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Posted: 05 Oct 2012

Dr Pádraic Conway, 1962 - 2012

The entire University College Dublin community was deeply saddened to learn of the untimely death of Dr Pádraic Conway, Vice-President for University Relations on 05 October last, following a three-year long battle with cancer. During his almost fifteen years at UCD, Pádraic was friend, colleague and mentor to so many of our staff, alumni and students. His enormous capacity to enjoy the companionship of others, his interest in their lives and thoughts and his gift for repartee and anecdote made him a truly unique figure.

Pádraic was born and bred in Sligo Town and he remained throughout his life a proud Sligoman, attributing many of his achievements, his views and his loyalties to his home town and the good common sense of its citizens.  Pádraic attended Summerhill College, Sligo from 1974 to 1979 before going on to study French and Philosophy at University College Cork and subsequently Biblical and Theological studies at Trinity College Dublin.

His training was as a theologian, for which he had been elected a Trinity Scholar in 1988.  This gave him a rare ability to combine judicious use of scripture with practical management.  Pádraic’s academic rigour was seamlessly married to his acute emotional intelligence; an alliance of formal intellectual prowess and charisma which the discipline of theological reflection nurtured in him.  In religion, Pádraic was just the same, reflexively Catholic and relentlessly critical all at once.

On leaving Trinity, Pádraic spent four years working with Andersen Consulting (now Accenture) as a management consultant.  It is a tribute to Pádraic’s adaptability and intellectual capability that he was, as a theology graduate, able to quickly and successfully work in the fields of computer technology, business process design and financial modelling. 

As always, Pádraic made a host of friends at Andersen Consulting many of whom remained close to him right to the end.

Pádraic could be partisan in politics but he was also fearless in making his views known on any subject whether popular or unpopular.  One of his central theological concerns was with ‘table fellowship’ with the result that he believed in sitting down to talk. Therefore he spent much of his time resolving and discussing and problematising issues of concern at the table and in convivial settings.  He brought all of his endless energy and his force of personality to the table, whatever table it was, every time he met to do business, to do friendship or to celebrate life.  His work for Accenture, Trocaire, TCD and subsequently UCD was all about development, about making sure that organisations and the people in them, reached their full potential and explored all of the possibilities open to them.

Pádraic was the master of the deadline, capable of working at lightning speed and with impressive results.  More recently, he began to return to his academic roots in language, literature and the Bible.  His trick memory for dates and anniversaries meant that he rarely let a good commemorative occasion slip by.  His last academic venture, a conference on the 50th anniversary of Vatican II, encapsulates so much of his approach to learning.  This is no retrospective enterprise but a ‘critical examination’ of the ‘enduring significance’ of the Council In other words continuing ‘aggiornamento’, typical of Pádraic’s reluctance to let sleeping dogs lie.

Among his many interests was a love of all sports.  First and foremost among these was Pádraic’s lifelong affection for and commitment to the GAA.  Although never a great player himself, Pádraic worked tirelessly for Sligo GAA, where he served as President of the Friends of Sligo Football in 2003.  Pádraic also loved rugby and was immensely proud of having captained the Sligo under 15 team of 1977.

Constantly on the move, mobile phone pressed to his ear, waving a greeting to one of his many friends, acquaintances and colleagues, Pádraic was a unique figure at UCD.  Always entertaining, sometimes combative, never boring, he embodied all of the features of Belfield life, the academic, the sporting, the social and the political.  He will be sadly missed by his many friends and colleagues.

We at UCD extend our deepest sympathies to his family and to all who knew him.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam uasal





(Produced by UCD University Relations)


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