Mary Towers was one of the co-founders of IALC and its President from 1992-5. With Noelle Cleary, Mary established the Language Centre of Ireland, the second year-round language school in the country, in 1966.
Mary considered herself lucky to be involved in the birth of language tourism and witness its growth from a small, informal business providing summer courses for French and Spanish students to a multi-million euro industry today.
Mary worked with Norman Simpson, then Director of Studies at ICL, to introduce the RSA Certificate (predecessor to CELTA) into language education in Ireland. Indeed, LCI was the only school to offer it in the Dublin region until 2007. She was part of the lobby group that successfully campaigned for the introduction of a government-endorsed inspection system for Irish language schools during the 1970s and was the first Chair of Marketing English in Ireland (MEI), now known as MEI RELSA. For many years, she was also an active member in Ireland of ZONTA, a worldwide association that promotes women’s participation in business, the arts and community activities.
On her retirement, Mary was made an Honorary Member of IALC for her contribution to the association. She continued to travel widely and attended the IALC 25th anniversary celebrations in Munich in 2008. She will be remembered not only as a pioneer of study travel but also as a kind and warm person of great intelligence and professionalism.
Mary died peacefully in Dublin on 15 July 2011.