A special ceremony to mark the official naming of the Ann Louise Gilligan Lecture Theatre took place on Monday, December 3rd at Dublin City University's St Patrick's Campus, Drumcondra. The event was organised as part of a DCU Women in Leadership initiative, and saw one of the university's major lecture theatres in its Institute of Education renamed in honour of Dr Gilligan, who passed away in June 2017.
Speaking about the event, Minister Katherine Zappone, spouse of Dr Gilligan, said: "This is a tremendously proud occasion for me and a wonderful recognition of Ann Louise. She achieved an enormous amount in her life, and so much of it here at St. Patrick's College, where she is so fondly remembered. Ann Louise adored to teach. She was at her happiest when she was teaching – children, young people, adults, men, women, and yes, dogs too! She would often tell the story of herself as a young girl, walking up and down her road to gather any children interested to join her back at home, where she would set up to teach them whatever might be topical for the day. This was her idea of fun! And child’s play!"
Minister Zappone added: "She never wanted to do anything else other than teach. And I had the extraordinary privilege and pleasure of listening to her stories of teaching at St Pat’s – and other third level and adult education settings throughout Ireland and the world – over the thirty six years of our life-partnership. Ann Louise believed that institutions of education ought to exemplify and embody the values that they teach their students. To name this theatre after her is, in my view, a testament of how DCU is committed to this vision and ambition. It is my hope that all those who spend time in this theatre will be encouraged by her words, her life and her legacy.”
Commenting on the ceremony, President of DCU, Prof. Brian MacCraith said: "This gathering is a celebration of the life, commitment and immense impact of our dear friend and colleague. While we are honouring Ann Louise, in truth, it is we who are honoured to have had her serve among our ranks with such distinction for so many years. As part of our Project 50:50 - Women in Leadership initiative, DCU is naming half of its buildings and lecture theatres in honour of pioneering women. Dr Ann Louise Gilligan was a great leader in both education and research into educational disadvantage. Greatly missed, her influence in the educational arena is ever-present and we are proud to name this lecture theatre in her memory."
About Dr Ann Louise Gilligan
Dr Ann Louise Gilligan was appointed to the staff of St Patrick’s College, Drumcondra, in 1976, and worked in the area of teacher education at undergraduate and post-graduate levels for over thirty years. She spent her last years in St Patrick’s College as a member of the Education Department. She established and directed its Educational Disadvantage Centre and lectured and published on the philosophy of the imagination, philosophies of difference and educational equality. She also co-edited Beyond Educational Disadvantage with Dr Paul Downes (Dublin, Institute of Public Administration, 2007). In 2001, she was appointed by Dr Michael Woods, Minister for Education, to establish and chair the National Education Welfare Board. Dr Gilligan co-founded An Cosán, a centre for learning, leadership and enterprise in Jobstown, Tallaght, with Dr Katherine Zappone. She is co-author of their memoirs, Our Lives Out Loud (Dublin, O’Brien Press, 2008). In 2012, she was appointed to the Board of Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) by Ruairí Quinn T.D., the Minister for Education & Skills. In June 2017, Dr Gilligan died following a brief illness.