On 23rd June, friends and supporters of Dublin City University joined the DCU Educational Trust for its annual Leadership Circle Dinner. The dinner celebrates the ways in which the generosity of the University’s leading donors helps to transform lives and societies through education.
This year, the DCU Educational Trust created a new award to honour the vision, generosity and sustained passion for change of renowned philanthropist Chuck Feeney who, through The Atlantic Philanthropies, donated more than €128 million to DCU since its formal establishment as a university in 1989. His investments in over 15 buildings on the DCU campus spanned both research and student facilities and included the National Centre for Sensor Research, DCU’s Chemical and Biological Sciences building, Computer Applications building, the John and Aileen O’Reilly Library and The Helix as well as sports facilities and student accommodation.
DCU President, Professor Brian MacCraith told attendees:
“There could only be one recipient of our inaugural DCU Educational Trust Medal for Transformation Through Philanthropy. Chuck Feeney’s contribution to DCU has been unparalleled. His vision and generosity have transformed the physical landscape and intellectual life of DCU and the legacy of his gifts will continue to benefit our students and academic community for many decades to come.”
The medal was accepted on Chuck Feeney’s behalf by Mary Sutton, Country Director of The Atlantic Philanthropies in Ireland. In keeping with tradition, the Trust also presented three further awards on the night to honour the contribution of individual DCU donors, corporate supporters and DCU staff to furthering the University’s mission to transform lives and society through education.
This year, the Individual Leadership Award went to Gay White in recognition of her sustained personal support for the DCU Access Programme since 2004, giving not only generous gifts to the programme but also her time through her involvement with the DCU Alumni Council and DCU Educational Trust Council of Trustees.
The Staff Leadership Award went to Professor Kate Irving from DCU’s School of Nursing and Human Sciences in recognition of her contribution to improving the lives of people living with dementia through projects that include the Dementia Elevator programme, fittingly supported by The Atlantic Philanthropies.
The final award of the night was the Corporate Leadership Award which was presented to AIB in recognition of their support for the DCU Centre for Family Business and the AIB Chair in Data Analytics. Speaking in advance of presenting the award to Robert Mulhall, AIB’s Managing Director – Retail, Corporate and Business Banking, Nathalie Walker, CEO of DCU Educational Trust stated that:
“AIB’s support demonstrates the company’s awareness of how philanthropy can contribute to our economy and society.”
The talents of DCU students were celebrated on the night through musical entertainment from the award-winning traditional music group SeanChas and singer-songwriter Katie Gallagher. Attendees also heard from DCU final year Journalism student Laura Horan who described how the support of the DCU Access programme has helped her to overcome barriers to participating in third level education and to make the most of her time in DCU. Speaking on behalf of the 1,285 Access students currently enrolled at DCU, Laura thanked attendees for their generosity to the programme, stating:
“I want to say a huge thank you to everyone here for supporting me and the Access Programme. Not only are you helping Access students to better their lives but you are also creating a chain reaction of people who are grateful and in return will give back to society in their own way.”
Image: Award winners and speakers at the DCU Educational Trust Leadership Circle Dinner 2017 (L-R): DCU President, Professor Brian MacCraith, Professor Kate Irving, Gay White, Mary Suton, Nathalie Walker, Laura Horan and Larry Quinn.