Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Coláiste Ríoga na Máinleá in Éirinn

Saturday 17th February 2007 - Three Honorary Fellows Recognised at Charter Day Dinner

17 February 2007

Saturday 17th February 2007 - Three Honorary Fellows Recognised at Charter Day Dinner

The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) granted its highest award of Honorary Fellowship to Professor Kader Asmal, Member of Parliament of the Republic of South Africa, Professor Edward Copeland, President, American College of Surgeons and Professor Tom DeMeester, Chairman, Department of Surgery, University of Southern California. The awards were conferred at the annual Charter Day dinner on Saturday night.

Professor Kader Asmal

Professor Asmal has dedicated his life to human rights, social justice and environmental sustainability, both for South Africa and for the world. Born in South Africa in 1934, Professor Asmal trained as a teacher before leaving the country and living in exile. He was a founder of the British Anti-Apartheid Movement and founder and chairperson of the Irish Anti-Apartheid Movement. On his return to South Africa he played a key role in constitutional negotiations prior to his appointment in 1994 as Minister of Water Affairs and Forestry by then President Nelson Mandela.

Delivering the citation, Council Member Gordon Watson said "It is said that his lifelong struggle with man’s inhumanity to man began when, as a teenager he was barred from buying a newspaper in a "whites" only shop. This incident, reinforced by scenes from Europe of concentration camp victims stimulated his political understanding, based on a career in law."

"From an Irish perspective one of his students Mrs. Mary Robinson and one close colleague Mrs. Mary McAleese became Presidents of Ireland, and also Honorary Fellows of this College, while both were clearly influenced by his remarkable human rights agenda.

l-r Mrs Thuli Mazwai, Prof. Gerald C O’Sullivan, President RCSI, newly conferred Honorary Fellow Prof. Kader Asmal and President of College of Medicine South Africa, Professor Lizo Mazwai.

Professor Edward Copeland

Professor Copeland is the distinguished professor of surgery at the University of Florida - College of Medicine and an international authority on breast cancer. He has been appointed president of the American College of Surgeons which is a testimony to Dr. Copeland's lifetime of excellence in surgery. He has served on 17 editorial boards, published 500 scientific articles and written 18 books, including "The Breast: Comprehensive Management of Benign and Malignant Disorders".

RCSI Council Member Alfred Edward Wood spoke of Prof. Copeland on the evening. "

"His research contribution is legendary, with some 436 publications to date, a hundred of them as first author. He has received some US$4.5 million in research awards during his career."

"He has received many awards of great distinction, in particular the Outstanding Teacher Award of the Department of Surgery, University of Texas Medical School; the Edward R. Woodward Professor Award of the University of Florida and the title Distinguished Professor of Surgery, University of Florida College Medical School, to name but a few."

Professor Tom DeMeester

Professor. DeMeester is the Chairman of the Department of Surgery and Professor of General and Cardiothoracic Surgery at the USC School of Medicine since 1990. Dr. DeMeester also served as Chairman and Professor of the Department of Surgery at Creighton University School of Medicine. He has devoted most of his career to the understanding and treatment of diseases of the esophagus with a special emphasis on esophageal cancer. Dr. DeMeester’s research has resulted in 330 publications in peer-reviewed journals, 126 book chapters, 7 books and several videos and motion pictures.

RCSI Council Member Patrick J Broe said," Tom DeMeester is a household name in Surgical Gastroenterology. His clinical investigative studies have had a profound impact on surgical practice and patient care As a result of his research and clinical work throughout his career he has made more contributions to the understanding of the pathophysiology of oesophageal disease and the diagnosis and treatment of both benign and malignant oesophageal disease than any other surgeon in the world."

In receiving an Honorary Fellowship of the RCSI they join a select group of outstanding individuals to have received the College’s highest honour.

Back row l-r  Mr Patrick Broe, Council Member RCSI, Mr Alfred E Wood, Council Member RCSI and Mr Gordon Watson, Council Member RCSI.
Front row l-r  Professor Tom Ryan DeMeester, Professor Edward M Copeland and Professor Kader Asmal.

Prof. Gerald C O’Sullivan, President RCSI and Mr Jack Kyle MB,


l-r Dr John Hillery, President Medical Council, Prof. Gerald C O’Sullivan, President RCSI and Dr Christine O’Malley, President, Irish Medical Organisation


College Chaplin Reverend William McLaren, Students Union President Claire Danby, Dr James Miller, Chief Executive, RCSPG, Mrs Winnie Miller.

Ms Nicole Farrell FRCSI and Mrs Zora Farrell

Prof. David Bouchier-Hayes, Council Member RCSI, Dr Margaret Bouchier-Hayes, Mrs Ruth Kelly and Dean, Faculty of Medicine, Prof. Cathal Kelly

Prof. Kader Asmal, Mr Gordon Watson, RCSI Council Member, Chancellor NUI, Dr Garret Fitzgerald and Dr Mary Fitzgerald