IT was a day of pride for the staff and students of Limerick Institute of Technology, as more than 1,700 were conferred at the Moylish graduation ceremonies.
There was a wide range of degrees awarded, as students went up to collect Higher Certificates and PhDs.
LIT president Dr Maria Hinfelaar congratulated all graduates for passing their assignments and exams, and said that the institute has received its biggest number of international students this year.
“Many international students are here on an exchange programme; others are here to complete their degree. We now have far more international students than ever before and their presence brings a new dimension to campus life, and I am sure to life off-campus as well.”
She also welcomed the new chairperson of the LIT governing body, Dr Niall Greene, and commended him for his “extensive experience” in the public and private sector.
One of the first topics of discussion at the conferring ceremony was the financial status of every family and the “sacrifices” they have made for their children to succeed.
“I thank the families and friends who have supported our graduates, financially and emotionally, through this phase of their lives. I am sure in many ways it has been a team effort.
“At LIT we recognise the financial sacrifices that families are making in the current climate to support study in level, and we also recognise that in spite of these sacrifices it can still be a struggle to make ends meet,” Dr Hinfelaar said.
She praised the student services on campus and how they have helped today’s graduates prosper over the years, adding that “internal money” is set aside in times of “urgent need”.
“We ultimately want to see every student get to a conferring ceremony who deserves to be there. In the last academic year, in agreement with the student union, we decided to transfer an additional €50,000 to this fund through savings we made elsewhere.”
The president announced LIT’s newest scholarship initiative with a value of €55,000, which has been funded by IPB.
“Eligibility criteria for these scholarships will be strict but fair, and I am sure they will make a huge difference to the recipients,” she explained.
In front of a large crowd of family, friends and graduates in their conferring robes, Dr Hinfelaar highlighted the high success rates of LIT graduates, referencing the institution’s Graduate Destination Survey.
“The most recent survey - just completed - about the 2012 graduates was very encouraging. It showed that increasing numbers of students are going directly into employment or further studies; in fact some of our programmes saw a 100% success rate on that front. It is obvious that prospects for graduates in Ireland are definitely improving, and with the excellent reputation of LIT amongst employers you are well placed to benefit from this welcome development.
“As well as preparing students for employment we also actively encourage LIT graduates to perhaps set up their own business so they may create their own jobs, and one day employment for others,” she told the big audience.
“This good start at LIT has given you an excellent academic qualification, plus a strong value system to face the journeys and challenges ahead. The rest is now up to you: make the most of it to bring fulfillment to your own lives and to the wider world,” Dr Hinfelaar concluded at the ceremony, last week.
Limerick Institute of Technology was awarded the Sunday Times Institute of the Year, in the 2013 University Guide supplement. It was the second time in four years that it achieved the title.