Ireland’s first transregional university – Technological University of the Shannon: Midlands Midwest – a university whose development largely occurred against a backdrop of a global pandemic, has been officially opened.
To be known as TUS, it comprises a student population of more than 14,000 and a staff complement of approximately 2,000 people working fulltime and part-time across an extensive footprint spanning six campuses in Athlone, Limerick (Moylish and Limerick School of Art and Design), Clonmel, Ennis and Thurles.
It will be a new university, driving development and investment across the Midlands and Midwest with a consolidation of expertise that will further strengthen its competitiveness.
TUS was officially launched through an innovative and interactive opening ceremony that took place in the Athlone International Arena and the Millennium Theatre Moylish on Friday.
Minister of State for Skills and Further Education Niall Collins and inaugural TUS President Professor Vincent Cunnane were among the keynote speakers for the ceremony.
“Education plays a critical role in building a strong and resilient Irish society and economy,” Minister Collins stated,
“As we emerge from an incredibly challenging period as a result of Covid-19, the future for our education sector and regional development has never been more positive and promising. The launch of TUS here today is a celebration of what can be achieved through collaboration and connectedness across regions which is key to growth and prosperity at a micro and macro level.
“Deserved recognition as Technical University is testament to the passion, collaborative effort and ambition strengthened by significant stakeholder engagement which has been instrumental in shaping this exciting new university. It’s fitting also how technology played an important role in enabling the collaboration and extensive planning and research required to launch TUS despite 18 months of remote learning and work as a result of the pandemic. Today we celebrate the belief, ambition and unwavering efforts of all those involved.”
TUS will have a lasting legacy that will bolster these regions from an education, social, economic and cultural perspective to benefit generations to come, stated inaugural TUS President Professor Vincent Cunnane.
“Achieving Technical University status creates momentum that will have a far-reaching positive impact for generations to come. We are incredibly proud of our dynamic student base and our skilled and ambitious staff, across each of our six campuses, whose shared values and ambition we celebrate as we look forward to an exciting ‘new beginning’.
“Not only is today a momentous day for our staff and students, it is also hugely significant for the wider economic landscape of the Midlands and Midwest with an estimated economic impact of approximately €420 million per annum. TUS will be a research and innovation hub for enterprises and will foster a wider and deeper skills base that will make the regions more attractive for inward investment. This will help grow future jobs and incomes as well as deeply impacting the social and cultural fabric of the communities we serve.”