metropolitan Settings.

He has published extensively about urban school reform, conditions that promote student achievement, youth violence, and race and ethnic relations in American society, among others. Noguera, whose most recent book is Excellence Through Equity, has received numerous awards for his work, including the 2015 National Association of Secondary School Principals for Distinguished Service to Public Education.

Noguera has a bachelor's in sociology and history, and a master's in sociology from Brown University as well as a doctorate in sociology from the University of California at Berkeley. He taught in public schools in Providence, R.I., and Oakland, Calif., and continues to work with schools nationally and internationally as a researcher and advisor. Noguera previously held tenured faculty appointments at Harvard's Graduate School of Education and UC Berkeley, where he was director of the Institute for the Study of Social Change.

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. Duquesne, a campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, has been nationally recognized for its academic programs, community service and commitment to sustainability. Follow Duquesne University on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.