DCU to rename half its buildings after inspirational women

Kathleen McNulty (left) operates the differential analyser in the basement of the Moore School of Electrical Engineering, University of Pennsylvania. The School of Computing will be renamed after the Donegal native.

Dublin City University is set to rename half of its buildings after women, Dr Christine Loscher announced at Inspirefest last week.

As part of the campus redevelopment plans that are being implemented across the Glasnevin, St. Patrick’s College, Mater Dei and All Hallows’ campuses, all of the University’s buildings are to be renamed.

“We’re renaming all of our buildings in DCU because we have a massive campus development plan that we’re going through at the moment, so we’ve decided to rename all of our buildings but 50pc of them will be named after females,” Dr Christine Loscher, Director of DCU’s new Health Technologies Research and Enterprise Hub announced.

The announcement is part of an ongoing process to reflect the character of the university and the activities of faculties, schools and researchers within particular buildings, according to DCU Communications Manager, Gráinne Mooney.

Prior to the renames, many of the University’s buildings had been designated solely by a letter.

Senior Management of DCU consulted over a number of months with faculties and decided on a range of figures with connections to Ireland or DCU in whose honour a number of buildings would be named.

Some buildings have been named and signs went up outside, following planning permission being granted, prior to the announcement.

“While some of the new building names may already be known on campus, there had been no public announcement to this effect,” Mooney explained.

“Given the nature of the achievements of the female figures honoured by DCU, it was felt appropriate to highlight these namings last week as part of InspireFest, a celebration of STEM with a particular focus on diversity and inclusivity,” she said.

One of the buildings being renamed is the Computing Building on the Glasnevin campus. It will be named after Kathleen McNulty, a Donegal native and one of the six original programmers of the ENIAC computer, the first general-purpose electronic digital computer.

“It won’t just be naming the building, there will be a picture of her, a description of what she’s done,” Loscher said.

“I want every single male and female to be able to walk into that building and see why the building is called what it’s called and to be able to recognise that there are amazing female examples and that it is possible,” she explained.

Loscher also announced that the building she works in being renamed after Kathleen Lonsdale, a British crystallographer who proved that the benzene ring was flat by X-ray diffraction methods in 1929.

This building contains the STEM schools and the Physics, Maths and Biology schools.

“Students, staff and everybody need to be in an environment where they see this, it’s visible, it’s recognised and I think that it’ll have a massive impact on our staff,” Loscher concluded.

Decisions regarding the renames of the remaining buildings were made in recent weeks and signs for those will be erected in the near future.

Inspirefest is an annual international festival of technology, science, design and the arts. The two day conference took place on June 30th and July 1st in the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre in Dublin.

Hayley Halpin

Image Credit: United States Government

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