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27/09/2016 - Civic Reception for Professor William C Campbell

Professor William Campbell

Professor William C. Campbell at Civic Reception hosted in his honour 

 

“Your place in history is assured” said Seamus Neely, Chief Executive of Donegal County Council to Nobel Laureate Professor William C. Cambpell at the civic reception which was held in his honour at the County House, Lifford yesterday evening.

 

Nobel Laureate Professor William C. Campbell honoured at Civic Reception

Seamus Neely, Chief Executive and Cllr. Terence Slowey presenting the framed Seal of Office to Professor Campbell to mark the occasion of the Civic Reception in the County House, Lifford on Monday evening.

 

The Civic Reception was hosted by the Cathaoirleach and members of Donegal County Council in recognition of Prof Campbell’s outstanding achievement in jointly winning the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. 

 

A native of Ramelton, Professor William C. Campbell was part of a team that discovered a class of drugs called Avermectins, whose derivatives have been shown to have "extraordinary efficacy" in treating River Blindness and Lymphatic filariasis, among other parasitic diseases affecting animals and humans. 

 

He was awarded the Nobel Prize in 2015 along with Satoshi Omura of Japan and Tu Youyou of China for their discoveries that have revolutionised the treatment of some of the most devastating parasitic diseases.

 

Prof Campbell was born in 1930 in Ramelton, the third son of R. J. Campbell, a farm supplier.  He is married to Mary Mastin Campbell and as well as being a scientist he is a published poet and painter.

 

Nobel Laureate Professor William C. Campbell honoured at Civic Reception

Cathaoirleach, Cllr. Terence Slowey, Professor William C. Campbell, Anne Campbell, Bert Campbell and Seamus Neely, Donegal County Council with elected members and special guests at the Civic Reception in the County House, Lifford on Monday evening.

 

Professor Campbell studied at Trinity College, Dublin and graduated in 1952 with first class honours in Zoology.  He then attended the University of Wisconsin–Madison on a Fulbright Scholarship, earning his Ph.D. degree in 1957 for work on the liver fluke, a parasite affecting sheep. 

 

From 1957 to 1990 Campbell worked at Merck Institute for Therapeutic Research.  From 1990 to 2010, when he retired, Campbell was a research fellow at Drew University in Madison, New Jersey, where he supervised undergraduate research and taught courses in parasitology.  

 

In 1987, Merck with the World Health Organization created an "unprecedented" drug donation program, with the intention of wiping out River Blindness.  Professor Campbell was instrumental in the decision to set up this program.  As of 2001 an estimated 25 million people were being treated each year, in a total of 33 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East.  As of 2013, the Carter Centre independently verified that the disease had been eradicated in Colombia, Ecuador and Mexico.

 

Speaking at the reception Cllr. Terence Slowey, Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council described Professor Campbell as an inspiration saying “it is a humbling experience for me to be in the presence of a man whose life’s work has impacted on so many people.  Hundreds of millions of people are alive today because of your work and because of the team of people that you have worked with throughout your career”. 

 

 

Nobel Laureate Professor William C. Campbell honoured at Civic Reception

Professor William C. Campbell, with Cllr. Gerry McMonagle and Cathaoirleach, Cllr. Terence Slowey at the Civic Reception in the County House, Lifford on Monday evening.

 

He added “we are delighted that you have taken the time to visit your native Donegal.  Your presence has captured the imagination of many and I have been particularly touched by how you have engaged with our children and young people”. 

 

 Nobel Laureate Professor William C. Campbell honoured at Civic Reception

Professor William C. Campbell with Cllr. Bernard McGuinness, Cllr Jimmy Kavanagh and Cllr. Michael McBride at the Civic Reception in the County House, Lifford on Monday evening

 

Seamus Neely, Chief Executive of Donegal County Council spoke of the Donegal Diaspora Project and how the Council has been working to reach out to those who have a connection with or an interest in Donegal. 

 

 

“You are one of our esteemed diaspora and when you talk about your early days living in Ramelton it is clear that you were blessed with a loving home and that you lived in a community where you felt nurtured and safe”. 

 

 

“I am sure your family is very proud of you and of your achievements and if your parents were still alive today they too would be immensely proud of all you have achieved and the impact that your work has had on hundreds of millions of people”.

 

 

Nobel Laureate Professor William C. Campbell honoured at Civic Reception

Professor William C. Campbell with Michael Sugrue talking with guests at the Civic Reception in the County House, Lifford on Monday evening.

 

He added “Professor Campbell your place in history is assured and you will be remembered as one of the greatest scientists of our time who made a positive impact on society.  This will inspire and encourage many more people to pursue a career in science and contribute in a similar impactful way”.

 

He concluded by thanking Professor Campbell and saying “I hope that your visit home to Donegal has been a momentous one and one that you will remember fondly for years to come”.

 

In his address, Professor Campbell spoke of his delight at returning home to Donegal “I am always delighted to be in Donegal and this visit if very special indeed.”

 

 Nobel Laureate Professor William C. Campbell honoured at Civic Reception

Anne Campbell, Professor William C. Campbell and Cllr. Terence Slowey talking with guests at the Civic Reception in the County House, Lifford on Monday evening. 

 

He added “if there was a Nobel Prize for hospitality and welcomes then Donegal would win it and if there was a Nobel Prize for beauty and scenery Donegal would also win that.”

 

He concluded by saying “I am proud to be from Donegal”.

 

Professor Campbell was presented with a specially commissioned painting ‘North by North West’ by renowned artist Fionntann Gogarty as well as a framed seal of office from Donegal County Council.  

 

 

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