AS UNIVERSITY of Limerick graduation ceremonies continued throughout last week, one proud parent had the unique situation of being the one to confer her son with his degree.
UL President Professor Kerstin Mey had the unusual task of conferring her son, Ben Reddy, with a BSc in Exercise and Health Fitness Management on Thursday last (August 31).
The President’s son was among over 3,500 students graduating from University of Limerick last week.
“I am extremely excited this week because I am the proud mum of a son who is graduating from UL,” Professor Mey had said ahead of the ceremony on Thursday afternoon.
“I think my son is both excited and apprehensive to take part in the ceremonies – he will see me handing out the parchments but also, I don’t think that his peers know that he is my son,” Professor Mey said with a laugh.
Speaking to students during her conferring address, Professor Mey acknowledged that graduation day “is a day that has us filled with pride and joy as we celebrate the culmination of your academic journey at University of Limerick”.
“On a personal note, today I am doubly proud and doubly nervous because my son is part of the graduating class here this afternoon,” she said.”
Professor Mey’s son Ben grew up in England, playing soccer from an early age before taking up basketball, which he played at under 18s national league level. Having completed A-Levels in geography, business, and German, he took a year out to decide what to do next.
“I realised that I didn’t want to do theory-based subjects. I wanted something that got me on my feet and engaged with people and that’s where my passion for fitness came in,” Ben explained.
“I decided to have a look around back home in the UK and see what the options were to get qualified in fitness, but the options weren’t anything to that of what UL had to offer,” Ben said.
Ben said that he is “extremely proud” of everything that his mother is doing, adding that it “motivates me to keep pushing on and try and do as much as I can for myself.”
“I hope to be able to carry the torch myself at some point, in my own right, in my own career,” he concluded.