World-record sailing champ to address Southern Cross Sydney graduation

Published 15 August 2022
Sailor Lisa Blair onboard her yacht World-record sailor and Southern Cross University alumnus Lisa Blair. Credit: Corrina Ridgeway

Four-time world-record-holding sailor Lisa Blair will address hundreds of new alumni at Southern Cross University’s Sydney graduation.

Ms Blair will give the occasional address at one of two graduation ceremonies in Sydney this week. The ceremonies will see the largest ever number of Southern Cross University students graduate at a Sydney event, with over 530 graduates set to cross the floor.

“I’m hoping to share with the graduates a little bit of my journey but also instil in them that sense of resilience or can-do attitude, that if you set your mind to a goal you can achieve it, no matter what the size or the scale of the goal is,” Ms Blair said.  

Ms Blair is an adventurer, author and keynote speaker. She holds world records for being the first woman to sail solo and unassisted around Antarctica with one stop; the first woman to sail solo, non-stop and unassisted around Australia; the record time for sailing solo, non-stop and unassisted around Australia; and for the fastest unassisted circumnavigation of Antarctica. She has used her success to advocate for climate action and has also published the book Facing Fear, which recounts her 2017 solo trip around Antarctica. 

Ms Blair said she is looking forward to being part of the upcoming graduation ceremonies. “I actually missed my own graduation because I was at sea sailing,” she said. “So, it will be really cool just to be a part of the celebration of the students’ achievements. Anyone who finishes university deserves to be celebrated and to be able to share in that day with these students is going to be great.”

Ms Blair graduated from Southern Cross University with a Bachelor of Visual Art and Bachelor of Education and was Southern Cross University’s 2021 Alumnus of the Year. She said she gained a lot of value from her studies. “I liked Southern Cross because you weren’t just a number, you were a real person. It was a much more personal experience.”

Other keynote speakers include CEO of not-for-profit youth mental health organisation batyr and 2021 Young Alumnus of the Year Nic Brown.

Master of Business Law student Venus Chow will be graduating on Saturday. She said that her partner and manager were proud of her for finishing the advanced degree. "I enjoyed the interactions with other students and meaningful discussions with the professors. They really provided good insights about the subjects, gained from their experience. The student advisers were genuinely supportive through my whole journey at Southern Cross,” Ms Chow said. 

“I am excited to graduate but at the same time, I’m not sure what to wear! Since my dad lives overseas and is unable to attend my graduation, my task is to take some photos for him so he can experience the happiness of the day,” she said. 

It will be the first Southern Cross University graduation event to be held in Sydney in more than three years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A quarter of the graduates are from The Hotel School, a unique partnership between Southern Cross University and Mulpha Australia, with campuses in the heart of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, and Hayman Island. The two ceremonies will also see students graduate from the Faculty of Business, Law and Arts; Faculty of Science and Engineering; SCU College; Faculty of Education; and the Faculty of Health.

Southern Cross University Vice President (Engagement) Mr Ben Roche said the graduation ceremonies were a fantastic opportunity to reconnect and celebrate. “Given the fact that we haven’t been able to hold a physical graduation event in Sydney for over three years makes this a particularly special ceremony.”

“It’s great to see so many graduates from our partner institutions and it speaks to the power of those connections,” Mr Roche said. 

“Graduation marks a significant milestone for our students who have laboured over their studies for years. We look forward to sharing this momentous occasion with them in Sydney and continuing with them on their journey as they join our global alumni community.”

The Sydney graduation ceremonies will take place at the International Convention Centre at Darling Harbour Theatre on Saturday 20 August 2022.

Media contact: Content content@scu.edu.au