Linda Doyle elected as Trinity’s next provost in historic win

Doyle is to be the first woman to hold College’s highest leadership position

Linda Doyle has been elected to serve as the next provost of Trinity for the coming decade after a unique two-month campaign period.

Doyle, who is set to take over from incumbent Patrick Prendergast, is becoming the first woman to hold the role in Trinity’s history.

Doyle has won the appointment of provost after receiving 517 votes, while Hogan received 270 votes from the electorate.

Out of an electorate of 867 votes, 792 votes were cast in the last round of voting, with four members of the electorate abstaining from voting.

After eight weeks of online campaigning, Doyle has succeeded over fellow candidates Jane Ohlmeyer and Linda Hogan in securing the majority of the electorate during two rounds of voting.

Ohlmeyer  was eliminated from the ballot after the first round of voting earlier this morning where she secured the fewest votes of the three candidates.

Doyle and Hogan progressed to the second round, which saw Doyle emerge victorious.

Registrar Brendan Tangney confirmed that Doyle received the highest proportion of votes in the second round, securing her election as provost.

Speaking to Trinity News in Front Square after her win, Doyle said that there is a “huge amount of planning to do” over the next three months.

“We have a lot of officership roles and the provost chooses who those people are and the Board approves them, so there’s a lot of things to think about around who would take on roles, a lot of planning,” Doyle said.

“I’m a real believer in a team approach to things. It’s about sitting down with people and all of the things I spoke about in the manifesto around drawing on our expertise – it’s about doing those in preparation,” she said.

On how she envisions her relationship with the government, Doyle said that it is “really, really important to have a deep, trusting, meaningful, constructive relationship – constructively critical on both sides”. 

“I think there’s an awful lot we can do systematically to improve that. I think there’s a big mixture where you do things behind the scenes based on that trust and then sometimes you have to bring it out into the open and draw attention to issues, so it’s finding the balance between those two.”

When asked if she would place more focus on local or national issues, Doyle said that they’re “very interconnected” and that there’re “many things you have to tackle together”. 

“If we are to really soar and excel, there’s things we need to get right here,” she continued. She believes “we have to work nationally across the sector” and “we have to have national responsibility” as well as being “constantly international and outward”.  

To a question on how she’s spending the rest of her weekend, Doyle said: “Probably sleeping would be a fair answer!”

Doyle is Trinity’s Professor of Engineering and the Arts, a role she has held since 2014.

Between 2018 and 2020, Doyle was the Dean of Research. She was the founder Director of CONNECT, a national research centre. 

She is the Chair of Trinity’s Douglas Hyde Gallery and of the Ofcom Spectrum Advisory Board in the UK.

In an interview with Trinity News earlier in the campaign, Doyle identified handling the aftermath of the pandemic, securing investment, and “the obstacles we put in our own way” as the three key challenges that College faces over the next decade.

“I would be the kind of person who would have a very open door and being regularly in contact and in communication would be really important for me,” Doyle said. 

Doyle wants to redistribute  “some of the functionality that we have centrally to faculties and schools” as part of efforts to balance out power in College.

The two students’ unions – the GSU and Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) – each cast their votes as a block.

The GSU had four votes, while TCDSU had six.

After polls of their members, TCSDU gave its votes to Ohlmeyer, while the GSU voted for Doyle.

After Ohlmeyer was eliminated in the first round, TCDSU voted for Doyle.

Doyle’s name is to be forwarded to College Board, which needs to officially approve her appointment.

Board is scheduled to meet next on April 21.

Provost Patrick Prendergast is due to leave office on July 31, paving the way for Doyle to assume the role on August 1.

Additional reporting by Jamie Cox, Shannon Connolly and Audrey Brown.

This article was updated at 1:47pm to include a breakdown of votes from the electorate.

Lauren Boland

Lauren Boland was the Editor of the 67th volume of Trinity News. She is an English Literature and Sociology graduate and previously served as Deputy Editor, News Editor and Assistant News Editor.

Kate Henshaw

Kate Henshaw is current News Editor of Trinity News, and a Junior Sophister Sociology and Social Policy student. She previously served as Assistant News Editor.