University College Cork doesn’t do classes in cliché but, if it did, it might consider the wonders of watching giant oaks emerging from tiny acorns.
That nurturing philosophy underpins a new university programme which offers gifted students scholarships worth up to €10,000 a year.
The Quercus (Latin for oak tree) Talented Programme, announced last night, offers both prospective and current UCC students the opportunity to apply for scholarships in areas including academia, active citizenship, creative and performing arts, entrepreneurship, and sport.
That’s a broad church but, according to programme manager Michele Power, it is an acknowledgement of people’s multiple intelligences. She said it is also a recognition that a worthy student may not be restricted to a singular ability but exhibit many forms of excellence that can, in turn, enhance a centre of learning.
The idea is that smart, capable candidates may excel in a number of ways but need guidance to bring their talents to the fore.
“We see talent in many forms and once students come in, they make a commitment to contribute to the Quercus programme,” Ms Power explained.
“They will benefit from the mentoring and support they receive and, in turn, they will add to the creative and artistic life of UCC.
“We will have a diverse range of students, from talented sports people to bright physicists, to someone playing the cello in the youth orchestra. Such a fusion of talent will bring value to the individuals and to the university.”
A favoured project of university president Dr Michael Murphy, the programme director is Prof John O’Halloran, who emphasised that excellence underpins everything they do at UCC.
“We recognise outstanding students when they join as well as those who develop their talents in university” he said.
“Quercus, the Latin for oak, is used as a symbolism in UCC — ‘from acorn to mighty oak’ — to represent the growth and development of an individual that arises from nurturing talent through support, challenge, and mentoring.
Dr Murphy said the Quercus announcement complemented and coincided with the entrance scholarships awards ceremony also announced last evening in Devere Hall.
“Education makes a fundamentally important contribution to the quality and well-being of society. At University College Cork, we believe in creating an environment in which academic excellence can be combined with opportunities for personal development and independent thinking” Dr Murphy said.
Even before the Quercus programme was officially announced, potential candidates have been in touch. “I have had calls from France and Poland, as well as Ireland,” Ms Power said. “The programme is already generating a lot of interest. I think that is because it offers something unique.”
lStudents interested in applying for the scholarships should go online and visit www.ucc.ie/quercus for more information.
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