As we commence the new academic year, it has been a time of great change in PESS. It is my second week in post as Head of Department in PESS, having taken over from Professor Ann MacPhail, so I am still very much in the process of settling in and learning the ropes. The opportunity to lead what I regard to be an ambitious and highly successful department, who’s dynamic and highly motivated staff are extremely committed and passionate about their academic endeavours both in terms of research, teaching and their service to the university and wider community, is one a relish and look forward to. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Ann and all of the staff of PESS for the welcome and support they have given me in this transition period. I look forward leading the department and working with you all over the next 5 years.
Mine of course is not the only change in PESS. We also welcome our new first year undergraduate students. I had the great pleasure of meeting them all last week during orientation along with the Course Directors for the Physical Education and Sport and Exercise Sciences degree programmes. To all our new first year students, I would like to extend a very warm welcome to you and wish you every success over the next 4 years you will be with us in PESS. I hope this is a rewarding, stimulating and enjoyable time for you.
Whilst the start of the academic year is always a happy occasion seeing the corridors of the PESS building full of new faces full of excitement and expectation, this year it is also tinged with great sadness that the longest serving member of the academic staff in PESS and a great friend and colleague to us all, Dr PJ Smyth, will not be here to share in it. Sadly PJ passed away on 30th July 2017 after a long battle with illness. PJ was a gentleman in every sense of the word and a man ahead of his time who touched and influenced everyone who came into contact with him including myself. PJ was a permanent fixture in PESS and the wider UL community and will be greatly missed by all who knew him.
We extend our deepest sympathies to PJ’s family. May He Rest in Peace.
As a mark of respect and a tribute to PJ we have published a blog in his honour entitled “Remembering the Life and Legacy of Dr PJ, Smyth”. For those who would like to read the article, click on link here.