President Mary McAleese launches innovative student leadership programme in DIT Grangegorman

Monday, October 3rd: President of Ireland Mary McAleese visited DIT Grangegorman to launch two innovative leadership programmes for third level students.  The programmes, known as Frontrunner and Pitstop, are run by Common Purpose in partnership with third level colleges, and are aimed at students who have already shown evidence of leadership skills in civil society through their activities.


The launch event was attended by representatives from DIT, LIT, UCC, UCD, Trinity College, CIT, NUI Maynooth, UL, Cork College of Commerce, and the Royal College of Surgeons.  Secondary school students from Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Kerry who have benefited from the Common Purpose Your Turn programme also attended with their teachers.


2nd level students at the launch of Your Turn in Grangegorman – Mary Durango, Askeaton,
Rory Sheahan, Carrigtwohil, Michelle Ward, Dublin and Oisin O’Callaghan, Sliabh Luachra

The President was welcomed to the Grangegorman campus by Professor Brian Norton, on behalf of DIT, and by Ms Jackie Butler, CEO of Common Purpose and Mr Mark Moran, Chairperson of Common Purpose.


President McAleese stressed the value of the student leadership programmes, saying,

“The investment in each participant is an investment in community, society and country for these are the fields that are ploughed and planted by leaders and these are where the harvest of good is reaped”.


The President also welcomed the opportunity to visit the site of the new DIT campus, and was shown the Masterplan for the new campus by Professor Brian Norton.  Complimenting DIT and Professor Brian Norton, she said the development showed leadership and vision for the development in the north inner city Dublin.


During her visit, President McAleese also met with Brian Gormley, Manager of Campus Life and also spoke with two DIT students, Evan Farrell and Marian Kelleher, who were among the first graduates of the Common Purpose Pitstop programme.



The partnership with Common Purpose is part of the Campus Life Strategic Plan to develop the skills of the students who run and contribute to the student organisations that are an essential part of the student experience in DIT.  These practical leadership skills contribute significantly to the students’ employability skills, and are a good fit with DIT’s stated aim to be the HEI of choice for career-focused education.  The first ever Pitstop programme was successfully piloted in DIT last January.

Common Purpose is an educational, not-for-profit organisation that brings together people from a wide range of backgrounds to help them become more effective leaders in society, and has been operating in Ireland since 1996.

Over 400 DIT students participate in Leadership Training in DIT each year.  The Leadership Training Programme is coordinated by James Costello from the DIT Societies Office, and the Training brochure can be found here. For more information, please contact James at 3172 or at

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