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1,909 graduates, 30 counties, 6 countries and 4 continents
MIC Conferring Ceremonies

It may be getting colder outside but the degrees were rising in Mary Immaculate College this week as almost 2,000 graduates from across the globe were presented with academic degrees and other awards at MIC’s largest ever conferring ceremonies.

The three-day event witnessed many firsts including the first cohort of students to graduate from the Leadership for Inclusion in the early Years (LINC) programme, in partnership with Early Childhood Ireland and Maynooth University; and the first cohort to graduate from the Graduate Certificate in Autism Studies (in partnership with Middletown Centre for Autism).

Amongst those being honoured at the event was Jason Murphy, from Carrigaline, Co. Cork and PhD student, Department of Media and Communication Studies, MIC, who was presented with the Award for Outstanding Achievement in recognition of his remarkable achievements earlier this year when he received the international prize, Prix Italia, for the best radio documentary, No Time to Lose. Jason also won first place in the national radio awards (IMRO/BAI) for the same documentary.

And it didn’t stop there for Cork as the awards kept rolling in with Maria Holland from Skibbereen, Co. Cork, being presented with no less than three awards including the College Gold Medal for achieving first place in the Bachelor of Education in Education & Psychology programme as well as the Kieran Burke Fellowship, which is given to the Graduate who achieved first place in Education (Educational Psychology and the Dissertation). Maria was also awarded the Certificate in Religious Education Medal from the Diocese of Limerick.

Laura Hynes of Ballinasloe, Galway (Masters in Music Education), Kate McCarthy of Roscrea, Tipperary (Early Childhood Care and Education) and Lisa Connolly of Birr Offaly (Early Childhood Care and Education) pictured at the MIC Conferring Ceremonies.

There was no shortage of accolades for Eoghan Linehan, from Douglas, Cork, who was also the recipient of three awards. Eoghan, a graduate of the Bachelor of Education in Education & Psychology programme, was awarded the Carlisle & Blake Prize from the Department of Education and Science for achieving first place in Education, Theory and Practice; he was also awarded the Frostburg Scholarship, which is presented by the College’s Faculty of Education in conjunction with the Frostburg State University in Maryland, USA. In addition Eoghan was the recipient of the Bonn Vere Foster Award, which is presented by the Irish National Teachers Organisation (INTO) to the Graduate who is awarded first place in Teaching Practice and Curriculum Education.

Also from Cork was Louise Curtin from Doneraile, who was presented with the College Gold Medal for achieving first place in the Bachelor of Education (Primary Teaching) programme. Louise was also the recipient of the Peadar Cremin Fellowship. This fellowship is awarded by the College in memory of the late Prof. Peadar Cremin, President of Mary Immaculate College, 1999 - 2011.

Aoibheann Cronin from Midleton was presented with the College Gold Medal for achieving first place in the Professional Master of Education (Primary Teaching) while Fay Walsh, from Carrigaline, Co. Cork, was awarded the Certificate in Religious Education Medal.

Not be outdone by their Munster rivals Limerick graduates also shone at the event when Amy O’Donoghue, from Coonagh, Limerick, was presented with the Outstanding Achievement Award in recognition of her excellence on track and field. Amy, a B Ed (Primary Teaching) graduate, is one of Ireland’s great future prospects in Athletics. After a glittering underage and schools career, the middle distance runner has maintained her steady progress up the ladder of success. Representing University of Limerick, the Mary Immaculate College student has won the IUAA national 1500m title twice (in 2015 and 2017) setting a record on both occasions. Having dominated middle distance running at the National Under-23 championships for three years in 2014, 2015 and 2016 she remains as competitive as ever moving into senior ranks. In 2016 she won a bronze medal at the Senior National Indoor Championships and took silver at this year’s Senior Championships. At International level she has represented Irish Universities in the Celtic International Track and Field Championships. She represented Ireland at Under-23 level in the 2016 European Cross Country Championships last December. 

Niamh Cusack McEnery from Corbally, Limerick, was presented with the College Gold Medal for achieving first place in the BA Education, Business Studies & Religion Studies programme. Niamh was also the recipient of the Saint Bonaventure Trust Prize for achieving first place in Theology and Religious Studies.

Sarah Clancy from Ballingarry, Co Limerick, was awarded the College Gold Medal for achieving first place in the BA in Liberal Arts. Sarah was also the recipient of the French Embassy Prize for making the greatest progress in French over the course of her undergraduate studies.

Barry Finnegan from Dooradoyle, Limerick was presented with the College Gold Medal for achieving first place in the BA in Liberal Arts while Robert Moloney, Limerick city, was presented with the Saint Bonaventure Trust Prize.

For a full list of award winners, see here and to see a video about Graduation 2017, click here.

Pictured at the MIC Conferring Ceremonies, members of the victorious MIC Fitzgibbon Cup Team: Darragh O’Donovan, Doon, Limerick; Alan Flynn of Kildangan, Tipperary; Michael Browne, Ballyhea, Cork; Andrew O Brien, Sean Treacy's Tipperary and Tadhg Gallagher, Kildangan, Tipperary.

Speaking at the event Bishop Brendan Leahy, Bishop of Limerick and Chairman of An tÚdarás Rialaithe, MIC said “You will leave from here as graduates looking to the future. As you set out, may you be blessed in every way, especially with the hope that your life can make a unique difference in our world, that you will make hope and history rhyme as you write with your life the history lessons of the future”.

Tributes were also paid to the late Professor Michael Hayes, former President of MIC (2011-2017) who passed away earlier, with Bishop Leahy saying “Professor Hayes made a remarkable contribution to the College…and often spoke of how studies at a Catholic college such as ours should contribute to you [the graduate] becoming a person of hope and of vision, a person who sees meaning in life in this world and promise beyond”. While Professor Des Fitzgerald, President of University of Limerick said of him: “While his loss is great, his legacy to this institution and to Education in Ireland is a strong and lasting one.”

Professor Fitzgerald went on to acknowledge the special relationship that exists between UL and MIC saying “I particularly want to celebrate the University of Limerick’s relationship with Mary Immaculate College which now spans over 25 years and has been the catalyst for so many positive developments. The partnership has reached many milestones over the years and I know that UL has been happy to engage in further educational innovations with MIC in collaboration with Limerick Institute of Technology under the aegis of the Shannon Consortium to deliver significant additional benefits to generations of learners and researchers in the region”.

Speaking at the event was Professor Eugene Wall, President (Acting) of MIC who said "As a society, and in our schools in particular, we need to embrace a belief in the power to raise the potential of all children.   We need to cultivate in ourselves, in our teachers, and in our children what the American psychologist Carol Dweck has termed a 'growth mindset', unshackling ourselves from the lack of self-belief and the sometimes paralysing effects of fear of failure".

Addressing the B Ed graduates he said: "Teachers are nation builders. This is recognised in the highest performing education systems in the world.   A nation that ignores this does so at its peril.   Great teachers form the character of a country – in the right ways. Most of you came here to become teachers – to become Great Teachers. You entrusted us with your future. We have done our best! However, becoming a great teacher is not a destination, it’s a journey.   Today we send you forth to continue that journey in the confident expectation that the future of our children is in good hands."

Bringing the ceremonies to a close Professor  Wall offered the following advice to all those graduating:“Be kind to yourself and do not judge yourself too harshly… and extend the same tolerance and understanding to others who are travelling on the same journey. Recognise and fend off those who radiate negativity - and those whose coping mechanisms express themselves through cynicism and constantly criticising others. Tend the inner voices of hopefulness and optimism, however delicate their call. Above all, never allow your sense of hope to be extinguished.”

Pictured at the recent Mary Immaculate College conferring ceremonies were: Professor Jim Deegan, Head of Graduate School, MIC; Dr John McGrath (History); Dr Martina O’Toole and Dr Orla Slattery, (both Philosophy); Dr John Harnett (English); Professor Eugene Wall, President (Acting); Dr Julie McGrath (History); Dr Darren Barry (Geography) Dr Rosemarie Martin, Dr Caroline McGarry and Dr Liam Clohessy (all Education) and Professor Michael Healy, Associate Vice President Research, MIC. The three-day conferring ceremonies saw almost 2,000 students conferred with academic awards across the College’s 30 plus programmes.

Eadaoin Hickey from Clonmel, Tipperary and Aoife Hogan of Carrigaline, Cork who graduated in B Ed (Primary Teaching) pictured at the recent MIC Conferring Ceremonies.

Three generations of ladies who all graduated from MIC! Pictured at the recent MIC conferring ceremonies was newly conferred B Ed graduate Jane Flanagan from Ballyea, Co. Clare with her mother Anne Flanagan who graduated from MIC in 1986 and her grandmother, Nita Enright from Quin, Co. Clare who also graduated from MIC in 1990.


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