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Ceremony of Recognition Celebrates MIC Graduates’ & Students’ Achievements

Collage of MIC students pictured in their graduation gowns holding parchments or awards

Remarkable Achievements of MIC Graduates & Current Students Recognised at Virtual Ceremony

A virtual Ceremony of Recognition took place at Mary Immaculate College (MIC) today (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.”

President of MIC
President of MIC
Professor Eugene Wall

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, the Irish 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 and scholarships was Bachelor of Arts graduate Keith Ó Riain who received the Award for Outstanding Achievement, as well as two academic awards from the Faculty of Arts for achieving the highest results in Gaeilge and History. Keith, a native of Crecora in Co. Limerick, was the Global Winner in the History category of the 2020 Global Undergraduate Awards, and was one of 25 students worldwide to receive this prestigious award, which recognises the undergraduate research of some of the world’s brightest students. His work was chosen from over 4,000 submissions from across the globe following a rigorous and lengthy judging process led by over 400 expert academics worldwide. Keith was also recently awarded a Departmental Assistantship with MIC’s Roinn na Gaeilge and is continuing his research into eighteenth-century Gaelic Irish poetry as he pursues a research masters under the supervision of Dr Breandán Ó Cróínín, Head of Roinn na Gaeilge at MIC.

Recipient of the Award for Outstanding Achievement
Recipient of the Award for Outstanding Achievement
Keith Ó Riain

Eight College Medals were presented to graduates who achieved first place in their programme of study. Those who were awarded this prestigious medal included, Jessica O’Shea from Douglas, Co. Cork (Bachelor of Education); Catherine Barrett from Newmarket, Co. Cork (BA in Education, Business Studies and Accounting); Aoife Coughlan from Loughrea, Co. Galway (BA in Early Childhood Care and Education); Fiona Connolly from Ballinasloe, Co. Galway (Professional Master of Education (Primary Teaching)); Sarah Reynolds from Kilfinane, Co. Limerick (BA in Contemporary and Applied Theatre Studies); Cora Howe from Lattin, Co. Tipperary (B Ed in Education and Psychology); Paula Conlon from Dunboyne, Co. Meath (Certificate in Leadership for INClusion in the Early Years); and Christopher Bernens from St. Louis, Missouri (US) (Bachelor of Arts).

Other awards included the Saint Bonaventure Trust Prize, which was awarded to two Bachelor of Arts graduates, Niamh Marks from Roscrea, Co. Tipperary and Colin Moran from Gouldavoher, Limerick city, who received first place in Theology and Religious Studies. Niamh also received an award from the Faculty of Education in recognition of her academic excellence in Religious Studies, while Colin received an award from the Faculty of Arts for achieving the highest results in Theology and Religious Studies.

In addition to her College Medal, primary teaching graduate Jessica O’Shea from Douglas, Co. Cork received the Carlisle and Blake Prize from the Department of Education and Skills for achieving first place in Education, Theory and Practice, as well as an award from the Faculty of Education in recognition of her academic excellence in Music Education. Jessica also received the Bonn Vere Foster Medal along with B Ed in Education and Psychology graduate Eimear Flynn from Birr, Co. Offaly. The medal is awarded by the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO) to primary teaching graduates who achieve first place in School Placement and Curriculum Education.

College Medal recipient Catherine Barrett from Newmarket, Co. Cork was also awarded the TUI Medal, as well as an award from the Faculty of Education in recognition of her academic excellence in Accounting. Fellow Corkonian and primary teaching graduate Úna O’Mahony from Mallow was awarded the Peadar Cremin Fellowship, as well as an award from the Faculty of Education in recognition of her academic excellence in Early Childhood Studies.

The Shellie Murtagh Memorial Bursary was awarded to Bachelor of Education graduate Sinéad Morgan from Blarney in Co. Cork who is now pursuing a masters in special education at MIC. The award is generously funded by the late Shellie Murtagh’s family, a MIC student who sadly passed away in 2013 following a brave battle with cancer.

Stuart Witts from Borrisokane, Co. Tipperary was awarded the French Embassy Prize for achieving the highest standard of attendance, participation and performance in the oral language components in the second and final year of the Bachelor of Arts programme. Stuart also received an academic award from the Faculty of Arts for achieving the highest results in French Studies.

B Ed in Education and Psychology graduate Cora Howe from Lattin, Co. Tipperary received the Kieran Burke Fellowship for achieving first place in Educational Psychology and the Dissertation. Cora also received an award from the Faculty of Education in recognition of her academic excellence in Psychology. Fellow Tipperary and BA in Education, Gaeilge and Business Studies graduate Martin Carey from Newport was awarded the Professor Michael A Hayes Fellowship for his academic excellence in Education Research. This was the first year of the Fellowship, which is awarded by the College in memory of the late Prof. Michael A Hayes, President of MIC 2011-2017.

The Bonn Uí Bhroiméil was awarded to Bachelor of Arts graduate Rebecca Ryan from Birchwood in Waterford city, while BA in Education, Business Studies and Accounting graduate Sandra Dunne from Abbeyleix, Co. Laois was awarded the ASTI Medal for excellence in Education and School Placement.

Jacinta O’Hara from Ballyheigue, Co. Kerry was the recipient of the Early Childhood Ireland Best LINC Portfolio Award, in addition to her award for Best Regional LINC Portfolio (Cork). Established in 2016, LINC (Leadership in Inclusion in the Early Years) is a Level 6 Special Purpose Award designed to enhance inclusion of children with additional needs in early years’ settings through the development of the role of Inclusion Coordinator. The programme, offered by a consortium led by MIC and including Early Childhood Ireland and Maynooth University, is part of a government commitment to the provision of high-quality education and training in the field of early childhood care and education.

The Irish Learning Support Association Award (ILSA) was awarded to Elizabeth O'Grady from Tralee, Co. Kerry and Ciara Ryan from Templemore, Co. Tipperary, both of whom graduated from the Graduate Diploma in Special Education Needs programme.

Professional Master of Education (Primary Teaching) graduate Stephanie McCarthy from Tralee, Co. Kerry and B Ed in Education and Psychology graduate Aoife Mannion from Athlone, Co. Westmeath were both awarded the Diocese of Limerick Medal for achieving first place in the Certificate in Religious Education.

Other awards presented to MIC graduates at the virtual awards ceremony included academic excellence awards from MIC’s Faculty of Arts and Faculty of Education, as well as LINC Programme awards.

College Awards
College Awards
Over 150 MIC graduates & current students received awards and scholarships

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 Aaron Shiel from Mountrath, Co. Laois was awarded the TOMAR Trust Scholarship, which seeks to recognise students who transfer with distinction from their Further Education programme to take up a place on MIC Thurles’ Post-Primary Teacher Education Degree Programmes. In September, Aaron began studying on the BA in Education, Business Studies and Accounting programme at MIC Thurles.

Third-year Bachelor of Education student Cathal Flannery from Lisnagry, Co. Limerick received the John Hayden Memorial Award in recognition of his significant contribution to society through his volunteering with the Irish Red Cross, particularly during Ireland’s first national lockdown.

Six students were awarded the Saint Bonaventure Trust Prize, including MIC Thurles students, Michelle Murphy from Clonmel, Co. Tipperary, Beibhinn Byrne from Tinahely, Co. Wicklow and Mary Campbell from Cappamore, Co. Limerick, and MIC Limerick students, Michael O'Doherty from Edward St., Limerick city, Eoin Shanahan from Ballylynan, Co. Laois and John Patrick Walsh from Ballina, Co. Mayo.

Professional Doctorate in Educational and Child Psychology student Eibhlín Ryan from Thurles, Co. Tipperary was awarded the MIC Doctoral Award. Asmae Ourkiya from Rosbrien in Limerick city was the recipient of the MIC Doctoral Studentship, while Lydia Mannion from Loughrea, Co. Galway received the MIC Postgraduate Studentship. Four doctoral students, Geraldine Brassil from Charleville, Co. Cork, Edmond Gubbins from Bruff, Co. Limerick, Louise Curtin from Doneraile, Co. Cork and Miranda Mateus De Souza from Ballinacurra Road, Limerick city, were each awarded scholarships under the Irish Research Council’s Government of Ireland programme.

Róisín Howard from Cahir, Co. Tipperary, a student on the Professional Master of Education (Primary Teachin) programme, received the Noreen Lynch Memorial Scholarship, while Bachelor of Education student Clara Griffin from Tramore Co. Waterford was awarded the Leonard Enright Memorial Scholarship as part of MIC’s Elite Sports Scholarship Scheme, valued at €4,000 each.

Finally, four first year students, Sophie Hennessy from Carrigkerry, Co. Limerick, Fiona Keating from Ballinspittle, Co. Cork, Micaela Glynn from Kilmihil, Co. Clare, and Kate Hickey from Kilbrien in Co. Waterford, were the recipients of the Rachel Kenneally Memorial Award, a bursary scheme funded by Munster LGFA, in honour of Rachel 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.