Mary McAleese grew up the eldest of nine children in a tumultuous time in Northern Ireland. Her family was forced to leave the area by Loyalists when The Troubles broke out. She was the first Irish President to come from Northern Ireland and the first woman to succeed another woman as the eighth President of Ireland from 1997 - 2011. An outspoken advocate on many issues concerned with justice, equality, social inclusion, anti-sectarianism and reconciliation it was no surprise the theme of her Presidency was 'Building Bridges'. Mary graduated in Law from the Queen's University of Belfast in 1973 and was called to the Northern Ireland Bar in 1974. In 1975 she was appointed Reid Professor of Criminal Law, Criminology and Penology at Trinity College Dublin and in 1987 she returned to her Alma Mater, Queen's, to become Director of the Institute of Professional Legal Studies. In 1994, she became the first female Pro-Vice Chancellor of the Queen's University of Belfast. In 2013 she received a master's degree and licentiate in canon law of the Roman Gregorian University.