Ignatius McGovern appointed Pro-Chancellor of Trinity

Provost Patrick Prendergast made the announcement via Twitter this afternoon

This afternoon, Provost Patrick Prendergast has announced that Professor Ignatius McGovern has been appointed as a Pro-Chancellor of the University of Dublin. McGovern is a Fellow Emeritus of Trinity Physics, as well as a published poet.


The provost made the announcement this afternoon via Twitter, stating: “Professor Ignatius McGovern made his declaration and was admitted a Pro-Chancellor of the University of Dublin.”

McGovern has worked in Trinity’s physics department since 1979, and was made a Fellow of the college in 1990. He previously held research positions at the University of Wisconsin (UW), The University of Pennsylvania (UPenn), and the New University of Ulster (NUU). 

His general area of research focuses around surface physics, and he is also a Fellow Emerita of the Alexander Von Humboldt Foundation and The Institute of Physics.

McGovern has described poetry as his “main extracurricular activity”, and he has had three collections of poems published by Dedalus Press. He has also written poetic biographies of the Irish poet and mathematician William Rowan Hamilton, published in 2013, and German polymath Alexander Von Humboldt, which is set to be published later this year.

Speaking to Trinity News about his appointment to the new role, McGovern stated: “I am looking forward to being part of that most striking of Trinity events, Commencements; celebration and colour, family and friends, laud and latin, finale and future. ”

The role of a Pro-Chancellor is to fulfil the duties of the college chancellor during periods of absence,  such as the awarding of degrees. Since 1964, the role has been filled by a panel of up to six members. 

Appointment to the position of Chancellor or Pro-Chancellor is considered the highest accolade College can bestow.  

Earlier this week, Professor  Shane Allwright was also appointed to the panel.

Allwright and McGovern joined the existing pro-chancellors, Sir Donnell Deeny, Sheila Mary Greene, Jane Barclay Grimson and Stanley Swee Han Quek following their appointment this week.

The current chancellor of Trinity is former President Mary McAleese.

This article was updated on 14 August 2020 at 3:21pm to include a comment from the new pro-chancellor, Ignatius McGovern.

An earlier version of this article stated that McGovern had been made a “Fellow Emerita” of the college, the correct term being “Fellow Emeritus”. It also stated that McGovern was made Fellow Emeritus in 1990, where it should have simply read “Fellow”. The article was updated to amend these errors on 14 August at 5:50pm.

Patrick Coyle

Patrick Coyle

Patrick Coyle is a News Analysis Editor for Trinity News, and a Junior Sophister student of English Literature and Spanish.