• Clodagh Meaney

UL becomes first university in Ireland to appoint a female president

It is the first time in over 400 years of Universities in Ireland that a woman has held the most senior role.



University of Limerick has this week become the first university in Ireland to appoint a female president.

It comes as the current president, Des Fitzgerald, is set to retire in September.


Professor Kerstin Mey joined the university in 2017 when she was appointed vice-president of academic affairs and student engagement.


Her appointment as president is the first time a woman has held the most senior role at an Irish university since they were established over 400 years ago.


Originally from East Berlin, Kerstin will serve as an interim president, and said she has a challenging task ahead of her as the university reopens following COVID-19.


"We have faced very demanding months transitioning into the digital space, which was only possible because each and every one of our staff and students worked very hard to adapt to this challenging situation."


“We will use the insights from that experience to advance our working practices, to transform how we teach and facilitate learning and how we engage in research and knowledge exchange," she explained.


“In the very short term, the focus has to be safeguarding the health and safety of our current and incoming students and our staff and the communities we serve and we are working very hard to prepare the campus for a full opening in September.”


Students are expected to return to campus for one week a month when it re-opens later this year.


Des Fitzgerald, the outgoing president said of his successor: “She is an outstanding academic with a strong empathy for students and the academic mission of UL. She has a vision for UL that will place it in a leading position nationally and globally.”


Professor Mey will serve as president of the university until a new president is recruited,


The process to select a new president will be international, and is expected to take up to a year and a half.

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