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Southern Cross University students celebrate at Graduation


Brigid Veale
7 April 2005
Raina Mason will be cheered on by her four children when she takes to the stage to receive Southern Cross University's highest academic award, the University Medal, at the Coffs Harbour Graduation Ceremony on Saturday.

Ms Mason is one of 13 recipients of the University Medal across the university's three campuses and one of two in Coffs Harbour. She is graduating with a Bachelor of Multimedia (Honours) and will also be giving the students' address.

Ms Mason said she was over the moon to be receiving the award, which recognised her high academic achievement.

"Receiving the University Medal is a big shock for me. But, I've always thought that if you do something, you have to do it to the best of your ability," Ms Mason said.

Ms Mason, who has been bringing up three daughters and a son on her own for the last seven years, returned to study five years ago when her youngest child started school.

"It's a sacrifice and you sometimes think you should be out there working, but I've always kept an eye on what's going to happen at the end. Financially it was a struggle, but on the other hand it's a big achievement.

"It has been a big balancing act, and sometimes I felt like I had six balls in the air at the same time. I have now been able to talk to other people in a similar situation and I've been able to encourage them they can not only study, but they can also strive for excellence."

She said she'd always had the full support of her children, who were now themselves excelling at school.

"I don't have any other family in the area, it's just the kids and I and they have been 100 per cent behind me. This is their award as well as mine."

A total of 145 students will be at the ceremony on Saturday to receive degrees in courses including Education, Tourism and Hospitality Management, Commerce, Social Sciences, Information Technology and Multimedia.

The ceremony will also include the first cohort of graduates from the Bachelor of Psychology (Honours), which started in Coffs Harbour in 2001.

The occasional speaker for the ceremony, which starts at 10.30am in the D Block lecture theatre, is the newly appointed SCU Head of Campus, Pro Vice-Chancellor Professor Zbys Klich.

Officiating at the ceremony will be SCU Chancellor, the Honourable John Dowd AO QC, accompanied by the Deputy Chancellor, Mrs Liz Rummery AM. Official guests will include the Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Clark. Members of the University Council, and a number of Executive Deans, Heads of School and academic staff will also attend.