As today's graduation ceremonies for students at Ulster's Magee campus began today, University of Ulster Chancellor James Nesbitt paid tribute to the achievements of Magee and its students – and he called on the people and institutions of the city to swing behind the University’s call for Magee expansion.
Addressing his Millennium Forum audience of academics, graduates and their proud families and friends, the Chancellor said:
"The University of Ulster is the city’s University, and we are committed to its development at the Magee campus and other sites in Derry~Londonderry."This University is not just in Derry~Londonderry, it is also of the city, and our capacity and potential are shaped by how we interface with its people, with its public institutions, and with its businesses.
“We want to develop with this city and work effectively with local partners to help deliver sustainable, healthy and creative physical, social and economic development."
In a wide-ranging address, Dr Nesbitt reviewed some of the recent advances at Magee:
"From September of this year a range of new courses is being offered for the first time including a Bachelor’s Degree in Physical Activity, Exercise and Health; Bachelor and Master’s Degrees in Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, Master’s Degrees in Renewable Energy Engineering, Master’s in Commercial Law and Master’s in the Creative Industries. A Bachelor’s Degree in Cinematic Arts – the first in Ireland, North or South – will be introduced in 2014
"And beginning later this year the innovative and path setting translational research centre – C-TRIC – based at the Altnagelvin will expand significantly and this expansion will also see the centre extend its activities into teaching – Offering a Bachelor’s degree in Personalised Medicine."
Turning to the issue of student numbers at the campus, the Chancellor said: "Student numbers Magee are already on target to grow by about 1500 since 2008, with the total soon to exceed 5000.
“Of course, as a Ballymena man, I cannot resist the temptation to turn that into pounds! Each additional full –time student, and this is an important message, generates directly a minimum of £10,000 for the local economy and that does not include the additional indirect impact that spend has through the creation of new jobs and business opportunities.
So an additional 1,000 full time students generates £10 Million each year for the local economy – that’s £250 million over a 25 year period."
Concluding, he called on all the institutions and people of the city to come together to support the growth of Magee:
"Acity is its people and to realise Derry’s potential the people of this City must work together, along with the University, along with its businesses and along with its civic institutions in pursuit of the common goal of promoting this City as a great place to life, a great place to study, a great place to work and a great place to visit.
“History has shown that that the people of this City are more effective when united in a common purpose.
"That is our challenge, and I urge you to rise to it."