Vodafone, Michael Dwyer and Professor Daire Keogh are receipients of DCU Leadership Awards

Vodafone Ireland and businessman Michael Dwyer are this year’s recipients of the prestigious DCU Leadership Awards. DCU Deputy President Daire Keogh was also named as a recipient of the awards, which were announced during the annual DCU Leadership Circle Dinner, hosted by DCU’s Educational Trust on Friday October 11th in the university.

Accepting the Corporate Leadership Award on behalf of Vodafone Ireland, CEO Anne O’Leary told guests businesses that have an environment of diversity and inclusiveness perform better financially than companies that don’t.

Ms O’Leary told the event she was “honoured” to accept the award on behalf of Vodafone Ireland.

“I know that in areas like this we talk about doing good, and that’s wonderful and it makes us feel good, and it’s the right thing to do. But doing good actually produces better financial results. Companies with better diversity do better than companies that don’t,” she said.


Event host, RTE Nationwide presenter and DCU Alumna Zainab Boladale, said the award was made to Vodafone in recognition “of their deep engagement with the university and their generous philanthropic support for a range of DCU initiatives that impact on the lives of young people”.

DCU has enjoyed a strong partnership with Vodafone in recent years that has seen the company support DCU’s Access programme, Access to the Workplace Programme, the work of DCU’s National Anti-Bullying Research and Resource Centre and DCU’s University of Sanctuary Initiative.

Ms O’Leary said Vodafone Ireland strive to ensure that graduates and interns brought into the company are “from all sections of society in Ireland, because I need people who think like our customers in Ireland”.

“It’s about diversity of thought. It’s about innovation,” she said, adding the company look forward to continuing their relationship with DCU.

Businessman Michael Dwyer, Executive Chairman of Empathy Marketing Ltd (Pigsback.com) was the recipient of this year’s Individual Leadership Award.

Ms Boladale said Mr Dwyer is a “wonderful example of the role which DCU alumni can continue to play in the life of their University following graduation”.

“Michael Dwyer personifies many of the attributes which DCU seeks to instil in students here today. A self-made entrepreneur who founded one of Ireland’s leading offer based e-commerce and e-hospitality brands, Michael Dwyer has never forgotten to give back and to support others to follow in his footsteps.”

“I am extremely proud and privileged to have had an association with Dublin City University since 1981 and its very early years. It was ahead of its time then and remains a highly progressive university. This is exemplified for me by its Access programme,” Mr Dwyer said upon receiving his award. DCU not only crowned my education, it inspired me to aim high.

“Like so many DCU alumni who attribute much of their success to the college, it has been most rewarding to maintain the links and give a bit back to the college in different ways.”


DCU Deputy President Daire Keogh’s Staff Leadership Award was in “recognition of his tireless work to further the development of DCU”.

Mr Keogh served as the last President of St Patrick’s College from 2012 to 2016.

“Demonstrating great leadership, he embraced the vision of the incorporation process which culminated in the college’s incorporation (along with Mater Dei Institute of Education and Church of Ireland College of Education) into DCU,” Ms Boladale told the audience.

“The incorporation process facilitated the establishment of DCU’s Institute of Education, the first Faculty of Education in an Irish university.”

Mr Keogh has been Deputy President of DCU since 2016, and “an outstanding advocate and representative for the University”, and is a Professor of History, former Government of Ireland Senior Research Fellow and a founding member of the European Quality Assurance Register Committee.

Mr Keogh used his speech to highlight the importance of DCU’s Educational Trust.

“We have spoken already about the hallmark characteristics of DCU. The values of DCU. The integrity of DCU. It is truly a civic university. And it’s a civic university where our community work together, our super colleagues with our superb students.

“It’s time I think for us to celebrate that. But tonight is about the Trust in a way and it’s about celebrating the work of the Trust. And I’d like to thank Larry Quinn, the trustees and their team.

“The Trust are critical to what we do because the Trust are the enablers of the great enterprise that we call Dublin City University. They are the enablers. When you read the textbook meaning of philanthropy, philanthropy is not about an ask, philanthropy is about an offer.

“And every single day the Trust make that offer to partners like yourselves, inviting people to partner with DCU. They invited people to partner in our purpose. And what is our purpose? Our purpose is to transform lives and societies. So it is with immense thanks to our partners, the people who the Trust give opportunities to, to work in this great work.”


Earlier, DCU Educational Trust Chairperson Larry Quinn thanked DCU’s leading supporters, adding the Trust’s ‘Campaign for DCU’ had raised some €75 million since its launch in 2015.

Addressing the event, DCU President Brian MacCraith said: “DCU’s mission is very simple. It is to transform lives and societies through education, research and innovation. Your generosity, your investment in us, enable us to do exactly that. We simply cannot do what we do without your support.”

Some of the projects that have been funded by the Campaign for DCU include new student centre The U, the DCU Water Institute, the DCU Institute for International Conflict Resolution and Reconstruction, the DCU Institute for Future Media and Journalism (FuJo), the DCU National Centre for Family Business, Anam, Teachers Inspitre, and DCU Access.

A special presentation was made to Professor MacCraith from the Educational Trust, with chairperson Larry Quinn saying he “has truly been a visionary and great leader for DCU”, and they wanted to “recognise his extraordinary contribution to DCU over this time”.