WIT Conferring: Graduates of 2018 have the capability to become next generation leaders

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WIT conferring highlights include announcement that WIT’s research and innovation funding over the past 20 years has had a €1bn impact on the south east economy

Waterford Institute of Technology’s graduates of 2018 have been told they possess all the capabilities to become the next generation leaders in their chosen professions. 

As the first of 12 conferring ceremonies across three days during which 2,400 students will be conferred with academic degrees up to doctorate level took place, Prof Willie Donnelly, President of Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT), gave the graduates of 2018 words of advice on how to prepare for the “opportunities afforded by this new disruptive and rapidly changing economic environment.” 

Value of continuous learning 
In his conferring address, Prof Donnelly said a commitment to continuous professional development is definitely key for the graduates of 2018. 

“Waterford Institute of Technology will continue to push the education boundaries to support your educational and training needs through the development of a broad set of flexible programmes up to PhD level. I am confident that you will embrace these opportunities and that you possess all the capabilities to become the next generation leaders in your chosen profession,” he said. 

He noted that this year is a very important year for the institute as it celebrates the 25th anniversary of the first PhD graduate from Waterford Institute of Technology.  

In the last 10 years WIT has graduated over 50% of all PhD graduates coming from the 14 institutes of technologies.  

The impact of research and innovation was also highlighted. Prof Donnelly noted in his speech how research and innovation across all of WIT’s discipline areas ensures the relevance and quality of the institute’s undergraduate and postgraduate teaching programmes. 

Billion euro impact 
He described research and innovation as “the cornerstone in the economic transformation of the city and the South East region driving the creation of high quality industries providing local employment for our graduates such as yourselves.” 

Prof Donnelly also referred to the institute’s €1bn impact on the economy over two decades. “The institute has been awarded more than €200m euro in competitive research funding since 2000. It has been calculated that every €1 of research funding generates a 5-fold impact on the surrounding economy. This equates to €1bn generated for the regional economy over this period.” 

TU ambition 
WIT Governing Body Chairman Mr Jim Moore congratulated students on behalf of the Institute’s Governing Body and said their conferring is a testament to their  ambition. 

“Waterford Institute of Technology has through its history come to be known as one of Ireland’s most innovative educational institutions, leading in research, teaching and learning, driven by a strong ethos of partnership and co-operation. The time has now come for our Institute to move to the next stage of its development. This it will do in the course of our most recent Strategic Plan as it transforms, with IT Carlow, into a Technological University. It is our ambition that this will be a University for the entire region and in so doing will lead the future economic, social and cultural development of the South East. Our Plan seeks to enhance the enormous commitment to students and to teaching and learning as evident in our Institute’s history. It is a declaration of intent on the part of the Institute underpinned by ambition and confidence in our shared vision,” he said. 

Graduate stats 
Graduates and their families travelled from across the globe to attend the ceremonies in Waterford. 

Out of the 2,400 graduates being conferred with academic awards up to doctorate level, two thirds are from the south east. Typically one third are from Waterford City and County with more than 10% from Wexford, 10% from Kilkenny, and 10% from Tipperary. 

Honorary Fellowship for Vicky Phelan 
On Friday, 2 November 2018, WIT will award an Honorary Fellowship to staff member, Vicky Phelan. Vicky has worked in WIT since 2006 and has held a number of roles within the School of Lifelong Learning and Education. Her current role is manager of the Literacy Development Centre, a national centre for the professional development of adult literacy practitioners. The award follows a recommendation to the WIT Governing Body earlier this year, which was unanimously approved. 

The WIT Honorary Fellowship is awarded to individuals who have demonstrated distinction in a field of human endeavour to such an extent as to provide motivation and inspiration to the Institute community. 

Ceremony schedule 
The ceremonies take place at the following times:
Wednesday, (10am, 12pm, 2pm, 4pm)
Thursday, (10am, 12pm, 2pm, 4pm, 7pm)
Friday, (10am, 12pm, 3.45pm) 

The ceremonies are livestreamed at WIT Conferring

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