Microsoft Ireland, Norma Smurfit and William Kelly Receive DCU Leadership Awards for 2020

Microsoft Ireland Managing Director, Cathriona Hallahan, and philanthropist Norma Smurfit were awarded the Corporate Leadership Award and Individual Leadership Award respectively at DCU Educational Trust’s Leadership Circle Event on Wednesday 2nd December. Dean of Teaching and Learning at DCU, William Kelly, was also awarded the Staff Leadership Award at the virtual event.

The annual DCU Educational Trust Leadership Circle Event brings together DCU’s friends and supporters to celebrate their collective contribution to DCU’s mission to transform lives and societies. The Leadership Circle Event showcases the impact of philanthropy on DCU projects and programmes, and welcomed 170 supporters to this year’s first ever virtual edition of the event.

Commenting on the award, Cathriona Hallahan said:

“I’m honoured to accept the Corporate Leadership Award in recognition of the efforts by our team at Microsoft in empowering students and teachers through the power of technology. Our longstanding partnership with DCU has been at the centre of this work, inspiring the next generation of teachers to embrace new learning technology within the classroom. I’d like to thank DCU for their continued partnership and look forward to continuing this work into the future.”


As highlighted by DCU Educational Trust Chair, Eamonn Quinn, during the event, Microsoft Ireland’s efforts to equip student teachers with coding and computational thinking skills are evident through the development of the Minecraft Education Studio at DCU’s Institute of Education and the delivery of the Student Teacher Digital Skills Project.

Eamonn Quinn also highlighted the transformative impact this year’s Individual Leadership Award recipient has had on the DCU Access Programme over the past few years. Norma Smurfit’s support has provided three DCU Access students with a home, education and supports for the duration of their degree programmes, enabling them to overcome homelessness, intergenerational poverty and educational disadvantage.

Speaking at this year’s event, DCU President, Prof Daire Keogh, commented on how the support of DCU’s friends and supporters has allowed DCU to blossom during the pandemic:

“DCU is a community of exceptional people with extraordinary values, with COVID illustrating the duty of care DCU has for our students, staff and communities. As President, my ambition is that DCU will be known as the university that puts people first. Our students, staff and supporters are DCU’s greatest assets, and we are honoured to count on them to fulfil the ongoing mission and purpose of the university to transform lives and societies.”


Joe Quinsey, DCU Educational Trust CEO, closed the event thanking DCU’s supporters for their continued and steadfast support in 2019/20:

“Without the passion and support of DCU’s friends and supporters, many of the projects and initiatives featuring during the Leadership Circle Event would simply not be possible. At DCU Educational Trust, we are extremely grateful for this support over the past number of years, especially during this unprecedented year.”

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