Institute of Technology Carlow Celebrates the Accomplishments of 2018 Graduates from its Wexford Campus at the National Opera House
More than 200 graduates from the Wexford Campus of Institute of Technology Carlow were today conferred with degrees, higher diplomas, honours degrees, postgraduate diplomas and master’s degrees at the National Opera House. They join over 2,700 new graduates from the Institute in 2018 and an alumni of over 55,000 since the Institute’s establishment almost 50 years ago.
The venue for the conferring ceremony was filled to capacity with graduates, faculty, families and friends. Also in attendance was the Minister with Special Responsibility for Defence, Paul Kehoe TD, Chair of the Governing Body of Institute of Technology Carlow, Mr John Moore and President, Dr Patricia Mulcahy.
Minister Kehoe commented, "The degrees, higher diplomas, honours degrees, postgraduate diplomas and master’s degrees received by the graduates today are, in many ways, a passport to a new place in their lives. But we all know that, with Brexit down the tracks, there are many challenges on the horizon. Don’t see today as the end of your educational journey. In fact, why not look at it as just be the beginning? "
Before the ceremony got underway, Head of Wexford Campus, Dr. Karen Hennessy commented, “Every year it is wonderful to see the outcome of our efforts at the annual conferring ceremonies. Our students are with us for a few years and are then ready to start the next stage of their careers as graduates. We meet their parents, spouses, and children and hear their stories and what their journey has meant for them and their connections. Time and time again we hear the comment, 'only for the Wexford Campus we may not have gone to 3rd level education'. Each year up to 90% of those graduates are residents of County Wexford. These stories, comments and facts pay testament to the hugely important role that Wexford Campus of Institute of Technology Carlow plays in the lives of the people of Wexford”.
After welcoming the graduates and their families, Mr John Moore, Chair of the Governing Body of Institute of Technology Carlow commended both graduates and staff for their contribution to the Institute and wished the new alumni well in their future careers. Mr Moore told graduates that they “were the future leaders and innovators who would shape the lives of this and future generations.”
Congratulating the graduates on their achievements, Dr Patricia Mulcahy, said, “We are all immensely proud of you and we couldn’t be happier for you”. She highlighted the fact that 5,880 people from Wexford pursued higher education programmes across the 21 institutes of technology and universities in 2017/2018. Over 21% of these were enrolled with Institute of Technology Carlow, making it the primary choice for higher education in Wexford.
In her address, Dr. Mulcahy highlighted a number of milestones this year for the Wexford Campus. They include: seeing the first graduates from the Higher Diploma in Aquabusiness; two new degree programmes in the BSc (Honours) in Creative Computing and Digital Innovation and the BSc (Honours) in Tourism and Event Management; collaboration with Wexford County Council and Bord Iascaigh Mhara in the €2.9 million EU-funded BUCANIER programme for SMEs; and the €2mn Enterprise Ireland-supported funding of a new Insurtech initiative for a financial services technology innovation centre focused on insurance technology. Wexford is central to the programme due to the concentration of insurance companies and brokerages in the county and the programme has many Wexford-based executive and industry partners.
The Wexford Campus was noted in a recent report on higher education provision in Kilkenny, launched by the Minister for Higher Education, which stated that Institute of Technology Carlow has demonstrated, with its Wexford campus, how such a campus can be successfully created. As the Institute moves towards re-configuration and designation under new Irish legislation as the multi-campus Technological University of South East Ireland, Dr Mulcahy highlighted the report and acknowledged the support of the people and organisations of county Wexford. The six counties of Wexford, Carlow, Kilkenny, Wicklow, Kildare and Laois represent more than two-thirds of the Institute’s learners originate. “These counties comprise our geographic, economic and cultural base. To the people and organisations of Wexford and the other counties, know that you continue to be to the forefront of all our plans”, said Dr. Mulcahy.
Dr. Mulcahy spoke of the funding that has been ring-fenced by the Department of Education and Skills to acquire a green field site in Wexford for a new customised campus. Credit was given to the Department of Education and Skills for holding this funding as the Institute continues to conduct due diligence on candidate sites and secure support for the necessary infrastructure and planning framework.
“Procurement of the green-field site for Wexford is the first phase of a significant and long-term strategic plan for the Wexford Campus that includes a seven-phase, long-term investment programme in Wexford”, said Dr. Mulcahy.
Paying particular tribute to the Head of the Wexford Campus, Dr Karen Hennessey, and all colleagues, Dr. Mulcahy said, “It is your talent, commitment and energy that has underpinned all our successes as a progressive 21st century European higher education provider. There is more to do and we will continue to develop, playing an ever-increasing and meaningful role in the society that gives us life and purpose.”
A special tribute was paid to the former Head of Wexford Campus Caroline Murphy, who sadly passed away earlier this year. The huge contribution that Caroline made to the development of the campus, and the high regard in which Caroline was held, was emphasised.
Mr. John Moore, Chair of the Governing Body, led a one-minute silence as a mark of respect to Caroline and to Mark Blake and Joseph Caulfield, who were conferred with their awards posthumously.
Offering her final congratulations to the new graduates, Dr. Mulcahy said, “Today you join an alumni of over 55,000 graduates from our Institute. An alumni of engineers and scientists, technologists and artists, lawyers and designers, business professionals and social care practitioners. You are role models for our 8,300-strong student body originating from every county in Ireland and from over 100 different nations. Take everything that our Institute has equipped you with and make the absolute most of it.”