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St Mary's University Celebrating 110 Years of Service to Catholic Education and the Community


St Mary’s celebrated the 110th anniversary of its foundation with a Dedication of Studies Mass at St Paul’s Church on Thursday 28th October.

The Mass was celebrated by Bishop Noel Treanor, Bishop of Down and Connor and was attended by governors, staff and students.

During his homily Bishop Treanor committed the College to the vision of Catholic Higher Education worldwide as set out in the Apostolic Constitution Ex Corde Ecclesiae. He also re-dedicated the institution to its Mission to make a distinctive contribution of service and excellence to Higher Education in Northern Ireland.

Recalling the significant historical and cultural developments over the past 110 years, Bishop Noel Treanor paid tribute to the immense work of St Mary’s University College from its seminal foundations at the beginning of the twentieth century, through periods of war, social conflict and the 'dark days of depression', to more recent times as it engages with the reality of globalisation and new forms of communication. Over this time, the college has ensured the highest quality of education for children; an education taking cognisance of and responding to the academic, physical, psychological and spiritual dimensions of the human person.

Bishop Treanor also made reference to the Dominican foundations of St Mary’s University College encouraging students to follow in the Thomistic tradition of “engaging in dialogue and debate” as they pursue their academic and professional studies.


“As students in St Mary’s University College, many of you too are entering the noble teaching profession where you will be instrumental in helping young people to become good citizens motivated by faith.”


He went on to outline how those who have studied at St Mary’s have contributed not only to our local society but indeed beyond our boundaries and on an international level.

Bishop Treanor concluded by quoting the Most Rev Dr Henry Henry (Bishop of Down and Connor) who addressed students and staff of St Mary’s University College on Saturday 22nd September 1900,


“I hope that this college will continue long to send forth efficient and well-trained Catholic teachers for the instruction of the youth of this country.”


Two awards were presented to students at the church before Mass. The NAS/UWT award, presented by Brighin Little, went to Una Burns from Enniskillen and the First Trust Bursary, presented by Janet Walsh, went to Antoinette Fox from Kircubbin

The College Principal, Professor Peter Finn, spoke of the staff and students at St Mary’s. He said:


“You are the people who make our College the successful learning community that it is – a community of which we are so rightly very proud. As a small college, and in the prevailing financial climate, we do face difficult times ahead – but your commitment and enthusiasm enable us to face the challenges with conviction and courage, confident in the knowledge that we make a distinctive faith-based contribution of service and excellence, to Higher Education.”