THE McCLAY LIBRARY QUEENS UNIVERSITY 24 JUNE 2014
This unusual sculpture, by French artist Marc Didou, was acquired by the university in 2008 to both mark the centenary of Queen’s as well as the opening of the library.
Marc Didou is a Breton sculptor, winner of the Michetti Prize in 2005, with many solo and group exhibitions in Europe and elsewhere. Since the 1990s he has used MRI scanning as a new medium for sculpture.
Based on the physics principle of nuclear resonance imaging, thanks to complex software and data elaboration procedures, MRI creates images of the human body particularly used for medical research and diagnosis.
According to Queen’ University: “The McClay Library brings together wide-ranging library, computing and media services in a single location, blending the best features of a traditional library with the latest technology. Study facilities include both places for quiet study and significant provision for group work, allowing students to follow their own individual learning style. Training provided by Information Services is also based in the building. The library’s extensive book and journal collections support teaching and research in the arts and humanities, science and engineering, the social sciences and law.”
Sir Allen McClay CBE (21 March 1932 – 12 January 2010 was a Northern Irish multi-millionaire businessman and philanthropist who founded Galen (later Warner Chilcott), a pharmaceutical company which was Northern Ireland’s first one billion pound business. After resigning from Galen in 2001, he went on to form a second successful pharmaceutical company, the Almac Group.
McClay established the McClay Trust in 1997, a charitable organisation which supports research and development activities within Queen’s University Belfast. The trust has donated £20 million to the university, which has included sponsorship of PhD studentships at the university’s Cancer Research centre. The trust also funded the £3.5m McClay Research Centre at the School of Pharmacy which opened in 2002, and contributed money to the building of the new University Library at Queen’s, which opened in 2009 and is now named after McClay.
McClay was reported by the 2009 Sunday Times Rich List to be Northern Ireland’s sixth richest person, with his wealth estimated at £190 million. In 2009, he used his wealth to establish the McClay Foundation, a charitable trust focused on cancer research.