Joe Veselsky – Trinity’s Oldest Student
At 97, Joe Veselsky is Trinity’s oldest student and is an inspiring example of lifelong learning. Joe (as he is known) has taken extra-mural courses in the School of Histories and Humanities every year since 2010. Born in 1918 in Trnarva in Czechoslovakia Joe witnessed first-hand the rise of the German Reich. His parents and elder brother were killed in Auschwitz. Having joined the Resistance, he was later decorated with the Order of the Slovak National Uprising. Post-war his passion was table tennis in which he ranked 7th nationally and captained the Czechoslovak team. With his wife, Katarina, he escaped the Prague coup of 1948 and came to Ireland where he established his own jewellery business.
He made an abiding contribution to Irish life through sport as captain of the Irish table tennis team for over twenty years. He is life president (and co-founder) of the Irish Table Tennis Association, was director of Shamrock Rovers Football Club from 1974-78 and continues in his current role as Executive Vice President of UCD football club. He was made a Commander of the Slovak Order of the White Double Cross for outstanding achievement in sport and for his contribution to the development and maintenance of diplomatic relations between Slovakia and Ireland. By awarding him an Honorary Masters of Arts, Trinity College Dublin honours these same contributions, sporting and other, on behalf of Ireland.
It also celebrates the contribution of immigrant citizens to our community and the importance of life-long learning, of which, in both regards, Josef Veselsky is a shining example.
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