THERE were scenes of jubilation at Mary Immaculate College (MIC) this week as conferring ceremonies made a welcome return to campus after being held online last year due to public health constraints.
Over the course of the two days, close on 1,500 students from 28 counties, 18 countries and four continents were conferred with academic awards across the college’s 30+ programmes.
A special ceremony was held on Thursday evening with Niall Collins, Minister of State at the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, in attendance to celebrate the conferring of degrees on more than 40 PhD and Master’s postgraduate students. This celebratory event saw the highest number of research degrees being awarded in the college’s history with 25 graduates from 2021 receiving doctoral awards.
There were a number of other firsts witnessed over the course of the two days including the first cohort to graduate from MIC’s M Ed in Leadership of Wellbeing in Education (M Ed LWE) programme, the only master’s programme of its kind offered in Ireland.
A number of award winners were recognised for their remarkable achievements over the course of the four ceremonies including Shona Cassidy from Raheen, who was awarded the College Gold Medal for achieving first place in the BA in Liberal Arts. Joanne Fitzgerald from Meelick was awarded the College Gold Medal for achieving first place in the Bachelor of Education (Primary Teaching) programme, and Lola Parsons from Castletroy was awarded the College Gold Medal for achieving first place on the Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Care and Education programme.
Professor Eugene Wall, President of MIC, told the graduating Class of 2021 that they “were asked to do something that was never asked of any preceding graduating classes. You were asked to sacrifice your final year of study on campus” and he congratulated them for their collective efforts.
He added: “My earnest wish for you is that the personal qualities and characteristics that you have developed will be key assets in enabling you to flourish both professionally and personally.”
A number of MIC Alumni took time out of their busy careers to deliver a special message of congratulations to the Class of 2021, including MIC Alumni Recipients 2019 Pat McDonagh (Businessman and founder of Supermacs) and Róisín Meaney (bestselling author); star of RTÉ’s Home & After School Hub, Múinteoir Ray (Cuddihy); RTÉ journalist, Petula Martyn; Olympian and Ireland women’s field hockey international, Naomi Carroll and former CEO of the Teaching Council, Áine Lawlor, to name but a few. Watch what they had to say here.