November 19, 1998
Dr. Mary Robinson, the first female president of Ireland and former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, was elected Chancellor of Trinity College Dublin on this day in 1998, making her the first woman in the college’s history to hold the position. Robinson was born in Ballina, Co. Mayo and is widely regarded as a transformative figure in Irish politics. Her presidency revitalized the once low-profile political office. She took up her position at the UN in 1997 and resigned in 2002, leaving to form Realizing Rights: the Ethical Globalization Initiative. In 2010, she established The Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice in Ireland. Robinson received Amnesty International’s Ambassador of Conscience Award in 2004 for promoting human rights awareness.