First-class honours are just what the doctor ordered
VALEDICTORIAN Eoin Kelleher had reason to celebrate as he was hoisted above the shoulders of his colleagues at the Royal College of Surgeons.
The 23-year-old native of Rathfarmham, south Dublin, found out he was the highest-ranking student among 230 medical students when their final-year results were read out from the top of the staircase of the college's St Stephen's Green campus yesterday in keeping with a tradition that dates back more than 60 years.
Mr Kelleher said he was surprised to get first-class honours in his five-year medicine programme.
"I didn't expect it at all," he told the Irish Independent yesterday as he and his colleagues celebrated their results with a well-deserved pint near the college.
Mr Kelleher will be spending the next fortnight drafting his valedictorian speech for his class's graduation ceremony on June 5 and preparing for his year-long medical internship at Dublin's Beaumont Hospital. After that, his plans for his future medical career are a bit up in the air, he said.
"I'll just sample a bit of everything," he said. "But I'm really looking forward to it."
The college, meanwhile, has its own reason to celebrate as it embarks on a massive €80m expansion project of its campus this autumn.
In one of the biggest construction projects to be undertaken in the capital in recent years, work will get under way in September to build the 120,000 square foot extension to the college on York Street.
The new building will feature six above-ground floors and four underground housing the latest state-of-the-art medical teaching facilities.
They include a 540-seat lecture theatre, mock operating theatres using the latest technology, a three-storey library and a gym, among other amenities.
The project, which was entirely privately-funded, will take two years to complete and is due to open for the 2016 academic year.