Skip to main content

2014 Press Releases

UCC President delivers eulogy address at The University of Chicago

13 Nov 2014
University of Chicago (Image by Tom Rossiter courtesy of University of Chicago Press Office)

Dr Michael Murphy today delivered a eulogy address at the Memorial Service for Professor Rory Childers held in Rockefeller Chapel, at the University of Chicago. 

Rory Childers, son of the late President of Ireland, Erskine Childers, held faculty appointments in Medicine and Cardiology in Chicago for over 50 years. He pioneered the computerisation of electrocardiogram (ECG) interpretation and, at the time of his death in September, held the Presidency of the International Society for Computerised Electrocardiography.

Born in Paris, Dr Childers graduated from Trinity College Dublin, in English and French Literature as well as Medicine. Following postgraduate training in Boston and Dublin he was appointed to the faculty in Chicago in 1963.

In his remarks, Dr Murphy paid tribute to the extraordinary support and mentoring that Rory Childers had given over many decades to Irish graduates undergoing specialist training in Cardiology at Chicago, several of whom had returned to provide clinical service in Cork and clinical teaching to UCC students.

President Murphy recalled Professor Childer's deep immersion in the Irish language and literature, his celebration of Irish culture in his many programmes on radio and television in the United States, and his particular fondness for recitations from the work of Brendan Behan, an erstwhile patient and friend.

The President concluded his remarks with the opening stanzas of 'Caoineadh Art Ui Laoghaire', a favourite party piece of Rory Childers.


Rory W. Childers, MD 

An internationally known expert in the use of computerised electrocardiography, and longtime member of the faculty, Rory Childers, MD, Professor of Medicine (Cardiology) passed away on August 27, 2014 . He was 83 years old. 

Dr. Childers, the son of Ireland's fourth president, was passionate about his Irish herit-age and Irish literature, and maintained close ties with the Irish community both in Chi-cago and in Ireland. He was a generous mentor to many Irish cardiologists who came to Chicago to study before returning to Ireland to practice. 

Rory arrived at the University of Chicago in 1963 as a Cardiology fellow. He became a renowned authority on the movement of electrical impulses within the beating heart and the use and interpretation of electrocardiograms. He was a pioneer in extending use of 12-lead ECG in ambulances, allowing faster diagnosis and treatment for heart attack patients. Rory worked for many years with ISCE, the “International Society for Comput-erized Electrocardiology,” serving as president for the past three years, and collaborated with an international consortium of doctors and engineers to set standards for comput-erized interpretation of electrocardiograms. 

During his career, Rory published more than 100 papers and abstracts, primarily on electrocardiography. He lectured widely and received many honors, including the Life-time Achievement Award from the Electrophysiology Section at the University of Cali-fornia, San Francisco. 

Known to generations of medical trainees and interns as the "ECG guy", Rory was recog-nized as an outstanding teacher having been selected many times for the Pritzker class photo. He won the Teacher-of-the-Year Award from the Cardiology Section so often that in 2005 they renamed it “The Rory Childers Teaching Award.” 

Friends and colleagues also appreciated Rory as an authority on modern Irish history and culture, and a great storyteller. He spoke regularly to Chicago-based cultural groups and local media about Irish literature and history, and often spoke on National Public Radio on Irish subjects. Every June 16, "Bloomsday," Rory was one of the readers from James Joyce's Ulysses at the Cliffdweller’s Club. 

He learned Russian in the University’s Slavic Languages Department so that he could read the works of Osip Mandelstam and Anna Akhmatova in Russian, and published peer-reviewed articles on both poets. He was an early sponsor of the Court Theatre, and a warmly appreciated guest lecturer on alumni tours of Ireland. 

Rory represented the very best of the University of Chicago through his research, teaching and patient care. He will be greatly missed.

Rory is survived by his wife, Michele, sons, Peter and Daniel and sisters Carainn, Mar-garet and Nessa. 

University College Cork

Coláiste na hOllscoile Corcaigh

College Road, Cork T12 K8AF