MORE than 280 future doctors heard words of inspiration yesterday from Mark Pollock, a man renowned for his true grit and determination.
The young medics who received their Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) medical degrees at the RDS listened as they were urged to compete, collaborate and explore throughout their lives.
Mr Pollock received an honorary doctorate at the conferring ceremony and addressed the large assembly.
The Co Down native was an accomplished athlete who went blind at the age of 22 but continued to participate in sports, including rowing and marathon running.
At the age of 34, he suffered a fall and was paralysed from the waist down but went on to become an energetic advocate for scientific collaboration to seek a cure for paralysis.
"We are not defined by the highs of success or the lows of failure, but rather it is our willingness to compete that counts," he told the graduates.
"In your future I expect you will come across problems too. I expect you will find and explore possibilities and, as you do, consider being great enough to compete; being humble enough to collaborate; and perhaps most importantly, being ambitious enough to explore."
Prof Cathal Kelly, chief executive and Registrar of the RCSI, said Mr Pollock was chosen to receive the honorary doctorate because of his sheer determination and refusal to give up in the face of such daunting physical challenges.
Among those receiving their degrees was Brian Deegan (23), from Ballsbridge, Dublin, whose brother Adam (26) will receive his medical degree from UCD on Monday.