Autumn Conferring Ceremonies, 30 October 2012
Students from the College of Science, Engineering and Food Science and the College of Business and Law will graduate with:
College of Science, Engineering and Food Science
-School of Life Sciences
- BSc (Ordinary)
- BSc (Hons) (Biochemistry)
- BSc (Hons) (Biomedical Sciences)
- BSc (Hons) (Genetics)
- BSc (Hons) (Intercalated)
- BSc (Hons) (Microbiology)
- BSc (Hons) (Neuroscience)
- BSc (Hons) (Physiology)
- MSc Biotechnology
- MSc (Science & Food Science – Research)
- PhD (Science, Engineering & Food Science)
College of Business and Law
-Faculty of Commerce
- BComm (Hons)
- BComm (Hons) (International with Chinese Studies)
- BComm (Hons) (International with French)
- BComm (Hons) (International with German)
- BComm (Hons) (International with Hispanic Studies)
- BComm (Hons) (International with Irish)
- BComm (Hons) (International with Italian)
- BComm (Hons) (International with Spanish)
- MBS (Asian Business)
- MBS (Economics of Business Practice)
- MBS (Information Systems for Business Performance)
- MBS (Innovation in European Business)
The Conferring addresses will be delivered by Dr Daniel O’Mahony, Partner, Seroba Kernel Life Sciences Ltd. (10.00am and 12.30pm) and by Deirdre Somers, Chief Executive, Irish Stock Exchange (3.30pm).
Further information is available at: http://www.ucc.ie/en/whatson/Name-169260-en.html or see the live stream courtesy of Audio Visual Media Services and the Computer Centre at UCC: http://www.ucc.ie/en/live/
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Autumn Conferrings 2012
10.00am & 12.30pm Tuesday 30 October 2012
Dr Daniel O’Mahony, Partner, Seroba Kernel Life Sciences
President Murphy, Professor Fitzgerald, Graduates, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a pleasure and honour for me to address you today at my alma mater university, UCC, a place dear in my heart.
Initially I congratulate all of the newly qualified graduates from the College of Science, Engineering and Food Science. I am sure, no doubt, that you have all worked hard and studied diligently here at UCC. All of this dedication culminates today in you becoming graduates at last. This is a day which perhaps at times you thought might never come – particularly as you prepared for your last exams or defence of your thesis!
It is also a day in which your parents, families and friends are immensely proud of you and your achievements – and rightly so. They stayed the journey with you. Today is a day in which you know you must acknowledge their support, encouragement & sacrifice.
I would also like to congratulate the staff of UCC in their contribution to your education.
Today graduates, one big chapter in your Life’s book and professional career development closes. But today is also a day in which the next chapter in your Book of Life and your career opens. And that chapter and the succeeding chapters in your personal journey have the potential to be the most exciting, the most rewarding, the most liberating and the most fulfilling chapters you or, indeed, anyone could hope and wish for.
Today we live in times of unprecedented change with many uncertainties and new challenges about the future. However, there is something about uncertainty and competition that makes people focus harder, challenge themselves more, and think outside the box.
The degree that is bestowed on each of you today, the training, education and skill-sets that you have developed here at UCC as well as the self-belief & self-confidence that each of you has been enriched with while studying at UCC can, and should be, one of the best “insurance policies” you have for the future and the many challenges that lie ahead.
You should now decide how best you can “cash in” and leverage that “insurance policy”. The author of the future chapters of your career development should be you and you alone. The central character in those chapters should be you.
I hope that the next chapter in your career development will be you pursuing and chasing your “Field of Dreams” and your aspirations for the future. The dedication, persistence and perseverance that you have shown in gaining your degree from UCC is one which you now need to apply and replicate in pursuing and delivering on your “Field of Dreams”. Hard work, persistence and absolute determination can get you anywhere you want to go with your career and life.
This university, through its different educational programs, has given each of you a framework of knowledge and insight, a toolkit of reasoning, an ability for constructive critique and continual challenge. Never lose that toolkit in your pursuit of your “Field of Dreams”. Instead, you should continue to develop and hone it.
In pursuing your Field of Dreams you should be prepared to “imagine the future and then to create that future”. Use your passion and your inherent capacity for creative disruption & disruptive innovation to do something truly exceptional. Don’t be afraid to take risks. Your capacity for translational thinking across different areas, technologies & market sectors gives you an ability to both imagine and create the future, be it in industry, in new enterprises, in new business models, in academic research, in food research, in politics, in education, in community activities or indeed whichever walk of life you choose to follow.
Given the changing world order of today, an ability to imagine, create and compete for the future is now more important than ever. You are the pole-bearers that can imagine and create that future, sometimes in ways which you may not have considered or thought possible.
Some of the most successful companies of today are companies which did not exit a decade or so ago, companies such as Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Zynga which are new, multi-billion dollar companies or corporations.
Some of the most exciting growth areas in business today are also ones which did not exist a decade ago. Social Networking, Cloud Computing, Personalised Medicine are all coming of age as multi-billion dollar business sectors. The convergence of ICT technologies with medical devices will revolutionise the medtech industry of the future. The digital revolution will change medical innovation in ways we are only starting to comprehend or conceive. The recent decision by the Kerry Group to invest €100m in a new R&D centre in Ireland highlights opportunities for new food technologies, new food ingredients.
Some might say these companies and these new business areas came from nowhere. But, of course, that’s not true. They came from people and teams of people who had “Fields of Dreams”, “People who Imagined the Future”; “People who had a vision for the future and a passion to deliver on it”. They came from people who were prepared to question “Central Dogmas” and create new dogmas. They came from people who were not afraid to disrupt the status quo and create a new status quo.
They came from people who saw gaps in markets and identified “Unmet Needs. To quote the late Steve Jobs of Apple “don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking”.
Many of the crusaders who imagined, seeded, grew and developed these new business areas were young graduates like you, people who knew no sense of fear in business and were able to differentiate themselves from those around them. Your university education, your degree empowers you to do something similar.
Sara Blakey is one of the youngest self-made female billionaires. In 2000, she was selling fax machines door-to-door. She identified a gap in the market for a new type of material for clothes & garments. Using $5000 of her own money, she developed that initial material called Spanx. From that development Sara spawned a very successful business empire. Sarah is now in her early 40s and is one of the youngest self-made female billionaires, all derived from identifying a very simple “Unmet Need” in the market. Like Sara, “You can be the person who puts the met into the unmet” in which ever path in life you choose to follow.
In summary, find your “Field of Dreams” (be it in business, new enterprises, academic research, community involvement, new business models, politics). Believe in yourself, believe in your capabilities and leverage the university education which you have worked hard for. Do not ignore or suppress your passion as you start to write the next chapter in your life’S BOOK. Let your book be auto-biographical, crafted and develop by you, guided by your Field of Dreams, your passion.
As I mentioned earlier I am a graduate of UCC. In 1982 I graduated with a BSc Hons degree majoring in Biochemistry; in 1986 with a Ph.D in molecular genetics. I entered UCC wanting to study chemistry. In my 3rd year I discovered biochemistry, at a time when molecular genetics & recombinant DNA technology was just starting to develop. I switched courses, repeated a year to do honours biochemistry, found a mentor in Dr John Atkins who had joined UCC in 1979 from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and did my Ph.D with John here. After graduating with my Ph.D I was offered the post of assistant college lecturer here. A year into that I realised I was not the “finished article” and wanted to pursue more applied research. I joined the Genetics faculty at Trinity; we had a big applied project from the Chinese government to develop a particular recombinant protein which had commercial potential in China. That was a successful project.
The pursuit of applied research took me to the USA for a couple of years. In 1992 I returned to Ireland, joined Elan Corporation shortly thereafter and for the next 10-11 years I leveraged everything I had learned during my time at UCC, Trinity College and the USA in designing and developing new targeted drug delivery technologies.
During my time with Elan I became heavily involved in joint venturing and looking to create new drug delivery technologies mainly with emerging biotech companies in the USA. That venturing experience lead me into venture capital and investing in new life science companies in Ireland, UK, Europe and spinning new medtech companies from the USA into Ireland.
Thus, when I look back here today I realise that the seeds of my career, my field of dreams were fully planted and started to germinate here in UCC and have carried me through the past 35 years or so.
Graduates you will have many opportunities to make career choices in the future. Seize the ones that meet your Field of Dreams, seize them with confidence and determination. Be prepared to take risks. Be prepared to evolve. Be prepared to take the advice of others. Continue to imagine the future because someday you will be lucky enough to create that future. In that process, you can develop new technologies, new enterprises, new business modelsand have life-long career satisfaction and liberation.
And remember Graduates, the friendships you have developed her at UCC are ones which will stand by you in the years ahead, as you imagine and create the future.
And what might that future look like I wonder? In less than 5 years’ time we will have Aps on our smart phones that will monitor cardiac function and relay information back to GPs. We will have simple medical devices to treat obesity. In 10 years’ time we will have new medical devices to allow re-growth of damaged tissues such as hearts after heart attacks. In 15 years’ time we will have sensors implanted in our bodies that can detect diseases at very early stages of development and allow early treatment and prevention. In 20 years’ time we will be able to fly from Cork to Sydney in 2 hours. All of these developments will be made possible by advances in bio-medical science and engineering made by graduates such as you.
As Stephen Hawkins said at the opening ceremony of the recent Paralympics “Look up at the stars and not down at your feed. Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be Curious”.
Graduates, I wish each of you every success into the future. And at some stage be prepared to give something back.
Go for it Class of 2012.