Professor Orla Feely appointed UCD’s first female president

The Governing authority of University College Dublin today confirmed Professor Orla Feely as the next President of University College Dublin

Professor Orla Feely has become the first ever female President of University College Dublin (UCD), it was announced yesterday.

The Governing authority of University College Dublin yesterday confirmed Professor Orla Feely as the next president of UCD. Feely will replace acting president Mark Rogers who has held the position since March 2022.

Her appointment sees her become the 10th president of UCD and the first female president since the university’s foundation in 1854. Her ten year term in office will begin on 1 May 2023.

Feely is currently vice president for research, innovation and impact along with being a professor of electronic engineering. Prior to her appointment, Feely had been a member of the university management team since 2014.

Marie O’Connor, Chair of the Governing Authority welcomed Feely, saying: “Professor Orla Feely is an exceptional person who has the drive and ambition to lead UCD as a public university that values its community, that sets standards and embraces wider participation in order to make a real impact on society.”

O’Connor described Feely as an “outstanding university leader with a distinguished academic track record in research and teaching”.

She also went on to thank acting president Prof Mark Rodgers and the “role he has played in leading the University since March 2022”. 

Upon the announcement, Feely said she was “greatly honoured to be UCD’s next President and to lead the University into the next phase of its remarkable development” and hopes to “lead a UCD that makes a clear positive difference to the lives of our students through the educational experience we deliver”.

Feely began her studies at UCD aged 16, going on to obtain a masters and PhD in electrical engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. Her PhD saw her win the J Sakrison Memorial Prize, and while at the University of California she was awarded the Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor Award. 

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris, took to Twitter to congratulate Prof Feely on her appointment, saying “she is an outstanding university leader with a distinguished academic track record”.

The appointment sees seven of Ireland’s universities be led by female presidents. Until 2020 no Irish university had ever been led by a female president. 

Professor Kerstin Mey became the first female president of an Irish university when she was appointed at the University of Limerick, while Linda Doyle became the first ever female president and provost of Trinity in 2021.

Aoibhinn Clancy

Aoibhínn Clancy is the Deputy News Editor of Trinity News and is currently in her Junior Sophister Year studying History and Political Science.