Deloitte Ireland and leading Irish philanthropists Martin and Carmel Naughton were announced as the winners of the prestigious DCU Corporate Leadership and Individual Leadership Awards for 2021-22 respectively at DCU Educational Trust’s annual Leadership Circle Event on 3rd February. Leading immunologist, Professor Christine Loscher, was also awarded the DCU Staff Leadership Award at the event, which was live streamed to a virtual audience from DCU’s St Patrick’s Campus.
The annual DCU Educational Trust Leadership Circle Event brings together DCU’s leading friends and supporters to celebrate their collective contribution to DCU’s mission to transform lives and societies. Over 100 DCU supporters tuned in to the live event, which showcased how philanthropy has contributed to addressing societal issues ranging from climate change and bullying to ensuring equality of access to third level education.
Speaking at the event, Eamonn Quinn, Chair of DCU Educational Trust told DCU’s supporters:
“Thanks to your decision to give back, we can work together to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and to create a better, fairer world. Your support for different DCU projects is improving the future, not only for DCU students and the local community, but for all of us in Irish society and around the world.”
The Corporate Leadership Award was presented to Deloitte Ireland in recognition of their significant collaborations with DCU that have included a founding partnership of the DCU Centre for Climate and Society, the creation of an endowed Access scholarship and support for research into virtual internships during the Covid-19 pandemic. Accepting the award on behalf of Deloitte Ireland, CEO Harry Goddard told the audience that:
“I’m proud and honoured to accept this award on behalf of Deloitte. As a business, we can achieve so much more when our people, our clients and the organisations with whom we partner share values that are similar to us. Our ongoing relationship with DCU helps to manifest what we want to achieve as a responsible business. We are committed to positively impacting the world around us, and tackling some of the world’s most complex and pressing societal issues.”
Announcing Martin and Carmel Naughton as the winners of the DCU Individual Leadership Award, event host, Claire Whelehan, Director of Philanthropy with DCU Educational Trust highlighted their visionary philanthropy in supporting the creation of the Naughton Family Chair in STEM Education at DCU, the first in Ireland to focus on STEM education at primary level and in early childhood education. The family’s long-term advisor Roddy Ryan accepted the award on their behalf, stating that:
“The Chair promises to be a very interesting way of stimulating and developing STEM education in Ireland and we look forward to seeing positive results from it in the years to come. We think it’s a great initiative and we’re very happy to support it.”
The Staff Leadership Award for 2021-22 was presented to Christine Loscher, Associate Dean for Research in the Faculty of Science & Health at DCU in recognition of her leading role in establishing the DCU Covid-19 Research and Innovation Hub to provide real world solutions in the fight against Covid-19. Speaking as she accepted her award, Prof Loscher said:
“The Covid-19 Research and Innovation Hub is a really wonderful example of what the DCU research community can come together and achieve with the support of the Educational Trust. When the Covid-19 pandemic hit in 2020, researchers across DCU wanted to find a way to do something to help. They knew that all sectors of society would experience significant challenges and they wanted to solve those problems and make an impact. The establishment of the Hub supported and enabled these researchers to indeed solve those problems.”
The presence of DCU students was also strongly felt on the evening, with beautiful music provided by students Molly Tobin, Fiona Doyle and Niamh Douglas and an inspiring testimonial from DCU Access student, Illan Dunne, who described the importance of the support he has received from the programme in his educational journey.
The evening concluded with an address from DCU President, Professor Daire Keogh, who once again thanked the university’s supporters and described his hopes for future collaboration over the coming year:
“The pandemic, we hope, is coming to a stage where we can live with Covid-19 in the long-term, but the big challenges remain. Inequality, climate change, illiteracy, illness, all of those big things, together we will continue to work at it. We promise here today, we’ll re-commit ourselves to challenging these and moving forward. Those challenges provide an opportunity for universities and our partners to come together, to work together to improve the things that matter for you […] Together we can deliver on our great mission, the mission of DCU, to transform lives and societies, to build a world, not as it was but as it could and should be.”