2004 Press Releases

08 Nov 2004

Former UCC President Bertram Windle honoured at UCC

To mark the centenary of Bertram Windle's Presidency at UCC a plaque re-naming the medical building in his honour was unveiled (today) Monday, 8 November 2004. Born in England, Bertram Alan Coghill Windle (1858-1929) was educated at Trinity College Dublin and became Professor of Anatomy at Birminghm.. He was appointed President of the original Queen's College (subsequently University College Cork) in 1904 until his resignation in 1919.

Professor John A Murphy, author of The College, speaking at the Windle commemorative ceremony, said that when Bertram Windle was appointed President of Queen's College in 1904, his arduous task was to revive an ailing institution that was little more than a high-priority medical school. It was characterized by low numbers, poor morale, Catholic Episcopal disapproval and general public indifference. Windle's vigorous presidency turned this situation around. He played a central role in the transition of the old Queen's College to the new University College Cork in 1908-1909. Student numbers increased significantly, there was a revolutionary expansion of new departments and a governing body representing the community as well as the College. Other developments included the acquisition of the Mardyke athletic grounds. Windle also worked hard to improve town-gown relations.

Bertram Windle was a versatile scholar. As well as being a distinguished anatomist, he pursued his deep interest in archaeology while in Cork, setting up the UCC Archaeology Department. While running the College as President, he was also the Professor of Anatomy (1907-09) and of Archaeology (1910-15). He wrote extensively on English literature and on the relationship between science and Catholicism

His later years in UCC were mired in controversy. His grand scheme to get full independence for UCC got caught up in, and became the victim of, the nationalist turmoil in 1918-19. His Redmondite politics were unacceptable to resurgent Sinn Féin. He felt his position in UCC was increasingly untenable and he resigned in 1919 to take up a Professorship of Philosophy in Toronto where he died in 1929.

Though Windle left Cork in embittered and disenchanted mood, his place in College history as a great President was assured. Quite simply, he secured the future of UCC as a university institution and he was the first champion of that full autonomy which it now enjoys.

Among the guests at the unveiling ceremony were UCC President, Professor Gerard Wrixon, Professor Éamon Quigley on behalf of the Medical Faculty at UCC, Professor John A Murphy and John Horgan, Professor of Journalism, DCU, great grandson of Bertram Windle.

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