A virtual Ceremony of Recognition took place at Mary Immaculate College (MIC) on Friday 26 March whereby the academic and other notable achievements of over 2,000 graduates and students were celebrated.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the annual three-day conferring ceremonies, which usually take place in October, had to be cancelled and in its place, students were conferred in absentia allowing them receive their parchments for employment and career progression purposes.
Students from across 31 counties throughout Ireland, as well international students from Brazil, Mexico, Morocco, Poland, India, China and the United States, graduated from almost 40 different undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, including 19 graduates who were conferred with doctoral awards. Over 150 graduates and current students of the College also received awards and scholarships in recognition of their academic and sporting achievements.
Speaking at the virtual Ceremony of Recognition, Professor Eugene Wall, President of MIC, said, “While the social restrictions around COVID-19 may have prohibited us from celebrating in a proper and time-honoured way, it will not thwart our efforts to recognise your remarkable achievements, accomplishing what you have against the backdrop of a global pandemic. You met a litany of challenges during your course of study here at MIC, more so than any other preceding graduating class, but you successfully and bravely overcame them, displaying a determination and strength of character that will serve you well throughout your life.”
He added, “This pandemic has demonstrated that things can be done differently, that we are resilient, that we can and will adjust to new ways of life, in particular new ways of communicating, learning and teaching. The knowledge and skills you have acquired both during your time as a student here with us, but also during this pandemic, will stand the test of time and enable you to continue learning throughout your lifetime.
It is with great pride that, on behalf of the entire MIC community, I congratulate you, the Class of 2020, on reaching this tremendous milestone under such adverse conditions. We are so very proud of you all.”
Of the over 2,000 students who graduated, 19 hailed from Brazil and are the first cohort to graduate from MIC’s Graduate Diploma in Mentoring and Leadership in Schools (International) programme. The students came to study at MIC as part of a three-year joint scholarship scheme between MIC and the Brazilian Government Scholarship Agency, CAPES. Seven of the students have continued their studies at MIC and are now undertaking a masters in mentoring and leadership at the College.
In another first for the College, almost 100 students from Mexico graduated following completion of the San Patricios Teacher Education programme, which was delivered by the College in partnership with the Department of Education and Skills, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, theIrish Embassy in Mexico, and the Mexican Ministry of Education. The programme was designed to empower student teachers with the requisite knowledge, understanding, skills and dispositions to enable children in Mexico to confidently meet the demands of the 21st century.
Also included in those who were acknowledged at the ceremony were 72 students from MIC Thurles as being the first cohort to enter MIC Thurles in 2016 following the incorporation of St Patrick’s College by MIC earlier the same year.
Included in those who received awards were BA in Early Childhood Care and Education graduate Nicole Wilson from Shannon in Co. Clare who was awarded for excellence in Education Research and the Dissertation, and Bachelor of Arts graduate Caoimhe Flanagan from Miltown Malbay who was awarded for excellence in Media and Communication Studies.
Current students at the College were also presented with awards in recognition of their academic and sporting achievements, including over 50 first-year students who were presented with Entrance Scholarships (valued at €2,000 each) on the basis of results obtained in the 2020 Leaving Certificate.
First year student Micaela Glynn from Kilmihil, Co. Clare was one of four recipients of the Rachel Kenneally Memorial Award, a bursary scheme funded by Munster LGFA in honour of MIC graduate, Rachel Kenneally, who sadly passed away in 2018 at the age of 26.
Congratulating all the award recipients, Professor Wall said, “Individually and collectively, all of the students whom we honour here today embody our College’s mission – ultimately to make the world a better place through our ideas, our innovations and our engagement.”
Bringing the virtual ceremony to an end Professor Wall imparted the following advice to the graduates and awardees, “Be open to the possibility and to the idea that deviating from an obvious path can lead you to a place you might never have considered but which could offer you immense satisfaction and reward.”
The virtual Ceremony of Recognition may be viewed here.