Avoiding Food Poisoning – Time and Temperature, Keeping Food Safe at Home As we all…
Graduates; One of the benefits of being part of a University or College Community is being in a position to join the Alumni Groups AFTER you Graduate… this letter from University College Cork reminded me today that it can feel good to remain CONNECTED during times like these…
As we begin 2021, I wish you good health and every happiness. The past year has been a very difficult time for so many. We have been inspired by amazing stories of UCC alumni, around the world, who have contributed in different ways: from being members of teams leading Covid-19 vaccine development, to resolving the challenges, and alleviating the hardships our society has faced. We acknowledge and thank those of you who have been on the frontline helping patients battle with Covid-19. We are grateful to those of you who have worked in the community, assisting the most vulnerable among us. We appreciate those who have conducted research for treatments and a cure, and those who have been involved in the development of new vaccines. We salute all of you, wherever you are, and acknowledge your resilience and compassion, key attributes of our graduates, at this precarious moment in our history.
Here at UCC we continue to respond to the unprecedented difficulties of the past months, placing the welfare of our students at the centre of our activities. In March, we rapidly developed innovations to deliver knowledge in a safe and supportive environment. We are immensely proud of how our students responded to the situation, engaging wholeheartedly with the University’s move to online teaching and distance learning. Staff and students, working together, demonstrated a remarkable spirit of community at this testing time. In the coming year, should evolving public health guidelines permit, our ambition is to increase in-person teaching and face-to-face activities on campus. During the pandemic, research activities continued, with in excess of a thousand researchers on campus every day throughout the period. A pandemic won’t stop the creation of new knowledge by the UCC community!
On December 30, UCC marked the occasion of the 175th anniversary of its establishment. On that date, in 1845, Queen’s College Cork formally came into existence by a royal charter of incorporation. The University first opened for lectures in November 1849, as Ireland was recovering from the ravages of The Great Famine. At the time of their establishment, the Queen’s Colleges were a radical and positive development in higher education in Ireland. Autonomous, non-denominational, non-residential, and regional, they opened the door to affordable university education for a great many young people in Cork, Galway, Belfast and beyond.
Some 175 years later, removing barriers and extending opportunities continue to be core objectives for UCC. We strive to create an inclusive educational environment for students with disabilities, those affected by economic hardship, students from the travelling community and those returning to education as adults. Our Quercus scholarship programme, funded by Ford, recognises talent and promotes excellence in diverse fields of human endeavour. Students are the life of UCC, and are central to our mission, continually inspiring us and each other with their energy, creativity and commitment.
We are proud that the number of international students at UCC continues to grow. In 1946, we welcomed our first international students, 18 Polish refugees exiled by war and deprived of educational opportunities. Further Polish students followed in subsequent years. This compassionate impulse remains strong in UCC. In 2018, we were awarded University of Sanctuary status, in recognition of our achievements in removing barriers to accessing third level education for asylum seekers and refugees in Ireland.
UCC’s relationship with its graduates is a special one. In this anniversary year, we are reaching out through our 175 Reconnect programme. We will be encouraging alumni to relive and share their memories of UCC and to come together to promote our graduate attributes through worthwhile projects. Throughout the coming year we will bring you opportunities to reconnect with your alma mater.
‘Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireann na daoine’. We are proud that our students, staff and alumni are standing strong together, for, and with, their families, friends and communities. We hope that you have been sustained and inspired by the friendships and values nurtured during your college experience. UCC continues to be a force for positive change; a Munster-based University with global impact. We invite you to share with us in reconnecting with our 175-year history and in drawing on it, as we face the future together with confidence.
We look forward to the day when you will all be able to return, once again, to your alma mater.
Professor John O’Halloran,
University College Cork