University celebrates April graduation
The 2012 April graduation ceremonies will be held over two weeks. A total of 3,900 students will graduate this year, with 12 ceremonies to be held at the university’s Callaghan campus. Ceremonies begin Thursday 12 April and continue on Friday 13 April and Saturday 14 April with further ceremonies to be held on Friday 20 April and Saturday 21 April.
This graduation, the university is awarding three honorary degrees:
• Professor Balakrishnan (Kichu) Nair AM – Doctor of Medicine honoris causa
• Professor Gillian Turner AO – Doctor of Medicine honoris causa
• Mr John Dai – Doctor of Business honoris causa
► Thursday 12 April – Duo leave positive mark on their occupational therapy degree
The University of Newcastle’s Bachelor of Occupational Therapy degree program will be farewelling two of its brightest, when Joel Pilgrim and Alison Francis graduate today.
Mr Pilgrim and Ms Francis have left their mark on the university, pioneering lasting changes in student and staff relations.
Spurred by a desire to create open dialogue between teachers and students, Mr Pilgrim and Ms Francis formed the Occupational Therapy Student / Staff Committee in 2008. The pair was also instrumental in pioneering many social events on campus and gave up much of their spare time tutoring younger students.
Ms Francis will graduate today with honours and will also receive the University Medal for her academic and social contributions.
“After all the wonderful opportunities the University of Newcastle has offered me over the past four years, I am delighted to move on knowing that I have left my mark,” Ms Francis said.
“University was such a positive experience and I look forward to starting the next chapter of my life.”
Mr Pilgrim reflects similarly on his university experience.
As one of seven males in a cohort of around 80 occupational therapy students in his year, he found himself flying the flag for non-stereotypical degrees and acting as an ambassador for would-be male therapists.
“Occupational Therapy is an extremely female dominated profession, so I took on the role of supporting male students,” Mr Pilgrim said.
“I think guys should consider the OT degree and not be put off by the number of women in the field. Studying a non-stereotypical degree gives you some amazing opportunities. Plus, having lots of
girls in your year can't be all bad, right?”
Bachelor of Occupational Therapy graduates Joel Pilgrim and Alison Francis will both graduate on Thursday 12 April at 2pm.
► Friday 13 April - Congratulations to our high achievers
Australia’s next generation of architects, surveyors, civil, chemical and electrical engineers will be officially farewelled from the Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment in a graduation ceremony on Friday.
Seven students will be awarded a University Medal, for graduates with a consistent record of exceptional academic achievement at all levels of a Bachelor degree program who qualify for a First Class Honours.
The recipients are:
Reginald Baker - Architecture
James Curry - Chemical Engineering
Timothy Evans - Civil Engineering
Scott Eftimovski - Building
Nathan Marks - Electrical Engineering
Luke Babic - Environmental Engineering
Joshua Frost - Surveying
The students will graduate at the Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment ceremony on Friday 13 April at 10am.
► Friday 13 April – Angela has realised her academic dreams
Angela Hope says she has emerged from a cloud of self doubt that plagued much of her teenage years, to now realise her academic dreams.
Gripped by mental health issues during her teenage years, Ms Hope was unable to complete her studies and left school in 2001 during Year 11.
With her bipolar disorder better managed through treatment and medication, in 2011 Ms Hope completed the university’s Open Foundation program and was the year’s highest academic achiever.
She received the Brian Smith Memorial Award, which is given to the top-performing Open Foundation student each year and carries a prize of $500.
Ms Hope was also awarded the $2,000 John Lambert Scholarship for Open Foundation students entering an undergraduate degree. The university awards one scholarship each year based on academic merit.
Ms Hope has now enrolled in a combined Bachelor of Mathematics/Bachelor of Engineering (Electrical) degree.
“I enjoyed maths at school and have maintained my interest in it over the past 10 years. I am excited that I can now consider a career that involves a subject I really enjoy.
“I thought I had lost my chance to start this chapter of my life, but now I realise my best years are only just beginning.”
Ms Hope will speak about her journey at the English Language and Foundation Studies attainment ceremony on Friday 13 April at 2pm.
► Saturday 14 April – Rebecca’s driven by a desire to make a difference
A desire to help people in developing communities has motivated speech pathology graduate Rebecca Amery to help make a difference overseas.
In 2009, Ms Amery participated in the Working with Developing Communities Vietnam Program, a 10-day additional volunteer clinical experience offered to the university’s speech pathology students.
She was also one of 20 undergraduate students awarded a Prime Minister's Australia Asia Endeavour Award, a scholarship giving students the opportunity to undertake study, research and professional development in Asia. With this Award, Ms Amery spent a year studying at Vietnam's Hue University of Medicine and Pharmacy and working with disabled children in central Vietnam.
Originally from Darwin, Ms Amery moved to Newcastle to complete her degree.
“Living on campus enabled me to be actively involved with NUSA for several years, which is what really transformed my university experience - making lifelong friends,” Ms Amery said.
Ms Amery now works at Melbourne’s Glenallen School for children with disabilities and plans to continue her research and work in other developing communities in rural Australia and Asia.
Rebecca Amery will graduate on Saturday 14 April at 10am from Bachelor of Speech Pathology with first class honours. She will also receive the University Medal, Education and Arts Faculty Medal and Speech Pathology Australia Student Award.
► Saturday 14 April – Beach-lover now loving a career in the outback
If someone had told Corie Chambers years ago that she would end up living and working in Australia’s outback - and loving it – she would have looked skyward for flying pigs.
But when the beach-loving student teacher travelled to Ivanhoe in NSW’s central west to complete her internship last year, she fell in love with rural life, the school and the local policeman.
After completing her practical requirements for university last year, Ms Chambers was asked to stay on at the school as a casual teacher.
She has since been offered a permanent role and now lives in Ivanhoe’s ‘town’.
“It is very remote and the rural life took some getting used to, but now we are loving life in the outback,” Ms Chambers said.
“I am the teacher of just eight students in Kindergarten, Year 1 and Year 2 at Ivanhoe Central School.”
The school educates 40 students from Kindergarten to Year 12.
Corie Chambers will graduate at the Faculty of Education and Arts ceremony on Saturday 14 April at 2pm.
OCCASIONAL SPEAKERS AND HONORARY DEGREE RECIPIENTS
►Thursday 12 April
10am: Faculty of Health
Occasional Speaker: Ms Kim Ryan. Ms Ryan is the first Chief Executive Officer of the Australian College of Mental Health Nurses (ACMHN), the peak professional mental health nursing organisation. Her contribution and advocacy in the area of mental health nursing spans more than two decades.
2pm: Faculty of Health
Occasional Speaker: Mr Kim Nguyen. Mr Kim Nguyen is the Director of Allied Health for the Hunter New England Local Health District, which provides health care to more than 840,000 people. He provides strategic leadership to regional allied health bodies, ensuring the efficient and effective coordination and integration of these vital services for the community.
6pm: Faculty of Health
Occasional Speaker: Professor Balakrishnan (Kichu) Nair AM. A consultant physician in geriatrics and general medicine and a leader in the evolution of professional medical development, Professor Nair AM is the Clinical Professor of Medicine and Associate Dean of Continuing Medical Professional Development at the University of Newcastle. Professor Nair has taken the study and practice of geriatric medicine in Australia to a new level. An honorary degree will be awarded to Professor Nair AM at this ceremony.
Occasional Speaker: Professor Gillian Turner AO. Professor Gillian Turner AO is a distinguished physician, an internationally acclaimed geneticist and a worldwide authority on the X chromosome. She contributed 54 years’ service to the field of paediatrics and genetics, her research leading to new screening techniques for genetic disabilities. Professor Gillian Turner AO will also be awarded an honorary degree at this ceremony.
►Friday 13 April
10am: Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment
Occasional Speaker: Mr Richard Hough. Richard Hough has more than three decades of experience in building, design and construction and is behind some of the world’s most high-profile developments. As a structural engineer, he has led large multidisciplinary design teams. His current roles include Design and Technical Leader for Arup’s Australasia Region and Chair of Arup’s Regional Investment Coordination Group.
2pm: Faculty English Language and Foundation Studies Centre
Occasional Speaker: Dr Murray Lee. A graduate of the University of Newcastle’s Open Foundation program, Dr Murray Lee is now Director of the Sydney Institute of Criminology and a senior lecturer in criminology at the University of Sydney Law School, teaching in the fields of policing, crime theory, fear and risk of victimisation, and environmental criminology.
►Saturday 14 April
10am: Faculty of Education and Arts
Occasional Speaker: Mr Alasdair Foster. Alasdair Foster combines more than 20 years experience heading national arts institutions in Europe and Australia, with 35 years working in the not-for-profit sector. Mr Foster has worn many hats during his career, working as an artist, curator, writer, editor, researcher, policy advisor and commercial photographer. His current role as founder of Cultural Development Consulting, which specialises in international intercultural projects.
2pm: Faculty of Education and Arts
Occasional Speaker: Ms Marion Halligan AM. Marion Halligan AM is one of Australia’s most celebrated female writers, having penned more than 20 books, including 10 novels, more than 100 short stories, as well as autobiographical collections on food, travel, and gardens. Born and educated in Newcastle, Ms Halligan has reviewed for most major Australian media, is widely represented in anthologies and has featured in many of Australia’s top literary awards.
6pm: Faculty of Education and Arts
Occasional Speaker: Professor Terry Lovat. Professor Terry Lovat has dedicated decades to Australia’s higher education sector. With a background in theology, philosophy and education, Professor Lovat has been with the University of Newcastle since 1985, first as a lecturer and, since
1995, as a Professor of Education. He was appointed Pro Vice-Chancellor (Education and Arts) in 2001, a position he held until his retirement in 2011. Professor Lovat has authored, co-authored or edited 10 major academic texts - one is in its fourth edition and translated into Swedish. He remains an active researcher.
Media contact: Carmen Swadling, Media and Public Relations, on 02 4985 4276 or 0428 038 477.