Ross Munnelly - Giving Back to the DCU Community

Ross Munnelly is Director of Alumni Relations at DCU. In this piece, he describes what the university means to him and over 90,000 alumni around the world. He also discusses the importance of giving alumni opportunities to stay involved with their alma mater, and why he decided to start supporting scholarships at DCU in a personal capacity.
What did you study in DCU and what are your strongest memories from your time here as a student? 

I feel very lucky to have completed all my postgraduate studies at DCU. These include MSc in Education (eLearning) (2007), Graduate Diploma in Education (2009), Graduate Diploma in Guidance and Counselling (2013) and the Executive MBA (2020). My strongest memories of studying at DCU are the warm and collegiate atmosphere on campus and the helpful approach of academic and support staff. My biggest appreciation is for the network I was so lucky to develop as a student. The people I met along the way are only a phone call away and available to offer advice or assistance at any stage. That is the strength of studying with classmates and working together on group projects and tasks, you get to know so many people along the way, people with whom you have a shared journey and who you will remain connected with throughout life.

As Director of Alumni Relations, what does DCU mean to you today and how did it contribute to your own career success?

DCU has been and continues to be a huge part of my professional life. I’m very passionate about the opportunities DCU provides to students and I see first hand the contribution our graduates make to the student experience for those students. As Director of Alumni Relations, I work with our fantastic alumni team and our volunteers to continually enhance the volunteering and experiential opportunities for graduates to engage with the university. Every day is different, I am always meeting graduates who are so proud of the university and who remember their time studying with such fond memories, they really care about helping the next generation. This is hugely energetic and it’s a fantastic environment to work in. We have an amazing community and it is a privilege to work with our graduates in so many different ways.

What do you think DCU represents to its graduates around the world today?

The Alumni community is the only permanent community of the university, once you graduate you become a DCU graduate for life. I am very proud of the volunteering nature of our graduates and their commitment to helping in any way they can to enhance the student experience for the current and future generations. This really motivates our team in the alumni office as we constantly explore new ways and opportunities for graduates to stay connected to DCU. Our alumni are proud of their alma mater and they volunteer in numbers to help each other.

Recently, a graduate got in touch because they were moving abroad to explore a career in a new industry and country. We were able to connect them with a graduate who was so supportive in helping them settle in and find their feet. That is what our community means to us, the helping hand is always available. We are a global family and our graduates are so proud to hear about the impact of their alma mater in enterprise and innovation, graduate employment rate and for our commitment and global rankings for the UN Sustainability Goals such as gender equality and reducing inequalities. We are commended for our impact as a university.

In your role, you oversee a range of opportunities for alumni to stay in touch and give back to the university. Whether it’s mentoring, volunteering or making a donation through DCU Educational Trust, why do you think it is important for alumni to give back to their university?

I think it is really important for DCU to provide our graduates with a range of volunteering options so that graduates have a choice on how they would like to support their alma mater. 

From my experience as Director of Alumni Relations, time and time again our graduates have shown they are willing to help and this help comes in many different ways throughout one’s professional career and into retirement. 


We see this evolution with graduates attending networking events, mentoring students, delivering guest lectures, donating financially and attending for example, 50th anniversary celebrations! It is our permanent community and graduates can support DCU in any way they feel appropriate along their journey. We value all engagement as it impacts the student experience now and into the future.

In your personal capacity, you donate to support scholarships for DCU students. What has motivated and inspired you to support DCU students to access third level education and to excel?

Thankfully I am in a position where I can, in a very modest way, support DCU financially. I prioritise this because DCU has an outstanding reputation for supporting students who ordinarily might not have had a chance to pursue third level education.

My parents encouraged me to embrace education, it has been a wonderful journey and so I would like to play a small part in affording this opportunity to someone else. That is the essence of our alumni community, we want to enhance the student experience for future generations of fellow graduates.

Interested in Supporting Excellence and Opportunity at DCU?