UCC physics graduate named university’s next president

Prof Patrick O’Shea returns to Cork from senior research post at University of Maryland

UCC physics graduate Professor Patrick O’Shea has been appointed president of his alma mater with effect from February 1st 2017.

Prof O’Shea is currently Vice President and Chief Research Officer at the University of Maryland, USA, one of the world’s leading research institutions, where he oversees the university’s $500 million (€440m) per-annum research and innovation wing.

He replaces Dr Michael Murphy in the university's most senior post, which carries a salary of over €200,000.

Prof O’Shea is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.


“My physics degree from UCC laid the foundation stone for a successful academic career in the US culminating in my current leadership role at the University of Maryland,” Prof O’Shea said on his appointment.

“I am delighted to return to lead my alma mater. UCC’s students and staff have impressed me with their enthusiasm and their commitment to excellence in education, scholarship, research and service. Through their dedication, passion, and achievement, UCC will continue its rise among the great universities of the world.”

Prof O’Shea attended secondary school at Coláiste Chríost Rí in Cork, and holds a Master of Science degree and a PhD in Physics from the University of Maryland.

He is a member of numerous research and academic boards, including the Wild Geese Network of Irish Scientists. While his main area of expertise is in electromagnetics, he has a broad range of academic and other interests including history, linguistics, athletics and cycling, UCC noted.

He is married to UCC graduate and scientist Miriam Smyth PhD, who works in clinical and biomedical research administration in Washington, DC. They have one son.

UCC governing body chairwoman Dr Catherine Day described Prof O'Shea as "an exceptional academic scholar and leader whose valuable international experience will benefit UCC.

“His academic, political and business acumen has helped the University of Maryland to become one of the leading research universities in the world. We look forward to working with him in developing UCC’s national and international profile and reputation,” she said.