HUNDREDS OF WELL-WISHERS crammed into the conference centre of Tipperary Institute (TI) to congratulate 32 degree graduates from the business, computing and rural development departments. This marked the first college degree graduation programme in the history of Tipperary Institute and ranks as one of the leading indicators of the Irish government's intention to spur regional development through the continued funding of meaningful third level programmes.
I watched Sarah Egan proudly accept Tipperary Institute's first degree, a Bachelor of Arts in Rural Development. She joined 23 other students who received National Diplomas in Sustainable Rural Development or BAs in Rural Develoment on the day, presented by Padraig Culbert, the CEO of TI.
Seamus Purseil, the chief executive of the Higher Education and Training Awards Council, formally conferred a host of awards. In his remarks, he recalled how he has watched the staff of TI develop an idea from the ground up.