Belfast Telegraph

New York businessman honoured by the Ulster University

By Staff Reporter

New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli is to receive an honorary degree from Ulster University for his work to promote US investment in Northern Ireland.

Mr DiNapoli, whose fund has boosted many company investments here, is one of many business figures who will feature in the summer graduations.

The Democrat has managed New York State's $184.5bn pension fund - he is responsible for the pensions of one million employees and retired people - since 2007.

And according to the website of the Office of the New York State Comptroller, he has "aggressively fought misuse of public resources, strengthened one of the nation's top public pension funds and consistently spoken out against fiscal gimmicks, imprudent actions and government inefficiency".

His office last year announced that its New York State Common Retirement Fund is investing $7m in Northern Ireland SMEs through the Bank of Ireland Kernel Capital Growth Fund.

It's also committed $21m to two funds managed by venture capital firm Crescent Capital, $6m in 2005 and a further $15m to Crescent III in 2013.

Meanwhile, civil engineer David Orr, a former permanent secretary at the Department for Regional Development, will receive an honorary degree for services to engineering.

Mr Orr is the chairman of the independent assurance panel for procurement for high-speed London to Manchester rail link HS2.

Wendy Blundell, a director at the Institution of Civil Engineering, will also be recognised for services to engineering, including inspiring women to get into the profession.

And Peter Sachs will be honoured for his contribution to teaching and research in digital electronics.

Ulster University Vice-Chancellor Professor Paddy Nixon said: "Each of these recipients has made an indelible mark in their field, advancing knowledge, building community, achieving excellence and above all acting as inspirational role models for us all."

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