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Professor Eeva Leinonen, Maynooth University’s first female president, takes office

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Professor Eeva Leinonen, who succeeds Prof Philip Nolan

Professor Eeva Leinonen, who succeeds Prof Philip Nolan

Professor Eeva Leinonen, who succeeds Prof Philip Nolan

Professor Eeva Leinonen takes up office today as president of Maynooth University, the first woman in the role and only the third female to lead a traditional Irish university.

The Finnish-native academic has arrived on the back of an international career, most recently as vice-chancellor of Murdoch University, Perth, Australia.

Prof Leinonen succeeds Prof Philip Nolan, who has retired after a 10-year term, during which he led major campus developments and curriculum innovations and oversaw a phase of rapid growth.

Since March 2020, Prof Nolan played a critical role as chair of Nphet’s Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group, forecasting the behaviour of the Covid virus in Ireland.

Prof Leinonen has a background in linguistics and psychology and engages in ongoing research into language development in children, and contextual processing deficits of children and young adults with autistic spectrum disorders.

Maynooth celebrates its 25th anniversary next year and Prof Leinonen said she was honoured to lead it in the next stage of its development. She said it could play an outsized role in next-generation Ireland.

“High-quality innovative education, world-class research that has positive societal impact, and transformational educational opportunities for all who can benefit irrespective of background are hallmarks of Maynooth University and resonate closely with my approach to university education,” she said.

Dr Mary Canning, who chairs Maynooth’s governing authority, said Prof Leinonen’s track record would be of great benefit.


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