Software designer and developer Christopher Murray graduated from DCU, or the National Institute for Higher Education as it was then known, with a degree in Applied Physics in 1986. He has maintained a strong relationship with his alma mater since that time and is a longstanding supporter of Access scholarships at DCU.
I first supported the Access Programme after receiving a call from a student in the annual telethon. Having been the first in my family to attend university, supported by a grant and summer work, I knew that it could be a financially onerous undertaking. The case for making a donation to help students who would otherwise have little chance of earning a degree seemed obvious.
As a father, I have been supporting my own three daughters to attend university in recent years and I am very conscious of the resources required to gain a third level qualification in Ireland today.
Through attending events in DCU, I have heard about the additional hardships that many DCU Access students have had to overcome. Having heard their stories of resilience in the face of adversity, I feel it is only right that they should be supported. Knowing that I have helped, even in a small way, to diversify the graduate population is a reward in its own right.
As it should, DCU feels like “my” university and my eldest daughter has just completed her bachelor’s degree there, giving me a further close connection. I am pleased when it does well in world rankings and I visit the welcoming Glasnevin campus whenever I can.
The Applied Physics degree I got from DCU involved a lot of work directly applicable to the workplace, not just the learning principles instilled by studying for a degree. I was able to build on those solid foundations when I started my career, even though most of my working life has not been in the area of physics. A science degree is a good start for careers in many fields.