2007 Press Releases

Winter Conferring Ceremonies at University College Cork (UCC), December 12th 2007

Winter conferring ceremonies commenced today (December 12th 2007) at UCC with 375 undergraduate and postgraduate students graduating from the College of Business & Law, College of Science, Engineering & Food Science and College of Medicine & Health.

There were 77 from the Faculty of Law followed by 34 from the Faculty of Food Science & Technology.  Some 75 graduated from the Faculty of Engineering and a further 88 from the College of Medicine & Health.  One hundred and one graduated from the Faculty of Science.

Among those who graduated from the Faculty of Engineering were the first three graduates of the new MEngSc Degree on Information Technology in Architecture, Engineering and Construction.

An Honorary Master's Degree in Applied Science was conferred on John Caffrey for his outstanding service to UCC's Chemistry Department and to the University (attached).

The Conferring addresses were given by Mr John O'Brien, Chairman, Food Safety Authority of Ireland and Mr Eoin O'Driscoll, Aderra Ltd (attached).  The ceremonies continue tomorrow (December 13th) and conclude on Friday (December 14th).

Conferring Address by Mr Eoin O'Driscoll, Managing Director, Aderra Limited, Wednesday, December 12th 2007, 12.30pm and 3.30pm

Seeing Further

President, Members of the University, New Graduates and Distinguished Guests, it is my great honour to have this opportunity to address you today. When Prof Pat Fitzpatrick telephoned and asked me to make this commencement address my first feeling was one of great pride. This was moderated when my wife and children offered the advice of 'don't bore them!'

So my guideline here today is 'first do no harm!' and keep this address brief ....in contrast to Sir Robert Kane who reportedly spoke for over 2 hours in the Aula Maxima at the inauguration of Queen's College Cork in November 1849. Graduates, you are part great tradition of learning and teaching stretching back over 150 years in this the country's leading university.

First I would like to acknowledge the individual and collective contributions of the parents. Individually you are the ones who encouraged, nurtured, nudged, prodded, cajoled and supported your sons and daughters to achieve their full potential... Collectively you are the ones that generated the economic success that enables and funds over 55% of students going on to 3rd level versus 20% in 1980.

New Graduates.....congratulations on your achievements. Today is a day of celebration; a day when you can look back with pride and a sense of achievement and also a day when you can look forward with ambition and excitement. You have the opportunity to build on the achievements of your parents. To paraphrase Sir Isaac Newton, you can see further and do more standing on the shoulders of giants; you can build a great society on the foundations of a solid economy.

Now you are at an inflection point in your careers. Over the past 20 years, you have been acquiring knowledge and skills. Henceforth, you will get the opportunity to apply knowledge and indeed to create new knowledge. You are embarking on your careers when we are also at an inflection point in our economy and our society.

Ireland benefited by capitalising on the opportunities presented by manufacturing and internationally traded services in the dying days of the industrial society. Offering a favourable tax regime, a stable business environment and a solid education system Ireland attracted mobile foreign direct investment. This investment in ICT, Pharma, Medical Devices and Internationally Traded Services generated huge export growth and this in turn fuelled our consumer spending and construction boom.
We have been living and competing in a world defined by the economies of the USA, Europe and Japan; a world of approximately 650m producers and consumers. We did well in this world. Indeed our economy has been transformed over the past two decades with a doubling of the number of people in employment and a GDP/Capita that positions us among the wealthiest nations of the world.  

With globalisation we now have new opportunities and we face new challenges. The entry of China into the WTO in 2001 created a new global dynamic - a country with 1/4 of the world's population was now part of the multilateral trading system.

Jean Paul Sartre the French philosopher once wrote that:-
     'In soccer everything is complicated the presence of the other team'.
With globalisation we have 6.5bn people on the other team.

Our success and our resultant expectations have made us a high wage economy. So the challenge for us is 'how do we keep ourselves in the style to which we have become accustomed?' in this new globalised world characterised by fierce competition. We must now compete on knowledge. Knowledge creation and diffusion are at the core of all economic activity. We must now develop and offer products and services that are unique and differentiated: Products and services that can attract a premium for their unique value: a premium that supports our high wage economy.

We are supported in this challenge by a research landscape in Ireland has been transformed over the past decade; transformed by funding from PRTLI and SFI. Our current spending on research in higher education at 0.4%of GNP is comparable to the OECD average and above the EU 27 Avg. Centres for Science Engineering and Technology (CSETs) are bringing together large groups of world class researchers to identify and research key questions in ICT and the Life Sciences.

In some ways research is the easy part. To get the economic and societal benefits of public investment in research we must find innovative ways to exploit and to apply knowledge. This is your exciting challenge. How do you use your knowledge, your skills to sustain our growth and to create a true knowledge economy? In addition you have the opportunity to create not just a knowledge economy but a knowledge society. In a knowledge society, the economy is merely an enabler. A knowledge society is one where we harness knowledge and skills to tackle and address issues of equality and sustainability.

As you embark on using your skills and your knowledge to sustain the economy, to create a better healthcare system from 'bench to bed', to improve our education system, to solve challenges of food production and climate change, you will need to acquire new skills and new knowledge.

Today, you are commencing a journey of lifelong learning. Many of the skills that are required to make a difference are the old fashioned ones such as a sense of service, the ability to listen, the ability to work as part of a team, the ability to inspire and lead, the ability to commit and follow.  In a connected world that is flat, that is a global village, where information is available instantaneously it is the ability to work together to prioritise and solve problems that will differentiate us. We have a proud culture and tradition of meitheal or collaboration with those around us. We now have a strong economy. You have the opportunity to revive this tradition of collaboration and combine it with our economic success. You have the opportunity to tap into global knowledge and make a huge difference by building a fair and prosperous knowledge society.

You can see further and do more standing on the shoulders of those who went before you.

I wish you success and happiness in the years ahead.

Text of Address by Professor Anita Maguire on the occasion of the conferring of an Honorary MSc in Applied Science on Mr John Caffrey, 3.30pm, Wednesday, December 12th 2007

John Caffrey was born in Cork, on the North side of the Lee, overlooking the campus of UCC where he was to spend many years as an employee and a part-time undergraduate and postgraduate student. His time at UCC spanned five decades and, therefore, he experienced and saw many changes.  He worked under a total of seven presidents - Atkins, McHenry, McCarthy, O Ciardha, Mortell, Wrixon and presently Dr Michael Murphy, which accounts for half of the total number of President that UCC has had.

His early education was received from the Presentation sisters of the South Presentation Primary school, and from there to the Christian Brothers School, Sullivan's Quay and then onto Crawford Technical School (now known as CIT).  It was from there on a damp/grey November day in 1958 (to quote John)  he was sent to UCC to meet with a Dr J.P. Teegan in the Chemistry Department for interview - no Recruitment office or official procedures those days!  He was successful in securing the post of Trainee Technician and was to remain at UCC for the next 48 and a half year's until his retirement in June 2007.

John's commitment and hard work is evidenced by his progression from Trainee Technician back in 1958 to the highest grade for technicians employed in UCC that of Chief Technician, the post he retired from.  This progression was due not alone to his unrelenting loyalty to the Chemistry Department and to the University; but to his willingness to undertake further study as a part-time student.  He undertook the relevant examinations at the Crawford Tech required for progression to Class 1 technician.  His love of learning was not confined to just technical matters as he pursued an Arts Degree and graduated with a BA in History and Archaeology in 1980.  Ten years later he was again on the road to further study and received a Higher Diploma in Applied Science (1990) and 1st Class Honours MSc in Analytical Chemistry in (1996) with the title of his thesis being Pollutant Adsorption into Ti02 Photocatalysts from Polluted Water:  Studies by HPLC Analysis on Aqueous Solutions and by Drifts.  His supervisor for his thesis was Emeritus Professor Joe Cunningham.  

The Chemistry Department owes a great debt of gratitude to John for the tremendous technical support he gave over his long tenure in the Department; always willing to go the extra mile for staff and students.  For twenty seven years he worked very closely with Professor Cunningham's research team.  On appointment to the post of Chief Technician he displayed great leadership and direction to the technical staff and provided invaluable support to the various heads of departments that he worked with.  John was always far reaching in his thinking and ready to embrace new ideas and change.

John's commitment to UCC was not confined to the Chemistry Department but was a very active member of the Technicians' Union for a number of years, negotiating improved conditions and careers advancement for his fellow workers.  He was a member of the Governing Body for two terms and participated on a number of University wide committees including being a member of the Commission 23 Section 2 of the Universities Act 1997 whose remit was the Determination of the Composition of the First Governing Authority.  Externally John was on the Board of the Gurranabraher Credit Union for many years.

Like all good Cork men John has a great love of sport both as a spectator and player particularly Soccer and was one of the leading lights of the Inter firm soccer team.  The team was made up of all categories of staff and had major success in 1973 when they brought off a double, winning the League and the Cup.  Following from this was a very successful Gaelic Football Team winning the provincial final though narrowly missing all Ireland glory.  More recently he has taken up golf and is a member of the UCC Staff Golfing Society and also Fermoy Golf Club.

President, for his outstanding service to the Chemistry Department and to the University I have the honour of commending John Caffrey to you for the award of the Degree of Master of Science.

Praesento vobis hunc meum filium, quem scio tam moribus quam doctrina habilem et idoneum esse qui admittatur ad Gradum Magisterii Scientiae (Honoris Causa), idque tibi fide mea testor ac spondeo, totique Academiae.

Picture:  Mr John Caffrey


<<Previous ItemNext Item>>

« Back to 2007 Press Releases

University College Cork

Coláiste na hOllscoile Corcaigh

College Road, Cork T12 K8AF