Staff and students at Carlow College, St. Patrick’s had a day of celebration for its Class of 2021 this week as 142 graduates were conferred in the College’s first in-person graduation in over two years.
Among the graduates were mother and son Claire Cunningham and Jacob Cunningham Stafford from Athy in Co Kildare, who both graduated from the B.A. (Hons) in Arts & Humanities and Karmel Knipprath from Thomastown in Co Kilkenny who graduated from B.A. (Hons) in English & History who is currently a PhD candidate at Manchester Centre for Gothic Studies at Manchester Metropolitan University.
The conferrings had been postponed in December 2021 due to COVID-19 and following a poll of graduands it was voted to postpone the ceremony to April, rather than hosting a virtual event.
“Our staff worked hard in the months leading up to the graduation to ensure it was the celebration our Class of 2021 deserved. These graduates had a very challenging final year of their studies and to see them persevere to get to this major milestone – it really is something to celebrate”, says Dr Thomas McGrath, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Registrar of Carlow College.
Carlow College President, Fr Conn Ó Maoldhomhnaigh warmly congratulated the graduates who come from 13 different counties across Ireland, including as far as Donegal, and international students from Estonia and Brazil.
“On behalf of the Governing Body and the staff of the College, I offer congratulations to the capable, inspiring, persevering and tenacious Class of 2021. I commend College staff and loved ones, here and back at home, who, especially during the Lockdowns of 2020 and 2021, helped bring us to this happy day”, said Fr Ó Maoldhomhnaigh.
Bishop Denis Nulty, chair of College Trustees and Governing Body, and Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin, spoke of the graduates as future leaders and to “be a leader wherever you find yourself” in his keynote address. He encouraged graduates to “go through your life with a generous spirit and a care for those in need. Be conscious of one another and particularly those facing challenges of their own.”
Speaking after the ceremony, Dr McGrath said “this class had an excellent run of first class honours’ degrees and this augurs well for the contribution our graduates will make to society in coming years.”