Belfast Telegraph

Tapping into a worldwide alumni network

Queen’s University has been exporting talented graduates to the far corners of the world for over 165 years. Gerry Power, editor of The Graduate, reports on some of those who’ve succeeded overseas but keep their sights set on Northern Ireland

From the trading floors of Wall Street, to the corridors of the international school in Shanghai and the top universities in Canada, Queen’s alumni continue to make their mark and fly the flag for Northern Ireland.

John O’Donoghue from Newcastle, Co Down, now calls Little Silver, New Jersey – and New York City – home. A highly regarded Wall Street senior executive with over 30 years experience at investment banks Schroders PLC, Credit-Suisse, Cowen and OTR Global, John is an active member of the Irish diaspora in the US. He was the first president of the Queen’s US Alumni Association, and is currently president of the board of The Friends of Queen’s.

Working closely with Invest NI, the Northern Ireland Bureau and NI Connections, John and the Friends are keen to introduce American students to the world-class opportunities offered by Queen’s. In 2015 the Friends have held 5 well attended events and recently organised a Christmas cocktail party which attracted upwards of 50 ex-pats, all of whom were ‘recruited’ into the University’s marketing team. It was held at the NYC HQ of Moët Hennessy and hosted by the company’s president and CEO Jim Clerkin, who hails from Rostrevor.

While at Cowen, John was instrumental in working with Alastair Hamilton, chief executive of Invest NI, in opening a Belfast office which employs 50 people. And as a keen golfer, he regularly brings parties from the USA to Northern Ireland to sample the world’s best courses and whiskies!

Dr Andrew McIvor emigrated to Canada in 1989, having graduated in medicine from Queen’s in 1984. After training in respiratory medicine at the University of Toronto he studied clinical epidemiology at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, where he obtained an MSc following extensive work in the field of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Originally from Belfast, Dr McIvor’s major clinical and research interests are in knowledge translation in asthma and COPD. An advocate for Queen’s medical recruitment in Toronto, he returned to his alma mater in February 2014 to give a lecture on nonpharmacological treatment of respiratory disease.

Professor of Medicine at McMaster, he is the author of more than a 100 scientific papers and recently completed a 5-year term as chairman of the Asthma Committee of the Canadian Thoracic Society.

On the other side of the world Tom Kline, who was born and raised in Belfast and graduated with a BA in Political Science from Queen’s in 1995, is director of a major international school in China.

Founded in 2006, the Western International School of Shanghai (WISS) is an International Baccalaureate World School which educates students from preschool through high school and has over 40 different nationalities represented in the pupil and teacher community.

Returning to Northern Ireland twice a year to visit family, Tom has maintained links with his former school, Campbell College. WISS and Campbell enjoy an annual teacher exchange partnership with sports and arts exchanges in the pipeline.

As a regular donor to Queen’s, Tom supports the QUB Players, the student drama society he was actively involved in as an undergraduate. He is also an important reference point for Chinese students considering third-level education in the UK, putting Queen’s – and Northern Ireland – firmly on the map.

Queen’s graduates overseas (and at home!) can keep up with life back in Belfast by registering online at http:// where they will find details of the University’s worldwide alumni associations network and social media presence.

Arts (left)and international visitor Andrew Robertson (centre)

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