The University of Limerick has honoured its ‘early pioneering students’ as it marks the 40th anniversary of the first intake of students in 1972. Eighty members of the original class of 1972 were conferred with honorary Masters of Philosophy degrees on Saturday 29th September at UL as part of the UL40 Year. Graduates of the class of '72 travelled from all over the world, including the US and Europe as well as Dubai and Australia.
Speaking at the honorary conferring ceremony, UL President, Professor Don Barry said; “Each of you honoured today displayed tremendous bravery and pioneering spirit in trusting your third-level education to the hands of a budding institution – one that was untried and untested but imbued with tremendous ambition and foresight. History has proved that you did the right thing. The University of Limerick has made an unparalleled mark on the Irish educational landscape over the last 40 years.
Almost 65,000 students have graduated from UL in the past 40 years and it all began with 113 pioneering students who took a chance on a new and very different third level institution in 1972. From its inception the University of Limerick broke the mould of third level education in Ireland under the inspirational leadership of Ed Walsh. And this year we are marking 40 years of innovation - innovative programmes, innovative research, innovative staff, students and graduates who all encapsulate the ‘UL Spirit’.”
The University of Limerick has achieved many ‘firsts’ over the past 40 years. UL pioneered Cooperative Education in Ireland and developed the first medical school to be established in the State in over 150 years. In addition to a wide range of unique academic programmes, the University is also home to the country’s only virtual financial services trading floor, the country’s first Olympic-standard swimming pool, the largest third-generation artificial sports facilities and the longest pedestrian bridge in Ireland, as well as many educational innovations and community engagement initiatives. UL researchers continue to make significant contributions to society, addressing such pressing challenges as childhood obesity, maths and science teaching, Alzheimer’s screening, cancer, climate change, sports performance, alternative energy and Ireland’s economic recovery.
“Our first priority has always been to provide third-level students with an outstanding education and demand for admission has shown how valuable a UL education is and how highly-prized our graduates are in the workplace. Indeed, UL graduates currently enjoy a 16% advantage over graduates from other Irish universities in the very competitive job market of today” concluded President Barry.
The 40-year milestone will be marked during the academic year with a series of events and initiatives involving staff, students, alumni and the many friends, supporters and members of the wider community who have been part of the UL story over the past four decades. Members of the public are being encouraged to visit the campus this weekend and enjoy a huge array of free activities and events that will be taking place. (Details are available at www.ul.ie/ul40 )