1865 – 1945, born in Tralee. He graduated from the Royal University before studying under leading physiologists in various European cities. Appointed as a lecturer in UCD’s premises on Cecilia Street in 1893, he became Professor of Physiology four years later. His final position before the presidency was as Dean of the Catholic University Medical School in 1905. Following the signing of the University Act in 1908, which saw the demise of the Royal University as well as the Jesuits’ involvement with it, and the birth of University College Dublin, it was decided that the first head of UCD should be a layman. Dr Coffey’s appointment as President in 1908 was widely believed to be the result of strong canvassing on his behalf by John Dillon of the Irish Parliamentary Party. Dr Coffey was often referred to as “the students’ professor”. As President he maintained a keen interest in students and their welfare, often lecturing two or three times a day and continuing to carry out his laboratory work. He also found time to attend or chair committee meetings concerning the welfare of students. First President of UCD. Physician. Prominent part in Irish language movement. Presented to record Holy Father’s appreciation of his services in higher education since 1908, i.e. the establishment of the National University.