Charity hero Tim gets UL’s top award
US-BASED TIM KENNY RECEIVES THE OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT UL ALUMNI AWARD AT HIS ALMA MATER
AN extraordinary success story in business and altruism was recognised in Limerick this week as Ballyheigue native Tim Kenny became just the fourth Kerry person to receive the Outstanding Achievement UL Alumni Award.
It’s the highest honour the university bestows on former graduates and in Tim’s case it sure was well-earned - principally for his role in founding and heading a charity that today is the second largest funder of children’s cancer research in the States after the US Federal Government.
The St Baldrick’s Foundation was born in 1999 as Tim and two of his friends considered what they might do to give back thanks for their success in life. It started with a headshave on St Patrick’s Day 2000, raising over $104,000.
To date it has raised an incredible $300 million plus; in the process contributing to cutting-edge cancer research that has resulted in at least two hugely promising therapies for neuroblastoma and leukemia treatment.
That’s just the charity side of things – consider Tim’s business acumen. He graduated in ‘81 from UL (then NIHE Limerick), started out with insurance company QBE in Shannon, before leaving with just £200 to his name for the US in 1987.
By 1994 he was back with QBE, in the US, working his way up to become its CEO in North America and steering it to mind-boggling growth: In his time at the helm its revenues in seven North and South American countries skyrocketed from $100 million to over $4.5 billion. UL was delighted to honour the Ballyheigue man with the award this week, with Tim joined by three of his former Causeway Comprehensive classmates and close pals, John Lucid (also his brother-in-law having married Tim’s sister Kathrina, who was also present at the event), Tim Ryan and Maurice Walsh.
If that wasn’t all, the lads’ former Principal John O’Regan was also there for the proud occasion – a man they credit with having steered them on the path to success in those formative years in the Comprehensive secondary.
Outstanding Achievement UL Alumni-award holder Tim Kenny - one of just four Kerry people to have received the honour and, below, with Causeway Comprehensive pals Tim Ryan, John Lucid (his brother-in-law), Maurice Walsh and the man who kept them on the straight and narrow to success - former Causeway Principal John O’Regan - at the UL awards.