The death has been announced of Prof Rory O'Connor, head of the DCU School of Computing. He died suddenly while travelling abroad. Colleagues have been expressing their shock at the news, describing him as a gifted and enthusiastic researcher, a kind and generous colleague and a great friend.
Prof O’Connor was a Senior Researcher with Lero (The Irish Software Research Centre). Twice graduate of DCU (BSc in Computer Applications, 1993; MSc in Computing, 1995). Rory undertook his PhD (2000) at City, University of London, after which he joined the School of Computing.
He was a visiting professor at the University of Iceland in 2006-2007, and had close research ties with Dundalk Institute of Technology.
Responding to news of Prof O'Connor’s passing, DCU President Prof Brian MacCraith said:
“I was deeply shocked and saddened to learn of the sudden death of Professor Rory O'Connor. His passing is a great loss for his colleagues, students and friends.
Rory made a huge contribution to our university and will be remembered as an outstanding academic and an excellent colleague. On behalf of the university community, I wish to convey deepest condolences to his family, friends and colleagues at this sad time.”
Prof O'Connor led the School of Computing for almost 6 years (2014-2019), during which time there was very significant expansion in research activities, growth in academic and research staff, major facilities upgrade and important programme innovations (including delivery of a master’s programme abroad).
Rory was a mentor to PhD students, early career researchers and academics, and taught by example the value of ongoing professional development. He was student-focused in all of his work.
Within the University he was a member of several key university committees, including the IT governance Committee and the Academic Promotions Committee.
Rory was a nationally recognised expert in teaching and learning in Computing at third level, having published extensively on this aspect of his work and he contributed to aspects of the activities of QQI, the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning as well as acting as external examiner for other institutions.
He championed innovations in industry-informed programme development and in online delivery of master’s level degrees, in partnership with Technology Ireland.
We remember Rory for his intellect, his energy, his contribution to the world of Software Engineering and to DCU.
We will miss a man who put students at the centre of his work, illustrated collegiality daily and was a dear friend.
*The funeral mass for Prof O'Connor took place on Saturday, July 27th in Terenure College Chapel, Dublin followed by a private cremation.