Arkins, Thomas Michael (1888–1913), founder of the Students' Representative Council, UCD, was born 14 September 1888 in Knockroe, Co. Clare, eldest of at least four sons and three daughters of John Arkins, farmer, and Bridget Arkins (née Leary). He was educated at Clongowes Wood College (1900–06) and UCD, where he enjoyed a distinguished student career, graduated with a first-class honours BA (1909), MA (1911), and LLB (1913), and won two silver and three gold medals. One of the first students of UCD, he contributed to the development of collegiate life: he gave memorable lectures to the Literary and Historical Society, was elected auditor of the Legal and Economic Society, and was also a prominent member of the Solicitors' Apprentices Debating Society. A member of the editorial staff (1910–12) and frequent contributor to the National Student (founded 1910), he campaigned in its first issue for a students' representative council to act as an intermediary between the student body and college authorities, and for a students' union to foster and coordinate student activities. In 1912 he contributed two articles to the newly founded Studies: ‘The commercial aspect of the Irish penal code’ and ‘The penal laws of Ireland’. In August 1913 the governing body of UCG recommended his appointment to the chair of English law. He died 28 November 1913 in Dublin after a short illness and is buried in Noughaville, Co. Clare. In 1918 the commemorative Arkins medal was instituted, to be awarded to the student who obtains the highest mark in Irish history in the First Arts examination at UCD. He was the nephew of Thomas O'Dea (1858–1923), bishop of Galway.
GRO (birth cert.); T. M. Arkins, ‘The need for a university club and union’, National Student, i, no. 1 (1910), 16–17; ‘Qui ante diem periit’, ibid., iv, no. 2 (1913), 30–31 (portr.); Freeman's Journal, 1 Dec. 1913; Clare Journal, 4, 8 Dec. 1913; J. G. S. MacNeill, ‘Thomas Arkins, M.A. an appreciation’, Clongownian, vii, no. 1 (1914), 49 (portr.); U.C.D. calendar (1918–19), 101; Michael Tierney (ed.), Struggle with fortune (1954); T. Corcoran, The Clongowes record 1814–1932 (1932); J. M. Meenan (ed.), Centenary history of the Literary and Historical Society 1855–1955 (1955)