Provost’s Professional Staff Award Winners Announced

The winners of the inaugural Provost’s Professional Staff Awards were presented this week at a special ceremony in the Provost’s Garden. Devised to celebrate outstanding contributions by Trinity’s professional staff – including all administrative, technical and support staff – whose hard work, creativity and dedication are an important element to the continuing success of the University, there were three award categories.

There was a phenomenal response to the award scheme with 118 nominations submitted, a full list can be viewed here. The 2016 Provost’s Professional Staff Award winners are:

Enhancing the Trinity Experience – presented to an individual or team demonstrating exceptional service and commitment to the University and our visitors

  • Kathleen O'Toole-Brennan, Trinity Access Programme

Individual Leadership – presented to an individual who demonstrates outstanding leadership skills that have a positive impact on a team

  • Noel McCann, Campus Services

Outstanding Colleague – presented to individuals who deliver outstanding service to the Trinity Community. This year it was decided to award three individuals

  • Joe McCauley, Physics
  • Anthony [Tony] O'Rourke, Buildings Office
  • Helen Thornbury, Academic Secretariat

Warmly congratulating the recipients at the awards ceremony, the Provost, Dr Patrick Prendergast said: “The prestige of these awards reflect the value that Trinity places on encouraging professional staff to enrich Trinity's environment for students, staff and visitors. Marking each winner's contribution gives a sense of the scope of activity and initiatives and of the invaluable work going on in Trinity”.

The Provost explained how achieving the goals in our current Strategic Plan – Strengthen Community, Activate Talents, Engage Wider Society, Demonstrate Institutional Leadership – is dependent on excellent professional staff. A snap shot of each of the winners was portrayed in the citations read by the Provost can be read here

Photographed at the awards ceremony are the winners (from l-r) Tony O'Rourke, Buildings Office, Helen Thornbury, Academic Secretariat, Kathleen O'Toole-Brennan, Trinity Access Programme, Noel McCann, Campus Services, and Joe McCauley, Physics.

Kathleen O’Toole-Brennan has been working full-time in the Trinity Access Programme since 2000 and has played a central role in building TAP from a small six-school project into a suite of internationally recognised educational outreach programmes. Her passion and commitment 'to making life-changing educational experiences happen' is evidenced by her establishment of the now national College Awareness Week – driven by her belief in the power of education to transform.

Noel McCann as Campus Services Manager manages teams that provide environmental, electrical, mechanical security and campus maintenance services. Noel's team ensures that our grounds and landscaped areas are presented in first class condition. His appreciation of protocol and his calm professionalism have been called on many times, most notably perhaps during the visit of the Queen of England in 2011 and President Obama's family visit in 2013, and his Presidential address in College Green which necessitated major security operations. Noel's professionalism was recognised and appreciated by the multiple security officials and agencies involved. He is a problem solver and a real hands-on manager who communicates well with the wider college community.

Joe McCauley, Senior Experimental Officer in the School of Physics consistently delivers exceptional support, providing assistance beyond his formal job description. He has earned the respect of colleagues and students alike. His positive attitude and willingness to assist bolsters colleagues. His knowledge and expertise are regularly called upon. He has been instrumental in installing complex scientific equipment at Trinity's observatory at Birr Castle. And when, in March 2015, a team from Trinity flew on board an Irish Air Corps plane to observe a solar eclipse, Joe's technical insight and commitment were key to the project's success.

Tony O'Rourke is an area executive craftsman, with responsibility for the Arts Building. He makes his job seem effortless, despite a huge and at times unpredictable workload. He delivers seamless, invisible and excellent service, going above and beyond the call of duty. Tony strives to retain the integrity, character and architecture of the Arts Building. His talent and exemplary attitude are visible both in the smallest repair task or a large renovation project, the challenges of managing multiple tradespersons, and working on-site surrounded by staff and students. He is always available to staff and never leaves a job unfinished. His positive attitude brings a collegial spirit to our corridors.

Helen Thornbury brings diligence, calmness, unimpeachable knowledge of the college regulations and institutional practice to the benefit of graduate students in her role as Administrative Officer in the Graduate Student Office. She provides crucial support for students and for the School, and is a problem solver who facilitates solutions.  She creates a sense of community and camaraderie, which, combined with her empathy, wit and verve, inspires confidence. Her job is to ensure that regulations are followed: where she exceeds expectations is the enormous effort she puts in to ensure that the reading of those regulations benefits the student, the supervisor, and the College. She regularly exceeds expectations and evinces persistent good cheer in the face of extremely complex and often sensitive cases.

The Provost’s Professional Staff Award scheme will be run every second year.  

Media Contact:

Sally-Anne Fisher, Head of Communications | fishers@tcd.ie | +353 1 896 3606