UCC was established in 1845 as one of three Queen’s Colleges at Cork, Galway, and Belfast. These new colleges were founded in the reign of Queen Victoria and named after her. Queen's College, Cork (QCC) was established to provide access to higher education in the Irish province of Munster. The site chosen for the new college was dramatic and picturesque, on the edge of a limestone bluff overlooking the River Lee. On the 7th of November, 1849, QCC opened its doors to a small group of 115 students after a glittering inaugural ceremony in the Aula Maxima (Great Hall), which is still the symbolic and ceremonial heart of the University. From 1850, QCC was part of the Queen's University of Ireland and, from the 1880s, of the Royal University of Ireland. By the beginning of the twentieth century, however, it was clear that higher education in Ireland required a new arrangement to permit the next stages of development. That change came in 1908 with the founding of the National University of Ireland (NUI), of which the former QCC, now University College Cork (UCC) is a founding member. Since 1908, UCC has grown from 115 students to over 20,000, from one building to dozens, from less than 20 staff to more than 1,600 today. Since 1997, we have become a university in our own right within the NUI, but we retain the UCC name as part of our heritage of learning since 1845.