Waterford IT main campus. File pic.
The new university in the South East took a step closer today with the announcement of its first chairperson and confirmation of the date it will open its doors.
However, while investment in new campuses in Wexford and Waterford were supported by the minister, there was no mention of a future campus being located in Kilkenny. The new university will have "multi-regional campuses in Carlow, Waterford, Wexford and Wicklow."
Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Science and Innovation, Simon Harris, today announced the appointment of Dr Patrick Prendergast as the first chairperson of the new technological university (TU) for the South East.
Minister Harris confirmed the new university will open its doors on 1 May.
Dr Prendergast, the former Provost of Trinity College, will be joined on the new governing board by Jim Bergin, CEO of Glanbia, and Ruth Beadle, who holds a key leadership role at Sanofi, which has a manufacturing facility in Waterford.
Speaking today, Minister Harris said: “After decades of debate, the technological university for the South East is finally a reality.
“Today, I have formally granted designation status to the fifth technological university in the state. This is the first university presence in the region and marks a truly historic moment in higher education for staff, students, regional stakeholders and local communities in the South East."
Institute of Technology Carlow (IT Carlow) and Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) jointly applied for technological university (TU) designation on 30 April 2021, under the Technological Universities Act 2018.
There followed a rigorous assessment process by an international advisory panel, the Higher Education Authority (HEA) and the Qualifications and Quality Assurance Authority of Ireland (QQI). The panel reported to Minister Harris and enabled him to consider all data, implications and statutory requirements before making his decision.
Upon establishment of the new TU, SETU will see current students from the former IT Carlow and WIT graduating in 2022 with university qualifications. SETU will have multi-regional campuses in Carlow, Waterford, Wexford and Wicklow.
Welcoming the announcement, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said: “I’ve been campaigning for this day for many years, and I heartily congratulate the colleges and Minister Harris for getting us to this point. This new university will help us to secure more economic investment for the region.
“Indeed, I think some of the new IDA jobs we secured for Waterford and Kilkenny in the past year were spurred by the assurance that this would happen. The new university will also lead to more indigenous businesses being founded in the region fostering more job creation.
“Crucial to making an economic success of Ireland’s South East region is retaining and attracting talent and creating well-paid jobs. It’s a virtuous circle. Making higher education accessible to all is the best way to make Ireland a country of equal opportunities.”
Minister Harris has now charged the institutes with undertaking an open public competition to identify and propose to him a suitable candidate for designation as the TU’s first president.
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