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”.
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.
"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".
"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.
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.
"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.