It was announced this afternoon that Professor John O’Halloran has been appointed as interim President of University College Cork (UCC) for the coming academic year. The Governing Body of UCC made this announcement as a result of the unexpected retirement of Professor Patrick O’Shea. Professor O’Shea tendered his resignation as the fifteenth President of UCC in July of this year for ‘personal reasons.’
Professor O’Halloran vacates his role as Deputy President and Registrar, which he has held since 2018, to assume to the office of President for a period of one year. Professor O’Halloran has had a variety of leadership roles within UCC, including the role of Vice President for Teaching and Learning and Head of School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, amongst other roles. A founder of the Quercus Talented Students Programme and Co-Chair of the UCC Green Campus forum, Professor O’Halloran has been active in student engagement and climate action. He currently holds the Chair in Zoology at UCC and previously held academic posts at Colby College in the USA and at the University of Wales.
Professor O’Halloran first studied in UCC as an undergraduate student of Zoology, later receiving his Ph.D. from the college in 1987, he received DSc for his published works in 2009 by the National University of Ireland.
It was Professor O’Halloran who informed all UCC staff and students on March 12th 2020 that the University would close due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Throughout the pandemic, UCC students have received updates from Professor O’Halloran in relation to the pandemic; the summer and autumn examinations; as well as returning to college for the upcoming academic year. The Governing Body of UCC announced today that an international recruitment search for a successor will be launched in the coming months.
Dr. Catherine Day, Chair of the Governing Body of UCC, welcomed Professor O’Halloran’s appointment and wished him every success in his leadership of the University. As the University prepares to welcome new students for the upcoming academic year and welcome returning students back on campus, it is a testing and uncharted period in the history of UCC, which was acknowledged by Professor O’Halloran today, “These are challenging times but the strength of UCC is its community. I look forward to working together with our students and colleagues.”