News and Views
University College Cork appoints new President
University College Cork (UCC) has today, (3 August 2021), appointed Professor John O’Halloran as the sixteenth President of the University with effect from 30 August 2021.
Professor O’Halloran has been Interim President since September 2020, leading the University through the unprecedented challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Prior to his appointment as President of UCC, Professor O’Halloran was the Deputy President & Registrar and led UCC’s first Academic Strategy to reimagine the curriculum, transform assessment and nurture graduate attributes to position UCC students for their future world of work. Having formerly served as Vice-President for Teaching & Learning, and as Vice-Head of the College of Science, Engineering & Food Science. Professor O’Halloran has demonstrated a very strong commitment to developing an inclusive culture at UCC - one where equality is upheld, and diversity is respected and celebrated.
Throughout his career at UCC, Professor O’Halloran has worked with colleagues to embed sustainability within the centre of operations and through the curriculum and research focus of the university. UCC is now internationally ranked, and recognised, as a leading university globally for its commitment, research and impact towards creating a sustainable future.
The Chairperson of UCC’s Governing Body, Dr Catherine Day, welcomed the appointment: "After a rigorous international search, I am delighted that Professor John O’Halloran has been selected as the new President of UCC. He has a very distinguished academic record, great experience of leading transformative change across the University and a strong commitment to sustainability, inclusion and diversity. He will help shape the next decade of UCC’s development, delivering a first class and holistic experience for students and staff and ensuring that UCC makes a strong contribution to regional and national development as a centre of learning and research excellence."
A native of Cork City, Professor O’Halloran is married to UCC medical graduate and Director of the National Cancer Registry, Professor Deirdre Murray. They have three children, David, Andrew and Ailish.
On his appointment Professor O’Halloran said: "I am very honoured to take up the role of President of this great institution at this time. This University has seen many challenging times and in the last 18 months we have demonstrated strong resilience and determination to deliver on our research and education mission and on societal impact. My ambition is to lead our UCC team through the next phase of transformation to secure the future for our University and make our planet a better place through further ambitious research, high quality education and student experience and first-class staff support."
A UCC alumnus, Professor O’Halloran completed his PhD in 1987 and was awarded a DSc by the National University of Ireland for his published works in 2009. An ornithologist, he holds the Chair in Zoology at UCC and previously held academic posts at Colby College in the USA and at the University of Wales. He has authored a significant body of international research papers and several book chapters which focus on the ecological impacts of land-use change and climate change on our community.
Professor O’Halloran has supervised 75 PhD and research Masters students to completion and led a large multidisciplinary research group on forest ecology and ornithology. He was Vice-President of the British Trust for Ornithology; is a Member and former Executive Board Member of BirdWatch Ireland; advisor to the European Environment Agency; Chair of the Board of Fota Wildlife Park and holds board membership of the NUI Senate, the Ludgate Hub and UCC’s Glucksman Gallery, amongst others. He is also the founding Director of UCC's Quercus Talented Students' Programme. He is a judge for the L'Oréal-UNESCO Women in Science Awards and has served as Chair of the Biology & Ecology panel of the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition for over two decades.