Last Tuesday (October, 9th) nearly 170 Old Clongownians from 1942 to 2010 gathered in the RDS Concert Hall to hear Barry O’Callaghan (OC 1987) speak in the latest of the leadership events hosted by the Clongowes Wood College Foundation under the banner of ‘Becoming Men for Others’. Barry has over a decade of outstanding achievement within the education sector, driving innovation at some of the world’s leading educational organizations. He held his audience enthralled as he recounted his own personal voyage from his days in Clongowes and Trinity College, Dublin, where he studied law, through the Equity Capital Market divisions of Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse. He shared his various leadership experiences as Chairman and CEO of Riverdeep, an Irish interactive e-learning company, which was listed on NASDAQ in 2000. Barry told us how he transformed the firm into the largest K-12 educational publisher in the United States with the reverse acquisitions of Houghton Mifflin and Harcourt and then served as Chairman and CEO of EMPG and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt until 2011.
In a robust and thought-provoking critique of the educational system worldwide Barry challenged his audience to look long and hard at the model current in Ireland with a view to a radical overhaul of the structure. Barry was joined during the open forum by his friend, colleague and erstwhile (and award-winning) film director Lord David Puttnam (The Killing Fields, Chariots of Fire, Midnight Express). Both men fielded some serious questions from the audience and their answers gave more insight on their views on the far-reaching reform they feel is necessary in world and Irish education.
The event was opened by the Rector Fr Michael Sheil and chaired by Michael Ryan (OC 1976), Chair of the Foundation. The Headmaster Fr Moloney concluded proceedings by thanking Barry for his thoughts, opinions and questions. He also expressed his hope that the Clongowes Union will take ever more responsibility for the Leadership Series in the future. Finally the Headmaster asked us to remember in our prayers Jack Kavanagh (OC 2011) who is currently recovering from a serious and life-altering injury sustained as a result of a simple accident while swimming. Once again the event was an enormous success and much of the credit must go to Ms Áine Burns of the Clongowes Wood College Foundation who laboured long and hard to ensure that the occasion passed off so well.
The Clongowes Leadership Series
by Declan O’Keeffe