Almost half a million-euro worth of scholarships and bursaries was presented to students, graduates and alumni of Mary Immaculate College (MIC) at the College’s annual Awards Ceremony on Tuesday 29 November. In the largest sum of money ever awarded at an event of this nature at MIC, a full house at the Lime Tree Theatre on MIC’s Limerick campus celebrated the achievements, academic or otherwise, of a hundred and thirty-five students and graduates.
Among those celebrated on the night were four graduates who were presented with MIC Alumni Awards in recognition to their success in their chosen fields. Limerick native Tommy Bulfin, whose work with the BBC involves Executive Producer roles with shows such as Peaky Blinders and Normal People, was presented with an award for his achievements in the media. His fellow Liberal Arts graduate, Kerry’s Micheál Lehane, was celebrated for his role as RTÉ’s political correspondent and a trusted voice through the domestic response to the global pandemic. Irish rugby star and graduate of both the Bachelor of Education (Primary Teaching) and MA in Education programmes at MIC, Ciara Griffin, was presented with an MIC Alumni Award in recognition of her sporting achievements. The Kerry native was capped for Ireland 41 times and captained her country for three years. Also presented with an MIC Alumni Award was Director of People Operations at Google Ireland, Helen Tynan. Originally from Cork, Helen graduated as a Primary Teacher before studying Human Resources. She joined Google in 2010 with over 25 years of senior HR positions with such multinational companies as Dell, Oracle and General Electric.
Five MIC doctoral students were recently awarded Irish Research Council Government of Ireland Postgraduate and Postdoctoral Awards totalling almost €250,000 to support their PhD research. Amélie Gaillat from Montepllier in France is researching centralised and regional policing in France, England and Ireland between 1870 and 1925; Aoife Munroe from Claremorris, Co. Mayo is investigating the experience of autistic girls in mainstream classrooms; Caitlin Nolan from Tralee, Co. Kerry is studying native and non-native English-speaking teachers and their identities; Keith Ó Riain from Crecora, Co. Limerick is researching the life of Irish tailor and Jacobite poet, Éadbhard de Nógla; and Margaret O’Brien from Oughterard, Co. Galway is investigating the financing of medieval monastic orders and the impact on the parish and local churches in Limerick and Tipperary.
Fifty 1st year students drawn from all four provinces were awarded an MIC Entrance Scholarship, valued at €2,000 each, on the basis of their CAO points obtained in the Leaving Certificate examinations. A further twelve students were awarded Munster GAA bursaries valued at €750 each to twelve deserving MIC undergraduate students who have excelled in their chosen sports, while Limerick’s Rose Hyland was awarded the Rachel Kenneally Bursary, which is awarded annually in memory of former MIC student and Tipp Ladies Footballer, Rachel Kenneally. MIC’s Elite Sports Scholars, Thomas Devaney and Clíona Healy, and the MIC GPA Sports Scholars, Diarmuid Ryan and Caoimhe Costello were also officially presented with their awards.
Jack Hayes from Blarney in Co. Cork was the recipient of the Shellie Murtagh Memorial Bursary. The fee waiver and bursary of €500 is awarded to a postgraduate student wishing to pursue their dissertation in the area of autism and is funded by the family of Shellie Murtagh and MIC. Shellie was a Bachelor of Education (Primary Teaching) student and sadly passed away from cancer in November 2013. Shellie’s mother, Dorothy Nevin was present to present Jack with his award.
First-year BA in Education, Business Studies and Accounting student, Ruairí Duffy, from Co. Monaghan, was awarded the TOMAR Trust PATH Scholarship. Valued at €2,500, the Scholarship is offered by the TOMAR Trust to support MIC’s PATH programme which seeks to recognise students who transfer with distinction from their Further Education programme into one of MIC Thurles’ teacher preparation programmes.
Mary O’Riordan, from Macroom, Co. Cork, was presented with three awards on the night. A recent graduate of the BA in Education, Gaeilge and Business Studies, Mary was presented with MIC’s Certificate for Academic Excellence in Gaeilge and the Certificate for Academic Excellence in Business Studies for achieving top marks in the subjects. Mary was also awarded the Tipperary County Council Business Award, which is presented to the student who receives the highest results in Business Studies.
Recent graduates of the Faculties of Arts and Education were presented with awards for topping the class in their subject or specialism, as well as recent graduates of the LINC (Leadership for Inclusion in the Early Years) who were presented with awards for the Best Portfolios of the graduating cohort. Six current students were awarded the Saint Bonaventure Trust Prize which recognises the academic excellence of students studying Theology and Religious Studies.
Congratulating all awardees was Professor Eugene Wall, President of MIC, who said: “I warmly congratulate everyone who received an award or a scholarship this evening. This achievements on display are an excellent representation of the calibre of our students and their accomplishments embody the College’s mission – to endeavour to make the world a better place through our ideas, ventures and our innovations.”