The National University of Ireland, Galway (NUI Galway) (Irish Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh or OÉ Gaillimh) is a tertiary-level educational institution located in Galway. The university was founded in 1845 as Queen's College, Galway and was more recently known as University College, Galway (UCG) (Irish: Coláiste na hOllscoile, Gaillimh or COG).
The college opened for teaching in 1849 as Queen's College, Galway with 37 professors and 91 students and a year later became a part of the Queen's University of Ireland. In 1906 Alice Perry graduated from the college, believed to be the first female engineering graduate in the world having received a first class honours degree in civil engineering. The Irish Universities Act, 1908 made this college a constituent college of the new National University of Ireland, and under a new charter the name of the college was changed to University College, Galway. The university college was given special statutory responsibility under the University College, Galway Act, 1929 in respect of the use of the Irish language as the working language of the college. The university college retained the name University College, Galway until 1997 when the Universities Act, 1997 changed the name to National University of Ireland, Galway. The constituent universities of the National University of Ireland rank among the most prestigious centers of higher learning in the country.
The university is located near the centre of the city and stretches along the River Corrib. The oldest part of the university, the Quadrangle, designed by John Benjamin Keane, is a replica of Christ Church, one of the colleges at the University of Oxford. The stone from which it is built was supplied locally. Newer parts of the university sprang up in the 1970s and were designed by architects Scott Tallon Walker. The 1990s also saw considerable development including the conversion of an old munitions factory into a student centre. Recent developments include a state-of-the-art University Sports Centre (Ionad Spóirt) and the commencement of construction on a new Engineering Building.
Presidents of the university:
Rev. Dr Joseph W. Kirwan 1845-1849
Edward Berwick 1849-1877
Sir Thomas William Moffett 1877-1897
William Joseph Myles Starkie 1897-1899
Dr Alexander Anderson 1899-1934
Monsignor John Hynes 1934-1945
Monsignor Pádraig de Brún 1945-1959
Dr Martin J. Newell 1960-1975
Dr Colm Ó hEocha 1975-1996
Dr Patrick F. Fottrell 1996-2000
Dr Iognáid G. Ó Muircheartaigh 2000-2008
Dr James J. Browne 2008 to present
Like the other constituent universities of the National University of Ireland, the university follows the common college structure. The five Colleges of the University are: - College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies - College of Business, Public Policy and Law - College of Engineering and Informatics - College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences - College of Science.
Staff are represented by the SIPTU trade union (for academic, research, administrative and technical workers) and the Irish Federation of University Teachers (for academic workers only).
The Sunday Times University Guide named the university as Irish University of the Year 2002-2003, 2009-2010. NUI, Galway is placed at 243 in the 2009 THE-QS World University Rankings.
Since January 2006 St Angela's College, Sligo has been a college of the National University of Ireland, Galway; it was previously a recognised college of the National University of Ireland. This change in the relationship will mean that students of St. Angela's College, Sligo will be registered as students of the National University of Ireland, Galway; whilst degrees and diplomas awarded will be those of the National University of Ireland.
NUI Galway has also announced details of plans to make the university a 'campus of the future', at a cost of around €400 million.
NUI Galway formed a strategic alliance with University of Limerick in 2010, allowing for shared resources.
With approximately 17,000 students, the university boasts an active and vibrant student life, with over 60 sports clubs and over 83 active societies. The oldest society on the campus is the Literary & Debating Society, founded in 1846. Another of the campus's oldest societies is appropriately enough that dedicated to the subject area of history, now known as the Cumann Staire (or the Historical Studies Society). The Cumann Staire is a leading member of the Comhaltas na gCumann Staire - Irish History Students' Association and the International Students of History Association.
The Film Society produces original films and founded the NUI Galway Student Cinema; one of the most popular venues for students with multiple films per week. The Business Society aims to get more students thinking about business and opening their minds to new ideas or to help students who want to get involved in business in any form in the future. The Computer Society hosts all other societies emails and websites, and have one of the largest memberships. The Rotaract Society, part of the international Rotary family, hosts the annual charity fashion show, 'Socs in the City' and is the largest Rotaract club in Great Britain and Ireland. The college's Drama Society (Dramsoc) has also been long regarded as one of the most important student societies for the arts in Galway having played a part in the formation of Macnas, (GUMS), the university's musical society is now in its tenth year and continues to draw large crowds to its annual musicals in the Black Box Theatre. Druid Theatre Company and The Galway Arts Festival.
In February the university hosts annually an on-campus arts festival entitled Múscailt (meaning to awake/inspire/celebrate in Irish). The annual festival showcases the emerging artists of the university. Almost every society on campus has input. Various shows, concerts and exhibitions are displayed throughout the college. The week often features various inter-varsity or on-campus competitions and award ceremonies.
The ALIVE Programme - A Learning Initiative and the Volunteering Experience - was established in 2003 by the National University of Ireland, Galway to harness, acknowledge and support the contribution that its students make by volunteering. The programme draws on a strong tradition of student engagement both on and off campus and assists students who wish to actively volunteer while developing tangible and transferable skills alongside practical volunteering experiences. The University announced it would be withdrawing its support for the Students' Union run RAG week in 2009 after the arrests of over 40 students. €32,000 was raised for charity by the week.
Martin Sheen, an actor who had not previously attended University, enrolled at the National University of Ireland, Galway, in 2006 for one semester to study philosophy, English literature and oceanography.
James Michael Greaney, a political analyst for the Obama administration and All-Ireland Hurling Championship medal holder, studied here for the entire duration of his Arts degree, before moving on to a postgraduate in the Sorbonne