IT will come as no surprise to Professor Don Barry, president of the University of Limerick, that local reaction to the launch of UL Capital Development Plan for the years from 2014-18 has focused in particular on the inclusion of a significant city centre presence.
Prof Barry was appointed president in May 2007 for a 10-year term and so it is likely that the next development plan will be conceived and executed under the watch of his eventual successor.
There can be little doubt that the phenomenal rise of UL will continue over the the next three and a half years, while Prof Barry remains in office. The university’s ability to grow its marvellous campus is beyond question and the latest plan includes exciting additions at Plassey, not least the doubling of the Glucksmann Library and the Bernal Research Building. These projects are certain to boost to the university’s international standing and embellish the already formidable quality of education provided by UL.
Perhaps, though, the ultimate legacy for Prof Barry would be that UL’s city centre campus was planned and built during his presidency – and that the perception that UL exists in splendid isolation from the city is both tackled and changed by radically improving the transport links between the campus and the city centre.
It will be a considerable challenge, but the will is everywhere to make it happen. We note with pleasure Prof Barry’s comment that UL academics are queuing up to be part of this new dawn. Let’s hope it will be upon us before too long.