It has been announced this afternoon at a meeting of the Governing Body of UCC, that Professor Patrick O’Shea has chosen to retire from his position as President of the University by the end of this year. Professor O’Shea tendered his resignation to the Chairperson of the Governing Body, Dr. Catherine Day, in which he cited ‘personal reasons’ as his decision to leave his current role.
Professor O’Shea is the fifteenth President of University College Cork and assumed the office of President in February 2017. In 2018, his first year in office, Professor O’Shea became Chair of the Irish Universities Association. Professor O’Shea is a proud Corkman, and while he completed an undergraduate degree in Physics at UCC, Professor O’Shea held a career in the United States which spanned over three decades, which included his Ph.D. attained from the University of Maryland, near Washington DC. Before beginning his position at UCC, Professor O’Shea served as Chair of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and the Director of the Institute for Research in Electronics and Applied Physics, at the University of Maryland.
Though Professor O’Shea had seven years remaining in his term as President of UCC, the Governing Body of the University has this afternoon accepted his resignation. Dr. Day has paid tribute to Professor O’Shea today for the ‘outstanding contribution’ and ‘lifelong commitment’ that he made to UCC both during his time as a student and as President. “When he commenced his role as President in 2017, he brought huge experience of top-level university education in the United States back to Cork,” Dr. Day said. Professor O’Shea has been praised for his drive and determination, his promotion of equality, diversity and inclusion, and his commitment to enhancing the student experience. Professor O’Shea has also been credited for UCC’s rise in International QS Rankings for the last two years, rising 52 places, making UCC the fastest-rising university in Ireland.
Professor O’Shea’s resignation this afternoon has come as a surprise to many stakeholders in the University. Particularly in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, as the University moves to a hybrid model of Teaching and Learning in the coming academic year. On this front, Professor O’Shea said that the pandemic had brought out the best in the UCC Community, sighting the shift to online learning from March 12th 2020, when the University closed, owing to Covid-19. Professor O’Shea added, “the further steps we are taking will place UCC in a strong position to weather the storm and emerge as a more resilient and transformed University.” A press release, sent to all UCC Students this afternoon, shortly after 3pm, confirmed that the Governing Body will discuss the recruitment of the sixteenth President of UCC at its next meeting in September.