University of Limerick President Professor Kerstin Mey has called on the hundreds of students who graduated this week to become “engaged citizens” who will be involved in “shaping the world of tomorrow”.
This week, more than 1,000 graduands were conferred in absentia for the third time this year at UL against the backdrop of a global health crisis.
Earlier this year, and following consultations with UL’s Covid-19 Academic Monitoring and Planning Group (CAMPG), student representatives and senior leadership at the University, a decision was taken to postpone the Winter conferring ceremonies usually held in January.
This week, 1,038 students from a number of university faculties, including two research masters, 15 doctorates and for the first time two Professional Doctorate Engineering graduates, were remotely conferred with their awards by Professor Mey.
Congratulating the graduates, Professor Mey said that their success “marks a significant milestone on your personal journey of becoming, on your quest to fulfil your goals and nurture your aspirations. You should be very proud of your achievement.
“Your graduation is also of importance to society as you leave the University to put to the test what you have learned to date, to develop your professional experience and expertise in novel and challenging contexts, as part of a team, as leaders and as an engaged citizen,” added Professor Mey.
Reflecting on the impact COVID-19 has had on life during 2020, Professor Mey urged that the graduates also “reflect with your nearest and dearest on the struggles, determination and perseverance involved, along with the sacrifices made to fulfil your talents, hone your skills and grow your knowledge and understanding.
“While we would have liked to celebrate this special day in person with you, your family, friends and supporters, the global COVID-19 pandemic has forced us all to make sacrifices to protect ourselves, each other and the communities we serve.
“Graduating in 2020 against the backdrop of a health crisis has shaken the foundations of predictability in our society. It brings an added sense of achievement to what is already a wonderful success story – your story, first as a student, more recently a graduand, and from today, a graduate.
“Your efforts to gain a degree have been validated by robust academic processes and procedures.
“At UL, we protect that value of academic achievement proudly and fiercely by ensuring that our governance of your educational journey reaches the highest international standards.
“We stand firm against any dilution of educational standards to ensure that you can use your degree confidently and proudly, knowing that it is an unquestionable statement of ability, academic integrity and attainment.
“Today, you join a global community of more than 108,000 alumni of the University of Limerick – people who contribute to and make a difference to the lives of individuals, communities and nations on a daily basis.
“More than ever, we need that sense of community to be sustained and enhanced to help us address societal issues. The shared experience of being a graduate of UL can give rise to future experiences where you get to enhance your life and the lives of others. You can build on your educational achievement to date and use this as a platform for continued, in fact, for lifelong learning and moreover, for shaping the world of tomorrow,” added Professor Mey.
Interim Provost and Deputy President Professor Nigel Healy said that “for obvious reasons, our normal graduation celebrations do not conform to current public health guidelines under Resilience and Recovery 2020-2021: Plan for Living with COVID-19. Our priority at all times must be safety of students, staff and the wider community.
"We fully acknowledge the disappointment for the entire campus community given that the January ceremonies bring much colour and spirit to the campus during the darker days of winter and we all look forward to a day when we can gather again and freely celebrate the wonderful achievements of our graduates,” Professor Healy concluded.