William Edward Thrift

1937 – 1942 (c.1870-1942)

William Edward ThriftThe only Englishman in recent times to have been appointed Provost, WE Thrift was born in Yorkshire but came to Ireland as a boy.1

He graduated from Trinity College in 1893, with gold medals both in mathematics and experimental science, and was elected Fellow three years later.  He was Professor of Natural and Experimental Philosophy (Physics) from 1901 to 1929; in 1935 he was appointed Vice-Provost.

When Gwynn resigned the provostship in April 1937, the Junior Fellows invited the non-Fellow Professors to join them in nominating a successor and Thrift was duly nominated and appointed by the government.2 He was an excellent administrator and an effective representative of the University in the Dáil from 1922 to 1937.

Painting Details

By Leo Whelan
Oil on canvas

  1. Anne Crookshank and David Webb, Paintings and Sculptures in Trinity College Dublin (Dublin, 1990), p. 132.
  2. J.V. Luce, Trinity College Dublin, The First 400 Years (Dublin, 1992), p. 143.