The first ever woman president of an Irish university has been appointed at University of Limerick.
Professor Kerstin Mey, the current Vice President Academic Affairs and Student Engagement at UL, will replace outgoing president Dr Des Fitzgerald, who will leave his position on September 1, on an interim basis.
The Interim President will serve as Chief Officer of the University until the appointment of a new President through an open international recruitment process, which is expected to take up to 18 months once commenced.
The UL Governing Authority ratified the appointment of Professor Mey following a special meeting last Thursday.
Chancellor of UL’s Governing Authority, Mary Harney said Interim President Mey would be a “great appointee and one in whom we have every faith in to lead the University at a challenging time. She has already demonstrated her capacity for leadership in her role as Vice President.
“There has long been a significant gender imbalance at the senior leadership level in Irish universities and it is fitting that UL now has the first female President given our consistent leading position on gender equality in higher education in Ireland,” Ms Harney said.
The senior leadership at UL is notable for its gender equality, with five female members out of 11 on the University’s Executive Committee. For the second time in its history, UL has a female Chancellor, while two of UL’s three Vice Presidents and three of UL’s five Deans are women.
Berlin-born Professor Mey, who was appointed Vice President and Professor of Visual Culture at UL in April 2018, previously held roles as Pro-Vice Chancellor and Dean of the Westminster School of Media, Arts and Design and as Professor of Contemporary Art and Theory at the University of Westminster, London.