Nostalgia: Looking back at UCC's 175 years

Nostalgia: Looking back at UCC's 175 years

Lecture on the 1916 rising by Major Florence O'Donoghue at UCC, 1966.

The values upon which University College Cork (UCC) was founded continue to be "core objectives" for the University, UCC'S Interim President, Professor John O’Halloran, has said.

On December 30, 1845, the University formally came into being as Queen’s College Cork (QCC).

QCC was founded as one of three Queen’s Colleges located in Belfast, Cork, and Galway, under an Act “to enable her Majesty” — Queen Victoria — “to endow Colleges for the Advancement of Learning in Ireland”.

Queueing up to kiss the rings of bishops (including Daniel Cohalan of Cork on left) attending Catholic Emancipation celebrations at University College Cork, 1929.
Queueing up to kiss the rings of bishops (including Daniel Cohalan of Cork on left) attending Catholic Emancipation celebrations at University College Cork, 1929.

In a letter to UCC alumni issued earlier this week, Professor O'Halloran spoke of how the Queen's Colleges changed the landscape of higher education in Ireland. 

"On December 30, UCC marked the occasion of the 175th anniversary of its establishment. 

"On that date, in 1845, Queen’s College Cork formally came into existence by a royal charter of incorporation. 

"The University first opened for lectures in November 1849, as Ireland was recovering from the ravages of The Great Famine. 

Eminent composers honoured at UCC. Honorary doctorates in music conferred by Éamon de Valera, 1974.
Eminent composers honoured at UCC. Honorary doctorates in music conferred by Éamon de Valera, 1974.

"At the time of their establishment, the Queen's Colleges were a radical and positive development in higher education in Ireland. 

"Autonomous, non-denominational, non-residential, and regional, they opened the door to affordable university education for a great many young people in Cork, Galway, Belfast and beyond," he said.

Some 175 years on, Professor O'Halloran said, "removing barriers and extending opportunities continue to be core objectives for UCC". 

University College Cork pictured in March 1956.
University College Cork pictured in March 1956.

"We strive to create an inclusive educational environment for students with disabilities, those affected by economic hardship, students from the travelling community and those returning to education as adults. 

"Our Quercus scholarship programme, funded by Ford, recognises talent and promotes excellence in diverse fields of human endeavour. 

"Students are the life of UCC, and are central to our mission, continually inspiring us and each other with their energy, creativity and commitment," he said. 

Wedding of Siobhan MacCurtain, daughter of murdered Cork Lord Mayor Tomás, to John McNamara, at the Honan Chapel, UCC in 1939.
Wedding of Siobhan MacCurtain, daughter of murdered Cork Lord Mayor Tomás, to John McNamara, at the Honan Chapel, UCC in 1939.

Professor O'Halloran said the University is "proud that the number of international students at UCC continues to grow".

In 1946, UCC welcomed its first international students, 18 Polish refugees exiled by war and deprived of educational opportunities. 

UCC students take part in anti-Vietnam War protest, 1967.
UCC students take part in anti-Vietnam War protest, 1967.

"This compassionate impulse remains strong in UCC. 

"In 2018, we were awarded University of Sanctuary status, in recognition of our achievements in removing barriers to accessing third level education for asylum seekers and refugees in Ireland," Professor O'Halloran said.

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