Board of Education (R.O.I.)
Dr Kenneth Milne – Contribution to history, education and Church recognised by DCU
The contribution made by Dr Kenneth Milne to history, education and the Church of Ireland was honoured yesterday (Tuesday November 29) by Dublin City University with the conferring of the award of Doctor of Philosophy (Honoris Causa).
The Doctor of Philosophy (Honoris Causa) is the highest award that DCU can bestow. Dr Milne joins noted figures from politics, sport, literature and industry in receiving it. They include Joe Schmidt, Paula Meehan, Micheál Ó Muircheartaigh, Sonia O’Sullivan, President Bill Clinton, Seamus Mallon, David Trimble, and most recently Seán de Fréine.
Dr Kenneth Milne is a highly respected historian with a particular expertise in the history of Ireland from the seventeenth to the twentieth centuries. In the citation for the award, the Revd Prof Anne Lodge, Director of the Church of Ireland Centre at DCU, said he had made extensive, valuable and unfailingly generous contributions to Irish education, to Irish historical research and to Irish Anglicanism.
“Through his scholarship, his distinguished public service, his dedication to Education, and his commitment to inter–church dialogue, Dr Milne has championed the DCU mission to ‘transform lives and societies’,” she stated. “The awarding of this honour also reflects the store DCU places on education, history and theology, and highlights the significance of his research for scholars and students in these disciplines.”
Prof Lodge noted that Dr Milne’s contribution to history, education and the Church of Ireland extended beyond research and publications and into decades of service “at the coalface”. Dr Milne served as Secretary to the General Synod Board of Education from 1963 to 1974. He served as Principal of the Church of Ireland College of Education from 1977 to 1985. During this time he established the Plunket Museum of Irish Education, a unique collection of educational artefacts, which was housed on the CICE campus in Rathmines from 1990 onwards. He also led the curation of the Kildare Place Society archive – a highly significant trove of primary material detailing a key movement in the history of Irish Education.
She pointed out that in parallel with his professional achievements, Dr Milne is well known for his decades of voluntary service for a wide range of institutions, including the Council of Trinity College Dublin, the Board of Tallaght Hospital, and the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment. He continues to serve as the Historiographer of the Church of Ireland and chairs the Literature Committee of the Church of Ireland Communications Board.
“Dr Milne wears these lifetime achievements lightly. He is a modest, self–effacing and courteous man, always willing to serve and never expecting to be thanked or made the centre of attention,” Prof Lodge stated.
In response, Dr Milne thanked Dublin City University for the honour. “I greatly appreciate it. Many years ago I attended what was, as I recall, the first conferring ceremony at DCU and little did I think then that one day I would be participating in such an occasion myself,” he said. “My academic training was as an historian and I practised that trade as a teacher in the secondary school classroom and then in primary teacher education. And, as a teacher and also having other responsibilities in education, it has often occurred to me that while there is an awareness that the chemistry teacher is handling very sensitive, even dangerous, material, so too is the history teacher, though the explosive potentialities of the subject may take longer to emerge!”
Prof Keogh said the university was delighted to have the opportunity to honour Dr Milne and welcome him formally to the DCU family. He observed that as a former principal of the Church of Ireland College of Education, which was incorporated into DCU in 2016, it was probably fair to say that he was already part of the DCU community.
“You have done so much to enhance our understanding of Irish History, in particular the history of the Church of Ireland and the history of the development of Education in this country,” Prof Keogh told Dr Milne. “In fact, there are few historians in Ireland who have committed so much of their lives to scholarship. To illustrate this – in 1963, Kenneth wrote a history of his parish church, St Bartholomew’s on Clyde Road. Remarkably, he returned to the task over 50 years later, and in 2019 published an updated and revised edition of the book, based on newly available source material.”
Brid Horan, Chancellor of Dublin City University, pointed out that Ireland does not have an official honours system and in the absence of that the awarding of a DCU honorary doctorate takes on an additional meaning. “It is an award of national significance reserved for individuals with an outstanding record of excellence in their field and beyond,” she said. “The honorary doctorate is bestowed on those who, through their work and achievements, exemplify DCU values, and the DCU mission ‘to transform lives and societies’… We can point to a whole range of Kenneth’s achievements and activities that clearly align with our mission – we can point to his extraordinary record of scholarship as a historian, his lifelong commitment to education in all its facets, and his dedicated service to church and society.”
Report and photos by Lynn Glanville, Communications Officer for Dublin & Glendalough
The Board of Education (Republic of Ireland) represents the Church of Ireland in all educational matters applying to the State,
including as an education partner with the Department of Education and Skills and other educational bodies. It also supports religious education in primary schools under Protestant management and provides support, training and advice to primary level patrons and boards of management.
Secretary, Board of Education (RI)
Dr Ken Fennelly
Church of Ireland House
+353 (0)1 4125 609
The Board of Education (Republic of Ireland) represents the Church of Ireland in all educational matters applying to the State, including as an education partner with the Department of Education and Skills and other educational bodies. It also supports religious education in primary schools under Protestant management and provides support, training and advice to primary level patrons and boards of management.
Secretary, Board of Education (RI)