School of Computing Building renamed to the McNulty Building

project5050

The School of Computing building has been formally renamed to the McNulty building in honour Kathleen (Kay) McNulty (1921-2006).  The Donegal-born computer programmer was one of the six original programmers of the ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer), the first general-purpose, electronic, digital computer developed in the US in 1946.

A total of six building in DCU were renamed as part of the DCU Women in Leadership initiative, Project 50:50 representing a commitment by DCU to name 50% of its major buildings after inspiring female figures.

Kathleen McNulty emigrated to the US with her family when she was just three years old to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She graduated with a degree in mathematics from Chestnut Hill College for Women in June 1942, one of only a few mathematics majors out of a class of 92 women. During World War II, she was hired by the US Army to calculate bullet and missile trajectories at Ballistic Research Laboratory in Aberdeen, Maryland using mechanical desk calculators. The ENIAC was developed for the purpose of performing these same ballistics calculations between 1943–1946. In June 1945, Kay was selected to be one of its first programmers, along with several other women from the computer corps department.

Ms Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD, Minister for Higher Education was the guest of honour at the event and performed the naming ceremony.  In her remarks, she welcomed the DCU initiative to create a diverse, inclusive culture, "I salute DCU for this initiative and fully endorse it. It is important that our higher education sector represents the diversity and innovation that are at the heart of Irish society. The strongest talent pipeline to meet the future needs of our economy is one which is fully representative of both women and men."

Professor Brian MacCraith, President of DCU explained, "Ireland has made many great contributions to the fields of science and technology through these renowned figures whom we honour today.  It is important that we celebrate and look to this rich seam of achievement to inspire current and future DCU students, particularly young women, to emulate the achievements of their predecessors, keeping the STEM tradition alive well into the future."

Kathleen McNulty’s daughter, Gini Mauchly Calcerano, travelled from the US to be in attendance at the event along with relatives from Kathleen’s home village of Creeslough in Donegal.

Read the DCU Women in Leadership Annual Report here.