UNIVERSITY of Limerick President Don Barry was in Thurles last Friday to confer degrees to the St. Patrick’s College class of 2012. The 35 graduates were the college’s first to be awarded degrees from UL, following the two institutions linking in 2011. Friends and family attended the ceremony, which took place in the college’s assembly hall.
Robbie Kelleher, Chairperson of the St. Patrick’s College and UL Academic Alliance, was the first speaker. Though he recalls the closing of St. Patrick’s seminary in 2002 as “particularly painful”, he acknowledged that the college’s link with UL was a “significant development, and marks a new era for St. Patrick’s College”.
Dr. Jennifer Johnston, Head of the college’s education department, handed out the certificates, while college president Fr. Tom Fogarty presented a special award to student Marie Flanagan, for the exceptional preformance.Don Barry reminded the graduates that there was more to education than reading books. “Educating is not just about imparting knowledge, but promoting thought, and encouraging a deeper understanding. Wherever you go, aim to awaken joy in your classroom. Give to those with so much potential and so little opportunity, the same encouragement you received from your teachers” You must not bee deterred by the current economic situation. In this time of uncertainty and economic challenge, you truly have a chance to leave the past behind”.
Fr. Tom Fogarty was the final speaker, and told his students that their education does not end at graduation, but should continue for the rest of their lives. “Never stop learning. Continuous education isn’t an option, but a necessity.” He encouraged the graduates to “go out and bear witness to the importance of Jesus Christ”, a practice that has been missing from today’s “modern secular world”. He concluded with a quote from writer Sarah Ban Breathnach.“The world needs dreamers and the world needs doers, but above all, needs dreamers who do”.