It was a day of great celebration according to the president of the new South East
Technical University Professor Veronica Campbell on Monday when the doors of the new Waterford
The educational institution was officially opened.
An audience of over 400 gathered for the occasion, also attended by the Minister of Foreign Affairs
and higher education Simon Harris. Minister Harris said the university would help fuel growth, jobs
of creation and investment as well as tackling the issue of access to higher education.
Chairman of the SETU Governing Body and former TCD Provost Dr. Patrick Prendergast spoke
of his commitment to the new university. Originally from Ouulart in Wexford, Dr Prendergast approached
the rally via Zoom from the Carlow campus and noted how there was
over 18,000 students currently enrolled at SETU.
“Today we proudly announce to the world that our new university is here and we are ready to take
on the challenges of building a university that will serve the Southeast through advanced technologies
educational programs, advanced research and societal engagement.
He mentioned the multi-campus approach with Waterford, Carlow and a new campus planned for
Wexford and also the possibility of Kilkenny in the future. He said that the whole region was behind the
Dr Prendergast highlighted how lucky SETU was to have Professor Campbell as the new head of the university.
President, adding that she saw great potential for the Southeast region. “I am personally delighted to
celebrate this occasion with our students and staff and with all who have a stake in the success
from SETU – civic leadership throughout the southeast, collaborators in industry, higher education
colleagues and the wider networks of SETU supporters across the region. It is together that we
are the strongest and together we will build a true European University of Technology.
MP Paul Kehoe for Wexford, a member of the Higher Education Committee, noted in his speech
of Carlow that the South East had suffered a brain drain each year to universities outside the
region and 14,000 students are currently studying outside Waterford.
He said the southeast now has new momentum to attract investment in IT, pharmaceuticals and innovation.
which was less possible before. The search was essential, Deputy Kehoe said, and he hoped
the new university would be allowed to borrow for its expansion. Deputy Kehoe also said he liked to hear
the president talks about the overall ambition of the new southeastern university and that he
had a bright future ahead of him.
Concerns about the issue of student accommodation were also raised by stakeholders. Professor Campbell said
she wanted to oversee a new student housing scheme and also an improvement in public services
transportation in the area for students to get to college, if they live at home.