Thousands of graduates return for caps and gowns
Graduates who missed out on in-person graduation ceremonies in 2020 and 2021 returned to Dublin City University in June 2022 for a special celebration that gave them an opportunity to walk across the Mahony Hall stage and reconnect with their class, lecturers, mentors and supervisors.
DCU Voices spoke to some of our returning graduates about their time in the university and what they’re doing now.
Tony Flynn, BA in Humanities
‘I realised there was a DCU community I could be part of.’
A gathering of DCU Alumni in Washington, organised by RTE’s Caitriona Perry, saw Tony Flynn
complete a third level journey begun nearly 30 years earlier.
Tony, is the Assistant Vice President for Network Support with Amtrak in Washington DC, but he began his career in transport with Aer Lingus in 1988 as a trainee computer programmer.
As his career progressed, Tony began a BSc in Computer Applications in DCU in 1991. “The idea was to get the credentials to catch up with the work experience,” he says. But his career moved faster than he had expected and two years into his DCU course, he left to work for British Airways and “that meant I had to abandon my studies.”
His work involved a lot of travelling and he says “there was no avenue and no real interest by me at the time in trying to pursue an academic career. I put it on the back burner.”
When RTÉ’s Caitriona Perry, who has a Degree in Journalism and a Master’s in International Relations from DCU, was appointed RTE’s Washington Correspondent, she set up an alumni chapter to connect with other DCU graduates there.
Tony had DCU on his LinkedIn profile and got an invite to the initial meeting of the Washington chapter in 2015. “I think the Alumni meeting rekindled the sense that there was a community that I could be part of and be a fully-fledged member of too.”
Dr Ellen Howley,
PhD from the School of English
‘As a PhD student at DCU there’s a lot of opportunity for teaching and tutoring.’
This year Dr Ellen Howley lectured on Irish poet and playwright Seamus Heaney in the Seamus Heaney theatre in the St Pat’s campus, which she describes a s “nice circularity.”
Her PhD thesis examined the place of the sea in Irish and Caribbean poetry and looked at wors by Seamus Heaney and his fellow Nobel Prize winner, the West Indian poet Derek Walcott. She studied English and French for her undergrad, followed by a Master’s in English Literature at the University of Edinburgh.
In 2016, Ellen was offered a scholarship from the School of English to do her PhD in DCU. She says
it is a School with a high calibre of expertise while also having a strong sense of community. During her PhD she also began tutoring. “Another one of the positives of doing your PhD at DCU is that there’s a lot of opportunity for tutoring and teaching, which is a key element or skill for an academic career,” she says.
As she was finishing her PhD an opportunity came up with the school and she is currently an Assistant Professor at the School of English.