Sadness at death of Mary Immaculate College president


Fintan Walsh


Fintan Walsh


Sadness at death of Mary Immaculate College president

Prof Michael A Hayes

THERE HAS been widespread sadness throughout Limerick following the death of esteemed academic and Mary Immaculate College president, Prof Michael A Hayes.

Prof Hayes, aged 59, sadly passed away on Saturday morning following a short illness. 

The respected Limerickman and priest, who attended St Munchin’s College and St Patrick’s Pontifical College in Maynooth, was appointed president and chief executive of the South Circular Road institution in October 2011.  

Before serving as MIC president for six years, Prof Hayes lived and worked in the United Kingdom for more than 30 years. He was a priest of the Archdiocese of Southwark in South East England.

Following his appointment at MIC, he was nominated by the colleges of education in Ireland to the Teaching Council of Ireland in April 2012.

A qualified psychotherapist, having studied at London Institute of Psychosynthesis, Prof Hayes was internationally-renowned for his academic expertise in pastoral theology.

In May 2013, the late academic was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humane letter from De Sales University, Pennsylvania. He also served as editor of the international journal, The Pastoral Review, published in London.

Prof Hayes accomplished a number of initiatives during his six years as a prosperous president of one of Ireland’s oldest colleges.

In recent years, Prof Hayes’ vision included the expansion of the college, both on- and off-campus, particularly in relation to its footprint expansion to O’Connell Avenue, and the construction of a new €21m library and education centre.

The Limerickman helped maximise MIC’s cultural presence in the city, with particular involvement in the Easter 1916 Rising centenary and the National City of Culture designation in 2014.

He was also instrumental in delivering one of the Mid-West’s most modern theatre venues, the Lime Tree Theatre in 2012. 

In 2016, Prof Hayes was able to secure an additional €5.4m from the HEA in order to introduce more programmes to incentivise a growth in student numbers.

Also a motivator for many young academics, Prof Hayes notably delivered an inspiring speech to graduates in November 2014, saying that they should never give up on their dreams and ambitions.

Prior to his appointment at MIC, he taught in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at Roehampton University, and was latterly Vice-Principal and Professor of Catholic Pastoral Studies at St Mary’s University College, Strawberry Hill in Twickenham, where he had also been Head of the Department of Theology and Religious Studies, and the founding Head of the School of Theology, Philosophy, and History. He was a visiting professor at St Mary’s University College, London.

Funeral details have yet to be announced.