Eight years after inception, Varadkar opens Trinity Business School

The School represents the “comeback story” of Irish universities

Almost eight years since planning began for the building, Trinity Business School was officially opened today by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.

The new Business School will “enable Trinity to offer a world class business education to Irish students and international students alike, educate new generations in entrepreneurship, innovation and creativity” said Varadkar to a crowd of several hundred at this afternoon’s opening.

The new Trinity Business School building is located at the east end of campus. It rises six-storeys high, with a further two storeys below ground, and houses a 600-seat auditorium and 140-seat lecture hall, several smaller lecture theatres, a 200-seat cafe and a restaurant.

Addressing the audience this afternoon, Varadkar said: “The business of Trinity is education. Inspiring new minds and creating new ideas that will change the world. This new building will help to do that in the 21st century and beyond.” He praised Provost Patrick Prendergast, whose leadership, “particularly during those very difficult years after the economic crisis, has been instrumental here”.

“In many ways this new building is representative of the comeback story of Irish universities, which is very much underway,” Varadkar said.

Varadkar placed heavy emphasis on the sustainability of the new construction. The new Business School is a near-zero energy building with natural ventilation, solar panels and two external green walls of shrubbery in keeping with College’s sustainability policy.

The almost 12,000 square metre building is home to Trinity’s Ideas Workspace, also known as “Tangent,” an innovation and enterprise hub to provide space for businesses to encourage links between students, staff, and businesses, and a rooftop conference room.

Trinity has invested €90m in the project, composed of €20m from philanthropic donations and a €70m loan from the European Investment Bank (EIB). Among the donors are Irish businessmen Denis O’Brien and Dermot and Michael Smurfit. On the School’s financing, Prendergast said today: “Trinity Business School is an example of how philanthropy can make a real difference to teaching and research.”

“The school is already a global leader in business education,” Prendergast said. “The opening of this inspiring new home for Trinity Business School in the heart of our Dublin campus will now cement the School’s position, create a first class learning environment and allow the university to expand the number of courses on offer.”

The provost listed the new Business School among several projects College has been working on, including the construction of E3, the Engineering, Environment and Emerging Technologies Institute; a new Law School; the Trinity St James’ Cancer Institute; and the securing of the Old Library and its holdings and the creation of a new research study centre there. “Like the Business School, these are essential initiatives for Trinity and for Ireland,” Prendergast said.

Dean of the Trinity Business School Professor Andrew Burke also spoke at the official opening. He said: “The opening of this state-of- the-art building marks the achievement of a mission to grow Trinity Business School from a niche player into a top international business school. This involved the implementation of a high growth strategy that propelled the School to become the fastest growing established business school in Europe over the last three years.”

“This transformation also secured the recognition by EQUIS ─ the world’s leading business school accreditation body. Trinity Business School is now amongst the top 2% of business schools in the world.  We now have a world class building for a world class business school located at the heart of our European capital city and hub for global business – that will be of major benefit for Ireland.”

“The sky is the limit in terms of where this university can go,” he said.

The inception of the new Trinity Business School was in 2012, and planning developed steadily since then. Construction was delayed along the way, starting 18 months later than planned following disputes with Dublin City Council. In September, Prendergast announced that the Business School would be opening in March, but the launch date was then pushed back to May. It is unclear why the opening was postponed.

Trinity News previously reported that Sodexo Ireland, the current catering company of the Perch Café in the Arts Block, had won the contract for the restaurant in the new Business School. Following the circulation of a survey, “Forum” was decided on as the name of the new restaurant, having received the highest number of votes from students.

The 2019 QS Global MBA rankings recently placed Trinity’s Masters in Business Administration as the second best in Ireland, 33rd in Europe and 96th in the world.

The launch coincides with the Trinity Business and Technology Forum, an annual forum tackling challenges facing business and society.  Speaking at the forum are Carolyn Fairbairn, Director General of the Confederation of British Industry who will speak on “Business after Brexit”, Kathleen O’Toole, former Chief Inspector of An Garda Siochána Inspectorate who will speak on the “Business of Policing”, Philip Lane, Governor of the Irish Central Bank, among other figures. The theme of this year’s forum is the “Business of Now”.

Aisling Grace

Aisling Grace was the Editor-in-Chief of the 66th Volume of Trinity News. She was also formerly Online Editor and Deputy News Editor.