Development & Alumni Relations Office 

Sean Fulton (died 22 January 2016, aged 82)

A tribute to Professor Fulton can be found on the School of education website.

Professor Emeritus Sean Francis Fulton, MA 1964, former Dean of the Faculty of Education, Provost and Pro-Vice-Chancellor at Queen’s, died peacefully at Park Manor Nursing Home on January 22 after a long illness.

Born on 21 September 1933, Sean played football for Ballymena, Cliftonville and Crusaders and represented Ulster as a junior tennis player. He began his professional career as a maths teacher in St Patrick’s Secondary School in Belfast. Six years later, he took up a lectureship at St Joseph’s College of Education, now St Mary’s Teacher Training College.

A move to Queen’s Department of Education, and a doctorate from Keele University in 1975 preceded his appointment to a Chair of Education the following year and to Head of Department the following year. During his time as Head of School Sean was committed to improving its research profile, initiating the process which has seen it become one of the strongest research Schools in the UK and Ireland.

A successful career at Queen’s lead him to become Dean, Provost and ultimately Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the University.

As chair of a number of University spin-out companies Sean Fulton was instrumental in forging links with industry and was the driving force behind the University’s push to establish a Northern Ireland Science Park. In 1995, he chaired Queen’s Sesquicentenary Committee which, over 12 months, celebrated the University’s 150th birthday. One of the highlights of the year was an official reception hosted by Queen Elizabeth at St James’s Palace in London, which was attended by President Mrs Mary Robinson, the first time the Irish Head of State had met a British monarch.

He chaired a review group on careers education and guidance for the NI Assembly and managed the Northern Ireland Fund for Reconciliation, established by Senator George Mitchell and leaders of the political parties in Northern Ireland which signed the Good Friday Agreement. 

In December 2000 Queen’s awarded Sean Fulton an Honorary Degree in recognition of his immense contribution to the University over many years.

In 'retirement' he became the inaugural Director of Development at Queen’s, Sean Fulton established the office which is now the backbone of the University’s fundraising, designed to raise the local and international profile of Queen’s. He served on the Foundation Board from June 1998 to March 1999.

Sean Fulton is survived by his wife Betty, daughter Mary (Rye), son Greg and grandchildren Camilla, Matthew, Richard, Emily, Sean, Isobel and Daniel.


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