ALMOST 700 students, including 145 new medical doctors, graduated from University of Limerick this week during the University’s first ever online graduations.
With contributions from staff and students at UL, Minister for Higher and Further Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris told the online ceremony that the graduating students and medical doctors showed “tremendous dedication, courage and resilience” in completing their studies during what he described as the “difficult circumstances” the COVID-19 pandemic created.
As the current Minister for the Higher Education sector and the former Minister for Health, Minister Harris said that he wanted to congratulate, “as a citizen of Ireland”, those who completed their medical studies.
“To pursue a career in medicine is an altruistic selfless endeavour even in ordinary times, but to pursue it in the midst of this pandemic and to step forward as frontline staff in a time when your country needed you more than ever, deserves nothing but praise.”
During the five online ceremonies, Minister Harris said that the students who have taken and completed their journey through Higher Education “will inspire others to follow in your footsteps,” as he congratulated all 697 students from Educational Health Sciences, Kemmy Business School and the Faculty of Science and Engineering.
University of Limerick President Professor Kerstin Mey told this summer’s graduates that their “academic achievements are worthy of the highest praise. Indeed, to achieve an award and meet the exacting standards of this institution is a success in itself, but to do so with the backdrop of a global pandemic warrants the deepest admiration and richest congratulations.
“Your graduation is also of importance to society as some of you may leave Higher Education to put to the test what you have learned to date and to develop your professional experience and expertise in novel and challenging contexts, as part of a team, as leaders and as engaged citizens,” Professor Mey added.
Speaking to her peers and 144 fellow medical doctor graduates, former Irish international hockey star and now Dublin ladies footballer, Sinead Loughran, said that “the COVID-19 pandemic has not only threatened the lives of millions around the world, but for us medical students, it threatened our education and thus our careers.
“The adversity we faced as a group has been like no other. Reduced clinical exposure, a shift to online tutorials, and alterations in various examinations. As a group, we stuck together and pulled each other through, and for that, I am not only incredibly grateful, but incredibly proud of each and every one of you.”
After leading her graduating class in an online recital of the Hippocratic Oath, Sinead penned a poem to conclude her student address to the online ceremony.
UL will graduate more than 3,700 students online at the Autumn conferrings in August.