Applications open for scholarship in engineer’s memory at UCC

Elmer Morrissey, who died in a yacht racing accident in the US.

The team behind a special University College Cork scholarship set up in honour of an Irish energy engineer who died in a US yachting accident have encouraged people to apply for this year’s award.

The first recipient of the Dr Elmer Morrissey Scholarship, Kevin Leahy, a UCC PhD student, said he used it to spend a year studying at the University of California, Berkeley.

“The prestige of the scholarship greatly helped me in my application to the lab I hoped to work at, and the funding provided me with much needed help for the set up expenses of moving to the United States,” said Mr Leahy.

“Since getting over here, I’ve tried to follow Elmer’s example and get involved with as many different groups and clubs as possible. The experience has been absolutely amazing so far, and wouldn’t have been possible without the scholarship.”

The Dr Elmer Morrissey Scholarship committee said it is now accepting applications ahead of awarding the second scholarship in a few weeks.

It will award a €1,500 scholarship to a UCC engineering student who demonstrates academic excellence, contributions to student life, and an interest in improving their world. The closing date for applications is February 20.

Dr Morrissey, from Glounthaune, Co Cork, was one of eight crew racing a sailboat in the Farallones Race in San Francisco Bay on April 14, 2012, when their vessel was capsized by two freak 45ft waves.

Dr Morrissey, 32, and fellow Irish man, Alan Cahill, 36, from Killeens, Co Cork, were among five people who died.

Dr Morrissey earned a bachelor of engineering, civil and environmental, in UCC in 2002, and a doctorate of engineering in 2006 also in UCC. He was involved in many extracurricular activities, including the UCC hockey and sailing clubs, rugby, kite-surfing, and sailing. He was working as a post-doctoral researcher in Berkeley when he died.

After his death, a group of his friends, many of them UCC alumni, decided to turn their loss into an opportunity for someone else. They formed a committee, raised funds, and established the Dr Elmer Morrissey Memorial Scholarship.

They awarded the first scholarship to Mr Leahy last April, and have now invited applications for the second annual scholarship.

Details of scholarship and its requirements are available on and an application form can be downloaded from


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