Professor Eamonn Walsh: 1960 - 2021

Posted 28 June, 2021

It is with deep sadness that the UCD College of Business and our wider UCD community mourns the passing of Professor Eamonn Walsh, PwC Professor of Accountancy.

For over 30 years, Eamonn’s academic leadership and standing in the field of accountancy has spanned the globe, from Asia to North America and back to Europe. His brilliance from the lectern, and his dedication to his role as an educator, inspired a generation of students ranging from those just beginning their business studies to experienced professionals studying for their MBA. He was equally at home engaging with Irish and global business leaders on challenges of organisational and societal importance.

Professor Anthony Brabazon, College Principal and Dean of the UCD College of Business said,

“Eamonn’s loss will be deeply felt throughout the College of Business, by the wider UCD community, and by his many friends and colleagues within and beyond Ireland. Eamonn was an academic of truly global standing, and he played a highly-significant role in advancing business education in Ireland to the forefront of the international stage. Beyond his own scholarship and academic leadership, Eamonn was devoted to his students and inspired and influenced many. He will be deeply missed.”

Throughout his extensive career in academia, Eamonn served in numerous leadership positions. As Dean of the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate School of Business he was a key advocate and leader of its globalisation from the late 1990s, this strategy encompassing its student body, its faculty, its participation in global business school networks, and its participation in international business school accreditations. Eamonn also provided innovative leadership to the Accounting discipline in the School over many years.

Following his undergraduate education at Trinity College Dublin, Eamonn completed his MSc in Accounting and Finance at The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and attained his PhD from the University of Glasgow. He began his career as a lecturer at LSE, before moving to New York University as an Assistant Professor. Returning home to Ireland, Eamonn took up the position of Professor of Accounting and Finance at the University of Limerick before beginning his 22 year tenure at UCD Smurfit School in 1999. Eamonn also held globally-spanning visiting appointments at UC Berkeley, USA, Rutgers University, USA and Peking University, China.

“Eamonn had a passion for creating innovative and engaging business education,” noted John McCallig, Assistant Professor of Accountancy at UCD College of Business. “His curiosity, intellect and openness in the classroom challenged students to think differently about accounting and business problems.”

“His ‘larger than life’ presence inspired students to have fun with ideas and generate new insights. His lectures had impact and many students remember Eamonn’s classes and insights many years after graduation. Eamonn made an enormous contribution to business education not only through his students’ achievements but also through the inspiration he provided to the many educators he advised and mentored. The influence of his wisdom on pedagogy will be greatly missed by both students and faculty in Accountancy,” concluded Dr McCallig.

Over the years, Eamonn supervised many doctoral students, multiple of whom have subsequently enjoyed very successful academic careers. In 1997, Eamonn was the inaugural recipient of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Excellence in Education Award, which was a testament to his skill and accomplishments in the classroom.

Eamonn’s primary research and consulting interests were in the areas of financial analysis, equity valuation and US securities markets. He was the founding editor of the European Accounting Review and served as associate editor of the Journal of Accounting Auditing and Finance and of the International Journal of Disclosure and Governance. Eamonn served on the Editorial Board of the British Accounting Review and was a frequent reviewer for the Journal of Accounting Auditing and Finance, Journal of Business Finance and Accounting, British Accounting Review and Irish Accounting Review. He was the co-author of three books, and authored / co-authored numerous book chapters and academic journal articles. His research has been published in a wide array of leading international academic journals including Accounting Organisations and Society, the Journal of Business Finance and Accounting and the Journal of Accounting Auditing and Finance.

“Eamonn had a huge passion and enthusiasm for ideas and intellectual rigour,” said Professor Niamh Brennan, Michael MacCormac Professor of Management at UCD College of Business. “His overwhelming intellectual energy, humour and wit left a lasting impression on students and colleagues.”

“On joining UCD, he brought research skills and international experience which he generously shared with colleagues. He had a very positive impact on my work, motivating me to aspire to the highest standards. His passing leaves a void in UCD Accountancy, which will be a lot less stimulating and fun without him,” concluded Professor Brennan.

A consultant to leading European, US and Asian corporations, Eamonn also completed assignments with governmental organisations, the International Monetary Fund, United Nations and has been a presenter at the World Economic Forum thereby extending his policy impact around the globe.

"There's no doubt that Eamonn's depth of knowledge and broad interests, his intellectual curiosity and achievements made him an eminent and esteemed colleague. But Eamonn was much more,” said Professor Patrick Gibbons, Jefferson Smurfit Professor of Strategic Management at UCD College of Business.

“His enthusiasm, good humour, generosity and charisma made him a great and loyal friend to many within and outside UCD. All meetings with Eamonn, professional or social, were a heady mix of deep wisdom, keen insight, polite challenge and creative, sometimes radical thinking, always leavened by engaging wit and infectious laughter,” remarked Professor Gibbons.

Eammon was a constant presence in linking the UCD College of Business to the outside world, exemplifying our values of courage and integrity. He graciously and generously gave of his time to lend his unique voice and vibrant delivery style to countless events aimed at business and general public audiences over the years including most recently thought-provoking webinar conversations and podcasts.

Far beyond his academic achievements, Eamonn was a husband and father. Eamonn will be sadly missed by a very wide and cherished circle of friends in Dublin, UCD, and far beyond. Our thoughts are with his wife, our colleague Dr Camilla Noonan, his daughter Emma, his extended family and all those who are missing Eamonn at this time.

The UCD Community’s thoughts are with Eamonn’s family.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.