Our Story

Our Vision

ATU will provide our students with a transformative university experience, empowering our graduates to fully contribute to the social, economic and cultural betterment of society.

We aim to invest in excellent applied learning, teaching and research environments, reflecting the real needs of business, enterprise and the professions in our region.

We aim to be a preferred partner for research and an enterprise innovator that attracts, supports and encourages students and staff from all over the world, enabling them to reach their full potential.


Proclamation Day at GMIT

Anniversaries & Commemorations


In the 1960s, Ireland was characterised by a small elite system of higher education, catering almost exclusively for professional and public sector employment. The Mulcahy Report (1967) recommended the establishment of a number of Regional Technical Colleges around the country, highlighting that Irish people generally did not have the opportunity to become technically skilled because of the prevalent academic bias in the educational system.

Increased technical knowledge and skills were regarded as essential prerequisites for further economic growth as was the promotion of innovation and enterprise. The Mulcahy Report recommended that the Regional Technical College in Galway be designated as the main centre outside Dublin for both craft and management education and training for the hotel industry.

The first students entered the Regional Technical College Galway on Monday 18 September 1972 and a new era in the educational history of the city and region began.


Role and Function

The Regional Technical Colleges’ Act of 1992 defined the function of the Regional Technical College sector as follows:

“To provide vocational and technical education and training for the economic, technological, scientific, commercial, industrial, social and cultural development of the state with particular reference to the region served by the College.”

This legislation also authorised a college, subject to such conditions as the Minister for Education may determine:

“To engage in research, consultancy and development work and to provide such services in relation to these matters as the Governing Body of the college considers appropriate.”

In 1998, the Regional Technical College Galway (RTC), was legally designated an Institute of Technology and renamed the Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT).

The Institutes of Technology Act 2006 inter alia, brought the Institutes under the aegis of the Higher Education Authority (up until then they were under the Department of Education), similar to Ireland’s university sector.

Currently, Technological University (TU) legislation is being drafted as a result of the National Strategy for Higher Education to 2030, which allows for amalgamated Institutes of Technology, upon reaching set criteria, to apply for re-designation as a TU


GMIT Timeline


1972 - Regional Technical College (RTC) Galway opens

1974 - First conferring ceremony at RTC Galway

1977 - First degrees in Hotel and Catering Management conferred, the first in an RTC

1984 - Industrial Liaison Office established

1987 - Partnerships with Franciscan Agricultural College, Mountbellew and Connemara West, Letterfrack

1993 - RTC Galway becomes an autonomous HEI under the Regional Technical Colleges Act 1992

1994 - Opening of Castlebar Campus and establishment of campus at Cluain Mhuire

1998 - Title changed to Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT)

2001 - Implementation of Delegated Authority for National Certificates and National Diplomas

2003 - Opening of IT Learning Centre at GMIT Galway

2004 - Extension of Delegated Authority and GMIT wins Sunday Times Institute of Technology of the Year

2005 - Innovation in Business Centre (IiBC) opens at GMIT Galway

2006 - Innovation in Business Centre (IiBC) opens at GMIT Castlebar

2006 - Delegated Authority to award PhDs in Aquatic Science and Mechanical Engineering

2006 - Formal collaborative agreement with Nanchang University, China

2007 - Wins Sunday Times Institute of Technology of the Year

2008 - New Nursing & Health Sciences building completed at GMIT Castlebar

2009 - Formal signing of first international agreement with Saudi Arabia

2010 - GMIT, AIT and WIT sign collaborative agreements in Saudi Arabia

2010 - GMIT signs agreements with 2 US institutions

2010 - Marion Coy retires as GMIT President.  Jim Fennell appointed Acting President

2011 - GMIT and Marine Institute form new strategic alliance

2011 - Michael Carmody appointed President

2011 - NUI Galway and GMIT sign strategic partnership

2012 - GMIT, IT Sligo and Letterkenny IT form new Connacht-Ulster Alliance (CUA)

2012 - GMIT and RTÉ form new partnership

2013 - GMIT, IT Sligo, LYIT and NUI Galway work towards a Cluster of HEIs in the West/North West Region

2014 - GMIT and LIT form a new strategic alliance

2014 - GMIT wins Sunday Times Institute of Technology of the Year (for 2015)

2015 - CUA submits EOI for re-designation as a Technological University

2015 - Dr Fergal Barry appointed President

2015 - Minister approves CUA application to proceed to Stage 2 of the Technological University process

2020 - Dr Orla Flynn appointed President 

2021 - GMIT, LYIT and IT Sligo approved for designation as a Technological University (TU)

2022 - GMIT, LYIT and IT Sligo officially become Atlantic Technological University on April 1st

Our Mission

To provide students with a transformative university experience, ATU will:

  • Enable access and opportunity for a diverse student community

  • Attract, retain and support highly talented staff

  • Maintain our positive staff-student interactions

  • Invest in innovative research and applied teaching and learning

  • Collaborate with government agencies, enterprise and the community

  • Develop confident professional, knowledgeable and skilled graduates who are equipped to contribute as global citizens

GMIT Strategic Plan 2019 - 2023 (PDF, 4.06MB)