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University of Limerick Governing Authority unanimously approves Professor Brigid Laffan as new chancellor

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World-leading academic and political scientist Professor Brigid Laffan, pictured on the occasion of being awarded an honorary doctorate by University of Limerick in November, 2022. Picture Sean Curtin True Media.

Professor Brigid Laffan appointed as Chancellor and Chair of University of Limerick’s Governing Authority

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University of Limerick’s Governing Authority has unanimously approved the appointment of Professor Brigid Laffan as Chancellor and Chair of its Governing Authority.
University of Limerick’s Governing Authority has unanimously approved the appointment of Professor Brigid Laffan as Chancellor and Chair of its Governing Authority taking over from outgoing UL Chancellor Mary Harney, who has held the role since January 2018. Photo: True Media

University of Limerick’s Governing Authority has unanimously approved the appointment of Professor Brigid Laffan as Chancellor and Chair of its Governing Authority.

The distinguished academic and political scientist takes over from outgoing UL Chancellor Mary Harney, who has held the role since January 2018.

Professor Laffan is widely acknowledged as one of the world’s leading experts on European Integration and is a major contributor to the conversation about how the European project affects Ireland’s foreign policy.


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Professor Laffan was one of the very first students to attend UL – then the National Institute of Higher Education (NIHE). In 2022, UL celebrated her exceptional contribution to academia and to European affairs by awarding her an honorary degree of Doctor of Letters. Professor Laffan is also the recipient of an Outstanding Achievement UL Alumni Award (2018).

Speaking about today’s appointment, Professor Kerstin Mey, President, University of Limerick, said: “I am delighted with the appointment of Professor Brigid Laffan as Chancellor. We are truly fortunate to have secured a person of her calibre, international profile, and abilities.

“UL recently appointed a new Governing Authority. I see it as a great endorsement of this institution that our internal elections and call for external expressions of interest have resulted in persons of such eminence agreeing, pro bono, to support UL and guide our strategic direction as well as overseeing our institutional governance. 

“Brigid’s links to the University run deep. She enrolled in the NIHE’s first student intake in 1972 and went on to have an extraordinary career as an academic and an intellectual. Last year, as we marked our fiftieth anniversary, Brigid received an honorary doctorate from her alma mater. It was a wonderful day and a great privilege to recognise a long-standing supporter and ambassador, who has always spoken so highly of UL and retained her close connections with the institution, with faculty, and students.

UL HONORARY DOCTORATES
Professor Brigid Laffan (right) pictured with world-renowned physicist Professor Margaret Murnane, Sr Stanislaus Kennedy, and Liam Moggan at Plassey House before receiving their honorary doctorates from University of Limerick. Pic Sean Curtin True Media.

“Having already honoured Brigid’s achievements we are privileged as she becomes our Chancellor to now have the benefit of her international perspective, her known capacity to build consensus, and of course her wisdom.

“This is an incredibly significant appointment for this institution as I know it is for Brigid too. We could not be in better hands as we work to ensure that UL takes its position amongst the leading academic institutions globally.”

Professor Mey also paid tribute to the outgoing Chancellor, Ms Mary Harney.

“We owe a great debt of thanks to our outgoing Chancellor Mary Harney who has worked tirelessly on behalf of UL since taking on the role of Chancellor in 2018. UL has benefited hugely from her vast experience, political nous, and her steady counsel over the past almost six years. We are very grateful for her service and for her immense contribution,” Professor Mey added.

Commenting on her appointment as Chancellor, Professor Laffan said, “My decision to go to Limerick in 1972 proved to be the formative decision of my life and I, and my classmates, have retained a deep empathy and commitment to UL.

“I have watched the University grow and flourish over the last 50 years and now, as the newly elected Chancellor, I very much look forward to being part of its future.”

Professor Laffan added that “UL is an extraordinary institution. Its transformative impact on this region and its academic excellence and high-quality research are plain to see. UL’s international profile is also in the ascendency.

“We have much to celebrate and we have even more to achieve. I am very proud of UL, of its students and its staff who have shown themselves to be world class. I look forward to working with the President, her executive team and with my Governing Authority colleagues to ensure the continued prosperity and sustainability of our University.”

Professor Laffan is a native of Cahersiveen, Co Kerry and she now lives in Dublin. She is a European Studies graduate (UL), Emeritus Professor of the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies at the European University Institute, Florence, Emeritus Professor of UCD and a well-known commentator on European affairs.

A former Jean Monnet Professor of European Politics at UCD, she was the founding director of the college’s Dublin European Institute, served as principal of the College of Human Sciences for seven years and was appointed a UCD vice-president in 2005, later becoming Director of the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies in 2013.

Since retiring from the European University Institute, Professor Laffan has continued to work on large EU collaborative research projects.

She has published ten books and written countless journal articles and book chapters and is the recipient of awards as illustrious as the Ordre national du Mérite – an accolade conferred by the President of France.

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Richard is a presenter, producer, songwriter and actor. He was named the Limerick Person of the Year (2011) and won an online award at the Metro Éireann Media and Multicultural Awards (2011) for promoting multi-culturalism online. Richard says that the ilovelimerick.com concept is very much a community driven project that aims to document life in Limerick. So, that in 20 years time people can look back and remember the events that were making the headlines.