NUIG engineering centre to be named after pioneer Alice Perry

3 Mar 2017

The newly named Alice Perry Engineering Building in NUI Galway. Image: NUI Galway

NUI Galway is to celebrate a true pioneer of engineering by naming its centre after Alice Perry, the first woman in the UK or Ireland to earn a degree in engineering.

In recent years, Irish universities have begun naming their buildings to honour the legacy of some of Ireland’s ‘hidden figures’ in the fields of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

The latest honour is for Galway-born Alice Perry, who is the inspiration behind the Alice Perry Engineering Building in NUI Galway (NUIG).

Perry has gone down in history as the first woman in the UK or Ireland to receive an engineering degree.

Born in 1885 in Wellpark, Perry graduated from secondary school with a scholarship to study at the Royal University, Galway, where she excelled in maths.

Starting out with a degree in the arts, Perry turned her focus to engineering, in which she graduated with full honours in 1906.

A ceremony to name the building is to take place on 6 March and will be the culmination of a series of activities focusing on equality and diversity in engineering as part of the Engineers Week programme of events taking place from 4-10 March.

Alice Perry

Pioneer and engineer Alice Perry. Image: Public Domain

A true trailblazer

The Máire Brazil Scholarship will also be launched at the naming ceremony, to encourage and support talented female students to develop careers in engineering.

The scholarship was established by distinguished engineering alumna of NUIG, Áine Brazil, through Galway University Foundation.

Prof Anne Scott, vice-president for equality and diversity at NUIG, said: “We are enormously proud of Alice Perry and what her life’s work symbolises. Decisions on career paths are shaped by the world around us.

“Having a visible tribute to the achievements of trailblazers like Alice Perry on campus can serve to both recognise an individual legacy, and also to inspire the next generation when they make their own career decisions.”

Prof Peter McHugh, dean of engineering and informatics at NUIG, added: “I believe that this an extremely positive and progressive decision by the university, and it should serve as an inspiration to all students as to the wonderfully rich and diverse career opportunities open to both men and women in the engineering domain.”

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic