Throughout the history of the RCScI and UCD in Merrion Street were numerous professors of engineering who played a role not just in educating the next generation but in building a nation through their ingenuity and innovation. Three of these, Felix Hackett (1882-1970), Pierce F. Purcell (1881–1968) and Michael A. Hogan (1898-1971), made significant contributions to research, education and administration in UCD and to the development of the country's scientific and industrial base.

Felix Hackett was lecturer and later professor of physics at the RCScI. When the college was amalgamated with UCD, he became professor of physics and electrical engineering there, remaining in UCD until his retirement in 1952. One of the best known members of the staff, Hackett took an active part in the educational activities of the university and a personal interest in his students. He also served as president of the Royal Dublin Society and treasurer of the Royal Irish Academy, as a member of the council of the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies and on committees of the Institute for Industrial Research and Standards.

Pierce Purcell was professor of civil engineering in UCD from 1909 to 1953. He urged greater involvement of engineers in policy-making for public projects in Ireland and earned national renown through his advocacy of peat fuel development. Purcell was a member of the Industrial Research Council and chairman of the Alliance and Dublin Consumers' Gas Company, and worked on the redesign of Butt Bridge in central Dublin in the early 1930s. Later in his career he was one of the key negotiators in UCD's efforts to secure a new campus. He was also one of the country's leading golf administrators.

Michael Hogan joined UCD as professor of mechanical engineering in 1939. He succeeded Pierce Purcell as professor of civil engineering in 1954 and retired in February 1970. He played an important part in the development of the engineering profession in Ireland, in the expansion of engineering courses in UCD and in the development of postgraduate research. He served as member and acting chairman of the Emergency Scientific Research Bureau, director and chairman of the state mining company Mianraí Teoranta, chairman of the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies and member of the board of the Institute for Industrial Research and Standards.

Above, from left: Felix Hackett (1882–1970), painting by Muriel Brandt; Pierce F. Purcell (1881–1968); Michael A. Hogan (1898–1971)
Hackett Image: RDS and Gerard Whelan