UCD hosted a reception last Friday to bid farewell to outgoing UCD President Andrew Deeks as he resigns to take up the role of Vice-Chancellor at Murdoch University in his hometown of Perth, Western Australia.

After being presented with an original watercolour painting by the designer of UCD’s new Centre for Creative Design, Former UCD President Andrew Deeks said, “Life isn’t about money, it’s about experience” on his reasoning to come to UCD after getting a pay cut just after getting the job.

Deeks then continued saying, “UCD is built on an incredible student base, the students here are the most fabulous in the world.”

Marie O’Connor, who was named the first female Chair of the Governing Authority of UCD in 2019, spoke at the event congratulating Deeks on how he has improved the “student experience” in the college. “Thank you for coming to Ireland and answering UCD’s call”

She went on to “Wish him and his family every success” applauding the Australian on his success in UCD. “Andrew’s vision was to foster growth and take advantage of the opportunity of being a global university.” And for embracing “the goal to be Ireland’s global university, and expand[ing]international students to over 9,000.”

Andrew Deeks (Left) & Tristan Aitken (Right). Photo Credit: Hugh Dooley.

The current Deputy President and Registrar, Mark Rogers, will become Acting President and will hold that role until the Governing Authority appoints the next President. Rogers was not present at the event as he is currently in isolation.

Andrew Deeks’ eight-year tenure at UCD was not without its controversy, having attracted consistent criticism from presidents of UCDSU and from the students and staff of UCD.

Deeks has received criticism from then-UCDSU President Joanna Siewierska who called on students “question the patronising and sexist undertones” of the Presidents’ comments under her leadership, labelling Deeks’ “attitude to the voice of students as tokenistic at best, and patronising and quite sexist at worst.”

Professor of Politics and former head of the UCD School of politics, David Farrell, reacted to the resignation by saying, “I’ve mixed feelings about his departure. He introduced some very good reforms, but hopefully going forward the university reviews its approach to China,” another topic the former president was criticized regarding.

Hugh Dooley – News Editor