Entry of First Students To RTC Galway In 1972
Range of Golden Jubilee events will staged throughout 2022–2023
Atlantic Technological University (ATU) this week (Monday 19 September 2022) officially commemorated the 50th anniversary of the entry of the first cohort of registered students to RTC Galway on 18 September 1972. At a ceremony held at ATU Galway City, attended by the Mayor of the City of Galway, Cllr Clodagh Higgins, Cathaoirleach of Galway County Council, Cllr Michael Maher, and invited guests, the ATU Galway-Mayo college kicked off its year-long celebrations of 50 years of technological higher education in the west of Ireland, 1972–2022.
The day’s event commenced with a lunchtime lecture by former GMIT Registrar Bernard O’Hara on “Regional Technical College Galway/Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology: A History in the Context of Public Policy”, chaired by current Registrar and Head of College Dr Michael Hannon. Later in the afternoon, invited guests, staff, retired staff, students, and graduates attended the official opening reception in Room 1000, with speakers including: Dr Mark McCarthy, Chair of the Golden Jubilee 1972–2022 Commemoration Committee; Her Worship, the Mayor of the City of Galway, Cllr Clodagh Higgins; Dr Orla Flynn, President, Atlantic Technological University; Cllr Michael (Moegie) Maher, Cathaoirleach of the County of Galway; Colin Kearney, Students’ Union President, ATU Galway-Mayo; Áine Hickey, RTC Galway Class of 1972; Brendan Holland, RTC Galway Class of 1972; and past President of GMIT Marion Coy.
The official opening also featured a rendition of “Galway Bay” by Dr John Tunney and the debut of a cover of Bill Withers’ “Lean on Me” (1972) by the college’s Virtual Choir. Afterwards, Dr Gay Corr, who was appointed as the first Principal of RTC Galway in 1972, took part in a flag-raising ceremony at the Southern Entrance with Dr Flynn and Mr Kearney. This was followed by a reception featuring a special commemorative cake baked by Ann Flannagan from the Galway International Hotel School.
From humble beginnings in 1972, RTC Galway expanded its presence in the region in the 1980s and 1990s by offering courses in Mountbellew, Letterfrack, Castlebar, and Cluain Mhuire. In January 1998, the college’s name changed to Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology. On 1 April 2022, GMIT amalgamated with IT Sligo and Letterkenny IT to become Atlantic Technological University.
The Golden Jubilee 1972–2022 Commemoration Committee is chaired by Dr Mark McCarthy, Senior Lecturer and Programme Chair in Heritage Studies. Dr McCarthy says: “As we contemplate why memory of 1972 and the years that followed matters, it is important to reflect on the power of heritage to comprehend the present and shape the future. As we reimagine our future as part of ATU, it is only fitting that we also embark at this liminal moment on a journey of remembrance and reflection on the last fifty years of technological higher education.”
Dr Orla Flynn, President of ATU, says: “Reflecting back on the values and attributes of the then Galway RTC, we can see how valuable was the role played by the institution over the last fifty years. Providing access to higher education was transformative for students across the region, and for society as a whole. Long may we continue to live up to the achievements of the last half century, in our new capacity as Atlantic Technological University.”
Colin Kearney, President of ATU Students’ Union Galway-Mayo, says: "As we venture into our future in a technological university, it is equally important to look back over the last 50 years to 1972. The most important thing I can pick out from then until now and even into the future is the quality, dedication and commitment of our student body. I am proud to say I am a member of this community of people who, without fail, amaze me at every opportunity."
ATU Galway-Mayo’s programme of events and project for the year ahead is centred around five strands, namely: Ceremonial; Public History & Heritage; Cultural & Technological Innovation; Alumni & Community Engagement; and Sustainable Futures.
One of the highlights is an exhibition above Union Square in ATU Galway City, Dublin Road, entitled ‘Celebrating Fifty Years of Technological Higher Education in the West of Ireland, 1972–2022’. This will run until 20 June 2023. A travelling version of this exhibition is on display at Galway City Museum until 8 October 2022.
Another highlight is a monthly series called LEGACY: A Golden Jubilee Fireside Celebration, to be hosted by each of the schools in the college. The first of these, which features Supermac’s founder and owner Pat McDonagh as a guest speaker, will be hosted by the School of Business in Room 903 at 4 pm on Tuesday 4 October 2022 at ATU Galway City, Dublin Road.
|Attendees at the flag-raising ceremony. Front row, L to R: Dr Debra Lattanzi Shutika, Fulbright Scholar to Ireland; Jo Corr; Cáit Noone, Head of Galway International Hotel School and Vice President International Engagement; Sarah Mohan, VP for Welfare, Students’ Union, ATU Galway-Mayo; Colin Kearney, Students’ Union President, ATU Galway-Mayo; Dr Orla Flynn, President, ATU; Dr Gay Corr, first Principal of RTC Galway; Marion Coy, past President of GMIT; Her Worship, the Mayor of the City of Galway, Cllr Clodagh Higgins; Cllr Michael (Moegie) Maher, Cathaoirleach of the County of Galway; Dr Mark McCarthy, Chair of the Golden Jubilee 1972–2022 Commemoration Committee; Dermot Nolan, President, Galway Chamber|
L to R: Dr Orla Flynn, President, Atlantic Technological University; Dr Gay Corr, first Principal of RTC Galway; Marion Coy, past President of GMIT; Bernard O’Hara, former Registrar of GMIT
For further information, please visit: www.gmit.ie/50
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