Ennis will officially become a university town on October 1st when the first ever term begins at the new Technological University of the Shannon: Midlands Midwest.
With both Athlone Institute of Technology (AIT) and Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT) ceasing to exist from that date, the new cross-regional institute will cater for more than 15,000 students and over 1,200 staff members at campuses in Ennis, Athlone, Limerick and Clonmel.
Tony Brazil, Chair of LIT's Governing Body, said "October 1st, 2021 will not only be a significant day in the history of Irish education, but the beginning of what is potentially a new era in investment and development in the regions. TUS: Midlands Midwest will have the capacity to open up third level, active learning, to regions and a people previously underserved. It will further expand the capacity of research and training that will not only support indigenous and multi-national companies already in the Midlands and Midwest, but will encourage further investment and development outside of Dublin. Friday, October 1, 2021 is not just the first day of the month, but the first day of a brighter future for the regions."
The hunt is now on to find an inaugural president for Ireland's first cross-regional university. Speaking about the role, Liam Rattigan, Chair of AIT's Governing Body, said "We are seeking an inspiring and strategic leader, with a proven track record of achievement at an appropriately senior level in higher education, business and enterprise, or the public sector. “They will be required to have highly developed leadership, organisational and communication skills combined with the strategic capability, vision and drive to shape the future of Ireland’s newest technological university."