Closing Address by Prof. Michael A Hayes,
President of Mary Immaculate College, Limerick
on the occasion of
Celebrating Ability – A Presentation by the Students on the
Programme in Contemporary Living
Wednesday 14 December 2011
Students and Parents,
Colleagues and Friends,
I wish to close this evening’s programme of events by giving thanks. First and
foremost, thank you to all fifteen of the students on the Programme in
Contemporary Living for the wonderful evening you have given us.
Congratulations to those of you who made presentations this evening. Each
and every one was outstanding.
It is wonderful to see some of the results of your work as a group, since
commencing the course in September, on exhibition here in TARA. The talent,
creativity and love of learning within this group are clear for all to see. I am
thankful for the opportunity to see your work and to share in your celebration
with you this evening.
The presentations you have given and the projects you have on display remind
me of the Leo Buscaglia quote: “Our talents are the gift that God gives to us...
What we make of our talents is our gift back to God.”
This is a proud day for Mary Immaculate College, as we heard in the words of
Prof. Claire Lyons and Prof. Teresa O’Doherty, and it is a proud day for your
families. I know that you will all join me in thanking them for being with us this
evening and for the support and encouragement that they have given to each of
you on your journey so far.
I also want to thank the Mary Immaculate College staff involved in the
Programme in Contemporary Living. Firstly, thanks to the Dean of Education,
Prof. Teresa O’Doherty and to Claire Lyons, Head of the Department of
Learning, Society and Religious Education, who work in conjunction the
Programme Co-ordinator, Órla Slattery, in managing the programme. Órla
herself has shown tremendous energy and ambition for her students since
taking up her new role as Programme Co-Ordinator and course tutor at the
beginning of this semester. Congratulations on your work to date Órla and on
organising this evening’s event. Thanks to Ber Deegan, who is also a course
tutor, for your continued dedication to the students of the programme. Thanks
to the support staff who work on the programme: John, Josephine and Laura.
In the words of Albert Einstein, "It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken
joy in creative expression and knowledge," and we can certainly see evidence
of that joy this evening.
Thanks also to Anne O’Byrne, Academic Advisor, without whose vision and
determination, this programme would not exist and to Prof. Gary O’Brien, who
is Chair of the local consultancy group, composed of representatives of many
service providers and external agencies, as well as MIC faculty and staff
members, which meets several times a year to discuss the programme and to
devise effective strategies to meet the needs of its participants. On behalf of the
College, I would like to express our deep appreciation to all of the agencies
whose support and guidance greatly help to facilitate this programme,
especially: the National Institute of Intellectual Disability (NIID); the Brothers
of Charity; Daughters of Charity; Enable Ireland; the HSE; Limerick VEC; the
National Learning Network; St Joseph’s Foundation; the National
Rehabilitation Centre; St Cronan’s Association and Off We Go Publishing.
Within the Mary Immaculate College community, good will and
encouragement for this programme has been college-wide and with this in
mind, I would like to mention Pat and everyone in Campbell Catering, Brian
Kirby and the maintenance team and the Students’ Union for all of their
Mary Immaculate College prides itself on its commitment to widening
participation in third level study and to ‘Making a Difference’ within the
community. This commitment is firmly articulated in our mission statement:
‘… (MIC) strives to promote equity in society and to provide an environment
where all have freedom and opportunity to achieve their full potential.’
I would like to conclude by returning to the students, whose hard work and
ability we celebrate tonight. As we have seen this evening, in fulfilling the aims
of the programme, which are to develop your skills for modern society, fulfil
your personal educational interests, enhance your employability, develop your
citizenship and self-determination and broaden your horizons, each of you is
putting the mission statement into practice. You are making a difference and
strengthening your impact on the world around you, while living increasingly
Congratulations again to you all.
Go raibh maith agaibh.
Prof. Michael A Hayes
14 December 2011