Semester two graduation ceremonies for University of Newcastle students will be held today, Thursday 6 October and tomorrow, Friday 7 October in the Great Hall, Callaghan campus. A total of 2015 students are eligible to graduate.
The University will award honorary degrees to four high achievers including 2010 Australian of the Year Professor Patrick McGorry, journalist and social commentator David Marr, internationally-renowned electrical engineer Dr Toshiyuki Yamada and President of the Friends of the University and retired journalist Vic Levi.
Thursday 6 October 2011
10am: Faculty of Science and Information Technology
Honorary Degree recipient and Occasional Speaker: Mr David Marr. Mr Marr is an accomplished journalist, author and political and social commentator. He graduated from the University of Sydney with degrees in Arts and Law, and has enjoyed a career in journalism spanning radio, print and television media. He has worked for The Bulletin magazine and The National Times newspaper, and ABC television’s Four Corners. Between 2002 and 2004 he was the presenter of Media Watch, and he has also worked for ABC’s Radio National. Mr Marr currently writes for The Sydney Morning Herald and regularly appears on ABC television’s The Insiders and Q&A. He has won four Walkley Awards during his career, the most recent in 2010 for his Quarterly Essay ‘Power Trip: The Political Journey of Kevin Rudd’.
2pm - Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment and Faculty of Business and Law
Honorary Degree recipient Dr Toshiyuki Yamada. Dr Yamada is an internationally-renowned electrical engineer. He was key to establishing the highly successful student exchange program between the Shohoku College (Sony Institute of Higher Education) in Japan and the University of Newcastle. Dr Yamada graduated from the University of Tokyo with a Bachelor of Science in 1961. He completed his Master of Science in Electrical Engineering in just two semesters in 1964 at the University of Illinois. In 1999, he received his PhD in Engineering from the University of Tokyo. Dr Yamada joined the Sony Corporation in Japan as a research scientist in 1961. He was instrumental in the invention of the Sony Magnetodiode, a unique magnetic sensor with extremely high sensitivity. He spent 37 years with the Sony Corporation in roles including Board Director of Sony Corporation and President of the Research Centre. Dr Yamada moved to the Shohoku College, Sony Institute of Higher Education in 1998. He was made a Member of the Engineering Academy of Japan in 1996. In 2009, he joined the Engineering Academy of Japan as Executive Director. He retired from this role in May 2011.
Occasional Speaker: Mr Arthur Sinodinos AO. Mr Sinodinos is Senior Advisor Business Banking and Private Wealth at National Australia Bank. He has held some of the country’s most senior financial and government policy positions, including chief of staff to former Prime Minister John Howard. He is currently President of the New South Wales Liberal Party. Mr Sinodinos graduated with first class honours from the University of Newcastle in 1979 with a Bachelor of Commerce. He joined the Department of Finance in 1979 as a graduate recruit and in 1980 moved to Treasury. The gifted economist spent 13 years in a number of senior roles in the Commonwealth Treasury, before spending five years as Economic Advisor to John Howard – first in opposition and later in government. In 1997, Mr Sinodinos was appointed chief of staff to the Prime Minister. In 2006, Mr Sinodinos entered the corporate banking sector and has since held positions with Goldman Sachs JBWere and the National Australia Bank.
6pm - Faculty of Business and Law
Occasional Speaker: Mr Ross Gittins AM. Mr Gittins is one of the country’s leading economics journalists. He is Economics Editor for The Sydney Morning Herald and a columnist for The Age. Born in Newcastle in 1948, Mr Gittins moved away from the region before returning in 1962 to complete his final years of schooling at Newcastle Boys’ High. He went on to graduate from the University of Newcastle in 1970 with a Bachelor of Commerce. He worked as a junior audit clerk with Newcastle firm Sefton & Loudon, before joining Touche Ross & Co in Sydney as an auditor. In 1974 he changed career direction by joining The Sydney Morning Herald as a cadet journalist. In 1978, he was appointed Economics Editor. He celebrated 30 years in that position in 2008. Mr Gittins was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 2008. He received the University of Newcastle’s inaugural Alumni Award for National Leadership in 2009.
►Friday 7 October 2011
10am: Faculty of Education and Arts
Honorary Degree recipient Mr Vic Levi. Mr Levi is the President of Friends of the University and a well-known retired Newcastle journalist. Born in Sydney in 1937, he attended Fort Street Boys High School and completed his Leaving Certificate in 1953. Mr Levi moved to Newcastle in 1954 to join Newcastle Newspapers and forged a distinguished 40-year career as a journalist, editor and manager. In 2008, he released the book Hot Metal and Cold Cases; Requiem for a Newspaper. Mr Levi has a long association with the University of Newcastle. A graduate of the University, Mr Levi completed a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1973. From 1987 to 1996 he served on the University Council and was Warden of Convocation from 1986 to 1990. In 1996, he was appointed President of the Friends of the University. This group organises important events to connect the University with the broader community while raising valuable funds to support students. To date, more than $500,000 has been raised.
Occasional Speaker: Gerard Collins. Mr Collins is one of Australia’s leading sports broadcasters. He retired last year following a 27-year career calling major sporting events for ABC Radio.
Mr Collins graduated from Newcastle Teachers’ College in 1969 and completed a Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of New England in 1979. He worked as a primary school teacher for five years before teaching high school English for six years. In 1980, Mr Collins embarked on a career in journalism joining the Daily Liberal in Dubbo as Sports Editor. In 1983, he was appointed editor. Mr Collins joined ABC Radio Canberra in 1984 as a sports broadcaster. In 1987 he moved to Brisbane for the role of Executive Producer ABC Radio Sport (Queensland). Mr Collins was the main swimming commentator at six Olympic Games. He covered swimming events at seven Commonwealth Games and seven World Swimming Championships.
One of the most recognisable voices in sporting radio, Mr Collins called rugby union games (including three world cups), rugby league fixtures and cricket matches.
2pm – Faculty of Health
Honorary Degree recipient and Occasional Speaker: Professor Patrick McGorry AO. Professor McGorry is a leading international researcher, clinician and advocate for mental health reform.
He is the Executive Director of Orygen Youth Health Research Centre, a world-renowned mental health organisation for young people. He is also Professor of Youth Mental Health at the University of Melbourne and a director of headspace, the National Youth Mental Health Foundation.
Born in Ireland, he moved to Newcastle in Australia as a teenager. He attended Newcastle Boys’ High before graduating from the University of Sydney in 1977 with a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor Surgery and first class honours. He completed his PhD at Monash University in 1991 and received his Doctor of Medicine from the University of Melbourne in 2002. He has spent 30 years contributing to the design and development of innovative services to help improve the care of young people with mental disorders. Professor McGorry was named Australian of the Year in 2010 for his contribution to improving the delivery of mental health services for youth in Australia.
Media teacher steps back into the classroom
A desire to understand her own creative processes led Susan Kerrigan to “step back into the classroom”, as a PhD student.
The University of Newcastle lecturer in Communication, who has taught media production in the Bachelor of Communication degree since 2003, will be awarded a PhD Communication and Media Arts at the Faculty of Science and IT graduation ceremony at 10am Thursday 6 October.
As part of her PhD, she produced a documentary video and website on Newcastle’s Fort Scratchley which was funded by the University, Newcastle City Council and supported by Fort Scratchely Historical Society.
“Doing my PhD allowed me to use my skills and experience as a television producer and director to better understand my own creative processes. That realisation and reflection feeds back into my teaching especially when I am mentoring students in how to be creative with media such as music videos, short films and television programs.”
Susan graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (Communication Studies) from the University of Newcastle in 1990 and had a career as a television producer/director with ABC Television. Susan worked in production across a variety of departments including news, science, sit-com and drama, to eventually produce and direct Play School and Mixy Breakfast Hostings.
Newcastle holiday sparks electrical engineering research
For Alain Yetendje, life in Newcastle is as far removed from his homeland in Central Africa as possible - and he loves it.
Alain will be awarded his PhD in electrical engineering at the Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment graduation ceremony on Thursday October 6 at 2pm. After completing five years of study in the South of France, Alain spent the last three years based in Newcastle completing his PhD. It was a chance holiday that introduced him to the University.
“I came here in 2006 and I fell in love with it. I went back to France to finish my masters, but I couldn’t get Newcastle out of my mind, which was a good incentive to complete my study here,” Alain said.
The Cameroon-born engineer now works at IS Systems, Tomago.
From counselling to instructing counsel
Michael Reville started his academic life in drug and alcohol counselling before the intrigue of criminal law beckoned. This year, he was one of the few graduates chosen by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, the best training ground for criminal lawyers in the country, and also the setting for an ABC drama series.
“I worked in drug and alcohol rehabilitation in the Northern Territory, and I gained an insight into the big impact that the law has on therapeutic outcomes,” Michael said.
“I decided to up-skill because I think my experiences are useful for practising criminal law.”
Michael completed his first degree at Macquarie University, before a career change saw him move to Newcastle in 2008 to study law. His final paper in 2010 was entitled 'Golden Strands' and looked at the future role of behavioural genetics in proving self-defence.
Michael's first degrees were a Bachelor of Science (Psychology) and a Graduate Diploma in Social Health, which he completed at Macquarie University in 2003. Michael will graduate with first class honours in the Bachelor of Laws and the Diploma of Legal Practice at the Faculty of Business and Law Graduation Ceremony this Thursday October 6 at 6pm.
Native title crusader
When Donna Odegaard is awarded her PhD in Aboriginal Studies at the 10am Faculty of Education and Arts graduation ceremony on Friday October 7, it will be in quiet reflection of the personal tragedies that were overcome to complete the milestone.
The pressures of community life, personal tragedies and the founding of a national media and Indigenous training organisation did not deter the native title crusader from telling the story of her people.
Donna belongs to Larrakia tribe, the Aboriginal Traditional Owners of Larrakia Country near Darwin and she has championed for her people’s native title rights for more than 30 years, stepping in for her father after his death in 2001. Her thesis covers constitutional law, Indigenous human rights and the legal argument of native title, all set to the backdrop of her people’s struggles in obtaining claim over the Kembi peninsula. Kembi is the last cultural landscape of the Larrakia people.
“My father’s wish was that I continue his fight and also document how the Larrakia people won our land claim. I am jubilant to receive this honour. The story of my people is fraught and complex and the PhD was a great challenge.”
Darwin-based, Donna studied her masters with the University of Newcastle and chose to return to do her PhD because Newcastle was the only university that allowed her to complete her studies with an “Indigenous voice”. Donna has since been approached to have the Larrakia story published.
Science career takes a detour
Not many children can claim their mum has worked as an industrial chemist and process engineer at some major mining companies. Dr Nicole Ryan’s children can. They’ll also be able to say she holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in Medicine following the Faculty of Health graduation ceremony at 2pm Friday 7 October.
Dr Ryan graduated with an Associate Diploma in Chemical Technology at Newcastle TAFE in 1992. While working as an industrial chemist for a sand mining company for seven years, she studied part-time a Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Newcastle. She later worked for BHP Manganese as a process engineer.
However the 42-year-old mother of two had a complete change of career when her desire to pursue a role that included science but focused on people led her to starting her PhD in Medicine.
These days, Dr Ryan is a clinical research officer in the Department of Respiratory and Sleep Medicine at the Hunter Medical and Research Institute. She works with the internationally-renowned asthma researcher Conjoint Professor Peter Gibson.
“I really enjoy the interaction with the research participants. It is a rewarding feeling to know you are potentially helping people who have a persistent chronic cough that doesn't respond to usual medical care and who have more or less given up hope.”
For photo and interview opportunities: Carmen Swadling, Media and Public Relations, 02 4985 4276 or 0428 038477.