UCC names civil engineering building after first graduate

UNIVERSITY College Cork (UCC) has announced that its current civil engineering building will be named the Iris Ashley Cummins Building, in honor of UCC’s first female engineering graduate who graduated over of a century.

Iris Ashley Cummins, born in 1894 in Glanmire, graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering from UCC in 1915 and would become the first female Surveyor of the Irish Land Commission and the first female Associate Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers of Ireland.

She was also a talented hockey player, representing both UCC and Ireland at senior level.

The engineering class with Iris pictured second from the front.

The naming of the UCC’c civil engineering building took place this week to mark Introduce a Girl to Engineering day taking place tomorrow.

This is the first UCC building to be named after a UCC pioneer and the move is part of the university’s ambition to place equality, diversity and inclusion at heart of its activities.

It is expected to be the first of many buildings on the UCC campus to be named after inspiring pioneers.

Speaking on the significance of the building’s naming, Professor John O’Halloran, President of UCC, said Iris Ashley Cummins “is an example for women in STEM”.

“She was an independent and creative thinker whose pioneering actions challenged the gender norms of her time.

“We are proud of her accomplishments and hope that everyone who walks through the doors of the Iris Ashley Cummins Building will find inspiration in her legacy.

The Cummins family.
The Cummins family.

“You can’t be what you can’t see and this is another important step in providing role models to our community,” Professor O’Halloran continued.

Dan Hearn, great-nephew of Iris Ashley Cummins, who attended the ceremony at UCC, said the family was honored that UCC had decided to name the building after their relative.

“Iris and her family had strong ties to the university, and it makes us very proud to see her memory nurtured in this way,” he said.

“I think she would be especially happy to know that this is the first UCC building to be named after a trailblazer.”