Alumni Homecoming 2018

Dining Hall

Thursday 20th December, 6pm


Alumni and Friends,

Welcome back to Trinity - from all corners of the world where you’ve travelled from.

We’re delighted to see you here at this evocative time, when the Christmas Tree is lit in Front Square, and carols are sung in the chapel.

All round the country, families and communities are welcoming home friends and relatives. In Trinity, alumni are family. This makes our family very large – over 115,000 at last count.

This past year I’ve had the pleasure of attending alumni dinners and receptions all round the world – in:

  • Hong Kong
  • Boston,
  • Edinburgh,
  • Berlin,
  • Stockholm,
  • London,
  • Jerusalem,
  • Tokyo,
  • Kuala Lumpur, and
  • Sydney, Melbourne and Perth
  • … and in Cork,


… maybe some of you were present at these? Just naming these cities gives an idea of Trinity’s reach – of our abundance of graduates across 130 countries worldwide.

It’s always a pleasure to meet with Trinity graduates, wherever I am. This annual Homecoming party is particularly special. I know how important it is for you to re-connect with each other back on campus – I remember myself coming back to Trinity from stints abroad at just this time of year.

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This year, 2018, has been a strong one for the College. Let’s recall some of the highlights:

  • In April we launched the Centre for Literary and Cultural Translation in a wonderful renovated house at 36 Fenian Street – it’s the first such Centre in Ireland and one of the first in the world;
  • In May came our formal announcement to build E3 – our ground-breaking Engineering, Environment and Emerging Technologies Institute, following the donation of €25 million from the Naughton family. We will shortly start on the first phase, the E3 Learning Foundry - this will transform the way we educate students of engineering, computer science and natural sciences to work on technological solutions that enhance the wellbeing of the planet.


  • The second phase, the E3 Research Institute, will be the centrepiece of the Trinity at Grand Canal Quay, and our campus there will catalyse  the Grand Canal Innovation District. Trinity has been the driving force for the new Innovation District, announced in July by An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Current;y this is being progressed by an Innovation District Advisory Council, chaired by Martin Fraser, Secretary-General to the Government. It will be as transformative for Ireland in technology and innovation as the IFSC was for financial services.
  • In September the first cohort of students on the Trinity-Columbia Dual BA programme, started in Trinity. They will spend two years here before transferring to Columbia University in New York, eventually graduating with degrees from both universities. This goes well beyond traditional student exchange programmes and is a game-changer in international education. 


  • Finally, and one of the things I’m most proud of – last year Trinity secured €100 million in research funding, a figure which confirms our position as a leading European research university. To put it in context: Trinity has only 16 percent of academic staff in Ireland but we have won over 30 percent of national funding, over 25 percent of EU Horizon 2020 funding coming into Ireland, and a whopping 50 percent of European Research Council grants.

We can all be proud of what our university has achieved. We want to continue achieving and in Spring we are launching a major Philanthropic Campaign. The Campaign will focus on gaining support for many areas in college, including, for example: E3, the Trinity St James’s Cancer Institute, the redevelopment of Trinity Library and the digitisation of its collections; the Law School, and support for Trinity Access Programme scholarships and new professorships.

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We will remain in touch with you about the Philanthropic Campaign. Trinity could not function in the way it does, and could not enjoy the global reputation that it does, without the remarkable support of our alumni.

You help the College in so many ways:

  • By attending events like this one and building the alumni network;
  • By acting as mentors to our students; as patrons to our clubs and societies; and as organisers of alumni branches and affinity groups;
  • And by donating to our projects. In just a short few months, the new state-of-the-art Trinity Business School will open on Pearse Street. This is just one remarkable project that was enabled by alumni generosity.

We’re immensely grateful for your willingness to give of your time, expertise, and financial support.  This is an exciting time for us. I encourage you all to stay in touch and get involved and be part of the next phase.

Let me conclude by thanking you all for being here tonight, and wishing everyone a Merry Christmas, and a happy and healthy 2019.


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