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Liberal Arts Celebration at St Mary’s

 

Liberal Arts Celebration at St Mary's Photo

 

East Belfast man, Sammy Douglas MLA, was the Commencement Speaker at the 12th annual Liberal Arts celebration at St Mary's University College on Thursday, 26 June. Over four hundred people attended the event at the Falls Road campus, which has recently been ranked as the top specialist institution in the Guardian Higher Education league tables for student entry in 2015. The league tables cover England, Scotland, Wales and the north of Ireland.

The College Principal, Professor Peter Finn, welcomed both Bishop Anthony Farquhar and Sammy Douglas MLA to St Mary’s and is pictured with them as well as students Michael Hynes, Amy Troy, Siobhan Feely, Timothy Elliott and staff governor, Deirdre Cree, who is the Head of Student Services.

Over eighty Liberal Arts students were presented with their Higher Education Achievement Records (HEAR), with four of them receiving special awards.

 

This year’s top student was Michael Hynes
Michael began his post-primary education in Malone College and completed his A-levels in St Mary’s Christian Brothers Grammar School. He then came to St Mary’s to study PE on the Liberal Arts programme. He also took part in the Erasmus programme while in college, studying at the University of Huelva, Spain. His sporting activities have been focused on football, both Gaelic and soccer. He currently plays with Lamh Dearg GFC and was captain of the Antrim Minor team in 2011, and also played with the County Under-21 panel. In addition he has also played with Glenavon first team for the past four years. Following graduation, Michael will be heading to the USA to take up a scholarship to study for a Masters in Sports Leadership at Franklin Pearce University in New Hampshire.

Deirdre Cree commented:
"As we celebrate all our graduands, we are delighted to single out Michael Hynes as Student of the Year, a fine example of the excellence and values which go hand in hand at our College."

 

Amy Troy was the recipient of the Chengelo Prize
The word 'Chengelo' is often used in Zambia for school and community leaders. 'Chengelo' comes from the Nanja for 'light' but it means a person who shows humanity and solidarity, a person who brings light to the community. Amy Troy studied at Dominican College in Portstewart before taking a Liberal Arts degree with Religious Studies. The award recognises Amy's outstanding contribution to college life, her engagement with and participation in student activities and the support and encouragement she has given to fellow students. Amy studied in China and Spain as part of her programme and undertook work placement with a group from the Somali community living in Belfast. Amy worked with the charity, "Horn of Africa Peoples Aid Northern Ireland" where she taught English.

 

The International Student of the Year was Siobhan Feely
Siobhan Feely mastered German while on an Erasmus European study abroad programme. She did this by taking a series of intensive language courses at the University of Paderborn. All of her courses were conducted entirely in German. In her final year at St Mary’s Siobhan chose to return to Paderborn on the College’s Work Related Learning Programme to teach in a local primary school.

Siobhan says, "I loved every second of my time in Germany." But additionally, her German experience extended to include meeting and making friends with "amazing people" from America, Turkey, Italy and Poland, among other places, a fine example of a person open to making friends with a diverse range of people and gaining an international perspective that our society needs to develop.

 

The Fr O'Callaghan Entrepreneurship Cup was awarded to Timothy Elliott
Tim is from Portadown, Co Armagh and attended Portadown College. During his Liberal Arts studies Tim was placed with the Belfast-based organisation, Business in the Community (BITC). BITC is a membership organisation for companies that are committed to doing business responsibly and working together on societal issues where they can make a real difference. While on placement with BITC, Tim was involved in strategic planning, human resource policy review and operations as well as event management.

Tim was mentored on placement by Patricia O’Rourke, Operations Director and Melanie Doherty from the HR Team. Melanie commented, "from day one this student showed a great enthusiasm for all areas within the organisation but clearly had an informed interest in HR. He had the ability to ask appropriate questions, used his own initiative and was a student to whom professionalism came so naturally."