Alan and Kyle Dargan, Benefactors through the Centuries

Foyer of the Dining Hall

Monday, 17th June


Good afternoon, everyone

It’s now six years, almost to the day, since I unveiled the Benefactors Frieze, here in the Dining Hall – the college’s permanent and public testament to the generosity of individuals, groups, and corporations through the ages. This frieze is our tribute to those who have helped make Trinity great, since the foundation of the college in 1592.

It begins with Queen Elizabeth the First and with Dublin Corporation, and continues on through a cycle of giving – of bequests, grants of land, trusts and endowments – up to the present day.

It’s rare that we add new names to the Frieze. Indeed, today is only the second time of doing so, since the Frieze was created. In the past six years, we’ve benefitted significantly from the generosity of alumni and friends. Many people have given invaluable support and all are deserving of thanks and praise. But to crowd the Benefactors Frieze would be to diminish it. So the names on this Frieze are of those who have given truly exceptional support.

By adding Alan and Kyle Dargan’s names to this frieze, we commemorate their exceptional support to Trinity College Dublin.

Alan Dargan is a Trinity graduate, BBS 1974, who made the most of his undergraduate years – both the curricular and extracurricular. He played rugby and formed lasting friendships, and when he graduated and went on to a truly remarkable career in business, he remained deeply connected to the college.

He has served as president of Trinity Rugby, and as Chairman of the Advisory Board of Student Managed Fund. His wife, Kyle, also a true friend of the college. Not the least manifestation of the Dargans’ commitment to Trinity is the fact that their four sons, all here today, are Trinity graduates, with the youngest an undergraduate still.

Speaking personally, let me say that Alan has been among the key graduates who have really helped and made a difference in progressing initiatives during my provostship. He is someone who has been a continuous presence during my provostship.

I’m proud that the past six or seven years have been characterised by the college’s greatly increased involvement with our alumni. The Provost’s Council, which started life as the Trinity Global Graduate Forum in 2013, has been central to this. It’s a unique forum of high-achieving Trinity graduates across all spheres, which meets annually to brainstorm on the college’s current plans and future direction.

Alan has been a key member of the Provost’s Council from the start. His enthusiasm has been transformative. When we first convened in 2013, the country was still in recession and the university was under-funded. We believed we could turn things around. The support of remarkable alumni strengthened our belief at this crucial time.

Alan brought all his positivism and acumen to the challenge. He thought big and he brought others with him.

Two initiatives in particular we will forever associate with Alan and Kyle:

  • We’ve just come from the Alumni Room, which I’m sure you’ll agree is one of the most attractive spaces on college. This Room was co-funded by Alan and Kyle, together with Fearghal Naughton. They understood the importance of giving graduates a space they could call their own on campus.

Their generosity ensured that the Room was designed and decorated to the highest specification. I know from my frequent meetings with alumni all around the world, that it’s hugely appreciated. It makes a great difference, particularly for graduates flying in from abroad, to have this place to meet.

  • The other initiative is, of course, the new Trinity Business School, which we opened three weeks ago. What a tremendous building it is! It was conceived in high ambition and, in execution, it has more than delivered on that ambition. It includes what is now the largest auditorium on campus, which has more space, even, than the Exam Hall. It’s a space not only for business students, but for the whole university.

The Trinity Business School is a landmark in the history of the College because it was enabled by philanthropy. Donor support was the cornerstone which enabled us to finance the whole project.

The success of the Trinity Business School will transform the whole story of the university. Trinity Business School has become the template for how to fund essential strategy projects in the university. The experience of planning and completing the Business School has given us the confidence to launch “Inspiring Generations”, our philanthropic campaign with a goal to raise 400 million euro and generate 150 thousand hours of volunteering.

Alan and Kyle Dargan were decisive in making the Business School possible and they are exemplars of what we hope for in Inspiring Generations. Their support goes far beyond the financial – I don’t know how many hours Alan has given to DUFC and to the Student Managed Fund and to the Provost’s Council but I do know what a difference he has made and what an inspiration he is to our students. 

Part of our reason for creating the Benefactors Wall was not only to thank our donors, but to honour the principle of public philanthropy.

We want people looking at this wall to feel inspired by the concept of giving. We achieve … … … in order to give back - Alan and Kyle embody this.

May I now invite all of you to look up at the Benefactors Frieze and welcome the new names. Over four and a quarter centuries, there are a select few names only. We now celebrate the 56th and 57th names: Alan and Kyle Dargan.

Thank you.

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