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Gen. Martin Dempsey Receives Joyce Award

General Martin E. Dempsey. (CJCS, official portrait 2012)

By Patricia Harty, Editor-in-Chief
April / May 2017

General Martin Dempsey, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was presented with the James Joyce Award in Dublin recently. Also known as the Honorary Fellowship of the Society, the award is given by the Literary and Historical Society of University College Dublin for those who have achieved outstanding success in their given field.

Recipients have ranged from respected academics, lauded political figures, skilled actors, and, like Joyce himself, writers. Notable former recipients include scholar Noam Chomsky, novelist J.K. Rowling, U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. The award is the highest honor that the society can bestow.

Before he ever became know as a writer, Joyce was known for his fine tenor voice. General Dempsey is an English major who is as comfortable singing Irish ballads as he is commanding an army. In fact, it was a video of General Dempsey singing at Irish America’s Hall of Fame Awards last March that prompted the society to reach out to him, Donal Naylor, the society’s auditor, confirmed.

Speaking to Irish America about the award, General Dempsey quoted the man for whom the award is named: “Joyce said, ‘in the particular is contained the universal.’ Across generations and nationalities, the fact that we have so much in common was reinforced in discussion with students at University College Dublin during the James Joyce Award ceremony.” ♦

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