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UCD President's Office

Oifig an Uachtaráin UCD

Art Cosgrove
President: 1994 – 2004

When Dr Art Cosgrove took office in 1994, he became the first President of UCD who was not a graduate of the university. A native of Newry, he studied History at Queen’s University, Belfast, where he was awarded the BA degree with First Class Honours (1961) and the PhD degree ten years later.  In 1963 Dr Cosgrove was appointed to UCD’s Department of Medieval History as an Assistant Lecturer. His academic achievements led to several promotions and by 1990 he was Associate Professor and Acting Head of Department. He was elected chairman of the Combined Departments of History 1991-1993.

Dr Cosgrove had been a member of the Governing Body since 1979. As President, he oversaw a €230 million capital development plan. The completion in 1997 of the Daedalus Building, which housed a Language Centre and a Microcomputer Centre – the first of its kind at an Irish university - marked the beginning of a new chapter in the expansion of Belfield. Subsequent years saw the development of the Arts Annexe, the Food Science Building, the Student Centre, and the Nova Innovation Centre.

Other major projects included the re-location of the Veterinary School from Ballsbridge to the Belfield campus. The undergraduate school of the Faculty of Commerce became the Quinn Business School. The Conway Institute of Biomolecular and Biomedical Research and the Health Sciences Complex were also added. The Glenomena student residences increased the volume of on-campus accommodation. Shortly before the end of his presidency, UCD purchased the Philips site and buildings adjacent to the Belfield campus at Clonskeagh.

Dr Cosgrove was no less active in encouraging staff development. He ensured that additional promotional posts to Associate Professorships and Lectureships were created on a regular basis. He introduced a new system whereby senior lectureships were graded against certain well-defined criteria, as opposed to the former method in which academics across the various Faculties competed against each other for promotion. The Centre for Teaching and Learning was also established and developed under his presidency and President’s Teaching Awards were made on a regular basis. An improved scheme for the promotion of administrative staff was also introduced.

The appointment of a Vice-President for Research underlined the importance that Dr Cosgrove attached to research during his presidency.  In another domain, the appointment of a Vice-President for Faculties indicated the priority accorded to academic planning and development throughout the university. Quality Assurance systems were introduced during his term of office.

Student numbers grew substantially in the ten years that Dr Cosgrove was President, from 15,854 to 21,339. He extended the Equal Opportunities Policy to cater for equality of access for mature students, students with disabilities and students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Always willing to consider policies proposed by the Students’ Union, he also gave strong support to sporting clubs and college societies.

As Chairman of CHIU (Conference of Heads of the Irish Universities) during the framing and development of the Universities Act, 1997, Dr Cosgrove played an important role in representing the interests and concerns of the third level sector to legislators in the Oireachtas.

Art Cosgrove