Edward M. Walsh

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Edward M. (Ed) Walsh (born 1939) is the Founding President of the University of Limerick, the first new university established by the Republic of Ireland. He held that post from its inception as the National Institute for Higher Education, Limerick, when he was appointed as Chairman of the Planning Board and Director in 1970, through its transformation to a university in 1989 until his retirement in 1998. He retains the title of Founding President.

He is a native of Cork city.


Walsh is a graduate of the National University of Ireland and holds Masters and Doctorate qualifications in nuclear and electrical engineering from Iowa State University where he was an Associate of the US Atomic Energy Commission Laboratory in Ames, Iowa.

Tenure as President[edit]

Walsh is credited with securing funding from the World Bank and the European Investment Bank and developing a new university that contributed much to Ireland. Walsh mounted an international fundraising campaign that secured the support of major philanthropists such as Chuck Feeney and Lewis Glucksman and permitted the University of Limerick to expand significantly at a time when government capital grants were being handed out scarcely. The University introduced to Ireland many of the academic and administrative systems used in leading US universities such as continuous assessment, the weighted Grade Point Average and cooperative education. At the outset it introduced Ireland's first degree in European Studies and fostered international placement of students through European Union schemes such as the ERASMUS programme.

Other activities[edit]

Walsh has served as founding Chairman of the Irish Council for Science Technology and Innovation, the National Technological Park, the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment, and the National Self–Portrait Collection of Ireland. He has also served as Chairman of the Conference of Heads of Irish Universities and Vice President of the International Association of University Presidents. He serves on the boards of a number of organisations

Walsh is a Freeman of the City of Limerick, a Member of the Royal Irish Academy, a Member of the Irish Academy of Engineering, and an honorary member of the Royal Hibernian Academy. He was a Member of the New York Academy of Science and a Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts. He holds honorary doctorates from five universities.

Walsh is a chartered engineer and registered silversmith.[1]


Walsh's memoir, Upstart: friends, foes and founding a university,[2] describes the controversial events associated with the establishment of the Republic of Ireland's first new university. Published by Collins Press in October 2011, it was written in collaboration with journalist Kieran Fagan.


  1. ^ "Edward M Walsh". University of Limerick. Retrieved 17 December 2011. 
  2. ^ Upstart: friends, foes and founding a university

External links[edit]

Academic offices
Preceded by
New office
President of the University of Limerick
Succeeded by
Roger Downer