Bestselling author and octogenarian among today's UCC graduates

Bestselling author and octogenarian among today's UCC graduates

Best-selling author of the Percy Jackson fantasy book and film series, Rick Riordan is among the graduates of a Masters in Gaelic Literature from the College of Arts, Celtic Studies & Social Sciences.

A BEST-selling author and 80-year-old PhD recipient are among those set to graduate from University College Cork (UCC) today.

More than 1,000 students will graduate virtually today, including New York Times bestselling author Rick Riordan and PhD student Tom Walsh, aged 80.

The graduations of 1,115 students from all four of UCC’s colleges will take place across eight ceremonies which will be live-streamed from the UCC website from 3pm today.

UCC’s virtual spring conferrings can be viewed via the university’s website at www.ucc.ie.
UCC’s virtual spring conferrings can be viewed via the university’s website at www.ucc.ie.

The best-selling author of the Percy Jackson fantasy book and film series, Rick Riordan, is among the graduates of a masters in Gaelic literature from the College of Arts, Celtic Studies, and Social Sciences.

The Boston-based author undertook his studies online, choosing the course in the hope that Irish legends may inspire his next bestseller.

Previously, speaking about his exploration of Irish myth, he said: “Before I turned to Irish myth, I wanted to be sure I had done as much research as possible, even though I knew the stories fairly well.

“UCC’s online Gaelic literature MA provided me with everything I needed. It truly is a fantastic programme for anyone interested in Irish history, literature, language, or mythology. There is no other programme like it in the world, to my knowledge.”

Tom Walsh, an internationally renowned expert on customs law and practice, will be conferred with his doctorate from the College of Business and Law.

Tom Walsh, an internationally renowned expert on customs law and practice, who will be conferred with his doctorate from the UCC College of Business & Law at the age of 80.
Tom Walsh, an internationally renowned expert on customs law and practice, who will be conferred with his doctorate from the UCC College of Business & Law at the age of 80.

Mr Walsh has a long history with the School of Law and after graduating with a BCL degree in 1984, became the first person to start an LLM with the school by thesis. He wants his study of a PhD to inspire others to learning.

“I would like the message to get across that you do not have to be a ‘book worm’ to start a course of study,” he said. “My old teacher used to say, when it came to asking the question that everyone in the class was afraid to ask, that it was ‘better to be a fool for one minute of your life, than a fool all your life’.”

Tom Walsh, right, receiving his LLM from UCC in 1984.
Tom Walsh, right, receiving his LLM from UCC in 1984.

Ahead of the ceremonies, UCC’s interim president, Professor John O’Halloran, congratulated the graduates on their achievements.

“At any time, to complete a degree is difficult. To complete a degree at this time is exceptionally difficult,” he said. “But you have endured, you have persisted through tough times in achieving something truly remarkable. Your resilience, your hard work, and your commitment have brought you to this moment today.”

  • UCC’s virtual spring conferrings can be viewed via the university’s website at www.ucc.ie.

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