"Fiche bliain ag fás agus fiche bliain faoi bhláth" President's address at Conferring 2011.

Graduates, Governing Body, Colleagues, firstly let me add my congratulations to those already offered to you our newest graduates. Graduating today marks a defining moment in your lives and that of your family’s lives and I am delighted to be able to share that with you today. It is the culmination of several years of hard work and you deserve all the success that no doubt will follow for you. I know that there are also quite a few mature students among you and for you today must be an very special one because I know you didn’t come lightly to decide to return to education, you made great sacrifices as did your spouses, partners and children but today you have achieved the dream that you have held for a lifetime, so well done.

We also have a lot of international students graduating today. Our international students add enormously to  the life of DkIT and have turned our classrooms and campus into one of great cultural diversity and you have enriched the experience of all who study or work here. If you are a student here now in a typical classroom you could have somebody from China on one side of you, somebody from inland on the other side and somebody from Carrickmacross next to him.

This mixing of cultures and races broadens our experiences greatly. Our international students don’t have their families with them today so instead we will celebrate your achievements with you. As most of you know DkIT is 40 years old this year and we have marked the 40th anniversary with a number of event during the yearand we have a few more to come including making our first honorary awards. There is a saying in Irish ‘Fiche bliain ag fás agus fiche bliain faoi bhláth” whichmeans “20 years growing and 20 years flowering”. This is very apt in describing DkIT.

Without doubt our main achievement is the fact that almost 30000 students have received their certs, diplomas and degrees. These are students who otherwise would not have had that opportunity. From our early years most of our students have been the first generation in their family to go to college and get their degrees.

That is still true today and that makes the occasion very special for your parents here today. Just a few weeks ago, at an event in Letterkenny IT marking their 40th birthday President McAleese spoke of the social impact of the arrival of free secondary education in Ireland in 1966 which was followed by demand for entry to third level in the early seventies at the time the  Iinstitutes of Technology first opened. She spoke of her own father’s experience who at the age of fourteen was given his first pair of shoes by his father and he left home to make his way in life. She, on the other hand, was able to finish school and go to college and ultimately became President. President McAleese described the opening of the institutes of technology to a people that for decades, centuries even, had been denied opportunity and were hungry for it so when it arrived they responded by marching in their thousands from small rural towns and communities and metaphorically they prised open the doors with crow bars. It is a very vivid image but in the case of DkIT the thousands that marched here came from places like Nobber, Ardee, Ballybay and Clones and in recent years they have been joined by people from Frankfurt, Shangai and just this week our first group from Oman.

On the occasion of our 40th birthday I wish to pay tribute to all those visionaries who firstly conceived of the IoTs and then made them happen and to all those who worked here or studied here over the past forty years. Their legacy is a fabulous campus and an institute that is viewed with the highest respect.

Through their efforts the qualifications you have received today are very highly regarded by employers. The work of the generations that have gone before us have brought us thus far but it will be our generation’s responsibility to ensure that DkIT’s reputation remains at the top of its field. With the publication of the National Strategy for Higher Education earlier this year it is clear that new waves of reform are on the horizon. With these will come many changes but key among them is the possibility of re-designation as a university. I will be working  assiduously with my colleagues on the executive board and with our governing body to ensure that DkIT achieves this. I wish to use this occasion to officially welcome our new Chairman of the Governing Body, Mr Andrew Griffith on board. I got to know Andrew a few years ago when he was involved with some of the most innovative developments here on our campus and I have always been greatly impressed by his vision and energy and I look forward to working with him. Just before I conclude I want to acknowledge the faculty and all the support staff who worked so hard with you so that you could achieve your awards. I want to congratulate Dr. Edel Healy Head of School and all her staff for a number of initiatives they have introduced this year. Once again I congratulate your our graduates on your achievements. From this day onwards be proud to introduce yourselves as graduates of DkIT. Thank you for listening.

Go raibh maith agaibh!

Picture 1. Antoin Watters, Cooley, Co. Louth; Ben Riordan, Donabate, Co. Dublin; Kevin Rogers and David Begley, both of Hackballs Cross, Co. Louth. Antoin, Kevin and Ben received their Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Building Surveying and David received his Bachelor of Science in Building at the DKIT Conferring Ceremony on November 4th

 Picture 2.

DKIT Conferring 33:Christopher McGreal (centre), who received his Higher Diploma in Science and Computing, as well as receiving the President's Prize for Academic Excellence, with DKIT lecturers Peter Gosling and Christian Horn.