Friday, 14 June 2013

UCD Distinguished Graduate Honoured

Yesterday we hosted our annual lunch and Distinguished Graduate Award. This year's lunch was very well attended, driven in part by our new sponsors, including Bord Gais and Nicholas O'Dwyer & Partners. Sincere thanks also to Arup, CRH, Engineers Ireland, ESB and RPS.

In my welcoming address Speech I briefed the audience on the new EGA Strategy 2013 and outlined our success to date in raising our profile for the benefit of engineering graduates and UCD in general.

Photo left to right Professor Gerry Byrne UCD Dean of Engineering, Dr Liam Connellan, PJ Rudden President UCD Engineering Graduates Association and Marie Connellan

Dr Liam Connellan and PJ Rudden President UCD Engineering Graduates Association

The Distinguished Graduate Award went to Dr Liam Connellan, BE in Mechanical and Electrical Engineering UCD, 1957. Dr. Connellan was Director General of the Confederation of Irish Industry from 1972 to 1992. He then became Chairman of the National Roads Authority from 1994 to 2001, President of Royal Dublin Society from 1995 to 1998 and President of Engineers Ireland in 2001-2002. He was also Chairman of the Veolia Environment, an organisation with responsibility for planning, building and operating the Dublin LUAS light rail. Dr. Connellan has also been decorated by both the French and German Governments in the past. Dr. Connellan's CV

In my opening comments, I remarked that we were planning that Manufacturing Engineering would be the focus of our Panel Discussion this Autumn. In his acceptance speech Dr. Connellan took up this theme and outlined the tremendous progress we are making nationally with indigenous manufacturing and mentioned Keenan of Bagenalstown, Mc Hale of Ballinrobe and Dairymaster in Tralee in addition to the tremendous export success of our food and diary industry.
It was a most successful and engaging event, enhanced by the stunning setting of the John Field Room at the National Concert Hall. Sincere thanks to Fionnuala McGowan of UCD Engineering for all the arrangements.

Friday, 7 June 2013

Engineers Picnic

The Gathering is a Government tourism initiative for 2013 to maximise visitor numbers to Ireland this year and to especially welcome back our diaspora from abroad even for a week or a weekend! As we know over the past 5 years many of our engineering graduates especially civil and construction engineers have left our shores for foreign lands due to the recession in Ireland.

We are especially appealing to our grads in the UK and have arranged the Engineers Picnic in UCD to coincide with the UK Bank Holiday weekend at the end of August! We want to welcome you home that weekend if you can possibly manage it. You will meet your classmates and other UCD graduates and many of your old lecturers and professors.  

We start in the UCD Rose Garden with a BBQ at 4pm with food, drink and a variety of music through the evening and into the night.

At the EGA Board last Spring, I initially suggested we call the event Ceili na hInnealltoiri (showing my age!). However, our enthusiastic Gathering Committee led by Angela Treanor (2011) as Chair, Robyn Kelly (2008) and Tony O'Brien (1973) were entrusted with the organisation of the event and decided it would be called the Engineers Picnic.

The UCD Engineering grads who I know enthusiastically endorsed their choice and here we are! This goes to prove which generation now runs the EGA! Nevertheless the older ones including myself still add the odd words of wisdom and experience. Its a very interesting and dynamic cocktail I can tell you as those of you who will attend the Picnic will testify.

All are welcome including family members and graduates attending don't have to be from UCD Engineering although I imagine that most will be.This is an inclusive Gathering and the cost per head will be approx €20 (to be confirmed) depending on sponsorship.

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Good Luck to Leaving and Junior Certificate Students

I wish all of our students well for their Leaving and Junior Certificate examinations this week. As I know myself it is a stressful time for students and parents alike.

Its great to see the numbers taking Honours Maths at both Leaving and Junior Certificate - especially at Junior level as previously this was as low as 40%! Roughly half of those who take Honours at Junior level take Honours at Leaving Cert. So the rise to 60% taking Honours at Junior level will increase the numbers taking Honours at Leaving Cert by 50% and that appears to be happening.

I chaired the Engineers Ireland Task Force Report on Mathematics and Science at Second Level and was amazed at some of findings like the then lack of joined up thinking between Primary and Secondary education. Science is still not a compulsory subject at Junior Cert! The most revealing issue was the lack of qualified teachers at Junior Cycle level especially which is now being addressed.

The launch of the Engineers Ireland Task Force Report on the Education of Maths and Science at Second Level during Engineers Week Feb 2010 Aoibheann Ni Shuilleabhain Maths and Science Teacher, Dr Chris Horn then President of Engineers Ireland, Sarah Green Maths and Science Teacher, Eamon Prendergast Research Engineer Engineers Ireland and P J Rudden then Vice President of Engineers Ireland and Task Force Chairman

The two most exciting developments are the Project Maths initiative (promoting 'learning by understanding' and not 'learning by rote') and the complete reinvention of the Junior Cycle curriculum currently under way.

All of these developments are part of the Education focus of the new exciting EGA Strategy which is about to be launched in terms of our objectives to grow the Engineering Graduates Association for the benefit of graduates and UCD going forward. So watch this space.