News and Views

Alumnus donates €1 million to School of Law at UCC

17 Oct 2019
(l-r): Professor Patrick G O’Shea, President, UCC; Deirdre Leahy, PhD student representative; UCC graduate Aidan Synnott (BCL 1985), Professor Mark Poustie, Dean, School of Law, UCC; Professor Ursula Kilkelly, Head, College of Business and Law, UCC.

The School of Law at University College Cork is to benefit from a €1,000,000 philanthropic gift, which will provide leadership in EU Law research through the creation of a Centre in EU Law and transform the learning experience of law students in the field of EU Law. 

The generous gift, made by UCC alumnus Aidan Synnott (BCL 1985), will fund a new Chair, the Synnott Family Chair in EU Law, which will lead the university’s initiatives to maximise research opportunities in EU Law in Ireland and beyond and will help to develop opportunities for Law graduates in the EU institutions, and in Europe more generally.

Synnott is a Partner with the New York-based firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP.

Speaking at the announcement, Professor Ursula Kilkelly, Head of the College of Business and Law, UCC said: “I would like to thank BCL graduate Aidan Synnott for his generous philanthropic gift.  This donation will help realise the University’s ambition for the School of Law, enhancing the School’s international reputation in the research and teaching of EU law to the benefit of our students and to law and society more generally.” 

In addition, Professor Mark Poustie, Dean of the School of Law, said: “This generous gift will enable us to maximise interdisciplinary EU research opportunities within the University, and through internal and international collaboration, the Chair will lead the development of a world-class research centre and develop a strong postgraduate research cohort in the area of EU law.  With BREXIT and other significant challenges in the EU, this is a timely development”.

The Synnott Family Chair in EU Law at UCC will provide substantial academic leadership within University College Cork and it will advance the profile of the university as the leader of EU law research and education in Ireland.  In addition, it will give visibility to the subject of EU law, especially in terms of supporting high-quality scholarship.

Rob Donelson, Executive Director, Alumni and Development UCC commented, “Philanthropy has the power to enable education: education transforms people’s lives.  This donation, the largest ever by a UCC Law graduate, will positively impact students by ensuring that UCC’s academic programmes are informed by the leading scholarship in this critically-important field”. 

UCC’s School of Law, founded in 1849, is a globally recognised law school, currently ranked in the top 150 law schools worldwide in the QS rankings.  It engages in cutting edge research and provides a wide range of high-quality programmes at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, which are driven by research-led teaching, and brings benefits to our local, national and international communities through its vision of Shaping a Just Society.           

For more on this story contact:

Kate McSweeney, Director of Communications, Alumni and Development, UCC: +353 87 6150199 or

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