Graduation Ceremony

AIT Confers ‘Resilient’ and ‘Courageous’ Class of 2020 Virtually

2,200+ students conferred virtually against backdrop of ongoing global pandemic

AIT President Professor Ciarán Ó Catháin urged the hundreds of students who graduated this week to use their knowledge and skills to make "a positive impact” on their communities, the region and the world. 

This week, over the course of four graduation ceremonies, more than 2,200 students were conferred virtually against the backdrop of the ongoing global pandemic.

In his speech, Professor Ó Catháin commended the class of 2020 on their “great strength of character and resilience” and said that it would stand them in good stead as they go out into the world forging lives and careers . 

“I am always proud of our graduates, but today even more so as you have overcome such adversity to be here in this moment,” he said, acknowledging the difficulties faced by many students this past year.

“The commitment you have shown in the successful completion of your academic studies demonstrates that you are ready for the opportunities and challenges of the world of work and life ahead of you, wherever that may be.”

Professor Ó Catháin reminded graduates to be confident in their abilities and to know that the transferable skills and attributes developed throughout their studies will give them an edge in the world of employment.

Vice President of Academic Affairs and Registry and this year’s Master of Ceremonies Frances O’Connell echoed this sentiment and said that the last year had brought many changes to the world of education.

Congratulating the class of 2020, she said that they had shown tremendous courage “in the face of considerable adversity” and that “shoulder to the wheel” they had “readily adapted to changes in course delivery.”  

She also thanked Allied Irish Bank, Bank of Ireland, and Athlone Chamber of Commerce for their generous sponsorship of this year’s special awards “in recognition of our students’ achievements.”

Of the more than 2,200 students conferred this week across AIT’s four faculties, 1889 were undergraduate, 307 were postgraduate, four master’s by research and eight PhD. 

Liam Rattigan, AIT’s newly appointed governing body chairperson, said that the graduates had been “equipped with the necessary skills and attributes to succeed” in their chosen careers and to become significant contributors to society.

He added that they had demonstrated a "strength of character and determination" far beyond their years and were now ready for the next phase of their journey.

“Despite the challenges brought about by the pandemic, you adapted quickly, showing courage in the process. This adaptability, flexibility and tenacity of spirit are key strengths that will benefit you in your future career," he said. 

As the last of the class of 2020 turned their tassels today, a rite of passage that marks the transition from student to graduate, AIT celebrated its final conferring ceremony as an institute of technology.

Just last month the progressive third-level college submitted a formal application for technological university designation to government which should see AIT as a legal entity dissolved and a university for the Midlands in situ by September 2021.

Watch the conferring ceremonies online and share in this joyous, momentous occasion. #AITGrad2020

Athlone Institute of Technology is a research-led third-level institute with an applied, industry-focussed offering, world-class research and development capabilities, and state-of-the-art facilities. Winner of The Sunday Times Institute of the Year 2020 and 2018, AIT is Ireland’s top-ranked institute and is on track to open its doors as the country’s next technological university in September 2021. AIT tops Ireland’s official league table for research and was listed in U-Multirank’s Top 25 Performing Universities in the World for Interdisciplinary Research in 2018 and 2019. For information relating to the institute’s undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, visit

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