Tributes to university’s John O’Connor

John O'Connor. Pic Arthur Ellis/Press22.

TRIBUTES have been paid to University of Limerick (UL) President Emeritus John O’Connor who died on Saturday last.

Mr O’Connor played a critical role in the foundation and development of UL through a lifelong service to the university.


In 1972 he joined the then National Institute of Higher Education (NIHE) as Finance Officer. In 1980 he was appointed Director of Finance and Physical Development and in 1998 he became Vice President Administration.

Mr O’Connor took up the role of Acting President of UL from April 2006 to May 2007 and retired from UL in 2012.

UL President Dr Des Fitzgerald said, “John O’Connor leaves a legacy behind him atUniversity of Limerick. He saw no bounds to the potential of the university and his vision and drive helped to establish one of the finest university campuses in Europe at UL.

“John will forever be an integral part of the history of UL, he started his job as Finance Officer the very day that the first lectures were delivered at NIHE Limerick. He went on to lead the capital development of the fledgeling institute and in doing so secured the first European Investment Bank Loan to any university in Europe. In all of this, he espoused the pioneering spirit that is a legacy to the university to this very day.”

A graduate of National University of Ireland (NUI), Galway where Mr O’Connor studied History, Classics and Philosophy, at UL he studied a Postgraduate course in Japanese Studies and Higher Education Studies at the Institute of Education Management in Harvard University.

A Chartered Accountant, Mr O’Connor worked in Cement Roadstone Holding Ltd and Price Waterhouse Cooper before joining UL.

In 2016 Mr O’ Connor presented his memoir, ‘Memoir of A Privileged Time A personal history of the development of the University of Limerick 1972-2012 and pre-history 1862-1972’, to the University of Limerick Oral History Project.

“We are very fortunate to have had John O’Connor’s dedication and drive for University of Limerick and we are grateful to have his memoir as an important contribution to the institutional history of UL. On behalf of the entire UL community, I wish to express my condolences to his wife Seosaimhin, daughters Aine and Muireann and sons John and Hugh,” added Dr Fitzgerald.