At a ceremony last Friday at University College Cork (UCC), William Clay Ford, Jr., Executive Chairman of Ford Motor Company and great-grandson of Henry Ford, announced the establishment of the Ford Centenary Quercus Scholarship. Established to commemorate the centenary of Ford in Ireland, the Ford Centenary Quercus Scholarship will run for five years, beginning with the 2017-18 academic year and will run until 2022. UCC’s Quercus Talented Students’ programme, has been running since 2015 and seeks to support and promote excellence for prospective undergraduate students and students already registered in UCC.
The new Ford Centenary Quercus Scholarship will target in particular students who show outstanding promise in the areas of Active Citizenship and Innovation / Entrepreneurship, seeking to nurture the talent of each student through support, challenge and mentoring. Over the five year scholarship period, the new programme will help approximately 50 talented students to realise their potential and to fully develop their talents through educational and practical support.
“With both deep personal and business connections to Ireland, I am delighted to celebrate not only 100 years of Ford in Ireland this week, but also to support the advancement of talented students at UCC with this new scholarship programme,” said William Clay Ford, Jr. “While we have a lot to celebrate about our past, I’m especially excited that this scholarship provides the opportunity for us to support a new generation of innovators and leaders that can help shape the future for the next 100 years.”
Professor Patrick G. O’Shea, President of UCC said: “We are delighted that Ford has chosen to mark and celebrate their centenary in Cork by supporting outstanding talent at our University. UCC, too, has played an integral part in the life of Cork being founded 172 years ago in 1845 at the start of the famine. The University has overcome many challenges over its long history and is proud now to be in a position where it was designated the Sunday Times University of the Year 2017 for the second year in a row, the only Irish university to receive such a distinction. Nurturing talent is what we are about as well as preparing our students for active citizenship in the social, economic, cultural and political spheres when they graduate from University College Cork.”
Following the announcement of the Ford Centenary Quercus Scholarship, William Clay Ford, Jr., received an honorary Doctorate of Economic Science from UCC and the National University of Ireland (NUI). This is the latest chapter in the long-standing relationship between Henry Ford & Son Ltd. and UCC which stretches right back to the 1920s. In 1927, UCC President Professor PJ Merriman arranged for the conferral of an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws on Henry Ford in order to ‘reflect the appreciation of the great advantage conferred on the City of Cork by Ford in locating his factory there”. And through the decades, many graduates of the University have found employment with the company through graduate recruitment programmes which continue right up to today.
Monday, April 17 this year marked exactly 100 years since Henry Ford established Henry Ford & Son Limited on the Marina in Cork, his ancestral home city. It also kicked off a week-long series of activity with William Clay Ford, Jr., in Cork for to mark the centenary and participate in a number of commemorative events, including a visit back to the ancestral home of the Ford family in Ballinascarthy, Co. Cork. Ford participated in a commemorative event at Ballinascarthy, unveiled a plaque marking the centenary, and an event recognising the contributions of Henry Ford & Son Ltd. pensioners at a Civic Reception hosted by the Cork City Lord Mayor Cllr. Des Cahill. The week-long celebration concludes with a Gala Event at Cork City Hall on Friday evening April 21.