Gold Coast graduation a time for celebration

Published 14 May 2012

A Gold Coast mother-of-two will be part of the first student cohort to participate in a Southern Cross University graduation ceremony on the Tweed-Gold Coast on Saturday (May 19).

The ceremony, which will be held at the Twin Town Services Club, is the first for the University since it started expanding into the southern Gold Coast. Previously, students had travelled to Lismore for graduation.

Toni Russo, who will be awarded a Bachelor of Social Science, has completed her studies while caring for two children and a partner who was diagnosed with cancer as she started her degree.

“It’s very exciting to be graduating. When I finished my last assessment last year I cried and then we had a big celebration with family,” she said.

“It is very satisfying after all the study and stress. When I first started studying at Uni I was so scared because I had been out of education for so long and some of the kids studying with me were only 17 and they were going to have their degrees by the time they were 21 and would then have all those years up on you.

“But finishing my social science degree has been my foremost goal and now that I’ve achieved that I am going on to further study. I have started a Bachelor of Laws with SCU and hope to go on a do a Masters and maybe a PhD.

“I’ve found I’ve become very good at time management with study, two young children and a partner who had cancer, he’s in remission now.”

The 36-year-old worked for a decade in the hospitality industry before deciding to take small steps back into higher education study by completing a Diploma of Community Welfare Work through TAFE at Ashmore.

“I found SCU was just very flexible with how I wanted to study,” Ms Russo said.

“I received some credits from my Diploma and could fast-track my study with the three sessions of study. There was also a mid-year intake and the course delivery, I could do internal or external study, was good. And the student support just suited me.”

After further study, Ms Russo hopes to work towards her dream job of working in the United Nations on human rights and gender rights issues.

Ms Russo will be one of about 120 students at the Graduation ceremony at the Twin Towns Services Club (Showroom), Wharf Street, Tweed Heads on Saturday 19 May 2012 commencing at 10.30am. Students will graduate from across five academic schools: Southern Cross Business School, Tourism and Hospitality Management, Arts and Social Sciences, Health and Human Sciences and Law and Justice.

Photo: Toni Russo.

Media contact: Steve Spinks media officer, Southern Cross University Gold Coast and Tweed Heads, 07 5589 3024 or 0417 288 794.