Inaugural Peter Sloane Memorial Award in Recognition Of Exceptional Academic Performance In Economics. Newbridge College Prize Day - May 17th, 2015
Photo: Mr. Pat O'Brien, Anna Tighe and Alison Bough
Provincial Fathers, Board Members, Ladies & Gentleman,
I’m here today to present an award in my uncle’s name and I would like to take this opportunity to tell you a little bit about him. Peter Sloane was a past pupil of Newbridge College (class of 1969) and an economist. Within 10 years of leaving Newbridge Peter had completed his PhD. in Economics at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland and had taken up a position at the Central Bank. On the 8th of December 1979 Peter was cycling home, to Naas, from Dublin for the weekend because of a CIE bus strike. He had front and rear lights but was hit from the rear by a car, driven by a drunk driver who proceeded to leave the scene. Peter died a short time later. He was 27.
Peter was known for his incredible energy, his endless enthusiasm and also as an inspirational mountaineer who undertook many mountaineering expeditions to Europe and America’s Greater Ranges - at 26 he summited Mont Blanc. He kept meticulous logs and statistics of his ascents at home and abroad which posthumously contributed to the Irish Mountain Log. Peter was a founding member of the Dal Riada Climbing club which was established specifically as a club specialising in rock and ice climbing, alpinism and expedition climbing to the greater ranges. Today, membership is distributed throughout the island of Ireland operating both at home and abroad and Dal Riada continues today as a club at the cutting edge of Irish climbing and mountaineering.
Peter was a student who excelled throughout his academic career. He graduated with first-class honours from UCD in Economic Science and won a scholarship to complete his PhD in economics at Johns Hopkins University in the USA. His PhD was completed before he died but was sadly awarded posthumously. As I mentioned earlier, at the time of his death Peter was working for the Central Bank in Dublin. There are many letters from colleagues and academics who knew him stating their belief that Peter would have gone on to be one of the great minds and a shining light in the field of economic science had he lived.
Now, having three small children of my own, who also like to climb things and will hopefully be the third generation to attend Newbridge College, I am proud to establish this award in his name, in the subject of Economics. It will be awarded annually on Prize Day, to the student who best exemplifies the spirit of Peter’s love of Economic Science and achievement in the subject.
I was never destined to be an economist, maths was not my strong point (and I’m sure Mr. Conroy will attest to that!). I became a Psychologist because psychologists strive to find ways to improve the human condition. But economists are no different - they strive to improve our understanding of how economies work in the hope of helping society to find ways to improve the human condition. A well-functioning economy is of utmost importance for society, not only for the material well being of its citizens, but also for the social and cultural development of society as a whole.
The Economist magazine’s recent list of the 25 most influential economists caused uproar on account of a significant omission. Unfortunately, the Economist gave itself a special rule to exclude active central bankers, which meant that arguably the world’s most influential economist didn’t make the list. That economist is presently the Chair of the Federal Reserve of the United States.
That economist was previously the President and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco; Chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers under President Bill Clinton; and Professor Emerita at the University of California, Berkeley. That economist was the first woman to ever hold any of those positions and her name is Janet Yellen.
So, today, I am absolutely delighted to say that we have the next Janet Yellen sitting amongst us. On behalf of both my Uncle, my family and Newbridge College, I wish to convey my heartfelt congratulations to Anna Tighe for her achievements, and would like to ask her to step forward to be the first student to ever receive the Peter Sloane Memorial Award in Recognition Of Exceptional Academic Performance In Economics.
Past Pupil (1994 - 1999)