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GMIT's 40th anniversary to be subject of RTE's Nationwide

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Press Office

Date Article Written: 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

GMIT’s 40th anniversary is celebrated on RTÉ’s Nationwide programme (Monday 5 November). Watch the programme: http://www.rte.ie/news/av/2012/1105/nationwide.html

GMIT is one of the leading third-level colleges in the West of Ireland and Presenter Mary Kennedy visited the Galway campus to find out about student life and the contribution GMIT has made to the social, cultural and economic development of the region over the past 40 years.

Mary spoke to GMIT President Michael Carmody about the history of the Institute which first opened its doors in 1972, when it was known as the Regional Technical College, Galway with 1,213 students registered on a range of National Certificate and Diploma courses as well as apprentice, trades and craft ‘block’ courses. Today, GMIT has some 8,000 full and part-time registered students on degree and post graduate programmes in Business, Science & Computing, Nursing, Engineering, Tourism & Arts, and Furniture Design & Technology. It has developed a reputation of teaching and research fineness in each of its centres of excellence in Science, Engineering and Business and has cultivated close links with business and industry.

The programme looks at the wide variety of activities taking place across the five campuses and even into the Ocean. Its proximity to the Atlantic seaboard means that there’s a real focus on Marine life and the programme looks at how students in GMIT have been investigating the behaviour of the much loved creature the dolphin under the tutelage of Clare native Dr. Joanne O’Brien

In the Maths and Computing Department the Nationwide team meet some very creative students who have developed a phone App that could help improve road safety. Jeremy Freeley from Claremorris in County Mayo explains to Mary how the Roadbuddy App works.

The Institutes’ dynamic approach to expansion has seen GMIT establish a number of campuses throughout the region. Nationwide reporter Orla Nix visited the other four GMIT Campuses to get a flavour of what happens in each.

The Cluain Mhuire Campus was opened in 1998 and is the home of Centre for the Creative Arts & Media. It is based in an old Redemptorist Monastery and its high ceilings, wide windows and spacious rooms are perfect for the creative arts.

The Campus that puts the M in GMIT is Castlebar in County Mayo. It is the second largest campus of GMIT. It opened in 1994 with 100 students; today there is 1,100 full and part-time students studying a wide range of programme. A new department - Nursing & Health Sciences, opened in 2002.

With a strong commitment to developing new enterprise in the region, GMIT created the ‘Innovation in Business Centres’ in 2006 located in both Galway and Castlebar. Manager of the Castlebar Innovation Centre Maria Staunton explains about the work done in these centres.

In the heart of the Connemara mountains is GMIT Letterfrack which celebrates 25 years of Excellence and Innovation this year and is now known as ”The National Centre for Excellence in Furniture Design and Technology.

And finally Mountbellew in County Galway is a partner college with GMIT, offering students degrees in Agriculture and Environmental Management and Rural Enterprise and Agribusiness.

Forging links with the community is an important part of life in GMIT. Earlier this year, staff and students undertook an imaginative fundraising initiative in aid of the Galway RNLI Lifeboat. This extravagant event commemorated the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic; the students and lecturers from the College of Tourism & Arts undertook the mammoth task of preparing an 11-course dinner replicating the meal served in the first class dining room on the Titanic on that fatal night and the Nationwide cameras were there to capture all the drama.

Roscommon Man Joe O’Connor heads up the GMIT Students Union. He gives Mary an insight into student life on campus and how the Students Union and GMIT encourage the personal development of students as well as the academic side through a variety of clubs, societies, charity events and activities.

Finally, Mary chats to Paul Fahy from Ballinakill Co. Galway who started as a first year in the GMIT Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department and now has completed his PhD and works with the college’s state of the art Medical Technologies Centre, GMedTech, which assists small companies in developing innovative products.

This special GMIT Nationwide programme was broadcast on RTE One television at 7pm on Monday 5 November.

See details on all the GMIT departments visited by the Nationwide team: http://www.rte.ie/tv/programmes/nationwide.html