Trinity College Dublin is to appoint former President of Ireland, Mary McAleese, as Chancellor of the University.
Professor McAleese has a long-standing connection with Trinity, having held the position of Reid Professor of Criminal Law, Criminology and Penology from 1975 to 1987 and been involved in numerous University events and initiatives over subsequent years.
Professor McAleese is expected to soon take up the Chancellor’s role that was until recently filled by Mary Robinson, also former President of Ireland and Reid Professor of Criminal Law at Trinity. Dr Robinson served as Chancellor from 1998 until her term of office came to an end in May of this year.
The Chancellor is the Head of the University and presides at meetings of the University Senate, overseeing important ceremonial occasions such as commencement ceremonies when degrees of the University of Dublin are awarded, including Honorary Degrees.
The Chancellor plays a key role in selecting those to whom honorary degrees are awarded. These are individuals of integrity and exceptional achievement who have made outstanding contributions to scholarship, society, culture and/or civil society.
Professor McAleese received valid nominations from current members of the Senate of the University. There were no other candidates nominated and Professor McAleese was elected unopposed. She will come into office as soon as she makes a statutory declaration to Provost of Trinity, Dr Patrick Prendergast.
Provost, Dr Prendergast said:
Trinity College Dublin is honoured to have an academic of such great distinction as Professor Mary McAleese as Chancellor of the University of Dublin. We now look forward to her participation in the life of the College.
Professor Paula Murphy, Registrar at Trinity, added:
There was widespread support among University Senate members in the nomination of Professor McAleese for the role of Chancellor. As Registrar, I very much look forward to working with the incoming Chancellor and joining the College Community in welcoming her most warmly to this important position as Head of the University.
Professor McAleese served as Ireland’s President between 1997 and 2011, at which point she was succeeded by Michael D Higgins. She graduated in Law from Queen’s University Belfast, where she became the first female pro-vice-chancellor of the university in 1994. She has also worked as a barrister and a journalist.
Professor McAleese was recently awarded one of the most prestigious prizes in the Catholic world – the Alfons Auer Ethics Award – for a 500,000-word doctoral thesis on Children’s Rights and Obligations in Canon Law, which she completed last year.
Professor McAleese received nominations from the following Senate members: David McConnell; Celia Holland; Thomas O’Dowd; Barbara Wright; John O’Hagan; Niall James Sloane; Luke O’Neill; Diarmuid Shanley; David Spearman; Vincent McBrierty; Declan Budd; David Abrahamson; Ivana Bacik; Michael Gill; Mary Henry McEntagart; Alexandra Anderson; John Scattergood; Susan Denham; Jane Ohlmeyer; Michael Alexander Loyola O’Rourke; Linda Hogan; Corinna Salvadori Lonergan; Dermot Sherlock; Robert Gilligan; Thomas Mitchell; Eda Sagarra; William Salters Sterling; Sheila Greene; Thomas Gilbert Barham Howe.