Joy for graduating SCU students

Published 25 September 2004

One of Australia’s leading children’s authors, Patricia Wrightson, was honoured for her contribution to children’s literature with a Southern Cross University Honorary Doctor of Letters, awarded during Southern Cross University’s graduation ceremonies on Saturday (September 25).

Mrs Wrightson, who was born in Lismore in 1921, has received national and international recognition for her work. She has been awarded the Australian Children’s Book Council Book of the Year Award four times and the Hans Christan Andersen Medal, the world’s premier award for children’s literature.

SCU Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Clark said it was appropriate that a young regional university, now 10-years-old, was acknowledging Mrs Wrightson’s life-long commitment to the region.

“Her example is an inspiration to all of us who strive to develop both international excellence, and a meaningful connection with, and expression, of our region,” Professor Clark said.

An Honorary Doctor of the University was also awarded to Professor Graeme Speedy, an Adjunct Professor in SCU’s Teaching and Learning Centre, for his contribution to the university.

Major General Michael Keating, whose military career has spanned nearly four decades, received an Honorary Doctor of the University for his contribution to the Australian Defence Forces.

Hundreds of family and friends gathered to congratulate students graduating from the Divisions of Arts, Health and Applied Sciences and Business during the two ceremonies. Among the graduates were 16 PhD students and eight Doctor of Business Administration students. There are 544 students graduating in total.

Two Chancellor’s Medals for Outstanding PhD Thesis were awarded to: Carol Lentfer, who completed a thesis titled “Plants People and Landscapes in Prehistoric Papua New Guinea: A compendium of Phytolith (and Starch) Analyses”; and Martin Hemsley for his thesis: “Walking Two Worlds: Transformational Journeys of Nurse Healers”.

The Medals are awarded to students who have demonstrated academic excellence and have achieved an outstanding and significant contribution to their field of knowledge.

One of the comments in the examiners’ reports for Carol Lentfer thesis said:

“I believe this thesis will place Carol Lentfer among the five top phytolith researchers in the world. It is to your credit to have her as a member of your scholarly community.”

The graduates received their awards from the Chancellor of Southern Cross University, the Honourable John Dowd AO QC. Professor Paul Clark addressed the graduands.

The occasional speaker for the first ceremony was the Ambassador of Japan, His Excellency, Mr Kenzo Oshima and Major General Michael Keating delivered the address at the second ceremony.

Media contact: Kasturi Shanahan 0439 858057.