Former Acting CEO of the then Tipperary Institute and North Tipp VEC CEO Dr Luke Murtagh was among five people who were honoured as inaugural Fellows of Limerick Institute of Technology on Thursday night for the indelible mark they left on the institute and its students.
Dr Murtagh, a native of Mullingar, Co. Westmeath but who has lived at Tyone, Nenagh for many years, joined with LIT academic Patricia Burke, former Governing Body Chairman John Clifford, Fitzgibbon Cup coach Davy Fitzgerald and acclaimed artist and graduate of the LIT operated Limerick School of Art & Design John Shinnors as they were bestowed with the highest honour the institute can give in recognition of their contribution to education, enterprise, sport, the arts and sciences.
The Fellowships were presented at a special ceremony at the Clare Street campus of Limerick School of Art & Design attended by over 200 people, including family and friends of the newly appointed Fellows.
The Fellowships were formally presented by LIT President Dr Maria Hinfelaar after citations were read out by associates, with Chairman of the LIT Governing Body Niall Greene reading Mr Murtagh’s. In the citation, Mr Greene said that while with the Tipperary Institute, which is now operated by LIT as LIT Tipperary, Luke was recognised as a wonderful visionary and strategist, constantly thinking about the future direction of the Institute.
“He wanted to deliver education, and provide educational facilities, to everyone in the region through remote delivery, the use of technology and measures to encourage those who had missed educational opportunities in the past,” said Mr Greene.
“Luke is an excellent communicator and leader, well known and highly respected in educational circles. He is an excellent motivator and he has always encouraged staff to come forward with new ideas and to develop them in the interests of the Institute. He also encouraged staff involvement in local and regional organisations and ensured that all staff were aware of these projects and initiatives whether voluntary or otherwise.”
Luke continued to be a member of the Board of Management of Tipperary Institute until his retirement from the North Tipperary VEC in the summer of 2005. The Board of Directors of Tipperary Institute commended him on his vision, leadership and commitment to the development of the Institute and of education in the region.
He was the Chair of the Board of Directors of the Tipperary Energy Agency from 1998 until 2002 and was involved in the establishment of the Agency, actively promoting its development during its early years. He has continued to take a keen interest in its activities and is an enthusiastic promoter of sustainable development and sustainable energy.
Dr Murtagh is a former President of the Association of Chief Executive Officers of Vocational Education Committees and the Association of Principals of Vocational Schools and Colleges. He taught business subjects and Irish in Cappawhite, Mullingar and Thomastown Vocational schools, in the latter of which he was also principal. He was a member of the course committees of the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment and the National Council for Vocational Awards and published a junior cycle book-keeping textbook in the mid-1970s. Luke is a fluent Irish speaker and is heavily involved in Conradh na Gaeilge.
He graduated in 2009 with a PhD in Adult Education from National University of Ireland Maynooth with a thesis was on “Education Policy Process since 1997: Some Lessons for the Future”. He is still heavily involved in his local community and is currently chairman of the Tipperary “Relay for Life” and a recent past chairman of the Tipperary Regional Youth Service.
Speaking at the presentation of the Fellowships, Dr Maria Hinfelaar said that the five recipients are worthy of being the inaugural Fellows of LIT.
“It has been our intention for some time to initiate a Fellowships programme at Limerick Institute of Technology and it is fair to say that the inaugural Fellows were well chosen. Each of the five has made an enormous contribution to Limerick Institute of Technology as it is today.
“They have given extraordinary leadership through what they have done for LIT and, indeed, in their own professional careers and personal lives. As an Institute, we put people, our students and staff, at the centre of everything we do and our five Fellows tonight embody that ethos brilliantly.
“They have each been inspirational to us and, indeed, many others. We have marvelled at what they have done and LIT has, indeed, been all the better because of their association with us. We are proud and, indeed, fortunate as an institute to have had that association and long may this relationship continue and flourish.”