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Alexandra College

Alumnae

For more information about the Alumnae Reunion Dinner, please click here.

Calling all Alexandrans! 

Be part of a global community of strong, kind, supportive women of character.

Keep in touch - Please update your contact details or subscribe to the Alex Alumnae mailing list to keep in touch, get the latest news and invitations to events, reunions, network and community initiatives.

 

ALUMNAE OVERVIEW

For many generations, Alexandra College has played a key part in the developing role of women in every sector of society in Ireland and around the world.

From a time when higher education and the workplace were closed to women, through to the abundant opportunities and ongoing challenges of the 21st Century, the College has upheld the Quaker principles of equality and fairness for all.

As Alex girls have left the College and moved on to a wide range of careers and lives elsewhere, they have always sought to maintain their College ethos, values, and friendships.

 

ALEXANDRA COLLEGE ALUMNAE ASSOCIATION

The Alexandra College Alumnae Association remains a forum for Alex girls across the generations and across the globe to keep in touch and make a difference.

It provides a network for women who seek to support each other through their lives. And it does so much more besides.

Formed in 1897 as the Alexandra Guild, the aims of the Alumnae Association were: ‘to form a bond of union among present students, to keep past students in touch with the College…to encourage the undertaking by them of useful work…and to interest them in, and inform them about, women’s work’.

Those aims remain at the centre of what we do today. 

“A Bond of Union”

We organise three annual events to bring people together:

  • The AGM and Reunion Dinner is the highlight and is held at the school every year on the second Saturday in May. All past pupils are welcome to the reunion dinner - a great opportunity to mark ten-year school year anniversaries.
  • The annual Father and Daughter Pancake Breakfast is held every March and raises substantial funds for the Bursaries Charity. 5th and 6th year girls help out and the pancakes and chocolate sauce receive much praise.
  • The Spring Lunch is traditionally held at Marco Pierre Whites in Donnybrook and coincides with International Women’s Day. The event is a big fund-raiser for the Bursaries Charity, specifically supporting up to 18 Annual Bursaries for Women in Need and ensures the sustainability of our charity. TY students play a big role on the day and parents and alumnae are encouraged to donate prizes for the auction.

 

ALEX ALUMNAE NETWORK

We love to celebrate our Alumnae and to share their endeavours, challenges and success stories with the College community to inspire, encourage and provide support to our current students, recent graduates and Alumnae at all stages of their lives.

Whether you are launching or developing a business; driving or volunteering for a cause; training for a sports event; raising a family, we invite you to engage with us by sending us news about your ventures and those of your fellow Alexandrans. Even if you haven’t been in touch with the College since your graduation, we’d love to hear how you’re doing. You never stop being an Alex girl.

If you have a cause, campaign, mission or business, let us know how you’re progressing and allow us to help promote and engage support for your ideas and initiatives. Please update your contact details here and email us at alumnae@alexandracollege.ie to share your business, campaign or cause with us or to start a discussion about how we could best share it with the Alex Community.

The Alex Alumnae Network connects past pupils with other former Alex girls, offers you the opportunity to network with them and supports you in your career, profession, business or cause.

Would you like to be involved with a vibrant, women’s network made up of your fellow Alumnae? We aim to build a comprehensive database of Alexandrans from all walks of life to come together to build relationships, share contacts and ideas and create personal, professional and business opportunities for all.

The Alex Alumnae Network runs a series of events called “Alex Does”, for example the very successful “Alex Does Food” and “Alex Does Finance”. These events bring together alumnae to share their career stories. We are always looking for fresh, new ideas as to how to support our network.

To connect with the Alex Alumnae Network, please update your contact details here.

 

ALUMNAE IN THE NEWS

Simone Rocha

Past pupil Simone Rocha studied Art for her Leaving Certificate exams in Alexandra College and graduated in 2004.

In 2008 she graduated with a BA in Fashion from The National College of Art and Design in Dublin, continuing in 2010 to graduate from the acclaimed Fashion MA at Central Saint Martin’s College, London. Simone debuted at London Fashion Week in September 2010.

Simone has received accolades including the 2013 “Emerging Designer British Fashion” Award, “Young Designer of the Year” at The Harper’s Women of the Year Awards 2014, the 2014 British Fashion Award for “New Establishment Designer” and much more.

In August 2015 Simone opened her first shop on Mount Street in London and now has a store in New York and stockists around the world, including Dover Street Market in London and Havana in Dublin, Ireland.

The Irish Times recently reviewed Simone's Fall 2020 collection at London Fashion Week. You can read the full article on the Irish Times website here.

Mavis Arnold

Mavis Arnold graduated from Alexandra College in 1954. Her groundbreaking work in investigative journalism inspired movies like The Magdalene Sisters.

Her political activism saw her become a founding member of the Women’s Political Association, with figures like Gemma Hussey and Mary Henry.

You can read the full article on the Independent website here.

Susan Denham

Susan Denham left Alexandra College in 1961. In the Four Courts during the early 1970s, Denham belonged to a small group of women who broke new ground just as the women’s movement was raising its voice outside. In the macho world of the law library, she would often be the only woman in a courtroom.

In December 1992, Susan Denham became the first woman to be appointed to the Supreme Court. She served as Justice of the Supreme Court from 1992 to 2017, retiring in July. The Irish Times profiled Denham following her retirement, articulating a signature style that was "clear, unadorned, and principled." The full article may be read here.

A portrait of Susan, the former Chief Justice of Ireland, has been mounted on the walls at the Honorable Society of King’s Inns. Susan is the first woman to be put on these walls. The portrait is only mounted once the office-holder has retired.

The Fine Arts Committee commissioned the portrait of the former Chief Justice now gracing the walls in their historic Dining Hall. The portrait may be seen here.

Reverend Canon Liz McElhinney

In November 2017, a selection of poems penned by Liz McElhinney were read by internationally acclaimed actor Ian McElhinney at a very special evening of poetry and music in Shankill Parish Church, Lurgan.

Reverend Canon Liz McElhinney (nee Maguire) is a past pupil of Alexandra College. Canon McElhinney grew up in Abbeytown, Co Roscommon with her father, Rev J Maguire. She left Alex in 1961 and achieved 4 Honours in her Intermediate Certificate.

In her early life, Liz worked at Portadown Technical College in Lurgan and was regarded as a very gifted teacher. After training in Dublin, she became a curate in Magheralin.

Reverend Canon Liz McElhinney passed away in June 2017 after battling Motor Neurone Disease.

Read more here.

Toni Letts

Toni Letts grew up in Dublin and attended Alexandra College before going to London to train as a nurse. She joined the Labour Party and has served as a councillor in Selhurst since 1986. Toni then went on to become Madam Mayor twice and was awarded an OBE in 1994 for her services to housing and the community.

Toni was first moved by homelessness whilst nursing in Guy’s Hospital in the late ’60s and went on to help rebuild Croydon YMCA from being on the brink of bankruptcy into South London YMCA.

 

ALEXANDRA COLLEGE ALUMNAE BURSARIES CHARITY

In a forward-thinking move, back in 1897, the College set up the Alexandra College Alumnae Bursaries Charity to put into practice the school’s philanthropic ethos.

The Bursaries Charity’s initial aim was to assist Alex Alumnae and former staff of the College who found themselves in financial difficulty. Today the Charity supports 18 annual bursaries for women in financial difficulty.

Through the work of the Alumnae Bursaries Charity, Alexandra College students past and present assist women, of all denominations and from all walks of life, whether or not they are connected to the College. In  doing so we give something back to the community and acknowledge our own fortunate circumstances.

Our Bursaries Charity Committee is the powerhouse of the charity:

Alexandra College Alumnae Bursaries  Committee 2019/20 – Clodagh Lenehan (Chair), Priscilla Kirwan-Browne (Hon Sec), Ann Marie Hyland (Hon Tres), Sinéad Buckley Quinn, Gemma Dargan, Jane Grindle, Aisling O’Kelly, Fiona Ryan and Susan Whelan.

The important work of the committee is only possible due to the support of Alex Alumnae making donations to the charity or supporting the fundraising events run by the committee.

 

Alex Alumnae Annual Bursaries Appeal

Our mission is to improve the quality of life for the women we support.

Make a Gift 

 

HELPING WOMEN WITH FINANCIAL SUPPORT

This is the oldest charity associated with Alexandra College.

We support 18 women, of any religious denomination, who are experiencing financial difficulties, through an annual bursary. These women receive an income supplement of €1,980 p.a. paid in bi-monthly instalments; a Hamper at Christmas; and two visits per year from a committee member. The Bursaries Charity annually award one Bursary to the Women’s Refuge to provide help for women leaving the shelter to start an independent life.

We need to raise an additional €20,000 p.a. to maintain our 18 bursaries. We are a voluntary committee comprised of alumnae and depend solely on the generosity of the parents and alumnae of Alexandra College to provide money for these bursaries. The expenses incurred by this charity are minimal and are limited to bank charges and postage costs.

The committee work to ensure that all donations go directly to the women who are in need. Our operational costs are €36,000 p.a. and currently we are running at a deficit of €20,000 p.a. so in order to maintain the bursaries, the committee needs your help.

Please help us to help these women through a one-off donation or better still an annual Standing Order donation. For more donation information, please click here.

 

Application for a Bursary and offers of new collectors can be made in confidence by contacting:

The Hon. Secretary, Alexandra College Bursaries Committee, c/o Alexandra College, Milltown, Dublin 6.

Email: alexalumnaebursaries@gmail.com

 

The Alumnae Annual Bursaries Appeal is supported by the Annual Charity Lunch. 

This event supports up to 18 Annual Bursaries and ensures the sustainability of our charity. TY students play a big role on the day and parents and alumnae are encouraged to donate prizes for the auction.

This year’s Charity Lunch will take place on Friday 6 March at Marco Pierre White’s in Donnybrook. There will be a Prosecco reception from 12 pm, followed by lunch and entertainment. 

Tickets for this event are now sold out. We look forward to seeing you there!

 

This year the Alex Charity Concert Evening, brought to you by the Music Department in Alexandra College, will also support the Alex Bursary Charity. This is the biggest event in the Music Department annual calendar and will be held on Thursday 26th March in the HWC. The evening will include orchestras, bands, ensembles and choirs and will showcase the talent and versatility of the Alex Students and Music Department. The theme is The Beatles so it promises to be an exciting and fun filled evening. There will be a Prosecco Reception before in the HWC hosted by the Alumnae. We would love to see you all there.

 Tickets are available now on EasyPay. 

View document beatles_poster_hr.pdf

 HELPING WOMEN IN OUR LOCAL COMMUNITY

We help women in our local shelter to start a new life.

Starter Grant

The Alexandra College Alumnae Bursaries Committee is pleased to have formed a link with a local Women’s Shelter. Each year we provide a grant to assist two women as they leave the shelter to help them establish new lives (e.g. a deposit on an apartment and/or buy household necessities).

 

Wash Bag Appeal

Alexandra College Alumnae Bursaries Charity Wash Bag Appeal takes place in March each year.

Women and children who leave their violent or abusive home, often arrive at any time of the day or night often without any personal possessions. Can you imagine leaving your house one night, arriving at a strange place, hoping you can stay and waking up the next morning without a toothbrush to brush your teeth or a hairbrush to do your hair?

We provide each woman arriving at the shelter with a wash bag, containing essential toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, soap/body wash, shampoo, deodorant and a hairbrush).

These wash bags are donated to the Women’s Refuge.  Toiletries, and other things that we take for granted, are very scarce commodities at the Women’s Refuge. The Transition Year (TY) pupils coordinate the collection of deodorant, shower gel, shampoo, moisturiser etc. and arrange them into cheery wash bags .

As a reward for the students’ participation in the project, a ‘Pizza Party’ is up for grabs for the TY form that makes up and donates the most wash bags!

In 2019 over 500 wash bags were donated, providing nearly a year’s supply for women at the refuge, and so very much appreciated by them.

New wash bag essentials, including perhaps unwanted Christmas gift sets are gratefully received. 

 

ALEXANDRA GUILD HOUSE (NOW COWPER CARE)

A retirement home for elderly ladies, the Alexandra Guild House was established in 1954 in Harold’s Cross. Due to changing times – staffing, salaries, maintaining Health Board conditions – it was agreed to merge the Guild House with Cowper Care. A new, purpose-built nursing home and sheltered housing facility were built on a greenfield site, kindly donated by Kilternan Parish. 

Cowper Care opened its doors in July 2007 and the independent living houses were named Alexandra Close. Women from Alexandra Guild House moved either to Cowper Care in Cowper Road or to the Kilternan premises.

Cowper Care needs the continued support of Alex Alumnae, so volunteers, donations and bequests are gratefully received. Alexandra students, particularly TY students, visit Gascoigne House in Cowper Road and the Kilternan property during term time. These visits are greatly appreciated by the women and students alike.

To make a gift, please click here.

 

HELPING WOMEN FEEL CONNECTED AND VALUED

See below some comments from the beneficiaries:

What a lovely surprise to receive another hamper from you this year, I never take it for granted! It is always filled with so many delights; it means so much to think of the girls choosing so many thoughtful gifts for me. It is the only gift I received at this time of year. It makes my Christmas bearable.

I had to leave my family home due to domestic violence a number of years ago with my two small boys. We ended up in a Women’s Shelter during Christmas week. Although we are all doing well now, I find this time of the year so hard. When my hamper arrives I try to put all the bad things behind me and am so very thankful that so many people are thinking of me. The hamper is full of wonderful treats. Please thank the girls for their kindness, generosity and the time they put into making up the hamper; I really appreciate it.

I am not about to get around as much as I used to. With my grant, I was able to refit my bathroom and install a shower. Your help is very much appreciated.

I received a very large electricity bill, my cheque arrived from the Bursaries Committee and I was ever so grateful for the help.

Thankfully my 11-year-old car passed the NCT, without my grant, I would be unable to ensure it, very many thanks for my grant.

I had been very neglectful about visiting the dentist as I was very worried about the cost. I had broken fillings and was in a lot of pain. With the bursary grant I was able to get urgent dental treatment, thank you so much for your help.

 

Application for a Bursary and offers of new collectors can be made in confidence by contacting:

The Hon. Secretary, Alexandra College Bursaries Committee, c/o Alexandra College, Milltown, Dublin 6.

Email: alexalumnaebursaries@gmail.com