It was a day of great celebration according to the President of the newly launched South East
Technical University, Professor Veronica Campbell on Monday when the doors of Waterford’s new
Educational institution were officially opened.
An audience of over 400 gathered for the occasion which was also attended by Minister for Further
and Higher Education Simon Harris. Minister Harris said the university would help power growth, job
creation and investment as well as tackling the issue of access to higher education.
Chairman of the governing body of SETU and former provost of TCD, Dr. Patrick Prendergast, spoke
of his commitment to the new university. A native of Oulart in Wexford, Dr. Prendergast addressed
the gathering via Zoom from the Carlow Campus and noted how there were
over 18,000 students currently registered at SETU.
“Today we proudly announce to the world that our new university is here and we are ready to take
on the challenges of building a university that will deliver for the South East through cutting edge
educational programmes, advanced research and societal engagement.”
He mentioned the multi campus approach with Waterford, Carlow and a planned new campus in
Wexford and also the possibility of Kilkenny in the future. He said the whole region was behind the
Dr. Prendergast pointed out how lucky SETU was, to have Professor Campbell as the university’s new
President, adding that she saw great potential for the south east region. “I’m personally delighted to
be celebrating this occasion with our students and staff and with all who have a stake in the success
of SETU – civic leadership throughout the south east, industry collaborators, higher education
colleagues and the wider networks of SETU supporters throughout the region. It is together that we
are strongest and together that we will build a truly European technological university.”
Deputy Paul Kehoe from Wexford, who is on the higher education committee noted in his speech
from Carlow that the south east had suffered a brain drain annually to universities outside the
region and 14,000 students are currently studying away from Waterford.
He said now the south east had a new dynamic to attract investment in IT, Pharma and innovation
which was less possible before. Research was key said Deputy Kehoe and he hoped
the new university would be allowed borrow for expansion. Deputy Kehoe also said he liked to hear
the President speak on the global ambition of the new university of the south east and that there
was a bright future ahead.
Concerns over the issue of student housing were also raised by speakers. Professor Campbell said
she wanted to oversee a new student housing programme and also an improvement in public
transport in the region for students to get to college, if they are living at home.