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2014 - 2022: Professor Andrew J Deeks
Professor Andrew J Deeks became the ninth President of UCD in 2014. He is the first Australian and second non-Irish person to hold the presidency after co-founder John Henry Newman. Educated at the University of Western Australia, he received a first class honours degree in civil engineering and worked in industry briefly, before returning to UWA to pursue his PhD and an academic career. In 2009, he joined Durham University as Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Science. While at UCD, where he led a strategy which saw UCD establish itself as Ireland’s Global University. In March 2022 he returned to Western Australia to become the 8th Vice Chancellor of Murdoch University.
Dr Hugh Brady was appointed President of UCD in January 2004. Born in August 1959, he was educated at UCD where he was awarded degrees in Medicine (1982) and Science (1984). He was subsequently awarded PhD and MD degrees for research in renal physiology and molecular medicine.
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.
1986 – 1993: Patrick Masterson
The first President appointed under the fixed-term statutory provisions adopted by the Governing Body in 1984, Dr Patrick Masterson had served three years as Registrar at the time of his appointment in 1986. Despite serious reductions in state funding for the universities, Dr Masterson launched a major development programme that brought enormous change to the campus during his term of office.
1972 – 1985: Thomas Murphy
The first President to administer UCD from its Belfield campus, Thomas Murphy had previously been Registrar of the College for nearly eight years. A graduate of medicine who obtained the MB, BCh, BAO degrees with first class honours in 1939, he began his academic career at the college in 1955 as Professor of Social and Preventive Medicine. Prior to this appointment he worked as medical officer for Bord na Móna, as Assistant Medical Officer of Health in CountyKildare, and in the Department of Health.
1964 – 1972: Jeremiah J. Hogan
As Registrar of UCD from 1953 to 1964, Jeremiah Hogan had worked closely with the President, Dr Tierney, to secure government approval for the transfer of the College from Earlsfort Terrace. As president for the next eight years, Dr Hogan’s chief task was to proceed with the development of the new campus at Belfield, on which the first buildings (for Physics and Chemistry) had just been completed. At Dr Hogan’s retirement, another four buildings were complete: Arts/Commerce/Law, the Library (Stage I), the Administration and the Restaurant. The purchase of 28.4 acres of RoebuckCastleland had also been made.
1947 – 1964: Michael Tierney
Shortly after Dr Michael Tierney commenced his term of office in 1947 the College made one of the most important decisions in its history – that UCD would move out of the centre of Dublinto a suburban site worthy of the national institution, which was playing a major role in the development of Irish society. By 1949 the first of many purchases at the Belfield site on Stillorgan Road was made. Joseph Downes, Professor of Architecture from 1943 to 1950, drew up plans for the development of the 123-acre site.
1940 – 1947: Arthur W. Conway
On assuming the presidency of UCD in 1940, Dr Conway confronted a growing financial crisis in the university, which was exacerbated by the Second World War. He referred on one occasion to “a state of grim and unrelieved penury”. Despite the difficulties and distractions of the war years, Dr Conway continued to promote research and publication as a priority for the academic staff. Another of his concerns was the rise in student numbers from 2,400 at the start of the war to 3,300 at its conclusion, which left the university very limited in terms of space and resources. To address these challenges Dr Conway appointed the Statutory Officers’ Committee, whose Report defined the principles of planning which the College should follow.
1908 – 1940: Denis J. Coffey (first President of UCD)
Dr Coffey was often referred to as “the students’ professor”. As President he maintained a keen interest in students and their welfare, often lecturing two or three times a day and continuing to carry out his laboratory work. He also found time to attend or chair committee meetings concerning the welfare of students. Dr Coffey led UCD through some of the most challenging times in Irish history – the First World War, the Easter Rising, the Anglo-Irish war of 1919-1921, the Civil War, the growing pains of the Irish Free State, the economic crises of the 1920s and 1930s, and the outbreak of the Second World War.
1851 - 1859: John Henry Cardinal Newman – Rector, The Catholic University
In 1851, John Henry Newman came to Ireland at the invitation of Paul Cullen, Archbishop of Dublin to be the rector of the Catholic University, where he remained until 1858. Born in Ealing, London on 21 February 1801, Newman began his religious life as a member of the Anglican Church, becoming a leader of the Oxford Movement and a national figure, as well as a Rector of St. Mary the Virgin Anglican Church in Oxford.