It's a day of new beginnings for education in the southeast as the country's latest, and region's first, university comes into existence.

Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris today signed the order establishing the South East Technological University (SETU), following the amalgamation of Waterford IT and IT Carlow, describing it as "a red-letter day" for the region.

"Now for the first time a university stands in the southeast," Mr Harris said.

"This new university can build on the enormous strengths of both institutes and really put a mark on the quality of higher education, employment, enterprise and skills creation, expanded research, socio-economic and regional development in the vibrant southeast. The new university will be building on and with very firm foundations."

The minister paid tribute to staff, management and students on all campuses involved for their hard work over the last decade in ensuring the new university came into being.

"While today is the start of a brand new journey, it is only one step on the road. This will be matched by investment, investment in infrastructure and new buildings, investment in education, investment in research."

Professor Veronica Campbell was named last week as the inaugural president of the new university while chairman of the governing body is Professor Patrick Prendergast, a former provost of Trinity College Dublin.

"It marks a new dawn for the region, and we in the governing body share an immense pride with the staff and students of SETU in all that has been achieved to make our new university a reality," Prof Prendergast said.

The governing body of SETU met today for the first time and ratified Prof Veronica Campbell as SETU's first president.

She said: "We are ambitious for our new university and for our region. We want to become a leading European technological university, transforming lives, and driving growth through excellence in learning, research, collaboration, and innovation. SETU will play a pivotal role in regional development, attracting talent, inward investment and research opportunities to the southeast."

SETU brings together over 50 years of experience in higher education, research, innovation and stakeholder collaboration.

It has campuses across the region in Waterford, Carlow, Wexford, Wicklow and Kilkenny, serving over 18,000 students with 1,500 staff and ambitions to grow student numbers to 25,000 in the next 10 years.

SETU will officially celebrate its launch in September in a ceremony to mark the university's first academic year and the first intake of university students presided over by Prof Campbell.

It will be a celebration to include staff and students, stakeholders and collaborators, higher education colleagues and supporters from across the region and beyond.