Senate is responsible for the ongoing strategic direction of the University, the management and administration of its revenue and property, and the general conduct of its affairs. Members of Senate are drawn from the academic staff, support staff and student body of the University and includes a number of appointed external lay members. It normally meets four times a year, and receives reports from a range of committees.
Dr Stephen Kingon took up his position as Chair of Senate on 1 January 2021.
Stephen graduated from Queen’s University in 1968 with a BA degree and subsequently completed a Diploma in Business Administration prior to joining Coopers and Lybrand in 1969. He qualified as a chartered accountant in 1972 and was admitted as a Partner in the firm in 1975 with responsibility for management consulting. In 1993, he was appointed Managing Partner in charge of the Northern Ireland firm.
In 1998, following the international merger of Coopers and Lybrand and Price Waterhouse, he was appointed Managing Partner of PricewaterhouseCoopers in Northern Ireland until his retirement in 2007.
Over the years he has held a number of Chairmanships and non-executive directorships across a range of sectors, including Action on Hearing Loss; Business in the Community; Invest Northern Ireland; Institute of Management Consultants; Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce; Northern Ireland Electricity and the Ulster Society of Chartered Accountants.
A Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants, he is the Principal of Stephen Kingon Associates, a consultancy.
Currently he is the Chairman of the Centre of Competitiveness and a distinguished fellow of the Global Federation of Competitiveness Councils. In addition, he is a non-executive director of ASG Holdings Limited; Balcas Limited; Collinbridge Limited; and NI Opera. In 2000, he was awarded a CBE for his services to Economic Development.
In 2012, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Queen’s University for services to business and economic development, and in 2014 he was admitted as a Member of the Royal Irish Academy due his work on cross border economic and business development.
Dr Len O'Hagan is a leading business figure in Ireland, with extensive national and international governance and directorial experience in both the private and public sectors.
Len graduated in Economics from Queen's University, and is currently Chair of Northern Ireland Water, Chair of the All-Island Congenital Heart Disease Network, and a Director of Mediahuis Group Ireland. A Fellow of the Institute of Directors, Dr O'Hagan's previous appointments include Chair of Belfast Harbour Commissioners; Chair of the Metropolitan Arts Centre (MAC); CEO of the Royal College of Physicians; and a Director of the Ireland - US Council. He has held senior positions in a number of international public companies including Smurfit; Fitzwilton; and Reed International and continues to be a Director in a number of private companies.
In 2011, Dr O’Hagan was awarded an Honorary Degree in Economics from the University of Ulster, and in 2013, was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Queen's for exceptional services to business and commerce. In 2014, Dr O’Hagan was awarded a CBE for his services to tourism and the economy in Northern Ireland.
Dr O’Hagan is a member of Hillsborough Castle Royal Historic Palaces and is also a Patron of Horatio’s Garden, Northern Ireland.
Orla is one of the founders since 2020 of Mac Zero Modular Buildings having been shareholder, Executive Chair and Business Development Director of The McAvoy Group Limited.
Orla graduated in 1988 with a BSc and Diploma in Accounting from Queen’s University and qualified as a Chartered Accountant with KPMG in 1992.
In 2000, Orla was appointed Managing Director of The McAvoy Group and Executive Chair in June 2014.
In 2007, she became the first woman to be introduced into the Invest NI Entrepreneurial Hall of Fame in recognition of her business achievements within the McAvoy Group and in 2008 Orla became a finalist at the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards.
She is a past winner of the Women in Business NI’s Award for Entrepreneurship / Innovation and the Outstanding Businesswoman of the Year. She holds the distinction of becoming the first Entrepreneur in Residence in the Leadership Institute at the Queen’s University Management School.
Orla is a previous Director of Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and The Odyssey Trust Company (OTC) as well as Chair of the Board of Governors of St Patrick’s Academy.
Orla received an OBE in 2011 for services to the construction industry in Northern Ireland.
Academic Council Representatives
Professor Donna Fitzsimons is Head of the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Queen’s University Belfast. She is an experienced clinical academic who has previously enjoyed a long-standing joint appointment between Belfast Health and Social Care Trust and Ulster University. Donna has strong international links and Chairs the Advocacy Committee within the Board of the European Society of Cardiology and is a founding member of the Global Leadership Forum for Cardiovascular Nursing. She holds an Editorial Board position on several international journals including the American Heart Journal Plus and the European Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing.
At a regional level she is Co-Clinical Lead for the Cardiovascular Clinical Research Network and Scientific Advisory Group Member of Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke Association. Donna has a history of successful research grant acquisition, is widely published and is regularly invited to present at international congresses. She has contributed to the development of several international Clinical Practice Guidelines and is a strong advocate of evidence informed care and patient involvement. She leads the Patient and Public Involvement strand of the iREACH project. Her research interests include, cardiac nursing, preventive cardiology, palliative care in chronic illness and research ethics.
Peter Robertson is Professor of Energy and Environmental Engineering in the School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering. His particular expertise is in the area of photocatalytic technology which has been utilised for both energy and water sustainability applications. This work has encompassed basic research on photocatalysis through to pilot processes development for water treatment and for solar energy conversion and storage. Prior to joining QUB in 2015 Peter spent nearly 20 years at Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen initially as a lecturer, then as Chair of Energy and Environmental Engineering and ultimately as Vice-Principal and Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research and Academic Support Services).
Peter is a member of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Strategic Advisory Network and the SUPERGEN High Level Group. He was a member of EPSRC’s Scientific Advisory Committee on Energy between 2018 and 2022. Peter was also a member of sub Panel 8, Chemistry for REF2021. He is a member of the editorial board of Journal of Physics Energy, Photochem and an Invited Editor of The Handbook of Environmental Chemistry Series Published by Springer Verlag, specifically co-editor of Volumes II and III on Environmental Photochemistry.
Academic Staff Representatives
Véronique is senior lecturer in Sociology in the School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work.
She completed her PhD in 2004 and her Habilitation (HDR) in 2015 at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes. Her research areas are contemporary transformations of religion and cross-national comparisons of responses to religious minorities – from cult controversies, anti-Semitism, religious exoticism, to messianic Christians. Véronique is also particularly interested in epistemological issues within the sociology of religion.
Her last monographs, From Yoga to Kabbalah: Religious Exoticism and the Logics of Bricolage (OUP, 2014), won the book award of the International Society for the Sociology of Religion in 2017. She published Bringing the Social Back into the Sociology of Religion (Brill, 2018), a collective work which focuses on critical and reflexive sociological studies of religion. Her latest book, Religion and Conflict in Northern Ireland: What Does Religion Do? (Palgrave, 2022) is the first critical and comprehensive review of the ways in which social sciences have interpreted religion’s significance in Northern Ireland.
Véronique has been UCU General Secretary, Secretary for Local Issues, and Equality Officer (2016-2019). She is also a member of Dearcán, a group of QUB staff, students and members of the education sector supporting Language Rights.
Leonie Hannan is a Senior Lecturer in Eighteenth-Century History, Director of the Centre for Eighteenth-Century Studies, Co-Lead for the Science and Culture Research Group at Queen's and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. Leonie has a professional background in the museums and heritage sector and currently researches cultures of enquiry in the eighteenth-century British Atlantic world, pursuing interests in gender, material culture and histories of home. Leonie also researches and publishes on innovative pedagogies for Higher Education.
Support Staff Representatives
Patricia has worked as an Outreach Officer with Widening Participation since joining Queen’s in 2008. Having previously worked with The Prince’s Trust and other community-based organisations, her work has centred on raising awareness of opportunity and access to higher education. In her current role, Patricia works in partnership with colleagues throughout the University to highlight the benefits of skills development and engages with students, schools, and partner organisations to help others develop and fulfil their potential.
Patricia obtained a degree in Business Studies and Diploma in Industrial Studies from the University of Ulster in 2001 and subsequently completed an MSc in Computing and Information Systems in 2003.
Gillian Riddell graduated from Dundee University in 1994 with a BSc (Hons) in Environmental Biology and Ecology. She first joined Queen’s as a Research Technician in the School of Biology and Biochemistry (now Biological Sciences) in 1995 on a temporary contract, becoming permanent staff in 1999.
Gillian is Technical Lead for the Technician Commitment at Queen’s, a Science Council initiative, which strives to increase Visibility, Recognition, Career Development and Sustainability for technical colleagues in Higher Education.
Emma Murphy is an English Literature graduate and the President of Queen’s Students’ Union for 2022-23. Emma was previously the Vice President for Education for Queen’s Students’ Union and has previously been involved in the Students’ Union as a School Rep for the School of Arts, English and Languages, President of the English Society and has also been a Lead Peer Mentor.
Emma is an activist and campaigner and is passionate about gender equality, climate action and education activism. She has also been a part of the Washington Ireland Class of 2021.
More information on the Students' Union is available at qubsu.org.
Eoin was elected as Chair of Convocation in November 2017. A Queen's University Belfast graduate, Eoin is a Qualified ACA with Chartered Accountants Ireland and is a Partner at Hill Vellacott, a Chartered Accountancy firm specialising in Advisory, Audit and Tax.
Eoin is a member of the Queen’s Audit Committee; a Member of the Board of QUBIS; and the Honorary Treasurer of Queen's Graduates' Association, playing a key role in the creation and organisation of a series of networking events that aim to promote and maintain the links between the University's graduates.
He also has a background in events production, amassing more than seven years' experience in both a management and operational capacity for a variety of high profile events including concerts, sporting events and corporate fundraising. He is also a Judge of the Institute of Hospitality Professionalism Awards.
External Lay Members
Briege is the Chief Executive Officer of Forward South Partnership, a charity which is one of the four area-based community/public/private regeneration partnerships in Belfast. She is responsible for the delivery of many targeted programmes which builds community capacity, systems for early intervention, education, health, good relations and digital inclusion ensuring the best outcomes for everyone through shared, collaborative working.
She is currently Co Chair of Belfast City Council’s multi agency Living Here Board which reports into the Belfast Agenda Community Planning Partnership. She also represents South Belfast in a number of city-wide partnerships - Shared City Partnership which focuses on improving good relations and support for BAME groups and the Jobs, Skills and Education Board. She has been a member of the Executive Committee for the Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action (NICVA) since 2021 and remains a member of the Chinese Welfare Association’s Advisory Committee. She is currently working with a number of agencies to deliver a support Hub for the many Roma families who live in Belfast and require navigation and support for access to health, education and employment.
Briege’s background is in community development and education and she previously chaired ministerial working groups to develop policies and protocols around shared use of school sites. She is passionate about equality, diversity and inclusion for all.
Roy Bailie is currently Chair and majority shareholder of the Baird Group, a publishing company employing 280 people in Co. Antrim, with offices across the United Kingdom. A graduate of Harvard Business School, Roy is a well-respected and experienced businessman who remains passionately involved in the activities of the Group and of the wider business community.
Roy has significant experience, built up over the last 46 years, of senior management and governance in the public, private and community organisations which he has led. This includes the following positions: Chair of the Baird Group (ongoing); Chair of the National Trust (NI) from 2011 to 2016; Chair of the Queen's University Belfast Students' Union Management Board from 2009 to 2016; and Board member of UTV PLC from 1997 to 2014.
As a former Chair of the Students' Union Management Board, Roy has gained an excellent understanding of the many and diverse challenges facing Higher Education. His close working relationship with the Students' Union has enabled him to view many of these challenges from a students' perspective.
Ellvena has extensive business experience, having worked across a number of different sectors including Energy, Banking, Agri-Food, Business Tourism, Higher Education & Sport.
Ellvena is Chairman of Tourism NI, Chairman of Catalyst Inc and a Non-Executive Director of Dale Farm Ltd. Amongst a range of other roles, she has been Chairman of the Electricity Supply Board (ESB), one of the major state-owned utilities in Ireland, a Non-Executive Director of Ulster Bank Ltd and was Chairman of Belfast Waterfront and Ulster Hall. Ltd. Until Aug 2022, Ellvena was President of NI Chamber of Commerce and Industry for two terms and is a past Chair of the NI Economic Advisory Group.
Ellvena has over 30 years’ experience in Banking, most recently at Executive Management level as Head of Ulster Bank in Northern Ireland, ending in 2015.
Ellvena is a Fellow of the Institute of Directors (IoD), a Fellow of the Institute of Banking and a Chartered Bank Director. She was awarded an OBE in the 2018 New Year’s Honours list for contribution to the economy and advancement of Women in Business. She received the IoD NI Non-Executive Director of the Year award in 2021.
Ellvena was appointed as the Senior Independent Governor of Senate in 2020.
Keith holds a BSc in Economics from Queen's University and is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland, holding an Audit Registration until his retirement.
Keith was an Audit Partner for UK and Ireland in the Assurance Services Group of a Big 4 accountancy practice, based in their Belfast office. Keith operated across the island of Ireland working with some of the largest and fastest growing companies on the Island. He also spent many years auditing private equity investee companies in GB. Previously he had worked with the practice on continental Europe.
He has chaired the Audit Committee at Queen’s since 2018.
Keith is the Chair and a Non-Executive Director of the Progressive Building Society. He chairs the Nomination Committee and is a member of the Personnel and Remuneration Committees. He previously served as chair of the Audit Committee and as a member of the Risk Committee.
He is a Non-Executive Director of Northern Ireland Networks Electricity Limited (“NIE”), the organisation which owns the electricity transmission and distribution network in NI. Keith chairs the Audit and Risk Committee at NIE and regularly attends the employee forum as a director representative.
Honor was a partner within the PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) consulting business, with responsibility for the international PwC Research team. She joined the firm (then Coopers & Lybrand) in 1993 as a market research consultant for public and private sector clients and progressed to partnership in 2008. Her expertise spans the areas of research, strategy, customer experience, governance and business leadership.
Honor graduated with an MSc from Queen’s University and an MBA from Ulster University. She has a Postgraduate Diploma in Marketing and is a member of both the Market Research Society and Chartered Institute of Marketing.
Feargal is proud of his association with Queen's University, having graduated with an Economics honours degree in 1982 and successfully completed the postgraduate diploma in Accounting in 1983. In the academic year 1982-83 he became the inaugural President of the Queen's University Accountancy Society.
On 26 September 2018, Feargal was awarded Managing Partner of the year at the British Accountancy Awards and was commended “for going above and beyond by demonstrating the highest levels of innovation, business strategy and quality of service”. In 2019, Feargal was selected as The Irish Accountant of the Year. In June 2012, Feargal received the prestigious All-Ireland Award from the Institute of Management Consultants NI Region and the Institute of Management Consultants and Advisors (Ireland) in recognition “of his significant contribution to business and public life in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland over the past 20 years.”
Under his leadership FPM Accountants, which he founded in 1991, has grown significantly in size and influence. It now operates out of 5 locations with over 120 employees across the Island of Ireland and has won many national and regional awards. In May 2022, FPM became an AAB Group Company. Feargal was elected President of Chartered Accountants Ireland in May 2018 and has been awarded Honorary Doctorate degrees by both Queen’s University Belfast (2021) and Ulster University (2018).
Leo was a senior civil servant for over 25 years working firstly in the Northern Ireland Office. For the last 11 years of his career, he was the Permanent Secretary of three Northern Ireland departments. In the Department of Finance, he was responsible for the strategic management of public expenditure in Northern Ireland and liaison with HM Treasury on public expenditure allocations and priorities; EU structural funds spending in Northern Ireland; and personnel policy and strategic management of the NI Civil Service.
In the Department of the Environment, he was responsible for the planning system; reform and reorganisation of local government; climate change policy; environmental policy; and vehicle and road haulage policy. In the Department for Communities, he was responsible for social welfare; housing; local government; museums and libraries; arts, culture, sports, and leisure policy; and the regulation of charities.
Since he left the civil service in 2019 Leo has retained and developed his interests in governance, management, education and promoting leadership skills among SMEs. He is a non-executive member and deputy chair of the Independent Monitoring Authority (established by the UK Government post Brexit to protect the continuing rights of EU/EFTA citizens living in the UK); deputy chair of the Governing Bodies Association (NI) ( the representative body for all 50 voluntary grammar schools in NI); chair of the Board of Governors of Our Lady & St Patrick’s College, Knock; an independent member of the audit and risk committee in the Office of the Police Ombudsman for NI: and a director of the Timoney Leadership Institute, (an Associate School of IESE Business School, Barcelona), an all-island body established to create and promote high quality senior leadership programmes to business leaders in the private and public sectors.
Leo was awarded CB in the New Year’s Honours 2017 for public service in Northern Ireland.
Mairéad was Group Human Resources Director, Wireless Group (formerly UTV Media plc) for 19 years. During that time, UTV underwent significant change, transforming itself from purely a regional television company into one of the most successful media groups in the UK and Ireland, with interests in television, radio, publishing, and new media. Mairéad was instrumental in implementing the successful integration of strategic acquisitions which saw staff numbers more than quadruple to over 900.
Mairéad is currently an Associate Consultant and Coach with Clarendon Executive, an HR Consultant and Life/Executive Coach.
Prior to her role in UTV, Mairéad held a number of human resources positions. She was Human Resources and Training Manager with CAPITA Management Consultants and Human Resources Executive with LEDU (now Invest NI), where she worked both internally with staff implementing change processes and programmes and externally, providing advice and assistance to LEDU Client companies on human resources and management development issues.
Mairéad is a Board member of N.I. Opera and a former Board Member of Creative Skillset (the UK Sector Skills Council for the Creative Industries). She chaired the Skillset/Northern Ireland Screen Skills Panel for 10 years. She was a panel member on the Creative Skillset Northern Ireland Board and chaired the Industry Advisory Board for the Skillset Media Academy in Northern Ireland. She was also a Board Member of the Grand Opera House Trust in Belfast and graduated from Queen's University with a First Class Honours in Psychology.
Ms Kelly Robinson is the current Chief Executive of the Northern Ireland Police Fund; an arm’s length public body of the Department of Justice. Ms Robinson holds an honorary Visiting Scholar title, School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work, Queen’s University, Belfast, and from 2019 to 2021 she was a Civic Fellow at the Ulster University. Kelly studied Psychology at Queen’s University, Belfast, and postgraduate Sustainable Investment at the Ulster University Business School.
Kelly has a background in the field of national and international conflict transformation and peace building as a qualified mediator and has over 25 years’ experience in delivering programmes that contribute to social, physical, and economic regeneration in Northern Ireland. In 1999 she was selected for the American Management Business Internship Training programme ran by the U.S. Department of Commerce's International Trade Administration (ITA), in collaboration with the International Fund for Ireland (IFI).
In March 2021, Ms Robinson was publicly appointed by the Minister for Communities as a Director of the Northern Ireland Museums Council. Kelly has also held positions on the Board Directors of the Belfast Hills Partnership; a public appointment to the Board of the Northern Ireland Police Fund; and as a member of the Belfast Resilience and Sustainability Board.
Patricia was Head Teacher in Victoria College Belfast from 2005-2018, where she promoted global education and active citizenship. The College was awarded the International School Award and the Inclusion Quality Mark and was recognised as a specialist school for Science. Patricia is committed to education and providing opportunities to all young people, with significant experience of governance, strategic planning and making an impact with others.
She was a member of the Council for Education in World Citizenship, the Association of School and College Leaders, the Post Primary Transfer Steering Committee and the South Belfast Area Learning Community. Having taught in St Ciaran’s College, Ballygawley and St. Patrick’s Academy, Dungannon, she worked as a Field Officer with the Belfast Education and Library Board providing curriculum advice and support for two years before taking up a teaching position in Victoria College.
She has been a member of the Council for Legal Education at the Institute for Professional Legal Studies and is a lay member of the Student Union Management Board at QUB. She is also a member of the Board of the Council for the CCEA where she sits on the Educational and Finance Committees.
Patricia graduated from Queen’s University with a BA Honours degree in French Language and Literature, before completing her PGCE with commendation and a Masters Degree in Education. She completed the Professional Qualification in Headship and holds an Executive Coaching Diploma through AoEC.