More than 1,800 students graduating over three days at the Winter conferring in the University of Limerick this week have been urged to “exhaust every opportunity” by UL’s president, Professor Don Barry.
Speaking at the Education and Health Sciences and Interfaculty conferring this Wednesday morning, Prof Barry said students were facing “a time of celebration and a time of hope”.
“Today’s graduates are graduating in very important fields, areas that are under severe scrutiny and debate in this country,” he said.
“Our graduates will put the patient and the student first. As graduates of the Faculty of Education and Health Sciences, you now join a group united with passion to champion the health and educational needs of people locally, nationally and internationally. Both areas are facing profound challenges during this period of escalating demand and rapid change.
“Now more than ever we need to invest in our people, educators and healthcare professionals who can perform effectively in positions of responsibility throughout these sectors, even under difficult circumstances.”
The UL president finished the speech by exhorting the gathered graduates to “exhaust every opportunity, take every chance and follow every road that will get you one step closer to where you want to be. Don’t settle because you think you have to - you have a long career ahead of you, a long way to go, so think big”.
Some 1831 students, including 74 PhDs, will graduate this week during six conferring ceremonies. Seven of every ten graduates from the University of Limerick in 2013 have subsequently found employment, the institution claimed this week.
Speaking at the conferring, Prof Barry said the 70% graduate employment rate for 2013 primary degree-holders – which is 19% higher than the national university average –was “the UL Edge” and the employment figures were “one benchmark of UL’s distinctiveness”.
“That is part of what we call the UL Edge – and it is something of which this university is very proud,” he said. “Our most recent graduate survey revealed that more than 7 out of 10 of our graduates are going into direct employment. And most of the rest go on to further study and research.”
This week will see the conferring ceremony of the first cohort of teachers to finish the Professional Diploma in Mathematics through the National Centre for Excellence in Maths and Science Teaching and Learning at UL.
The first cohort of international students to complete the MSc Nursing Studies will be conferred with their degrees as well as the first class to graduate from the is Master of Arts in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages.
There are also 183 international students among this week’s graduates.
UL is also celebrating its status as Sunday Times’ University of the Year 2015, which Prof Barry also highlighted.
“Today we also celebrate the national recognition of our efforts to be a University that makes a positive and effective contribution to Ireland as Sunday Times “University of the Year 2015”,” he said.
“This award reflects our commitment to an unparalleled student experience, our sector-leading graduate employability, our industry-relevant, award-winning research and our deep and genuine community engagement.
“Our staff and students and external partners are responsible for this accolade and work every day to make UL an exceptional and distinctive institution,” he added.