Sabhal Mòr Ostaig’s graduates celebrate their success

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Sabhal Mòr Ostaig’s graduation ceremony took place in Sleat on Skye earlier this month, when graduates, employees and guests gathered to celebrate a wealth of achievement and success.

In total, 48 students graduated from the National Centre for Gaelic Language and Culture from the undergraduate and postgraduate programme which the college offers, varying from Cert HE, Diploma, BA, BA (Hons) and MSc. Three graduates were awarded first class degrees.

Chairman of the board of directors at SMO, Angus Macleod, addressed those present, telling them that Sabhal Mòr Ostaig is unlike anywhere else.

‘It is always appropriate, and especially today as we celebrate another year of success at the college, to remember why we exist. As the National Centre for Gaelic Language and Culture in Scotland, Sabhal Mòr Ostaig has a pivotal role in bringing about the revitalisation of Gaelic,’ he said.

‘We all witness here tonight the fruits of your hard work, your commitment and also the help and support you received from loved ones and friends, over and above the teaching staff at the college.

‘When you take your next step on your onward journey, and each step thereafter, be sure and use your Gaelic. It has value, and meaning, and its honour is always worthy of defending. Be proud of your language, of your community, of your culture and of yourselves – as sure as we are all proud of you.’

As part of the evening’s programme of events, two current students of SMO showcased their tremendous musical talents – Michael Steele, from South Uist, opened the evening with a lively set on the Highland pipes, and Saffron Hanvidge, from Inverness, sang the famous Soraidh Leis an Àite by Màiri Mhòr nan Òran.

The blessing was given by the Rev Doctor Roddy MacLeod, from North Uist, who is presently a student on the BA Gaelic and Culture programme and the graduation lecture was also delivered by a past student of the college,
Catriona MacPhee, from Glasgow. She  is well-known for presenting Gaelic programmes on BBC Alba for many years but has recently changed career and is now teaching history in Gaelic.

Dr Gillian Rothach, principal of Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, added: ‘It is highly encouraging to see the number of students graduating from Sabhal Mòr Ostaig in 2019, each of whom has received tertiary education in Gaelic.

‘Sabhal Mòr Ostaig is proud to, year on year, and for nearly 50 years now, add to the number of graduates in Scotland who can go out into the world of work and, particularly, the Gaelic world.’

Some of those present were the first first group of graduates from the new BA (Hons) Gaelic and Education degree. A new prize, in memory of Duncan MacQuarrie, was awarded in relation to this degree this year to the student who excelled in teaching skills in the class. This was awarded to Steven MacIver from Poolewe.

In addition to celebrating the academic achievements of students, the annual honour of Sàr Ghàidheal was awarded to two individuals in recognition of their tremendous contribution in the fields of community development, publishing and Gaelic media – Agnes Rennie, from
Lewis, and Cailean MacLean, from South Uist and the Isle of Skye.

The award for Sabhal Mòr Ostaig’s Student of the Year was given to Shannon Maclean from Mull.