Smiles of success on graduation day in Wexford Campus
It was a day of success and celebration as 236 graduates were awarded academic degrees up to master's level at a Wexford Campus of IT Carlow conferring ceremony in the National Opera House.
Head of Wexford Campus, Dr Karen Hennessy described the event as the highlight of the year and the culmination of years of hard work and study by the graduates.
'We have shared their stories, their trials and tribulations over the past three to four years and we celebrate their achievements today. We wish them every success in their future careers and encourage them to keep in touch with the Campus,' she said.
President of IT Carlow Dr Patricia Mulcahy said no other occasion on the academic calendar is more meaningful than the Conferring of Awards and Prizes.
'This is a time characterised by a deep sense of achievement, your achievements, and it is a real pleasure to share this moment with you, your families and faculty members,' she said.
The conferring ceremony was attended by John Moore, chair of the governing body of the college, Minister of State for Defence, Paul Kehoe, Deputy James Browne TD, County Council chairman Cllr Michael Sheehan and Cllrs Jim Moore, Malcolm Byrne and Brídín Murphy.
Also present were representatives of regional state agencies, businesses and community organisations, including the IFA, Teagasc, Bord Iascaigh Mhara, Wexford Arts Centre, Wexford County Childcare Committee, Wexford Chamber of Commerce Skillnet and WWETB who support the work of Wexford Campus.
Mr Moore welcomed guests and commended the graduates and staff for their contribution to the Campus. He urged them to remain in contact with the Institute and to bring their expertise, insights and inspiration to future students who choose to further their careers in the Wexford Campus.
According to the latest available data from the Higher Education Authority, there were 6,061 Wexford people pursuing higher education progammes in 2018, over 21% of whom were enrolled with IT Carlow.
'This means that we continue to be the primary choice of higher education for County Wexford. Furthermore, of all those in Wexford pursuing higher education studies through lifelong learning, a huge 61% were with our Institute. It is therefore little surprise that earlier this year, the Wexford Campus won a Public Sector Award for Excellence in the provision of flexible higher education opportunities', said Mr Moore.
Minister Kehoe said graduating from college is not merely about completing an educational course and picking up a scroll.
'Today, you are marking a significant milestone in your lives and you are very much opening the door to the next chapter of your futures.
'You are following in the footsteps of over 3,700 graduates from the Wexford Campus of IT Carlow to date - many of whom have gone on to serve in senior professional, academic, sporting and leadership positions. I know too that, for the duration of your studies, you have been in the most capable of hands,' he said.
'The programmes overseen by Carlow have gone from strength to strength. It has become a campus that is now a key part of the fabric of the Wexford community,' said Minister Kehoe.
'As many of you know, extensive work has gone on behind the scenes aimed at acquiring a new site for the campus. I can assure Patricia and her team that they have my absolute full support in bringing those plans to fruition.'
Dr Mulcahy highlighted some of the achievements of the Wexford Campus over the past 12 months including the first graduates from the BSc in Sustainable Farm Management and Agribusiness; the first intake of students to the BSc (Honours) in Tourism and Event Management; the largest number ever of postgraduate researchers based in the Wexford Campus; the development of a new Master of Science Degree in Digital Media with Business Analytics; and the start of a new joint degree programme between the Wexford Campus and Jilin Normal University (JLNU) in China.
She said the Wexford Campus Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Visual Communications and Design is one of only two such programmes approved for the Higher Education sector by the Chinese Ministry of Education in 2019 as a joint degree programme with JLNU.
The first intake of students took place in September of 2019 and the opening ceremony for the programme took place in Siping, China last week.
'We are very proud of this achievement and congratulations to everyone who made it possible,' she added.
Dr Mulcahy concluded by addressing the graduates: 'You graduate to a world that is changing fast, but know that you now have a new elevated platform for all the adventures that lie ahead of you.
'Remember to have confidence in that. Remember to keep an open mind, an open heart and an open will.
'You are a great credit to yourselves, your families, the Wexford Campus and this institute and we are all very proud of you. We wish you every success and happiness.'