NUI Galway campus has experienced major infrastructural development with the investment of €200 million in new buildings. Dr Ó Muircheartaigh announced further developments, which include the imminent openings of the €16 million J.E. Cairnes Graduate School of Business and Public Policy and a €23 million Nursing and Therapies Building. Plans are at an advantaged stage for a proposed €55 million Engineering School and a major €21 million Sports Centre will commence in Spring 2006.
During this week's conferring ceremonies, Dr Ó Muircheartaigh will also present the inaugural President's Awards for Teaching Excellence, in recognition of the many dedicated and inspirational teachers among Academic Staff, whose outstanding efforts ensure that students of NUI Galway receive the highest quality learning experience.
Referring to NUI Galway's significant success in attracting research funding, which has amounted to €100 million since 1999, Dr Ó Muircheartaigh said this had enabled research centres to be established on campus which will "provide post-graduate opportunities for many of this week's graduates, opportunities which previously would only have been available abroad."
He went on to urge the Government "to continue to invest in this research and education infrastructure, so that generations of graduates will have a future of economic prosperity and opportunity."
Dr Ó Muircheartaigh stressed NUI Galway's commitment to social inclusion, saying that the University is "continuing to develop and expand educational programmes to enhance access for the widest population from the regional level to the international level." Through Adult Education and life-long learning opportunities, and through Access and Foundation courses for both school leavers and mature learners, especially for less advantaged students, NUI Galway continues to support the education needs of the wider population.
The growing participation of students from abroad which brings increased cultural diversity to the campus, is an important dimension of student life and Dr Ó Muircheartaigh said that the recently established International Scholarship Programme, would enable talented students from the developing world to undertake post-graduate studies at NUI Galway.