St Mary’s University in Twickenham have appointed Dr Mary McAleese as a distinguished professor ahead of its 165th anniversary celebrations, marking its close relationship with Ireland.
Dr McAleese, will take up her position in the School of Arts and Humanities in the 2015/16 academic year and will teach on the MA Irish Studies programme, in particular its ‘New Perspectives on Irish History’ seminar series.
The appointment comes as the UK’s largest Catholic University prepares to celebrate its 1850 foundation and the Centre for Irish Studies’ quarter century.
“I am delighted to join St Mary’s at an exciting time in its growth and development and look forward to meeting both students and staff,” said Dr McAleese.
Dr Mary McAleese served as the eighth President of Ireland from 1997 to 2011. The theme of her presidency was ‘Building Bridges’ to address issues concerning justice, social equality, social inclusion, anti-sectarianism and reconciliation.
Dr McAleese played a major role in the Northern Irish peace process, the Good Friday Agreement was negotiated during her term, and hosted the Queen’s British state visit to in 2011. She was the second female president, immediately following Mary Robinson, making her the world’s first woman to succeed another as President.
Francis Campbell, St Mary’s Vice-Chancellor, said: “It’s a huge honour for us to appoint such a distinguished and respected public figure to our staff here at St Mary’s.
“Not only will Dr McAleese be giving us the benefit of her rich experience through her lectures, she will also be directly engaging with our students, which I’ve no doubt will inspire them as they prepare for the next important step in their careers.”
Dr McAleese is a member of both the Irish and Northern Irish Bar and, born in Belfast, is the first Irish president to come from Northern Ireland. She was the first female Pro Vice-Chancellor at Queen’s University, Belfast, where she also served as the Director of the Institute of Professional Legal Studies, and was also the Reid Professor of Criminal Law, Criminology and Penology at Trinity College.
St Mary’s recently appointed Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, as its Chancellor.
Its 165th anniversary will be marked by a number of high-profile events, including the co-sponsorship of a series of public lectures on the theme of ‘Ethics in Public Life’ with the Von Hügel Institute (VHI), St Edmund’s College, Cambridge University, and Las Casas Institute at Blackfriars, Oxford University.