Professor Eeva Leinonen takes office today as President of Maynooth University, the first woman to hold that position and only the third woman to lead a traditional Irish university.
he Finnish-born scholar came on the back of an international career, most recently as Vice-Chancellor of Murdoch University, Perth, Australia.
Professor Leinonen succeeds Professor Philip Nolan, who retired after a ten-year term, during which he led major campus developments and program innovations and oversaw a phase of rapid growth.
Since March 2020, Professor Nolan has played a pivotal role as chair of Nphet’s epidemiological modeling advisory group, predicting the behavior of the Covid virus in Ireland.
Professor Leinonen has a background in linguistics and psychology and conducts ongoing research on language development in children and contextual processing deficits in children and young adults with autism spectrum disorders.
Maynooth is celebrating his 25th birthday next year and Professor Leinonen has said she is honored to lead him into the next stage of his development. She said it could play a disproportionate role in Ireland’s next generation.
“Innovative, high-quality education, world-class research that has positive societal impact, and transformational educational opportunities for all who can benefit from them, regardless of their 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 Professor Leinonen’s background would be very helpful.