All-Ireland Scholarship Alumni Association
Reception for the All Ireland Scholarships Alumni Association
Virtual, 12 February 2020
Good afternoon everyone, I would like to extend a warm welcome to you to UCD. I would especially like to welcome our All Ireland Scholars, and the Trustees of the All Ireland Scholarships, Professor Roger Downer, Pat Dowling and Gerry Boland. We’re honoured to have you with us today.
I’ll shortly invite Professor Roger Downer, who has been instrumental in instigating this event, to talk about the scholarship programme and the Alumni Association.
Our hope, by inviting you, the UCD All Ireland Scholars, here today is to get the chance to meet you and for you to meet each other, to talk and mingle, to get to know each other – so we’re not going to take up the time with too many speeches. But let me just say two things:
First, I’m grateful for this opportunity to acknowledge the amazing generosity and foresight of JP McManus and his family in establishing the All Ireland Scholarship programme. Increasingly, in Ireland and around the world, higher education institutions rely on the generosity of philanthropists like JP to support students. Every day I am encouraged by the generosity and commitment of our alumni and friends, at home and abroad, who participate in and support our endeavours at UCD. It is my privilege to preside over this exceptionally passionate and engaged community.
Underfunding in the education sector continues to be our biggest financial challenge as our student numbers increase. Philanthropy is essential to how we, as a community, support our students, advance our research and campus infrastructure, and develop national and international collaborations.
Secondly, this really is a special opportunity to welcome you as a core group here today within the surrounds of our new University Club, and it is quite humbling to be in the presence of tomorrow’s medical professionals, scientists, artists, business executives, educators, engineers and lawyers!
At UCD, we develop the potential of our students to respond to the challenges and opportunities of the future. We build skills, encourage creative thinking and foster a sense of society in our students so that, not only do they achieve great things for themselves, but they make a valuable contribution to the world.
I hope that you are enjoying every aspect of university life and using this opportunity to meet all kinds of different people and acquire new skills. I hope that you will draw on all you learn here to build exciting careers and interesting lives.
And remember that when you do achieve your goals, you too will have the opportunity to give back, and to assist those coming behind you in making their own dreams and aspirations a reality.