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Honorary Awards announced


Zoe Satherley
9 May 2009
Graduation ceremonies were held at the Lismore campus of Southern Cross University yesterday and Friday, bringing to 1824 the number of students who have been conferred with degrees, diplomas and other awards so far this year.

During the ceremonies, a number of Honorary Awards were bestowed on leading community members.

On Friday, Major General Peter Arnison, Chancellor of Queensland University of Technology, was awarded an Honorary Doctorate.

On Saturday, Indigenous leader and former National President of the ALP, Warren Mundine, was also awarded an Honorary Doctorate and Roy Masters, well known sports journalist, rugby league coach and author, was awarded the title of Honorary Fellow.

Major General Arnison, who grew up and went to school in Lismore in the 1940s and 1950s, commended the graduands for their ‘tenacity, self discipline and application to their studies’.

“As you move into the wider community, taking all you have acquired at Southern Cross, and couple this with your own intellectual application and hard work, may I suggest that the brightness of your future will depend on your willingness to contribute to the betterment of society, as much as achieving your personal goals and ambitions?” he said.

“You have been privileged to receive a wonderful education which will make boundless opportunities available for you.

“In the years ahead your contribution to society will depend upon a range of qualities including integrity, honesty, compassion and concern for others, as well as the academic skills and understandings you have developed here. And I think you will find it is from giving and sharing that personal satisfaction and true excellence of outcomes is derived.”

Southern Cross University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Paul Clark, gave one of the Occasional Addresses.

He told graduands: “You have made an investment in yourself - not just through fees, but more importantly through the time and intellectual effort you have put into getting your degree.

“How will you go about getting the best return on that investment? Again, not just in money terms but in achievement, in job satisfaction, in making a difference.

“I think there are some ways, but I don’t know you can plan them. Indeed, for a lot of people career-planning is a work in progress which changes regularly.

“Let me take a personal example. At the age of 14, I was at the bottom of my class in the weakest of four classes. Becoming VC of a university was definitely not on the horizon.”

Professor Clark said that a maths teacher fired his interest in academic study and he started ‘investing’ in himself. While his mates went off to paid jobs, he studied maths and physics, did a PhD and moved to Australia from the UK, ultimately working in various universities and colleges around Australia. None of this was really planned, he said.

“If I started again, would I do all that? I don’t know, but I think I now know the four rules.

“Know yourself - play to your strengths but be true to your values; most employers place integrity, attitude and values ahead of technical skills when they recruit.

“Work must be fun - if you begrudge going to work, if it’s a grind - walk away and find another opportunity.

“When a choice arises - take the adventurous path, and enjoy the journey. The average time a new graduate spends with their first employer is just two years.

“This is not a trial run - this is the real thing and the only chance you get.

“Your graduation today is something you, and your family and supporters, will always remember. It’s not often you get the chance to dress up in medieval costume and not feel out of place!

“In America, today’s event is called 'commencement'. It’s meant to indicate that it’s the start - of your professional career, of your life as a graduate, of the next phase.

“Your university course has equipped you with a powerful array of knowledge and skills, many of which can be applied to almost anything you do. But only you can decide what you will do - and how you will benefit from the investment you have made.

“So choose well; choose wisely; and given the rapidly changing world we live in, you may also have to choose often.

“Sounds like an exciting time ahead. Tonight is for celebration. The rest of your life is yours to enjoy. Make sure you do!”

During the ceremonies a number of University medallists were announced. They were Nadine White, Bachelor of Business in Tourism Management with First Class Honours; Anna Miree Jones and Melissa Joy Priddle, both awarded a Bachelor of Education with First Class Honours; Soenke Biermann, Bachelor of Arts with First Class Honours; and Mary-Ellen Stringer and Veronica Chapman, each awarded a Bachelor of Arts with First Class Honours.

Photo: University medallists Soenke Biermann and Mary-Ellen Stringer proudly display their medals after the graduation ceremony.