Professor Aidan Moran: 1956-2020
In 1993, Aidan Moran came to sit at my table in the main restaurant at University College Dublin, where I was eating an egg and watercress sandwich. I was 10 years old and my mother, who was one of his students, had asked - as they were due to meet anyway - if he wouldn't mind chatting to me while she finished a tutorial. He asked me about what I was interested in studying when I went to university and we had a long, pleasant conversation I vividly remember.
Being from a working-class family I had never spoken to a man like Aidan, who was about 37 at the time. Thoughtful and accessible; he left me with me great optimism about who I might meet at university one day. He was also my mother's favourite lecturer; the only psychology lecturer in fact, whose name I could immediately recall. I learned of Aidan's death when, in the course of responding to a message from my mother, I looked up the spelling of his name.
I was going to remind her of Aidan's advice on the imprecise nature of catch-all, online surveys of mental health - which she had imparted to me - but instead wound up on an hour-long call about Aidan and his life. She credited him with advice about imagining how one might succeed - for which he was well known in sports psychology - rather than dwelling on how one might fail.
I have felt the benefit of this advice as indeed have the great many people whose lives Aidan has touched, indirectly or directly. I hope Aidan's family will read this story as it illustrates the scope of his influence. I offer my condolences while celebrating his life and his work; it represents a pedagogy of hope, that will extend beyond his life and our own.
University College Dublin has opened a book of condolences for Professor Aidan Moran which you can sign here.